Archive for the ‘Writing & Reference’ Category

Highland, the Screenplay Editor Officially Launches

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Highland – the screenplay editor conceptualized by screenwriter John August, is available in the Mac App Store today. Highland converts screenplays between PDF, FDX (Final Draft) and Fountain formats – back and forth in every direction. Here’s the product’s trailer…


With Highland, you can also tackle FDX files without Final Draft. We’ve found our users are often writing in Google Docs or TextMate or vim — or on their iPads. Whatever setup you prefer, Highland can get you into and out of Final Draft smoothly when you need special features.”John August

August introduced Highland last year, but wanted to beta test it with screenwriters before it went on sale. It’s available now for $9.99 until the end of the month (March 31st) – then it’s back to its original price: $19.99. You can also try the free demo here (zip file) or from the official site.

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The Black Board is the New Official Writing Community of the Black List and Go Into The Story

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Go Into The Story, the official screenwriting blog of the Black List just announced the launch of their official forum: The Black Board.

What began as a user-generated idea — to create an online forum where writers who were participating in the Go On Your Own Quest challenge could gather — has evolved into a terrific resource.”Scott Myers

Here’s how they break down the sections:

Here’s a screenshot with all the details…

Check it out for yourself here: http://theblackboard.blcklst.com/

The Black List Is Now Open

Monday, December 17th, 2012

The Black List just released their 2012 list (PDF) of the top unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. The “list” was started in 2005 by Franklin Leonard when he surveyed 100 film industry executives about their favorite scripts from that year that had not been produced. Many of these scripts have since been made into feature films (The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, etc.). This became a regular occurrence since then.

But this year, they are making a service available to all (for a small fee – of course), to upload your scripts to their database and be evaluated by professional script readers. That evaluation will be added to their recommendation algorithm, which (according to them) will be sent to over 1,000 film industry professionals.

Our evaluation includes an overall rating of 1 to 10., describes Leonard. A rating of 1 of 10 along five different metrics, including dialogue, structure, setting, premise. And then three short answers to questions about the script’s greatest strengths, weaknesses, and commercial viability.”

Here’s how it works: you upload a script for $25 a month hosting fee – which makes it available to their entire membership. There’s an optional $50 fee if you’d like to have one of their reader evaluate your script.

Veteran screenwriters, John August and Craig Mazin talked to Franklin Leonard about the Black List on their Scriptnotes Podcast (transcript) during this year’s Austin Film Festival.

The data that is generated by those evaluations we can use to create sort of a Black List of non-professional scripts, sort of a real time, that is sort able by genre, subgenre, words that feature in the log line. And then we also built a recommendations algorithm similar to what exists on Netflix and Amazon so that based on all of our 1,150 members’ individual taste, in the event that a script is particularly suited to one of those members’ taste…” – from Scriptnotes podcast

You can sign up and start the process [highlight]here[/highlight].

Moviebytes Lists ALL the Screenwriting Contests

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I wrote a while back about “Online Video Contests” about an aptly named site of the same name that has over a hundred contests. Moviebytes is very similar to that but its niche is to index ALL the available screenwriting competitions. Their Screenwriting Contests Directory breaks out all the different categories and genres. If you are an aspiring screenwriter, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Please apply a ‘buyer beware’ approach when entering any online competition that requires an entry fee. Moviebytes provides these databases “as is” and without warranty of any kind – so be sure to read their Terms of Service before entering any contest.

Tom Cruise (Dot Com) Offers Guidance to Aspiring Filmmakers

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

I was pleasantly surprised that TomCruise.com has a series of filmmaking posts and guides that cover a wide spectrum of information and resource links for anyone interested in a career in movies. [note title=”Pictured:” align=”right” width=”250″] Tom Cruise with director, Steven Spielberg on the set of Minority Report. Photo from tomcruise.com [/note]Admittedly, I am a fan of Mr. Cruise’s films, but I’m not one that peruses actors/celebrities’ websites. I’ll credit Filmmaking.net for making me aware of these articles and guides when it recently published a post that referenced one of these articles from tomcruise.com. I greatly appreciate and sympathize the effort that the team at tomcruise.com put into their accumulation of numerous links in their guides (similar to what I do here at Filmlinker).

The TomCruise.com team wants to help you make your Hollywood dreams come true! Whether you are an aspiring actor, director and filmmaker, film editor, producer, screenwriter, stuntman or visual effects artist, we have complied guides for several of the most in-demand professions in the movie and television industry.” – tomcruise.com


Check out the list of guides that they’ve compiled:
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TOMCRUISE.COM “ASPIRING…” GUIDES

  • Aspiring Directors and Filmmakers Guide – Find out about numerous filmmaking techniques (including mobile!), film festivals, contests and competitions that could give your project exposure, award much-needed funds or offer training programs to advance your career in films.
  • Aspiring Visual Effects Artists Guide – Tips, Training, and Resources for a job in the field of post –production. As technology advances at lightning speed, the need for visual artists is on the rise.
  • Aspiring Actors Guide – Resources, Training, and Tools to take you to the top. Including a guide to Mobile Apps for training in an acting career.
  • Aspiring Stuntman Guide – Tips, Resources, and Information to help you launch your career as a stunt performer.
  • Aspiring Visual Effects Artists Guide – Tips, Training, and Resources for a job in the field of post –production. As technology advances at lightning speed, the need for visual artists is on the rise.

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April Is Script Frenzy Month

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

If you need motivation to kick start your screenplay – join Script Frenzy‘s month long international writing event. Participants have to write 100 pages of scripted material in the month of April. There’s no fee to enter and there’s also no “valuable” prizes awarded. The real award will be the pride of finishing 100+ pages of your script. They’ll throw in a Script Frenzy Winner’s Certificate and web icon announcing your achievement. Some of last year’s participants have left comments on John August’s blog about their experience with the event.

Script Frenzy is affiliated with The Office of Letters and Light which also sponsors NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) – an event that challenges participants to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.

Also check out Script Frenzy’s Writer’s Resources page. It’s got several “how-to” and formatting guides.

Zhura: A New Online Collaborative Screenwriting Application

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I just ran across a new online screenwriting application called Zhura. It offers free membership and is similar to the collaborative concept behind Celtx. Although Zhura doesn’t have all the pre-production features that Celtx provides, it simplifies the user experience by being an online application doesn’t require any software downloads and upgrades (also check out Plotbot and ScriptBuddy). Zhura’s editing tool allows you to format your script into an “industry standard” layout and if you need a hard copy or want to save it to your computer, you can convert it to a PDF or text (.txt) file. I definitely appreciate the way it maintains a complete history of your changes/revisions.

If you’re working with collaborators on your screenplay or just want to share your work for public feedback – this can be a very useful tool. Their motto is “Make it together.” It’s worth checking out.

Indie Director Tom DiCillo’s ‘Delirious’ Blog

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Writer/Director, Tom DiCillo’s [IMDB info] new blog chronicles his journey through the creation and distribution of his latest film, Delirious. The film is a contemporary fable about a small time celebrity paparazzo, Les Gallantine (Steve Buscemi) who befriends a young homeless man, Toby Grace (Michael Pitt). Toby meets and falls in love with pop star K’Harma Leeds (Alison Lohman), causing jealousy and friction with Les. (check your local listings – it’s really worth seeing it in the big screen).

This is DiCillo’s first foray into the blogosphere but I feel if he continues with it beyond Delirious, it could be one of the essential reads for all aspirating filmmakers. In fact, I commented on his blog about that sentiment and Mr. DiCillo responded to my comment – “I will try to keep the blog going. It is helpful to me to put my thoughts and frustrations into something creative…”

I cannot summarize the passion and creativity of DiCillo’s blog posts (you need to check it out for yourselves), but I will highlight some of his shared insight into the filmmaking process of Delirious – and break it down into production categories:

Pre-Production

Screenplay – DiCillo’s idea for the script was motivated by the public’s addiction to celebrity and fame. He got the idea for the main character of the film after an encounter with a paparazzo in New York during the filming of The Real Blonde. The guy went into to the shot, trying to take a pic of Daryl Hannah – DiCillo almost strangled him. Years later, DiCillo ran into to this guy at a party; They hung out in NY and LA for 2 months and then he wrote the script.

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The Links Directory Is Up (Over 3,000 Filmmaking Links)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

In the process of producing my first feature film, “Nothing Without You,”  I have compiled thousands of useful links to filmmaking resources. Here are the links in Filmlinker’s Links Directory – broken down into the following categories & sub-categories:

+ SCREENWRITING – The start of it all. Every screenwriting website that I could find is here. It includes educational information, software, professional screenwriter’s blogs, online magazines, articles, etc.

Writing & Reference – This is a natural sub- category to Screenwriting. It includes many reference sites, info on writing structure, all around multiple sources of information on various fields that will help writers fill in the blanks of their work.

+ PRE-PRODUCTION – The plan starts here. This is such a multifaceted category; I’ve included several elements which contain all the film directories, manuals, and general resource sites that I think can be useful to all filmmakers. Plus, budgeting resources, film analysis sites (that can help with your business plan), pre-pro software sites, etc.

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