screenwriter's toolkit creative screenwriting exercises (Get the book for all 101 exercises)

In The Bedroom

10.19.2005 · Posted in Hal Ackerman, Scenes

Written/Contributed by Hal Ackerman Two people are in bed. A siren or alarm is heard. Or the phone rings. Or a doorbell. WRITE THE SCENE. You will have to ask yourself: Who are these people? Who are they to each other? What are the immediate circumstances? How does the alarm affect them? What do they ...

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What If?

05.06.2005 · Posted in The Idea

It’s been said that a writers’ main tool is the question, “What if?” With this simple query, we can explore any ordinary event’s limitless plot possibilities. Your task: Get a copy of today’s newspaper. Read 5 articles with our question in mind. What if she stole the money? What if those soldiers were plotting something? ...

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Character Descriptions

05.13.2005 · Posted in Characters

Here’s a test on creating effective character descriptions. The Exercise Pick ten characters you’ve seen in movies. Write a 1-sentence description for each of them. Make it as accurate as possible. Bring these descriptions to friends who have seen these movies. Can they guess who you’re referring to? ...

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Beyond The Internet

01.25.2007 · Posted in Research

With the Internet around, it’s easy to forget other avenues of research. These other sources, however, can oftentimes provide more thorough information. Your Task: Re-acquaint yourself with research methods. One quick way to do so is to read this tutorial from the Houston Community College Library. ...

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Place & The Economy of Words

01.15.2006 · Posted in Place

When I’m writing a story, I like to get descriptive. When I’m writing a screenplay, I try to narrow that long-winded drive into shorter sentences with fewer words. This gives the production crew an easier time in bringing the script to screen. The Exercise Go somewhere you want to write about. List ten words that ...

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Brainstorming Structure

12.31.2006 · Posted in Outline/Structure

Explore structure. The Exercise Create a mind map to help you brainstorm the structure of an idea. Place your story idea in the center of the mind map, and see what comes out. ...

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Random Acts of Weirdness

01.23.2007 · Posted in Action

Relieve writer’s block by finding new stories to tell. If you’re not planning your own adventure, check out weird stories from around the world. The Exercise Navigate to an online search engine and query “weird news”. Pick a site, then a story. Imagine the actions and dialogue that make this story a reality. Write a ...

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New Information

10.08.2005 · Posted in Research

Research is a great way to learn more about our characters. Your Task: Pick a subject that your character is familiar with that you might not know much about. Research and list 15 facts on that subject. ...

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The Producer Calls

05.06.2005 · Posted in Timed Writing

A producer calls you. He wants to see you work on the fly. He wants to see how creative and sharp you can be. Your task: Come up with 25 original movie titles in 10 minutes. ...

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Defense Against the Critics

12.28.2005 · Posted in Rewriting/Editing

Can you defend the choices you’ve made in your own writing? Try it. Your Task: Take a screenplay that you’ve written. Pick out the major plot points and defend your decisions for the way you’ve written them. Write a short essay detailing the decisions you’ve made for the plot of your story and defend these ...

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