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

Editing Practice

10.08.2005 · Posted in Rewriting/Editing

Editing our own scripts is sometimes wrought with our own defensiveness and inability to let go of what we originally put on the page. Practicing with other scripts can improve our skills and help us see that no matter how done we think a script is, it can always use a little more work. Your ...

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Advancing Action

05.13.2005 · Posted in Writing Dialogue

Dialogue can be used as an exposition of character. It can also be used to advance action. Advancing action moves the plot forward from one scene to the next. Your task: Write a 2-page scene where dialogue is used to advance action. ...

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Writing Conditions

05.06.2005 · Posted in As A Writer

Set yourself up. Create the right conditions to write. Journal I work best when… ...

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Has It Been Done?

01.31.2007 · Posted in Research

When developing an idea, two good questions to ask are: Has this been done before? If so, how is my project unique? Your Task: Research your idea. Check out the IMdB search function and do a word search in the “plots” category. This will search the plot summaries of the movies within the database. ...

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What Do You Like?

05.23.2005 · Posted in As A Writer

You can learn a thing or two about the way you write by delving into what you like. The Exercise Identify your favorite scene of all time. Get that movie and watch the scene. Journal Let go and write for 10 minutes about the scene. Why do you like it so much? What does it ...

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Everything Changes

12.28.2005 · Posted in Scenes

Here’s another practice exercise for creating a scene. Your Task: Think of an incident that happened in your life where you were unsatisfied with the end result. Now, write a scene that goes through this incident. Change the scene to reflect the way you’d rather have this incident turn out. ...

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Editing for Character Consistency

12.28.2005 · Posted in Rewriting/Editing

Sometimes we get so into the challenge of finishing our screenplays that we forget to go back and make sure our characters have a consistent voice. Your Task: Read a screenplay that you or someone else wrote. Get into the mindset of one character and read it thinking of them. While you read, consider what’s ...

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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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The Pitch

05.06.2005 · Posted in Timed Writing

Your agent just called. You’ve got a meeting with a major studio exec in half an hour. Your problem: You haven’t written the pitch yet. Your task: Pick the best movie you saw this month. Pretend it hasn’t come out or been sold yet. In half-an-hour, write a one-paragraph synopsis, a one-sentence log line, and ...

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Rule Breaking

10.19.2005 · Posted in Hal Ackerman

Written/Contributed by Hal Ackerman In a series of one-line (or at most, two lines) impressions, make a litany of all the times you “broke the rules,” Lied, cheated, stole, set fire, pilfered, prevaricated, deceived. (eg: Poisoned my sister’s gold fish. Enjoyed it. Took joy rides in the family car at age 14 while parents were ...

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