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Creative Screenwriter Magazine Notes-3


75. Creative Screenwriter: Vol. 12#4- “ Write for Free?”-  be careful-


76. Script- Vol. 11#4- “Understanding Voice and Theme”- William Martell- page 20

1.      Voice is what makes your script uniquely yours.

2.      It’s your fingerprint on the page.

3.      Personal Themes: what matters to you? Getting back up with kicked down- etc.

4.      Such as trust and betrayal-

5.      Some call these “mega themes”- recurring themes in a writers work

6.      It’s what is part of you that keeps coming out

7.       Ex: John Huston used greed in many of his films- The Maltese Falcon

8.      first step in these is to decide what haunts you? What do you keep coming back to?

9.      Look at movies that reflect your interests- Casablanca- love and self sacrifice-


11.  Once you know what mega themes haunt you, you can call on them more fully

12.  You could make sure your scripts really dig into these issues

13.  Another way:  think of you upbringing roots and what they did to and for you

14.  Subject Matter: Home Genre:

  • action and thrillers, sci-fi, dramas

  • suggestion: make a list of the last ten movies you saw and why they attracted you

  • If you can’t wait to see the next Jim Carey film why are you working on a horror film?

  • Ask yourself why you are attracted to certain Genres.

15.  TONE:  Martell scripts have humor- a tone that’s in all of the scripts no matter the genre

a. Part of you, Bob, is humor and thus is already a part of your “ voice”

  • love is also a part of your tone, Bob


a.       own distinctive story style- the way elements are revealed, the types of scenes and other elements. Do you love plot twists? Intense suspense scenes ( Bob loves these)-

b.      I customarily use a more flowing story form and style

c.       Do you dig beneath the surface to expose other layers or begin with all of the layers?

d.      How you tell your stories is part of your style.



a.       Ron  Bass uses ellipses

b.      Walter  Hill created “action stacking”

c.       M. Night Shyamalan uses only slightly fewer ellipses than Ron Bass

d.      Shane Black always talks directly to the reader- use of hyperbole

e.       Martell uses the diagonal suspense description- EX:

f.       The man in black follows behind them…

….increasing speed…

     ….closing the gap between them!

g.      This way you end up with two cliff hangers in the middle of a sentence

h.      Martell wanted to create the sense of suspense for the reader

i.        It’s okay to monkey with format if it makes the story  more clear or more emotionally involving- you do what works best-

j.        What about Bob? I have some things I like to do in action, I use humor in things, I pick good characters whom I like, and I have a sense of what is visual on the screen.


82. Creative Screenwriter- Vol. 12#5- Active vs. Passive Dialogue/ Karl Iglesias


1.      dialogue should sparkle, individualize characters, and entertain the reader- ultimate challenge

2.      talent is involved in dialogue

3.      well crafted dialogue can sell the writer- it leaps off the page- attracts talent

4.      yet, it is not important but essential

5.      movies are about what you see not hear- Alfred Hitchcock

6.      your  dialogue could get you hired to polish someone else’s dialogue

7.      Great Dialogue should advance the plot, reveal character and exposition, establish conflict,

8.      Emotional value makes it great: witty, realistic, crisp, original

9.      Each line of dialogue should be crafted for maximum emotional impact

10.  This can contribute to the effectiveness of a scene

11.  Lines can become the most memorable part of a movie

12.  Novice writers focus on dialogue that provides information

13.  Ninety percent of dialogue in these stories is designed to advance the plot instead of what it should do

14.  Great Dialogue is ACTIVE NOT PASSIVE

15.  It engages the reader

16.  Active dialogue is speech that is purposeful to a characters objective in a scene

17.  Too many scripts have dead dialogue that seems to have no aim or purpose

18.  Active dialogue is not CONVERSATIONAL

19.  Conversations are primarily social- peaceful rather than designed to create conflict


21.  Active dialogue is impactful, creating conflict, forcing another character to react emotionally

22.  It is manipulative

23.  Most great scenes are about characters manipulating each other to get what they want

24.  The negotiate, exploit, coerce, inquire, seduce, irritate, provoke, impress, blackmail, warn, create power struggle, confrontational rather than sympathetic

25.  www. for top dialogue quotes

26.  active dialogue means pressure on the other to react

27.  passive dialogue is expositional, not requiring a reaction by the listener

28.  characters simply say things to fill the page

29.  REMEMBER; A DRAMATIC SCENE is about a character wanting something and is having difficulty getting it.

30.  The character has an OBJECTIVE and can only accomplish it through action and dialogue

31.  Active dialogue is a form of dramatic action

32.  GREAT DIALOGUE STARTS WITH THE WRITER KNOWING WHAT A CHARACTER WANTS IN THE SCENE and how he intends to achieve that though words and action

33.  In every line of dialogue as yourself is it an action or a reaction- if it’s neither it doesn’t serve a purpose and you should consider deleting it from the scene.


83. Creative Screenwriter Vol.12#5- Seducing the Reader- Ron Suppa

1.      Hundreds of submissions each week- they clean them out like things in a garage

2.      It you are famous they will read on into the script


4.      Must be fresh, have interesting characters that actors will want to play, clever dialogue, budding conflict and a premise that screams blockbuster

5.      First pages are like first dates- you only get one chance for a first impression

6.      The readers are pressed and must have a way out

7.      A few paragraphs are all it takes to spot a turkey

8.      Pass makes the employer’s job easier


10.  Maybe even the first paragraph

11.  Like a great opening line in a book-

12.  Pages on through five may be the only time readers are reading for pleasure, looking past plot and character to bond with the writer’s stylistic charm

13.  Your goal is to have them fall deeply in love with your style, your tone, your context, your premise, your characters, your command of the language, that they are predisposed to love the next 109 pages despite all the flaws that may develop.

14.  Great openings have a way of grabbing the reader

15.  M. Night Shyamalan did this in THE SIXTH SENSE

16.  Experienced scribes know pages on to five may be the only time many readers are reading for pleasure- looking past plot- characters- etc – to bond with the writers style.

17.  Romancing the stone had a great opening paragraph- “ In the rafters a spider faints.”

18.  Not filmable but stylish




22.  The opening page is no place for the writer to clear the fog from the murky story to follow.  It is no place to get the motor running- the sun is already up and things are happening

23.  A “true beginning” as it is know in the trade cuts right into the meat of a scene

24.  Raison d’etre

25.  Just as you would want your characters to make an auspicious entrance you must you the writer

26.  This is the time to show off your skills

27.  Make things happen “too soon” or have your character say things now that will reverberate down to the climactic moments of act three.

28.  Keep a lot of white space

29.  A minimum of description with short bursts of dialogue usually sets the right TONE

30.  In the early pages of a script the author can choose not to disappear in the work

31.  Perhaps through the judicious use of capitals to punctuate action or the novelist’s tools of personification, metaphor, foreshortened time, mood manipulation, a seductive mental bond can be formed directly from writer to reader.


84. Creative Screenwriter- Vol.12 #5- Steve Martin

1.      Sometimes he knows the end and other times he searches

2.      It’s important in a comedy to know where it is headed

3.      He tries to write out of excitement- when it’s time…when he can’t keep himself from the typewriter anymore

4.      But if you are really in the middle of something you need to get done then you have to write, you have to solve a problem.

5.      A quote he liked from a studio reader he likes-“ By leaving out the occasional narrative step, the authors hook your interest and avoid the kind of point-blank exposition that so easily deadens interest. I really like that because when everything is explained you can play catch-up with the audience, it actually makes a scheme for you, because you now get to do two things at once- you get to say what has happened while something is happening.


 19. Creative Screenwriter-V 8#6- “Comedy’s double-edged sword”

1.comedy is hard to write but is worth a lot of money when it works

1.  Hollywood buys a lot of comedy- more than others

2.  it has to be “funny” and  “relatable”

3.  why easy to sell?  Everyone wants to laugh!!

4.  big broad comedies-

5.  when it works it is a forgiving genre- forgiving  big plot holes

6.  humor is subjective- so many different opinions on what is funny

7.  Ground Hog day- Meet the Parents- Dumb and Dumber- Being John  Malkovich-

8.  “accessible”- use as much reality  as possible- Meet the Parents perfect example

9.  Liar Liar- has a story about a dad trying to redeem himself-

10.  buyer says- Nicole Graham-“ I want “originality”. “fresh”- relatable- I want to look at a script and laugh at it because it relates to me in some way-

11.  find a new interesting twist on a “character-driven situation”

12.  don’t write a gross-out film

13.  nor teen movie

14.  Legally Blonde is a great comedy- 100 million do.









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