Monday, September 22, 2014

Here is something else I got in an email. it is an article from Scripted Magazine.

Read the info below then chick to read the full article on Scripted's web site.


Writers' Room 101: Beats, Breaking, and Blending
imageplaceholderJeanne Veillette Bowerman
Online Editor

TV writer Eric Haywood takes you into the writers' room to share advice on "beats, breaking and blending."

If you're trying to break into television writing, don't miss William Rabkin's webinar on Thursday, September 25th onModern TV Drama: Tone, Style, and Pace, now ON SALE until September 19, 2014.

by Eric Haywood

In the previous blog post, I talked in detail about some specific tips for navigating the pitching process. This time, we're going to delve into the next few steps you'll be taking in the writers' room, all of which are meant to bring you closer to being ready to write an actual script. Essentially, what you'll be focusing on after pitching can be boiled down to three things: beats, breaking, and blending. These are the basic building blocks of crafting a story. 

(And yes, in case you're wondering: today's post is brought to you by the letter "B.") 

So your writing staff has successfully pitched some ideas for a given episode and gotten them approved by the showrunner. Great. Now what? 

Now the writing staff must turn those pitches from vague ideas into actual, concrete storylines. This process is called "breaking stories," and it's another group effort in which you'll be expected to participate. 

In order to minimize confusion among your episode's various stories, one of the first things you'll want to do is name them. In most cases, the stories will simply be assigned a letter, with the "A" story being the most important (and longest) in the episode, the "B" story the next most important, and so on. You'll most likely have a "C" and maybe even a "D" story (sometimes called a runner), and while it's fairly rare to have more stories than that, it's not unheard of. The number of stories will vary from show to show, but you can generally expect to follow the same basic A-B-C-D pattern. 

Simply put, breaking a story means coming up with each individual scene for that story and arranging those scenes in their proper order as they'll appear in the script. A scene is often referred to as a "beat," and the terms are used pretty interchangeably. So you're basically taking the story idea (the pitch) and expanding it until you've literally broken it down into pieces, beat by beat. 

Breaking a story is really just an extension of the pitching process, because the writing team will toss out different ideas for beats, and generally speaking, it's another best-idea-wins process. The beats get written down - usually on a whiteboard, allowing everyone to watch the story begin to take shape - and before you know it, you've got a complete beginning, middle, and end, with some cool twists and turns thrown in along the way. Then the writing staff repeats these steps for the "B" story, the "C" story, and - well, you get the idea. In each case, the goal is to simply figure out the right beats necessary to tell a satisfying, compelling story. 

If the showrunner has been away from the room while all this is being done, she'll return once the stories are broken, and the writers will pitch each story to her, one beat at a time. You'll then receive feedback ranging from minor tweaks to major overhauls, and in some cases, you'll re-pitch the adjusted stories and hopefully get that highly-sought-after thumbs-up from the showrunner. 

And now you're ready for the blend... 

Read more tips on writing for TV... 


Hello everyone.

here's something I got in an email that you may be interested in-- for those of you who are script writers:

Hi Frances!
In case you're not keeping an eye on our YouTube channel, we've got a new FREE video for you:
This is a question almost all writers ask, but with SO MUCH misinformation online (from some of the top screenwriting sites!), you may be focusing on the wrong things.
In this Screenwriting Uncut episode, I spell out the TRUTH about how to get an agent — including the very BEST way... the next best way... and then the specific method to grab their attention.
Please share this video! And leave any questions or comments on the YouTube page.

In this video, I explain how to master the craft of screenwriting. See, to really SELL your work, you have to write at a PRO level — which requires some degree of mastery of this delicate and nuanced craft. Here, I show you exactly how to get there.
(And yes, please share this one, too!) And leave any questions or comments on the YouTube page.

If you haven't watched this one yet, please don't delay. It includes thescientific reason WHY you MUST write TODAY. If you've been procrastinating, it might be worth watching again.
Oh, and please share. (It really helps us, which is how we can keep helping you!) And leave any questions or comments on the YouTube page.

A Special Request

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TRY IT! Reply now... and ask anything.

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If you're on this list and you're NOT participating in FAST Screenplay... would you mind if I asked "Why not?"
If you've thought about joining, but you're not sure... or you've decided against it... or you're hesitating... could you let me know the reason?
Don't worry. I won't pressure you.
I'm just looking for feedback.
See, I spent 5 years building this system (and 10 years before that developing it)... I put my career on hold for 15 years to build it. And:
100% of writers who complete the system as instructed
achieve professional results.
But, frankly, I'm not a salesman; I'm a filmmaker. (Maybe you can relate? Think about how much you resist the selling part of screenwriting!)
And it's possible I'm doing something wrong — which harms yourchances of success. But I have no way of knowing if you don't tell me.
So I could really use your help. I'd love some feedback.

In exchange for your time, I'll give you a bonus 20-minute Skype (or phone) conversation if you join FAST Screenplay before the end of September (within the next 12 days). We'll chat within your first week, to make sure you get off to a great start! (Email me after signup to arrange it.)
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Have a great weekend!
Jeff Bollow
Embryo Films
FAST Screenplay