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Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out the second edition of my screenwriting book, More Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader published on Amazon at

Finally, I have published two collections of short stories, The Starving Artists and other stories, and The Five Corporations and the One True Church and other stories,

     Though my blog entries of late have focused mainly on various screenwriting issues, this new one may not feel of immediate significance to those who ply the cinematic trade.
     And I can’t say such naysayers are wrong.
     But it’s an essay I’ve wanted to write for some time now. It may not tell you how to write a screenplay, but it may give you some insight into the history of film and where we came from and perhaps where we are going.
      The topic, as the title suggests, is a list of the most important films ever made. Continue reading

ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL: Variations on structural engineering when it comes to screenplays PART ONE

First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99.


holy-motors_2352787bPART ONE
I have been reading for screenplay competitions for more than ten years now. But over the past few years, I’ve been coming across a somewhat familiar familiarity and formulaic formality to more and more of said screenplays when it comes to how a story is written.
I’m not sure why. When I first started out reading, and for quite a few years after that, I would encounter some of the most amazing screenplays, screenplays that took chances, strived to be original, had a personal vision, and experimented, with glorious success, when it came to storytelling.
Much of this quite possibly was due to the rise of indie film in the 1990’s by people like Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino. The cinema they created brought a breath of fresh air to the somewhat stale movie going experience that many felt was being produced at the time.
I’m not sure why things have changed since them. Or at least, there’s probably not any one reason for it. But at the same time, in talking to screenwriters and producers and agents and reading what they have to say on social media, I feel that a much bigger deal has been made over the past few years as to how a screenplay has to be structured and a story has to be told. Continue reading