Enjoy the latest from our blog, member happenings, and industry news below.
2022 Is Officially Underway
Welcome to Smashcut! A PSA Newsletter dedicated to giving you all the industry news in an entertaining and informative way. February has arrived and we are officially one month into the new year. How are your resolutions coming along? Still working on them or have you put them off to the side? Don’t throw in the towel yet! We have plenty of year ahead of us – the rewards will go to those who don’t give up. With that said, what doesn’t change is Smashcut’s AWESOME articles. That will never change. So, grab your electronics and check out this month’s edition. With all the great material packed into one place it’s going to take you days to finish.
Our guest columnists this month are Chrysanthy Balis (screenwriter/actor and UCLA screenwriting instructor) writing about ways to slim down your work and Tony Severe (PSA board member and filmmaker) writing about the importance of backstory. Jessica Spring-Brown (PSA board member and screenwriter) will review the book Save The Cat! Writes For TV by Jamie Nash and Lovinder Gill (filmmaker) is back with his popular Scriptcake podcast and this month he discusses how to avoid a weak protagonist. Looking for good books on screenwriting? Jessica will give you the real deal on what books make the grade what ones don’t.
Want to know what’s happening in Hollywood? The deals, the dealmakers, and dealbreakers? Look no further than Smashcut. We do the work, so you don’t have to. From membership happenings to box-office numbers, Smashcut has what you need. So, sit back, pull up your smartphone or tablet and be prepared to spend all day enjoying the wealth of information we have obtained. If you are so inclined, please drop us a line – have any news to share, would like to contribute to the newsletter? We’d love to hear from you.
Carlo Dall’Olmo (Screenwriter/Board Member): After looking long and hard, Carlo’s family has finally found a little girl to call their own. On Feb 8th, they will be adopting a daughter named Kennedy to add to their family.
Sherrie Todd-Beshore (writer/PSA member): working on screen adaptations for THE CROW CHILD and THE COUNT OF BALDPATE...Both a challenge.
Bill Douglas (screenwriter/PSA member): After having his screenplay read at Actors reading Writers in December Bill is excited about polishing it. Due to some great feedback from the meet-up he’s completely changed the beginning to get more action and less dialogue. Now, it's got an opening with some punch, that he thinks works much better. It also shows why the lead character is the way he is until he discovers himself in the end.
On top of this…he just got the notice that his novel, Fear Beyond Reason, which is the basis for his screenplay adaptation, The Last Murder, has made it to the Screencraft Cinematic Book Competition quarterfinals. Very excited! Find out Feb 6th if he makes the semi-finals.
Jessica Brown (screenwriter/PSA board member): Jessica is working on her final pass on her comedy that she will enter into competitions in 2022. A friendly reminder that Nicholl’s deadlines are: March 3, 2022 ($48) April 3, 2022 ($63) and May 3, 2022 ($88) and Austin Film Festival (AFF) deadlines are March 25, 2022 ($50) April 18, 2022 ($65) and May 16, 2022 ($80). Join her PSA and let’s get those scripts into the competitions and show them what PSA is all about.
Fun fact, this pilot was written in one of Maria’s UCLA extension classes with Erica Byrne and two other students she knows from her classes had scripts advance to the quarterfinals! Erica’s a pretty special teacher.
Phoenix Screenwriters Association would like to welcome our new members in 2021, we are excited to have you as a member and look forward to watching you grow as writer: Dinesh Sidh.
Diary of a Lost Scribe – Resolutions…here’s to the beginning of the end By Carlo Dall’Olmo
It’s officially 2022 – a month into 2022 to be exact! Happy Belated New Year to all my friends. If you are like me – and I sure hope you aren’t, you’ve probably started the year (or maybe ended the previous year) making silly plans for all the big things you want to accomplish in the new year. I gotta tell ya, I’m a sucker for new beginnings or more importantly – for old endings. Looking at a new year, gives me hope and excitement. Hope for fresh starts and excitement for things yet to happen. At the start of the year, the slate is clean.
As screenwriters we’re taught that for a character to be multi-dimensional we often need to create a sufficient backstory to him or her so that the audience has a clearer picture to understand the character’s behavior, motivations, etc. Backstory gives the audience information about a character before your story begins, typically through the use of dialogue, flashbacks, or prologue. But like most elements of screenwriting care should be taken to balance “telling” with “showing”.
Three Tips for Slimming Down That Bloated Script
By Chrysanthy Balis
Whether the final page-count is 95 or 130, a great screenplay is a lean read, holding the reader’s attention and delivering all of the screenwriter’s intentions with clarity. Much is conveyed with a lot less said. As screenwriters, we may be storytelling for the movie-goer, but we’re writing for the reader.
If you want to save your TV pilot, you’ve got to Save The Cat!
By Jessica Spring Brown
That’s right. To fix or save your TV pilot, you will need to Save the Cat! first by reading the latest book in the Save the Cat! Series titled: Save the Cat! Writes for TV by Jamie Nash. This 25+ year veteran of TV writing is a master at applying Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! Principles to the platform of writing for television. The title of the book includes the description as being “The Last Book on Creating Binge-Worthy Content You’ll Ever Need.
Scriptcake Podcast - Avoid a Weak Protagonist
with Lovinder Gill
Lately, I've seen a lot of screenplay ideas get pitched with weak protagonists. As a result, the odds are that the screenplay is not going to be very good because of that. Don't kill your chances at a great screenplay before you even start writing it. Listen and find out how to avoid writing a weak protagonist.