• Halloween

    Halloween – 31st October 2016

    As it is Halloween it is only appropriate to promote the Create 50 – Twisted initiative.

    I entered but sadly my story was not one of the 50 chosen, out of several hundred.

    Here is the link if you fancy a good read: Book… http://getbook.at/Twisted50vol1

    Here is the other link if you are interested in finding out more about Create 50:

    Site… http://www.twisted50.com

    They do have other initiatives that are still current.

    Read more...
  • After seven months the course I’ve been doing on a daily basis since April is coming to an end. Only it’s not really the end because now I intend to re-write the script so that it reaches a necessary standard for me to submit it to producers and/or enter in to competitions. This is the Pro Series course run by Hal Croasman at ScreenwritingU: www.screenwritingu.com Just because this course suited me, it isn’t for everyone.

    ‘Jaws in Space’ is the latest book from Charles Harris. This is what Charles has to say about it: “Pitching is the great accelerator. The ability to pitch well will accelerate almost every aspect of your career. It will help you sell your scripts, of course. (And not just scripts, but also novels, plays, etc).

    But it will also help you write better in the first place. Almost everyone who comes to my workshops with a finished screenplay finds themselves rewriting it afterwards, because a good pitch helps you see the story more clearly, focus more effectively on themes, develop stronger characters, even improve your dialogue and style.

    Now, after a year's hard work, I've managed to put much of what I teach into a book. It also has a great deal of new material. If you already have my Teach Yourself: Complete Screenwriting Course - Jaws builds on the premise and pitching chapters but has room to go much deeper.

    I’ve known Charles for years and can vouch for his knowledge of screenwriting and the filmmaking industry.

    Keep on writing.

    Read more...
  • September 2016

    It has been some time since I have posted anything here. My time has been consumed by a writing course, holidays and the London Screenwriters’ Festival.

    The writing course began last April and almost each day we have had exercises or critiques to prepare.

    So if you are away for a day or so, there is much catching up to do. Having said that this is one of the best courses I have done, and I have done a lot. I have learnt more about different writing techniques on this course than any other. As with anything, a course is a personal choice and because it has worked for me, it doesn’t mean that it will work for you. In case your curiosity has been peaked I am currently on the Pro Series course run by Hal Croasman from ScreenwritingU. www.screenwritingu.com If you are a beginner you would be better trying a shorter course. If you have been writing for some time and want to improve, I would recommend the Pro Series. Incidentally, I won’t get anything if you choose to do this course, I am just recommending it.

    The London Screenwriters’ Festival 2016. Even better than before. I admire Chris Jones so much. Without his vision, enthusiasm and energy this would not be the event that it is. A big thank you to the many volunteers who are always there with a smile. This year there were writers from Australia, South Africa, Europe and a few from the States, as well as Britain, of course. Each year I wrench myself away from my comfort zone and take myself up to London. Each year I have sleepless nights worrying about the PitchFest, but I do it anyway because it is good to practice pitching.

    This year was my best year ever. Perhaps I have improved? Perhaps I was pitching a better concept? Now I have to get those 1 pagers just right and follow up.

    I love writing!

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  • Inspiration

    I've just read this post from the Stage 32 site and as Joleene has given permission to share it, I have.

    You Suck at Writing. Now What?

    By Joleene Moody

    Thursday, April 28th, 2016

    When I was in college, I wrote a farce for the stage. It was weak, at best, because I couldn’t come up with a decent ending. I don’t want to destroy my reputation here, but the first ending had an alien kidnapping the protagonist during Christmas Eve dinner. (Please don’t delete me from your network. I was only 21 and likely under the influence.)

    Knowing it was a bullshit ending, I threw my stage play in a box with some other scribblings where it sat for 15 years. In that time I worked as a television reporter and anchor in the city of Syracuse, chasing criminals and crooked politicians, all the while pretending that writing two-minute news stories twice a day was enough to satisfy my muse.

    It was not.

    I should tell you that since I boxed my play up in 1997, I’d been thinking of an ending to bring my play full circle. For 15 years, I pondered it. I’m not even kidding. I mean, I wasn’t obsessed with it, but when the holidays would roll around I would look for the magical ending. I even went so far as to ask people, “What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had happen to you during a family holiday meal?”

    The most I got was someone’s aunt falling down the stairs. Pfft.

    Then one day during a zumba class, the ending came to me. I don’t know why, it wasn’t even Christmas. I don’t think I was even thinking about the script as I bounced around that room, but I will tell you I couldn’t get out of there fast enough to write it down. I keep paper and pen in my car, so the second I got behind the wheel, I wrote it down.

    That was in 2012.

    In November of that year, I spent all of Thanksgiving break rewriting the entire script, new ending included.

    In January of 2013, I submitted my play to five theatres: two in New York, two in Buffalo and one in Syracuse.

    In the summer of 2013, the head director of the CNY Playhouse in Syracuse sent me a message to tell me one of the other directors wanted to direct my play Christmas of 2014.

    I nearly died.

    One of the greatest things we experience as writers of stage and screen is the moment we are able to watch our work unfold. That’s why we write, right?

    (I’ve been dying to put those two words together like that.)

    Well, I got that opportunity. VISITING BAMMY LEWIS: A SILLY LITTLE CHRISTMAS STORY only ran two weekends (six shows), but to date, it is one of the highest selling shows the Playhouse has produced. It also got a standing ovation on two of those six nights and I’m proud of that. I consider that a win. That means people liked it.

    Some people didn’t like it. I mean, there was that one night you couldn’t have moved that audience with a string of live firecrackers. No one laughed. That killed me, but that’s par for the course. Some will love your work, some will not.

    Now, I will tell you that I was sick to my stomach just about every show. I chose to watch everyone, taking notes as all 11 actors tumbled about on the stage, either delivering my puns with perfection or dumping lines like good actors do.

    When the show closed, I rewrote it. Then I submitted the updated version to contests and more theatres. Soon thereafter I was offered the opportunity to join a local playwriting group. The caveat was that the current members had to do a cold reading of my play (with me present) and critique it. I was wide open to this, after all, I wanted my play to be the best it could be.

    They ripped it to shreds.

    They didn’t even start off with what they liked about it which is, typically, in my humble opinion, how one should begin a critique. I heard things like:

    “There is no solid story line.”

    “It’s too loose.”

    You insult your characters a lot. Why, do you really need to?”

    “I’m left with too many questions.”

    "Why do you leave the children in the car the whole time?”

    Why are they almost always all on stage together?”

    “The story arc is lacking completely.”

    “What is the point of this?”

    I sat there and listened. I took notes, but all the while I wanted to say, “If this sucks so bad, why did the Playhouse choose to produce it? Why did people stand and applaud? How did it come to be that it is one of the highest selling shows at that theatre?”, but I didn’t. I ate the carrot cake and grapes in front of me instead and when it was over I smiled, shook their hands and left.

    I share this story with you because you will, undoubtedly, get punched in the gut and face things like this over and over again as you write. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hit. After I published my first book, I took the editor to dinner and before the appetizers even came she said, “About your book… I would stick to speaking for a living if I were you. Writing isn’t your thing.”

    That’s nice. It was already published and on shelves in bookstores. (Sigh.)

    But it didn’t matter. I knew what I wanted. I still know what I want. I want to write. I want to meet the challenge of the words and engage the reader until the end. I want them to laugh. To cry. To remember or forget.

    I’m good at this writing gig, too. Every word I write makes me better. It makes someone else better. I am happiest when I’m writing. It’s friggin’ magical, considering how many years I denied myself the right to write.

    (See that? I did it again.)

    I’m not too old and I’m not in the wrong place.

    My head isn’t in a cloud and it’s not a fallacy that I can make money as a writer.

    I was born to write and I know, I KNOW you were too. That’s why you’re here. That’s why we gather and share at Stage32.

    Please don’t give up.

    If you already did, don’t. You can’t. Pick it back up.

    You weren’t given the fire to write just to ignore it because someone ripped you to shreds, or told you that you sucked. Like it or not, criticism is part of this gig. That’s how we grow and improve. Any good writer knows that, but the best of writers don’t care about the punches, they write anyway. Be that kind of writer and write anyway.

    There is a goldmine in you. Keep digging until you reach it and when someone rips you to shreds and punches you in the gut, take it like the kick-ass writer you are, then stand up, hit the keys and finish that masterpiece, even if it’s taken you 15 years to finish it.

    Some will love your work, some will not.

    Write anyway.

    About Joleene Moody

    I am a writer, through and through. I'm one of those people that denied myself (for the LONGEST time) the luxury to make my prose my work. I am fully immersed in it now and am grateful I can be. I am a screenwriter, produced playwright, published author, magazine journalist, an actress and a blogger. My blog, 'Take Your Voice Back' (www.takeyourvoiceback.com) is for creative entrepreneurs looking to make their passion their payroll.

    Before that, I was a television reporter and anchor. Go figure.

    No talent should ever be wasted. Check out more about me at: www.joleenemoody.com or connect here on Stage 32.

    Psst! Check out my highly acclaimed eBook, How To Find and Create PAID Speaking Opportunities! Also, check out my second and newest eBook to accompany the first, How To Write a Talk That Sells.

    ________________________________________

    Like this blog post? Please share it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email etc) by using social media buttons at the top of the blog. Or post to your personal blog and anywhere else you feel appropriate. Thank you.

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  • April

    I've been busy creating and improving my writing. It all takes time and commitment. Something I choose to do but at times it can be frustrating and of course life does get in the way sometimes which means the writing is put on the back burner.

    Spring is here. Daffodils in bloom. Weeds growing, fast. I need to spend time in the garden and cannot do everything.

    Writing?

    Weeding?

    I try and do both but that probably means I don’t do either of them properly.

    Who am I doing it for?

    Myself. I enjoy what I’m doing and the pace that I do it in. Not everyone can be a ‘success’ but as long as I feel happy within myself and am still willing to learn, then that is success for me.

    Read more...
  • A useful screenwriting course.

    I have just completed an on-line course run by Hal Croasman of ScreenwritingU www.screenwritingu.com It is called Maximum Entertainment.

    Doing this course has been a great start to the year and the techniques I have learned will help my re-writes. Time will tell but I feel my writing and scripts will improve by 100 percent by using the strategies I’ve learned.

    I would suggest that to get the most out of this course you should have already written several scripts and are prepared to re-think the whole script. You will already have the story but by following the examples used on the course and re-writing, your script will improve.

    I’m looking forward to re-working mine. Good luck.

    Read more...
  • January 2016

    We’re already 5 days into the new year and I’m busy finishing scripts to enter into the Create 50 Impact initiative. This involves imagining the total annihilation of the world and writing a 2 page script covering any aspect of that. The closing date is 7th Jan so it is now a matter of doing the re-writes and giving feedback on other people’s scripts. Whether you have become involved with this or not, it is a great discipline trying to write a script in just two pages. Really concentrates the mind.

    This is another year where I have not made any resolutions. Why depress myself when I break them? I am going to try and achieve some goals though. I am working on two feature scripts and want to get them finished and then improved, after script analysis, by the middle of this year.

    The Impact:50… Can you write a two page script and be part of a feature film? Submissions close on 7th January.

    theimpact.create50.com

    www.create50.com

    The Impact:50 will be closing for submissions on Jan 7th, which means RIGHT NOW is the perfect time to write your first draft of a two page script about the final two hours of humanity before the asteroid hits. Submit your script, get feedback and enter redrafts before the initiative closes on January 7th.

    We will then enter judging and select the best 50 scripts which we will then release on the internet.

    Filmmakers around the planet will then begin making them – the best 50 films submitted will be selected and used to make the feature film ‘The Impact’.

    Want precedent? The last Create50 project ‘50 Kisses’ will be screening at Deptford Cinema on Valentines night in February. Check on website for more info.

    So why enter?

    Create50 will make you a better writer.

    Writing, getting feedback, offering feedback and rewriting are the central tools of professional screenwriting. And the two page format means this process is rapid.

    Join thousands of writers in the Create50 community and get writing today.

    More about The Impact:50 - www.create50.com

    Get involved and be part of something truly extraordinary.

    Chris Jones

    www.Create50.com

    Read more...
  • November 2015

    The 6th London Screenwriters’ Festival was a great success. I did my usual, had a session at the Script Surgery with Euroscript. www.euroscript.co.uk Such a bonus part of the ticket. Fifty minutes one to one with a script consultant. This year I discussed a romantic comedy I’ve just started. I’m very excited about it and am busy doing the beat sheet at the moment after receiving some helpful tips and suggestions.

    Then a session at the Great British Pitchfest. It’s always good to hone pitching skills and in preparation for it a one-pager needs to be prepared. This in itself is a good exercise in how to tell your story concisely.

    The Actors Table Read is another session I enjoy each year. You send in a 3-4 page excerpt from your script and get assigned to a director and up to four actors. This year I only needed two. It is so interesting how they take your words, interpret the story and get into the character in such a short time. The director, Ed Blum, re-created the scene and by cutting parts of the dialogue showed how it could become more dramatic. The actress, Georgina Blackledge, www.georginablackledge.com took on the mantle of Helen the compliant wife who is now beginning to fight back. It was interesting to see how the power went from him, husband played by George Still, to her, back to him and then back to her again. All within an hour. Worth a fortune to a writer to see how their words are interpreted.

    The Early Bird option is open for next years’ London Screenwriters’ Festival. It will be held at Regents College again but will be earlier in the year. Friday 2nd September to Sunday 4th September 2016. www.londonscreenwritersfestival.com

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