From Zero to Hero: Write Your Short in 30 Days

From Zero to Hero: Write Your Short in 30 Days

Go from beginner to winner: Here's how to write your award-winning screenplay in 30 days.

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From Zero to Hero: Write Your Short in 30 Days

33 Videos

  • 1. People of letters: Screenwriting scribes through the ages

    Ready to bring the ruckus with the hottest movie script the world has ever seen? Just sit down and listen up. If you wanna be the future of screenwriting, you’ll need to study the history of the artform first.

  • 2. Lights, camera, action: A brief but badass history of film

    We get it. You’re kind of a big deal just waiting to happen, with a winning screenplay screaming to be unleashed. But now you’ve blown through the history of screenwriting, it’s probably also helpful to brush up on motion picture history too. So throw on something to make you feel intellectual an...

  • 3. Short films: The short cut to a career in film

    If you already have a big idea for your screenplay, you could be tempted to explore it as fully as possible with a rambling ninety-page script. No matter how tall your story is though, it could make a superior short film instead.

    Back when film was scaring delicate everymen into thinking a tra...

  • 4. Late nights, inky fingers, RSI: Why do you want to be a screenwriter, anyway?

    We’ve got a hunch you want to write a screenplay because you’ve been influenced by other outstanding movies. Something about these films struck a chord and made you feel. Maybe they even reflected deep truths about who you are, your values, and your life experiences.

    A great film can plunge a ...

  • 5. Make research your BFF, pt. 1

    In order to find out about people, experiences, events, communities, or even hypothetical sci-fi realms, you need to leap out of your comfort zone and step into that world. Use your phone for more than selfies with your cat and start calling significant people.

  • 6. Phantom Thread: Finding your muse

    Ever sat in front of a blank screen for a solid hour and not come up with a single bright idea? Sometimes your fountain of inspiration is reduced to a rusty set of pipes coughing up nothing but dust and social media procrastination.

    Here’s the thing about inspiration: it probably won’t come if...

  • 7. Avoiding the slush pile: Why your great idea might not actually be filmable

    The beauty of the short film is its potentially small budget. Opt for impressive stories instead of impressive set pieces and keep the logistics of your narrative down to the bare minimum. Every aspect – from the characters and locations to special effects – must be achievable.

  • 8. Make research your BFF, pt. 2

    Some writers have even been along on drug busts with the police, gone into the field with the army, and casually hung out in sex dungeons. These writers produce highly realistic scripts because they spent time in the shoes of their subjects. They’ve soaked up the same atmosphere, experienced the ...

  • 9. WTF is genre, anyway?

    When someone asks you what your film is about, how will you introduce it? Is it a thriller, a comedy, horror, romance, or – lord help us – a bromance?

    Genre is important, and is one of the first things people respond to. You can know whether you want to see a movie within seconds of seeing its...

  • 10. Augment your craft with the best tech tools.

    You have a bombass story idea. You’ve sweated through all that painstaking research. You’ve stared into space and spun around on your office chair for at least an hour between bursts of productivity. And now you’re ready to start typing up your first draft.

    You open up Microsoft Word and . . ...

  • 11. What’s a logline got to do with it?

    A logline is a marketing tool for agents and producers to get a feel for a piece quickly. A good logline can sell your script to that studio fat cat, while a bad one may be used to light his cigar.

    A logline should be taut and punchy, expressing the essentials of your story.

  • 12. Find your voice – and stick with it.

    Like the dulcet voices of the sexiest-ever love songs, the voice of your screenplay sets the tone of your overall joint.

    When it comes to storytelling, tone is the incredibly important core emotion you want the audience to feel. Don’t dilly-dally; jump on that pony and establish your tone righ...

  • 13. The hero’s journey in 5 minutes

    When crafting your story, ask yourself, “What will my character learn through this journey of change? Before you write anything – even a title – know the answer to that question.

  • 14a. Beginning, middle, and end . . . not always in that order.

    You’d be surprised how many scripts fail because they don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Think of it as the simple everyday recipe by which you’ll learn how to cook up a great script. So let’s break down all the essentials of this dish.

  • 14b. Beginning, middle, and end . . . not always in that order.

    You’d be surprised how many scripts fail because they don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Think of it as the simple everyday recipe by which you’ll learn how to cook up a great script. So let’s break down all the essentials of this dish.

  • 15. Plot like Dr. Evil: Get on track & stay on it.

    Pick up a boatload of index cards, as you’re going to be turning the wall of your workstation into your movie. Blake Snyder, the dude who wrote Save the Cat, calls this a “beat sheet”.

    There are actually several types of beats, but for this lesson we’ll explore plot beats. Plot beats are unit...

  • 16. Dialogue that kills

    Think of dialogue as the hot sauce of your script. In fact, think of it as the hottest sauce imaginable – pure fire that could kill a man if handled improperly. Use it only when absolutely necessary.

  • 17. Monologues: To be, or not to be?

    Don’t have something purposeful or actionable to add to your script? Then don’t use a monologue. But if your words are vital and rousing on every level, congratulations! You may just have a monologue that earns its place on the page.

  • 18. “Earl Grey, hot”: Craft characters you can believe in.

    “Characters are a metaphor for human nature.”

    That’s a quote from screenwriting expert Robert McKee – and it’s true. This is why it’s so important you take the time to develop characters with real depth.

  • 19. Tears for days: How to make the audience care

    Just because you’ve thought of an interesting main character doesn’t mean audiences will give a damn if they live or die. You might think adorning your character with interesting traits and making them seem as real as possible would be enough to make an audience care, but that just isn’t always so.

  • 20. The bigger the baddie, the bolder the victory

    Your villain is what makes your hero stand out and dazzle. Whatever shape your antagonist takes, you want it to be crafted just as well as the protagonist is.

  • 21. Enter late – get out early.

    It’s the golden rule that’ll keep your screenplay tighter than Terry Cruz’s abs: Get in late and leave early.

    Cut as much as you can out of the beginning and end of each scene and see if it still works. As soon as the goal of each scene is achieved, get out of there!

  • 22. Bourne again: Infuse your characters with purpose & motivation.

    You’ve crafted multidimensional characters who feel real & relatable, and you’ve given them a journey worth caring about. What’s next?

    You want to infuse those suckers with some serious motivation!

    A character’s motivation is something to which viewers try to relate. They want to understand...

  • 23a. It Follows: How to write seamless scenes

    Ever wondered if there’s more to the magic of storytelling?

    You know there’s something enchanting about the way a particular movie or TV show moves forward, but you’re not exactly sure why. What is it that makes it flow so well?

    We’ve already touched on that in “Enter late, leave early”, wh...

  • 23b. It Follows: How to write seamless scenes

    Ever wondered if there’s more to the magic of storytelling?

    You know there’s something enchanting about the way a particular movie or TV show moves forward, but you’re not exactly sure why. What is it that makes it flow so well?

    We’ve already touched on that in “Enter late, leave early”, wh...

  • 24. Who likes short shorts?

    We know the prospect of writing a short film only two minutes long may not be hugely exciting – but we do urge you to consider it. A 90-second movie can help draw attention to your talents. If a film can prompt big emotions, unique thoughts, or bust a gut with laughter in such a short duration, i...

  • 25. Be a writer – not a director.

    Instead of making yourself look amateurish by inserting camera angles or shot suggestions on every page, trust the director to know exactly where to put the camera. As a screenwriter, your opinions on direction will likely hold little influence to the final cut anyways. Keep those ideas off the p...

  • 26. Polished perfection: How your script should look

    Avoid being discarded immediately by decision makers reading your script by following these rules to a tee. Think of your script as the ultimate sales pitch for your talent. So present it as perfectly as possible to ensure that someone, somewhere will be desperate to snap it up.

  • 27. The cutting room: Handling rewrites

    You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into this little beauty. You want to ensure the end result is just as masterful as you envisioned when the idea occurred to you.

    Be vicious, be merciless, and be smart with that screenwriting scalpel. Making those essential cuts can make for a killer ...

  • 28. Beg, steal, or borrow a proofreader.

    Proofreading is key, as obvious errors in your script could prevent a reader from wanting to engage any further with it. It’s apparent if your screenplay hasn’t been proofread, and that comes across as lazy.

    Take the time and effort to proofread. Your script deserves to be perfect, and the pe...

  • 29. Pride comes before a fall: Every writer needs readers.

    Be careful to choose the correct people to entrust this fragile bambino of a script to. It might be easier on your ego to give it to folk who will heap nothing but unconstructive praise upon it, but that won’t allow this baby to grow.

    You want readers who’ll let you know if a line is a little ...

  • 30. Make the fat lady sing: Give birth to your script baby.

    Learn from missteps and continue to practice screenwriting. As long as you go about getting your talent noticed in the appropriate manner, you’ll eventually succeed in your dream. The cream always rises to the top.

  • 31. Manage – don’t micromanage – your creative team.

    If you want your script baby to grow, you have to let it go. Trust that your creative team is just as invested in making the best movie possible as you were when writing it. The story doesn’t belong solely to you anymore, but to the whole team.