Paula Landry explores writing tools, writing apps and online resources to spark your writing.
Thanks to technology, we have more ways than ever to take our writing everywhere, to be with other writers no matter where we go, and to mine past movies for inspiration online.
MASTERING SOCIAL MEDIA – Screenwriting Tools For Mobile Writers
In addition to Script Magazine, there are many other communities of screenwriters and filmmakers to help us connect, stay current and in touch wherever we are.
Talentville: connects aspiring writers with Hollywood Insiders and was created by Final Draft co-founder and creator Ben Cahan.
The technological revolution is here and we have more ways than ever to be in touch, share, and research that sometimes we are not writing. If you use a smart phone or tablet, there are several apps to use on these or your computer to keep you on track, here are several I find provocative and helpful.
Write or Die: A productivity application that forces you to write by providing consequences for distraction and procrastination. As long as you keep typing, you're fine, but if you become distracted, punishment will ensue. Everything is configurable, name your word goal, time goal and preferred punishment.
Help Me Write: You can solicit your audience to help you decide what to write about. You add things you are thinking of writing about to your profile page. Share your page via Twitter, Facebook (or wherever) and ask your networks what they would like to read most. Once you’ve written the thing that you think has the most interest you can then send it directly to all the voters.
Self Control: Lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click "Start." Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites – even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
WriteChain: A word count tracking tool designed to remind you to maintain your writing practice.
The Brainstormer: A tool to randomly combine a plot, a subject and a setting or style, it can provide that elusive moment of inspiration for writers, painters, or any kind of creative endeavor.
Creative Whack Pack Brainstorming and prompts - interactive creativity strategies stimulate you to think creatively – where you can chose from 5 suits, or random help with an image and provocative exercise.
When your brain needs visual stimulation from great films, the site Movie Clips has a wonderfully curated selection of clips, categorized by theme, genre, chases, heroines, bad guys, endings, whatever you’re working on, they have it. Addictive at first, this is a helpful tool.
Another treasure trove of information surrounding films that can give a writer ammunition at the proper time (greatest disaster scenes, crowd scenes, song/dance moments) and on and on is Tim Dirks’ robust and awesome Film Site sponsored and hosted by AMC. This site is doubly wonderful as he includes quotes from screenplays, capturing a moment in words when you most need it.
I appreciate how the site presents vivid moments – in the recounting of best scenes listed by decade. One example is how he features the famous scene in the diner between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, and quotes some of the dialogue, giving us both the mood, the setting, an illustration, and impactful screenplay snippets. Sometimes inspiration comes in a mix when we're trying to illustrate a moment.
#99 When Harry Met Sally “[Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) describes how he can "just get up out of bed and leave" after sex by any number of fake excuses: "I say I have an early meeting, an early haircut, an early squash game." Blonde, clean-living Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) is affronted by his insensitivity and sexist attitudes: "You know, I am so glad I never got involved with you... You are a human affront to all women. And I am a woman." Harry confidently believes his sexual prowess satisfies his female partners and brings them to orgasm, until Sally explains how "most women, at one time or another, have faked it.]” Of course the fake orgasm acted out in the diner is described and then that famous line by another patron… "I'll have what she's having."
The tools to deconstruct a scene or moment on film can be just what we need when we’re stuck in writing, whether it comes from a writer’s community, or app or website. New tools abound all the time, and I’d love to hear what you’re using!
INDUSTRY INCIDENTALS – What next?
Thinking about starting your next project and wondering where the money has been made?
This chart from The Numbers shows which genres made the most money over the last 17 years, and may inspire you to head in one direction or another. Do you write the story genre that is your favorite to see at the movies? I’d love to hear about your favorite genres – please write me and let me know – Paula@PaulaLandry.com
If history is any indication of the future, recent trends lean toward action and adventure leading in front of comedy, which was the most lucrative genre - as shown in this year’s table below (as of August 2013) which shows us the movies making the most money this year.
Whether this data influences your next project or not, it is good to be aware of trends in the industry.
Rock your writing, Paula
Copyright © 2014 PAULA LANDRY
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