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Movie Outline Screenwriting Blog

Write Movies, Save Lives – Nuvotech Sponsors START Animal Rescue

Filed under: Press Releases by admin @ 9:02 pm on September 27, 2014
Learn more about this amazing charity!
 

Everyday thousands of pets are killed in Southern and Central California shelters. START (Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team) was formed to address the issues of overpopulation by providing two very important components:

1. TRANSPORTS

Animals are rescued from high kill shelters and transported to Pacific Northwest rescue organizations, where they are re-homed.

2. SPAY/NEUTER

START funds veterinary clinics in local communities to facilitate no/low cost spay/neuter services, in the hopes of reducing unwanted births and less intakes at the already overcrowded animal shelters.

Write Movies, Save Lives…

Nuvotech now offers its screenwriting software Movie Outline 3 and Script It! through the START store at a discounted price and 20% of all proceeds go directly to START.

If you would like to make a difference for mistreated animals please subscribe to START’s recurring donation.

Remember, every gift saves lives!

Donate here: http://startrescue.org/donate/

Buy Software & Donate: http://startrescue.org/shop/alliance-partners/non-pet-related/

Celebrating 10 Years of Movie Outline

Filed under: News,Press Releases,Screenwriting by Dan @ 12:14 pm on April 12, 2014

Nuvotech is proud to Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Movie Outline Screenwriting Software

Movie Outline Anniversary Banner

 

It’s amazing how time flies and this spring marks 10 years since the launch of Movie Outline. The program has come a long way since its first incarnation and here’s a brief history…

How It All Began…

In 2003, produced Brit screenwriter/director Dan Bronzite was looking for software to help him outline his next spec — a teen horror called DO OR DIE. But he didn’t find anything suitable…so he decided to roll up his sleeves and create a program himself. After a lot of hard work and late nights coding he finally launched Movie Outline in the spring of 2004 and the rest is history. He even wrote DO OR DIE using his own app and later sold it to Qwerty Films in the UK.

All Grown Up!

Since then the product has developed into a full-fledged screenwriting software application that allows you to plan your cinematic structure, develop characters and format your screenplay to industry standard scene by scene, providing all the tools all you need.. in a single package.

Thank You To Our Loyal Customers

Through the years we have been blessed by a loyal following and community of screenwriters (novice and professional) who have spread the positive word about Movie Outline and who are always keen to provide us with their constructive feedback. Thank you all for your support!

Special Anniversary Sale — 50% Off for One Week Only!

Click here to buy now from our secure online store.

Coupon Code: 10YEARS

Offer Ends: Sunday April 20, 2014

Brit Scribe Dan Bronzite To Helm Thriller ‘Urge’

Filed under: News by Dan @ 8:02 pm on July 4, 2013

British screenwriter Dan Bronzite, best known for penning Working Title’s teen horror ‘Long Time Dead’ starring Marsha Thomason, Alec Newman and Lukas Haas, has been attached to direct the urban psychological thriller ‘Urge’ from his original screenplay based on the story he developed with the film’s producer Sam Alani. This will be his feature directorial debut. Alani produced indie-comedy ‘Booked Out’ and horror ‘Young, High and Dead’ due to hit theaters this month.

The story centers around a young medical student who, following a death in the family, loses his mind and grip on reality. The project is scheduled to shoot early 2014 in London.

Bronzite’s teen horror ‘Do or Die’ is currently in development with Michael Kuhn’s Qwerty Films. He is repped in the UK by Nick Marston of Curtis Brown.

Nuvotech Releases New Reference Plugins For Movie Outline 3

Filed under: Press Releases by admin @ 3:16 pm on December 6, 2012

4 December, 2012 (London, UK) — UK technology company Nuvotech today launched six new movie Reference Plugins for its popular screenwriting software Movie Outline 3.

New Plugins

  • Iron Man (2008) Fantasy Action-Thriller
  • The Sixth Sense (1999) Supernatural Thriller
  • Ocean’s Eleven (2001) Crime Thriller
  • The Fugitive (1993) Action-Thriller
  • Wall Street (1987) Crime Drama
  • The Incredibles (2004) Animated Adventure

“The unique selling point of Movie Outline and its appeal to writers from novice to pro is that it was created and continues to be developed from a writer’s perspective” explains Dan Bronzite — produced screenwriter, director and Nuvotech CEO. “The software allows you to build your story and script beat by beat, and this ability to compare your own narrative with scene-by-scene outlines & analyses of box office hits is a key feature of its innovative design.”

Reference Plugins included for free in Movie Outline 3

  • Dead Poets Society
  • Die Hard
  • Ghost
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Pretty Woman
  • Scream
  • Seven
  • Spider-Man
  • The Terminator
  • There’s Something About Mary
  • True Romance
  • When Harry Met Sally

About Reference Plugins

Different movie genres require different amounts of steps. Dramas are typically around 35-40 steps because they usually have longer scenes than Thrillers, Comedies and Action and Adventure movies which are normally around 45 steps with more action and less dialogue. To help plan your project, Movie Outline allows you to simultaneously refer to produced feature film outlines and gauge the progress of your own story in contrast to the most successful Hollywood movies. By comparing your own character arcs, escalating conflicts, plot points and three act structure with the pros, you’ll be able to amend mistakes in your own pacing and successfully produce a well-structured screen story!

*Please Note: Plugins are scene-by-scene outlines & analyses of movies but do not contain the original screenplays.

Price & Availability

New plugins can only be purchased via Movie Outline 3′s integrated purchase wizard which allows you to buy securely from within the application and then have your plugins automatically downloaded and installed into your Reference Library.

To buy select “Buy Reference Plugins” from the Movie Outline 3 Help Menu.

Price Per Plugin: $9.95

Click here to buy Movie Outline 3 from our secure online store.

About Movie Outline

Movie Outline is innovative script formatting and screenplay development software for both the novice and professional screenwriter which uses the simple technique of step-outlining to build your story, characters and screenplay scene by scene, allowing you to focus on each key event of your script without losing sight of the bigger picture.

About Nuvotech

Nuvotech is a software and Web 2.0 services company based in London, England. It was founded in 1999 by produced screenwriter and director Dan Bronzite to publish innovative software and services for the creative industry. Its most recognized brands are Movie Outline a cross-platform screenplay development application and Hollywood Script Express a script copying and delivery service in Los Angeles.

Writing the Perfect Ending

Filed under: Dan Bronzite's Script Tips by Dan @ 2:51 pm on January 15, 2012

Yep, they can make it – and they can break it!  In one fell swoop you have to tie-up any loose ends and satisfy an audience’s expectation.  Not an easy task, right?  Absolutely not.  In fact, as a working screenwriter I have found writing a satisfying ending to be one of the hardest parts of the creative writing process.

Don’t get me wrong, I can write endings.  I can write all types of endings.  Endings with a final climactic showdown between the hero and villain.  Endings with a witty line that leaves the audience with a smile.  Endings with a sad yet uplifting tone.  I can write endings in my sleep.. but that doesn’t mean they are always going to be the best ending for the story.  Perfection is hard to attain.  We all try to create the perfect scene, the perfect witty banter, the perfect character arc and the perfect ending, but linking all of this together is complicated.  We have to fulfill expectations on so many levels and at the same time make it original and entertaining.

And things get even more difficult when you’re trying to please a producer, director and development executive because everybody has their own ideas of what needs to transpire in the closing moments of your movie.. which by that point is technically “their” movie or optimistically “our” movie.  The best advice is to keep it real and inevitable.  Don’t just tag on a twist you haven’t set up.  An ending needs to evolve naturally.  To be organic.

If you can create an a) original ending that b) entertains but more crucially c) resolves the central character’s journey, d) hints at the theme and e) either makes you laugh, cry or leaves you wanting more then you are onto a winner.  The feeling an audience needs to walk out of the movie theater with is one of “satisfaction”.  Sure, they may argue about who killed who, what that blue ornament on the mantelpiece represented, and why the director filmed it in Seattle rather than London, but ultimately they need to feel intellectually content with the resolution that was presented to them.

I hate movies that either give us a predictable ending (lazy screenwriting and filmmaking) or shove a truck load of exposition down our throats just to explain the plot.  If it’s that complicated then the writer has made some poor decisions somewhere down the line.  If you need to telegraph to the audience that the hero or heroine has changed, through dialogue or a clunky visual device, then that’s equally as irritating.

The best endings just “feel right” when you write them and watch them.  They may sometimes surprise you, not necessarily out of an intentional creative choice by the writer, but by the script itself which by the end of the story should have a life of its own.  Like putting that final piece of the puzzle into place and then stepping back to take it all in for the first time, an effective ending completes the picture.  And endings, like that final piece, should never need to be forced into position.. they should just slip into place as if they were always destined to be there.

Creating Effective Scene Transitions

Filed under: Dan Bronzite's Script Tips by Dan @ 2:48 pm on January 5, 2012

Sometimes as writers we get so caught up with developing the crucial elements of a screenplay such as character arcs, plot logic, theme, structure and snappy dialogue that we forget how important it is to write effective scene to scene transitions.  Of course, you don’t want this kind of thing to hinder your creative flow but at some point, perhaps the day after writing a scene, or during the first rewrite, I encourage you to pay attention to this stylistic aspect of your screenplay.

You have probably read books or articles in which many screenwriting professionals recommend that you do not include camera directions and musical choices in your script, and for the most part this is true, they should be left for the director, but I do think that sometimes it is acceptable to include these stylistic elements in your script because they help to set the scene, evoke an emotion and reveal your screenwriter’s voice.

Writing an effective scene to scene transition can help crank up the pace or even provide a subtle subtext through sound and visuals that enhance a piece of dramatic script writing.

An example would be these two scenarios:

a)    A husband and wife argue at home late at night.  The wife ends the row by slamming the bathroom door shut.  We then cut to the next day and a wide shot of a car factory, within which is the husband, hard at work on the production line.

This example tells the story but how about this alternative:

b)    Cut from the door slam to a close-up of a hammer hitting a piece of metal.  We then reveal the husband working in a car factory pounding a car door.

The second scenario tells the same story but adds impact through the use of transition and carries the undertone of frustration from the end of one scene through to the beginning of another, suggesting that the argument, while over, is not forgotten and is still playing on the husband’s mind.  Visually it is also more powerful.

Be innovative with your scene transitions. Dissolve from a ticking clock in one location to a broken clock in another.  Cut from a burglar getting away to a barking dog chasing a ball.  But remember, don’t get carried away and overuse these stylistic choices because if you try to be too clever with every transition they will start to stick out like a sore thumb and cumulatively have a negative affect on your screenplay. In short, pay attention to detail. This may just be the icing on the cake but is important none the less.

What is the Time Frame of Your Screenplay?

Filed under: Dan Bronzite's Script Tips by Dan @ 2:45 pm on December 26, 2011

When you first get the idea for a story it will probably focus around an interesting character, event, act three plot twist, high concept or thrilling action sequence, but one thing we do not normally consider at the start of the creative writing process is the time frame of the piece. Is your story set in a single day?  During the course of a week?  A month? Or even over several years?  The time frame you choose will have a significant impact on how you tell your story and the pacing of the narrative.

Clarifying the timeline of your story right from the start will save you a great deal of time and effort in rewrites further down the road when you ultimately discover that you have either tried to squeeze too much information into your script or conversely need more scenes to pad it out.  But even if we put the technicalities of the time frame aside, choosing a time frame to suit the genre or story can actually enhance the drama.

Think of a film like John Badham’s Nick of Time in which Johnny Depp has only ninety minutes to save his six-year-old daughter.  And then there’s the excellent TV series 24 which not only uses the time frame of a single day to heighten the tension and suspense but also as a stylistic device by presenting multiple events that are happening in various locations simultaneously through split-screen.

When you plan your script, consider what will be the best time frame for your story.  There’s nothing wrong with having a drama take place over many years.  This will of course slow the overall pacing of the piece but that may be appropriate to your story choice and help an audience identify with your characters as they develop.  However, would the same time frame work for an action movie?  It may, so long as you have given it some thought at the start, understand the possible obstacles your chosen time frame may introduce and create some innovative solutions to these hurdles.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules and every story is different, principally because every screenwriter has their own voice.  This is what makes screenwriting so interesting.  Just be aware of how important time frame is to storytelling and how the wrong choice at the start could create a mountain of problems either for you as a writer or for an audience trying to engage with your tale.

Avoid Coincidence In Storytelling

Filed under: Dan Bronzite's Script Tips by Dan @ 2:41 pm on December 16, 2011

Constructing an original, entertaining and intelligent plot is hard work, but that should not mean you should settle for the easy option when writing a screenplay.  In fact, the opposite should apply.  If it’s difficult to come up with something original then push yourself as a screenwriter that much harder.  Force yourself to be innovative because if you do you will undoubtedly produce something much more engaging and satisfying for an audience in the process.

Many writers of fiction, especially crime fiction, use a MacGuffin in complicated plots to drive a story forward, and Alfred Hitchcock (who coined the term) was one of them.  The whole point of the MacGuffin is that it is irrelevant. As Hitchcock himself explained, the MacGuffin is: “the device, the gimmick, if you will, or the papers the spies are after… The only thing that really matters is that in the picture the plans, documents or secrets must seem to be of vital importance to the characters. To me, the narrator, they’re of no importance whatsoever.”

In the golden era of Hollywood, writers and directors were never always as concerned as their modern day counterparts to get all the facts straight.  So long as the women looked sexy, the men looked rugged and there were guns and chases the Hollywood Execs were happy.  To illustrate the point, you may have heard about the classic Howard Hawkes movie The Big Sleep with Bogart and Bacall, based on the novel by Raymond Chandler.

In the story there was confusion surrounding the death of the Sternwood family chauffeur, a character named Owen Taylor. Apparently somebody sent a telegram to Raymond Chandler asking him “Who killed the chauffeur?”.  He replied “Damned if I know.”  It’s an amusing anecdote but I know that from my experience when developing a screenplay with producers and development executives that you must have an answer for everything and that nobody would be impressed with a reply like that.

So to avoid such professional faux pas and to make  sure the logic of your crime thriller is coherent I suggest you do your utmost as a writer to iron out all the creases in your plot BEFORE you present it to anyone.  And most importantly, do not rely on coincidence to be the solution.  If you hero just happens to find a gun under the bed during a frantic struggle with his nemesis then that’s poor penmanship.  If your heroine loses her job and then just happens to bump into someone who offers her another, that’s lazy.

As always, there are exceptions to the rule and sometimes a particular story or genre can get away with it so long as it’s an intentional screenwriting choice and clear to the audience as such.  But generally you should set up events so they do not seem coincidental.  If it strikes you as obvious then try to figure out another way around revealing a crucial piece of information or engineering a chance meeting without it being too contrived.  If that fails, you could always try to conceal your coincidence behind a powerful moment of action or drama and hope the audience don’t notice!

Change Is Good For Screenwriters

Filed under: Dan Bronzite's Script Tips by Dan @ 2:38 pm on December 6, 2011

Whether it’s a daily routine of meals, a weekly routine of phone calls, or going to your typical vacation destination, we are all creatures of habit, some more than others.  We create comfort zones in our everyday lives, sometimes for fear of change and other times simply because we no what we like and we want an easy life.

This is also true for screenwriting.  We may start out not knowing what kind of writers we are and what stories we want to tell and then discover our own voice, style and preferences along the way.  Or we may know right from the get-go that we love thrillers and only want to right for this genre.  Whichever camp you fall into habit can prove to be a good thing and a bad thing.  Just because you like one kind of genre, doesn’t mean you won’t be good at writing another.  Similarly, just because you THINK you’re good at writing one type of story, doesn’t mean you won’t be better at writing a different kind.

Script writing should be viewed as another form of exercise – so long as we overlook the fact that we’re normally slouched in a chair in front of the computer during most of the process. Sometimes it’s good to stretch your creative muscles, try new things and experiment.  But stay off the drugs!  Seriously though, writers become lazy, writing what they know and not pushing themselves to be innovative except within the constraints of their chosen genre.  Instead, you should constantly challenge yourself and throw yourself in at the deep end once in a while.

If you enjoy writing horrors, why not have a stab (pardon the pun) at writing a comedy?  Who knows, it may produce a great script.  Or, you may find out that you do have a good sensibility for humorous scenes but not enough for creating a full script in the genre.  If that is the case, at least you know your boundaries and you may even be able to apply some of the lessons learned to your regular script and write a comedy horror.

Try to imagine your story as a visual landscape and keep it interesting.  If you’re always writing similar stories and characters, expand your palette.  Add more color.  Mix up your ingredients and make full use of your cinematic canvas.  The process will at the very least teach you things about your approach to screenwriting and the experience will always help you no matter what kind of story you tell.  Sometimes the lessons we learn through life are never immediately apparent but ultimately influence us in one way or another – screenwriting is no different.

Whose Point of View Is It?

Filed under: Dan Bronzite's Script Tips by Dan @ 2:35 pm on November 26, 2011

Unless you are writing an ensemble movie like Robert Altman’s Short Cuts you will typically focus your story on a central character’s journey and the obstacles thrown in his or her way.  The mistake many first-time screenwriters make is getting side-tracked by supporting characters and their own evolving character arcs.

Now, I need to preface this advice with a caveat since I have previously discussed how helpful it can be to create fully-developed secondary characters and their own lives outside of the central storyline and Protagonist.  And by creating their “own lives” I don’t necessarily mean we need to see those lives but it’s important for the writer to know about them and to have explored them in order for your secondary characters’ dialogue and actions to ring true when they interact with the central character.  I still stand by this but advise you to tread carefully so you do not inadvertently turn the spotlight onto your supporting character so much so that they outshine the hero/heroine of the piece.

You must remember whose point of view the movie story is being told from.  Who are we as readers or an audience meant to identify with. If you have been following your main character for twenty straight scenes in a row and then cut to a secondary character – say, his best friend – then you need to be sure this diversion is justified within the context of the overarching story otherwise it will detract from your central plot and be redundant.  If in this example the best friend makes a phone call about the hero or discovers something about the main plot that puts him and the hero in danger then that’s fine, but if the scene simply shows the best friend going on a date with someone that has absolutely no connection with the hero or plot and never will then lose it.

The same issue can arise when a writer focuses too much attention on the villain of the story.  Yes, the Antagonist plays an important role and should never be considered as secondary since they balance the good with the bad, provide conflict, obstacles, fear, tension and keep everything ticking along toward a climax, but you can also go over the top with their scene stealing and story-hogging so as to pull focus from the hero or heroine.  If we as an audience are supposed to empathize with the plight of the hero then we must go on the journey with them and walk in their shoes.  That is crucial.  Anything that deviates us from that journey or dilutes the connection with the hero is a negative factor and must be cut or reworked.

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