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Writing Plays/Screenwriting/Questions Answered by Expert Roger S. H. Schulman

SubjectDate Asked
Query Letter11/18/2014
  Q: I am sending out a query letter for representation for two of my screenplays, a romantic comedy, and ...
  A: Dave, ordinarily I would recommend sticking to one topic, project or script per query. In my opinion ...
finaldraft software11/17/2014
  Q: Is it possible with FinalDraft to write a new script without the old one being erased? Can I write ...
  A: Yes of course, that's the whole reason for Final Draft, or any word/script processing software. ...
scree play competiton with english10/31/2014
  Q: please I found some international competitions for screenplay writing , this competition required ...
  A: It's a bad idea to translate your script into English using a machine. Computer translation isn't ...
Opening of a script5/19/2014
  Q: My script has ten minutes of talking scene, is this OK?
  A: I assume you are measuring the running time by page count. If you have a ten-page scene with two ...
Is it alright not to appreciate 'great films'2/23/2014
  Q: May I ask this question? Is it alright not to appreciate 'great films'? I mean, is it normal for a ...
  A: No, it is not all right for a dedicated screenwriter to not appreciate "great" films. Now, before ...
idea protection1/28/2014
  Q: I have a unique idea for a screenplay. How do I pitch it without someone stealing the idea? ...
  A: Please pardon my delay in answering your question. There are three things to remember when it comes ...
How good are the Oscar nominations this year?3/16/2013
  Q: I really appreciate your thought on the Oscar nominations this year. I was surprised that Argo won ...
  A: This is a hot-button topic in so many ways. Are the Oscars an indication of quality? Is the ...
Magzines2/9/2013
  Q: Is any magzine or newspaper related with screenwriting available in the market?
  A: I apologize for my tardiness in answering this question. There are several magazines related to ...
Novels2/5/2013
  Q: Does novels reading help in screenwriting? I read scripts,watch movies a lot but didn't read a ...
  A: There's an old saying that "Novels are about what people think, plays are about what people say, ...
Page one re-write...and my rights.12/11/2012
  Q: I was asked to direct a short film and was given a four page script. I didn't believe that the ...
  A: I'm not really qualified to definitively answer your question. I urge you to consult an ...
How do I know if this genre is suitable for me?9/2/2012
  Q: I am interested in how a writer chooses to make a genre his own. I'm currently a student studying ...
  A: First let me apologize for not answering this question promptly. Somehow it fell through the cracks ...
question-6/23/2012
  Q: Good day Can you give refer me to any source where i can find out practical ways to connect ...
  A: Sunil, the answer to this question is basically a course in screenwriting, which I suggest you look ...
Competition6/22/2012
  Q: For about 4 1/2 years I have been working, on and off on a historical script, and soliciting ...
  A: There's an old Talmudic saying I favor: "If there's no solution... there's no problem." That is to ...
Producer Submission6/22/2012
  Q: I met a well-known producer and USC adjunct yesterday, who invited me to send him a historical ...
  A: Before I answer the question, a quick question of my own for clarification: you say the producer ...
Solid Brass Brads: Hollywood Standard?6/20/2012
  Q: I've read that ACCO solid brass brads are an industry standard for feature-length script submissions ...
  A: I might say that you should spend less time thinking about brass brads and more time crafting brassy ...
Rights of Screenplay and Story5/21/2012
  Q: With whom does the rights of a story and screenplay lie ? With the writer or the production company. ...
  A: This is actually a question for an entertainment attorney. I can't answer this question with any ...
using microsoft word to write screenplay4/2/2012
  Q: I plan to use Microsoft Word to write a screenplay. Do you know if this can be an easy feat? Have ...
  A: I spent years using Microsoft Word to write screenplays for the big and small screens. One of my ...
How do I prepare?3/24/2012
  Q: I've been planning a comedy in my head for a long time now and I'm finally going to try and pitch ...
  A: Louise, I must apologize for missing your question. Somehow it didn't end up in my inbox. AllExperts ...
How to find out whether a show takes spec scripts1/29/2012
  Q: In paper publishing, publishers put out writers' guidelines saying whether they want new ...
  A: I'm afraid I've got some bad news, Phil. You won't find any published listing of TV shows that are ...
Selling Screenplays1/12/2012
  Q: Schulman, Before I ask my question I would like to thank you beforehand for taking time away from ...
  A: First, let me apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I was out of town and neglected to flip ...
Cartoon Series12/27/2011
  Q: Good Afternoon Mr. Schulman, Over this last summer, I made a joke about an idea to a close friend ...
  A: First, let me apologize for my delay in responding. Year-end business got in the way, and then the ...
How should you work at night?12/14/2011
  Q: I'm asking as someone who has a full-time job, a family and finds it hard to work. During the day ...
  A: This is a great question, and it's the first time I've been asked it on this site. Writing is a time ...
To Whom is may concern12/5/2011
  Q: To Whom is may concern , I thank you for your time, you have spent on this site and I am sure ...
  A: It sounds as if English is not your first language -- at least not written English -- so I hope my ...
Is Final Draft only for English writers?11/29/2011
  Q: I have a question about the software Final Draft. Is it meant for writing the script in English ...
  A: I don't have the definitive answer to your question as I am not a software expert. However, I did a ...
Do many American screenwriters seek work abroad?11/24/2011
  Q: We all know that the movie/TV industry in the United States is the most difficult and competitive in ...
  A: I don't have a grasp of exactly (or even roughly) the number of American screenwriters who seek work ...
Any reason why a certain premise hasn't been done for a while?11/14/2011
  Q: I'm outside of the industry so I'm often curious why some certain ideas haven't appeared on TV more ...
  A: You know something, Tony? I'm inside the industry and I'm just as curious as you. The reason ...
Lack of historical evidence for your script?11/7/2011
  Q: Could you pls help me with this question? I'm writing a tv series about a group of spies who ...
  A: The straight answer to your question is, no, it doesn't matter. You're not creating a documentary; ...
A question on writing about actual events11/3/2011
  Q: There is one thing that gives me confusion. As I understand, if you want to write about a real ...
  A: My answer must be categorized under conjecture and supposition, because I am not a lawyer and I am ...
"Quoting" an unproduced script11/2/2011
  Q: In the final "lap" of writing an ancient historical biopic, I have come upon the English translation ...
  A: This is rightfully the domain of an attorney. In fact, I should've declined to answer your question ...
What if there seemed to be no actors for your script?10/31/2011
  Q: I hope to hear your advice on this question. I'm originally from Vietnam and am writing a sitcom ...
  A: Since you are Vietnamese and in the UK, you probably know something about what it's like to be a ...
Myth or reality: 1 million dollars for an unproduced script?9/22/2011
  Q: At least twice I read, from newspapers, about some screenwriters who were paid handsomely, as much ...
  A: Brace yourself: some screenwriters have received many times more than a million dollars for a single ...
Can a screenwriter live comfortably after one TV season?9/21/2011
  Q: I read that last year, seven out of eight new TV series, commissioned by NBC, were cancelled after ...
  A: A show that is cancelled after one season is certainly more successful than a show that is never ...
A question about the length of a TV drama series9/1/2011
  Q: I live in England and this morning I read about an interesting argument regarding the ideal length ...
  A: First, let me apologize for the delay in my response. I was finishing the draft of a feature project ...
script7/27/2011
  Q: Rogers. I appreciate the replies I get from here. I just finish my feature film script. And I don’t ...
  A: First, Rotimi, I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. Somehow your question fell through ...
Agent help7/17/2011
  Q: Schulman, I have developed an amazing TV game show and need to find an agent to help me with who I ...
  A: Not true -- any large agency nowadays has a department for "reality programming," which is where ...
Question7/13/2011
  Q: Hey, I'm writing my first screenplay, and it about a man who can dodge bullets. As I think about it ...
  A: First, I apologize for not replying sooner. I've been writing, and it's kind of sucked up all my ...
Production7/12/2011
  Q: I've written my own sitcom scripts all I need is a production company and I don't know howmto ...
  A: Please search my archives for answers to questions about getting an agent, submitting scripts, and ...
Good blogs for screenwriters?6/8/2011
  Q: may I ask this question? Is there any blog, or website, about screenwriting that you follow and ...
  A: Here's a few you might try: Michael Hague: www.storymastery.com Syd Field: www.sydfield.com Final ...
Why mediocre screenplays are still made?5/29/2011
  Q: It is known that every year there are thousands screenplays to be submitted in the United States ...
  A: This is a question that is often asked. Let me suggest that you take a few minutes and search the ...
Are there many formats available in screenwriting?5/7/2011
  Q: Recently I borrowed some screenplays from my local library, and I became confused because apparently ...
  A: I understand your confusion. There are in fact many acceptable formats for screenplays, and many ...
A question about "int/ext" format4/28/2011
  Q: I was told that as an accepted format, when you write a script, you have to write down the sign "int ...
  A: I love William Goldman, but I wouldn't go by his excerpts as an example of proper formatting. It ...
Differences between a 45-minute show and a movie?4/23/2011
  Q: The genre I'm talking about is limited to crime/detective shows like CSI or Law and Order. I'm ...
  A: This is an excellent question because it sheds light on both types of screenwriting (small screen ...
How helpful can screenwriting books be?3/29/2011
  Q: Last weekend, I came to my local bookstore and was amazed to find that there are so many books which ...
  A: Your bookstore, I'm sure, revealed only the tip of the literary iceberg. There are thousands of ...
Why can't a director simply rewrite the script?3/17/2011
  Q: I have read many tales about how a script, after being accepted, had to be rewritten many times. ...
  A: This subject -- the business of rewriting -- occupies half or more of a professional screenwriter's ...
worth pursuing3/10/2011
  Q: I am the author of a self published book a true crime action thriller . It is a true story I lived, ...
  A: Hollywood doesn't care much about dialog. And goodness knows the level of literature is not exactly ...
using a characters name3/7/2011
  Q: Is it illegal to use a characters name like Marty Mcfly as homage in my script?
  A: I'm not a lawyer and this is a legal question. I suggest you find an entertainment or copyright ...
Why can't all bestsellers be adapted for movies?2/26/2011
  Q: I ask this question from a 'commercial' view. If the Hollywood studios want to make money, why ...
  A: I'm not a studio executive, so I can't answer your question with any authority. But I can tell you ...
Should US TV produce long series?2/22/2011
  Q: I'm from Asia and find it interesting that US TV, at least nowadays, don't broadcast long series at ...
  A: Your question is fascinating. I'm not sure I can answer it, because I'm not familiar with the Asian ...
Any current TV series that you recommend?2/15/2011
  Q: I have come to enjoy and trust your answers at this AllExperts site. I would like to ask whether ...
  A: Sorry for the delay in my response. And thank you for your compliment. I will tell you some TV ...
question !2/11/2011
  Q: I ll enter a screenplay competition , it required for competitors to submit just screenplay pitch ...
  A: Generally speaking, screenplay competitions require fully-written screenplays, not any other kind of ...
How do you know the real length of your screenplay?2/1/2011
  Q: Suppose you need to write a 45-minute TV episode, then how do you know the true length of your ...
  A: The only way to truly know the length of your script is to assemble a temporary cast and do a "table ...
First Script Sale (follow-up)1/28/2011
  Q: Let's see if we can get this question back on track. I don't care much about the latest trends in ...
  A: It's been many years since I've been paid the WGA minimums, so they're not figures with which I'm ...
First Script Sale1/27/2011
  Q: I recently came across a short video clip of Dov Simens saying (if I understood him correctly) that ...
  A: I'm a bit confused by your question. Instead of attempting to answer it and screwing up, I'd like ...
TV pitch format1/19/2011
  Q: I really enjoyed your films and shows! I work professionally as a feature film writer and have a ...
  A: The real answer to your second question is: No. There are no standard guidelines. Because pitch ...
Play writing11/12/2010
  Q: I am working on a stage adaptation of a film. Although not a "musical", there are several songs in ...
  A: I am not by trade a playwright, so I'm not really qualified to answer your question. However I do ...
Physical characteristics10/18/2010
  Q: I was wondering if it is absolutely essential to include physical characteristics in a script. If ...
  A: So that I may better answer your question, please tell me exactly what you mean by physical ...
Sending Screeplays10/13/2010
  Q: I have written screenplays which I think are good. I live in Montreal, Canada which isn't exactly ...
  A: It's true that the Film Capital of the World is not exactly Montreal,Canada. But you're not off by ...
A TV scriptwriter cannot write for feature movie, and vice versa?9/29/2010
  Q: My question is: Is it true that normally, a TV scriptwriter would fail if he tries to write for a ...
  A: If you search my credits, you'll see that I have a British Academy Award for movie writing. I also ...
How can I write an epic about my own generation when we're not old yet?9/21/2010
  Q: I live outside the United States and have this question. I'm having an idea about writing a ...
  A: Since you ask me this question in apparent seriousness, I must answer in kind, straightforward and ...
critique8/18/2010
  Q: Do you know of any sites on the web that do a great job in proofing screenplays? I checked out ...
  A: Sorry about the delay in replying. I'm not familiar with proofreading websites. If these sites ...
Are unimportant characters important?8/18/2010
  Q: I am writing a story that has news reporters in it. There are quite a few of them, and they all have ...
  A: Good question. There are two ways to handle this, the straightforward and perfectly acceptable ...
Where do I stick this text?8/17/2010
  Q: this is my set up so far: EXT. The nation mall - washington dc - day WIDE: Stage with crowd around ...
  A: You've got it right. If you're going to indicate a shot, you must do it before you detail what is ...
Is it easier to write a screenplay for a martial arts movie?8/6/2010
  Q: It seesm to me that there is a discrimination against scripts for martial arts / kungfu movies. And ...
  A: Well, your logic holds some water, and I am no expert at this genre. But my guess is that the ...
Tales within Tales8/4/2010
  Q: I'm working on a script in which the main character frequently tells parables, usually quite short, ...
  A: I could spend a lot of time trying to remember pictures that do exactly as you describe, but I think ...
TV Treatment: Behind the Pilot7/26/2010
  Q: I'm working on a pilot for a 30 minute comedy in the vein of "Entourage" or "Sex and the City" -- ...
  A: First let me apologize for the delay in my response; I'm on deadline for a pilot script. Assuming ...
What if you cannot attend a full-time class on screenwriting?7/12/2010
  Q: I have been at my current job for nearly a decade, which has nothing to do with movies. My ...
  A: Of course! You don't need to take a full-time class to become a screenwriter. In order to give ...
Do you try to watch as many films as possible?7/10/2010
  Q: As a writer, do you try to watch as many films - in many genres - as possible, hoping you might ...
  A: A more complicated question than you might at first think. Especially when one, as I do, suffers ...
script format7/9/2010
  Q: I have a few questions: do we number the very first page of the script following the title page? The ...
  A: The reason you have gathered conflicting answers for these questions is simple: there are no right ...
Selling Your Ideas To Production Companies7/5/2010
  Q: i am a visual artist and cartoonist and I'm currently working on a few projects to pitch to ...
  A: There are so many variables in these transactions, it would be impossible for anyone -- not just me ...
How long does it take to read a screenplay?5/28/2010
  Q: Pls forgive me if my question seems weird. As part of my process of learning screenwriting, I ...
  A: First, let me apologize for the delay in responding. I usually do better, and I promise to do ...
Does a scriptwriter normally write for one genre only?5/26/2010
  Q: Does a scriptwriter normally write for one genre only? On average, does a scriptwriter normally ...
  A: You're actually asking two questions, in my estimation. The first is: "Does a scriptwriter ...
pictures in screenplay5/1/2010
  Q: I contacted you a while back about TV writers' agents for non-US citizens which I know was not ...
  A: First, let me thank you for the charming compliment. I only wish my typeface could be blushing red. ...
Cont'd4/26/2010
  Q: In a screenplay, I have a character speaking dialog while on a cell phone. If the next line of ...
  A: The short answer: yes! The explanation: Dialog extensions are supplemental indicators for the actor ...
transformers4/12/2010
  Q: I am thinking about writing a live-action televison series of the Transformers and since it's one of ...
  A: Before you get to the minutia like product placement, let me point out that you are attempting to ...
Which screenwriting books would you recommend?4/7/2010
  Q: As you know, there are many, many books on screenwriting. Obviously, an average reader cannot hope ...
  A: First, Jason, please accept my apology for the delay in reaching you. I actually did respond to ...
Reality TV Show1/28/2010
  Q: how do my girlfriend and i go about submitting a reality tv show idea to a network? we possess an ...
  A: I think the beset way to answer your question is to follow the action-chain backward. How DO you ...
speculate screenplay format1/28/2010
  Q: I downloaded several screenplays and their formats are all different. same with the format tutorials ...
  A: I feel your pain. Every studio, practically every project, has its own formatting standard, and ...
writing credit1/15/2010
  Q: I'm having trouble deciding how to assign credit to a writing venture. It started when I wrote a ...
  A: The Writers Guild handles such questions by empaneling writers to read "blind" copies of competing ...
interactive element1/5/2010
  Q: I love watching a good movie,then buying the movie on dvd,but what if EVERY dvd movie has an ...
  A: I must tell you, this is an idea that has been around a long, long time and with which studios are ...
in & out1/5/2010
  Q: For first time screenwriter who live a cross country, do they have to travel to hollywood to pitch ...
  A: You do have to travel to Hollywood if you want to pitch your ideas, because this is typically done ...
COmedy Movie1/4/2010
  Q: Hey Roger! I have a few questions that I hope you'll be able to answer: Can a movie be a good comedy ...
  A: I'm a lover of plot -- not plottiness or ploddiness -- and dramas are, after all, characters in ...
screenplay on major depression12/25/2009
  Q: I'm writing a screenplay for a class project film on major depression and in my research major ...
  A: What you're asking is actually not a screenwriting question, but a psychology question. Like any ...
Idea for TV show11/16/2009
  Q: I have 2 greats ideas for a reality show. I have told couple of people about it and the response has ...
  A: Generally speaking, this is the question I get asked most often. I'll give you the best answer I ...
Unsolicited material11/15/2009
  Q: I was wondering if there are specific agencies that will read unsolicited material, specifically ...
  A: I do not, and it seems you've done far more research than I ever have. I might suggest you contact ...
re: previous query11/6/2009
  Q: Just sending you a new query as you suggested - I'm wondering if you have heard anything about the ...
  A: No, your perseverance is admirable, but a bit too zealous. Agents don't typically respond to ...
Finding an agent from abroad11/2/2009
  Q: Hoping you can give we some words of wisdom on how to go about finding a US agent for my TV work, ...
  A: This is a new one on me, and being ill-equipped to answer, I have queried someone at my agency. I ...
Actor's direction in a screenplay10/29/2009
  Q: I have always been a bit confused about how much scene direction to put in a screen play. For ...
  A: You're the not the only one who's confused, or at least uncertain. Like the writing of the dialog ...
Red Cloth, Yellow Cloth...10/22/2009
  Q: I recently had my first book published entitled 'Red Cloth, Yellow Cloth' which very basically is ...
  A: Ideally what you need is a literary agent. Call the major talent agencies (Endeavor, CAA, William ...
selling script10/3/2009
  Q: I have done a sci-fi romantic comedy story and now i want to sell it to hollywood,being a first ...
  A: First let me apologize for not getting back to you sooner; I've been ill. Before I can add any ...
Style/ Format: supered images/ double quotes9/16/2009
  Q: 1. What's your take on writing superimposed IMAGES (not text)? Here's one example of how I've ...
  A: 1. I have no issue with writing superimposed images. Make sure it's clear and has a point. 2. If ...
Pitching and Nurturing9/9/2009
  Q: This follows up on a earlier exchange. Writer previously met two-time Oscar winning Producer at ...
  A: This is a tough one because there's no right answer. On the other hand, that means there's no wrong ...
formatting9/9/2009
  Q: If I have 2 scenes going on at the same time but in different places do I have to constantly write ...
  A: If you search my previous answers for formatting, you'll see that there are relatively few strict ...
Historical Story9/4/2009
  Q: I have an idea for a screenplay that is based on actual historical events (think BLOW or AMERICAN ...
  A: First let me say that this is a legal question, and I am not a lawyer. My opinion is just that, an ...
query letter9/4/2009
  Q: two quick questions: 1) When approaching screenwriting agents with a query letter is it better to ...
  A: 1. Why not use both snail mail and email? If you're able to get to the agent via email, you'll know ...
Four Quadrant v. Historical and Intimate8/28/2009
  Q: This four-quadrant business is such a huge topic, and prompts some concern about stories that don't ...
  A: I wish I could help you further, but answering the four-quadrant question was already on the fringe ...
buzzword explanation8/27/2009
  Q: Could you explain the buzzword "four quadrant". It's being used more regularly by production ...
  A: Certainly. "Four quadarant" refers to a movie that is designed to appeal to all "four quadrants" ...
Pitching8/22/2009
  Q: Last spring I met an Oscar(Best Picture) producer who suggested he might be interested in a script ...
  A: First off, congratulations. This is what I call a High Quality Problem. Your description is a ...
Style -- crosscutting and supermposed images8/19/2009
  Q: I'm currently writing a historical screenplay that has lots of crosscutting -- lots of flashback ...
  A: Wow, that's a lot of words about stuff. Okay, I'll try to keep it short and sweet. 1. It's a ...
Movies8/18/2009
  Q: What is the choir that provides dramatic movie backgrounds? The songs without words, just dramatic ...
  A: I'm not a musician, but I believe what you're referring to is simply a choir. It's choral music. ...
font8/17/2009
  Q: I am writing a script to make into a short film with some friends and I am stuck on the font. The ...
  A: It's true, Courier New is old. It's been out for some time. I didn't check out the link you ...
Agents for tv writers8/2/2009
  Q: So, I've written spec scripts for existing shows, one an hour crime drama the other a half hour ...
  A: I'm happy to help in any way I can. But first, let me ask you to search the archives of my answers ...
Selling a cartoon7/30/2009
  Q: I am currently working a cartoon project. I am doing research on writing the script for one. Once ...
  A: There's no agreed-upon answer to these questions. It also depends upon what your creative ...
Screenwriting7/29/2009
  Q: A very simple question really. About the so-called "guide lines" of screenwriting, it is said you ...
  A: Paul, don't tell me you've put more than four lines of action in a row in your screenplay! Listen ...
Screenplay format7/16/2009
  Q: Good day, I was wondering about CAPS, I introduced a character as PROFESSOR HADDEN in my script, ...
  A: *There are no set-in-stone rules for capitals. Typically, the character is introduced in action ...
Questions on finding a screenwriting software program7/12/2009
  Q: Roger. Your comment, <<Julian, I want to re-emphasize that, be it book or software, you're not ...
  A: Classes are great; so are workshops. Make sure you get some feedback from students who have ...
Production companies info7/7/2009
  Q: Good day, I'm ready to ship out some query letters for my script. I'm having trouble finding ...
  A: Rick, you're right in that I'm not really the right person to ask. I've had representation almost ...
Questions on finding a screenwriting software program7/5/2009
  Q: Roger. Thank you very much for your valued feedback and thanks for the link on John Truby. I ...
  A: I'm not aware of any other software that breaks it down by genre in this way, save possibly ...
Searching for a screenwriting software program7/4/2009
  Q: I'm an aspiring screenwriter. I have a screenwriter software program called, Movie Magic ...
  A: You've hit the mother lode with me on this topic; I love screenwriting software and have beta tested ...
Next step7/1/2009
  Q: Mr. Roger, my name is William or Bill Sivels. I am 19 years old and currently writing a cartoon ...
  A: I'll give it to you straight. If you're not an artist with a brilliant and unique style, you're not ...
Flashbacks6/6/2009
  Q: Is it OK to use flashbacks within flashbacks? For example in Saving Pvt Ryan, the entire movie is a ...
  A: It would be wrong of me to say you should never do this. Every rule has its exceptions. But your ...
script length6/4/2009
  Q: I'm writing a very dialogue driven comedy script and when I say dialogue driven I'm saying Gilmore ...
  A: I think it's fair to use Final Draft's "cheating" options to lessen the script length by a few pages ...
first time writers5/24/2009
  Q: once an screenwriter is established how do they or where do they get medical insurance?...for a ...
  A: Once a screenwriter is established by selling at least one screenplay or teleplay, they are required ...
I wonder....4/22/2009
  Q: First of all, thank you for your time. I am from Croatia and English is not my native language. I ...
  A: In order to answer your question as best I can, I must ask you several questions of my own: *What ...
a monologue i wrote4/19/2009
  Q: I'm auditioning for LV Academy For the performing arts and i got frustrated looking for a monologue ...
  A: I'm not reading your monolog because I can't comment on specific examples of writing. However I ...
Formatting4/19/2009
  Q: Roger. Final Draft software dilineates between "Continued"(used at the beginning of a page/end of a ...
  A: Certainly. You may use a "CONT'D" as a "dialog extension" following the character name above any ...
copyrighting4/18/2009
  Q: I have a question about copyrighting that I hope you would be able to answer. I am interested in ...
  A: I'm sorry, but this is a complex legal question I'm not equipped to answer, since I am a writer, not ...
Pitching a TV Show from abroad3/24/2009
  Q: I'm a film student and currently residing in Malaysia. I would like to make a pitch for a TV show in ...
  A: WGA registration and copyright have nothing to do with one another. Although both are forms of ...
how do you open it? Do you state what is seen---the setting or state that the film begins?3/21/2009
  Q: I am trying to write a film treatment for a movie script(s) for a film trilogy. I just don't know ...
  A: It sounds from your question that you're new at writing screenplays. Am I wrong? I ask because ...
Agents & Spec Scripts3/8/2009
  Q: First and foremost I would like to say thank you for donating your time to inform us about this ...
  A: You've got it right. But I would expand my horizons as well. Consider finding producers as well as ...
Example of a TV show format description3/6/2009
  Q: I'd like to register a description of a TV show format with WGA. Can you comment on the document ...
  A: Don't worry too much about the format. Make it one page. Describe the premise as clearly and ...
screenwriting genre?3/5/2009
  Q: Hey, I'm only 15 but i enjoy writing and acting a lot in particular script writing and I write a lot ...
  A: The short answer, James, is that I don't know. In fact, nobody does -- no matter how many ...
Best way to go...3/4/2009
  Q: First I would like to thank you for the opportunity of just asking you a question. I know you don't ...
  A: Given my experience, if it were up to me, I'd do anything I could to get the project made. Even if ...
Halfway finished writing a comedy.. two questions2/25/2009
  Q: Roger, I was researching a question on how to format a certain scene in a movie that a friend and ...
  A: First, sorry for the delay in answering. I've been deep in production. To answer your first ...
Spec Screenplay2/16/2009
  Q: Because I am a new screenwriter, the only hope I have of ever selling a screenplay is to write a ...
  A: First off, don't worry too much about this whole question. If your script is compelling and clearly ...
half hour drama2/13/2009
  Q: hey i'm writing a half hour urban drama thats kind of like one tree hill. i was wondering how would ...
  A: Get copies of the trades -- Variety and Hollywood Reporter -- and look for the pages on TV ...
Writing a play from a movie2/9/2009
  Q: I want to take a movie and turn it into a play. (The movie is not based on a book.) What legal steps ...
  A: If you research the archives of my previous answers, you will find some of the information that may ...
Pilot Package2/6/2009
  Q: I've just finished writing a half-hour comedy pilot and would like to send it out to ...
  A: I would include three things, depending upon their availability. First, a cover letter. This ...
pitch1/29/2009
  Q: I have an concept for something I envision on HBO as a series. Where do I begin? Do I need an ...
  A: If you search my previous answers under relevant keywords, you'll probably find something useful. ...
pause1/28/2009
  Q: if I want to signal a pause in a script, say after a character says something dramatic. How do I ...
  A: Sure, why not. There's no rule about this, except that it's awkward to do it as a dangling ...
Please help1/27/2009
  Q: I fell I have a good grasp of English, and it has always been my best subject. My problem is that I ...
  A: This is not my area of expertise, but I'll answer as best I can. The most important thing is to do ...
a few more questions1/25/2009
  Q: what is a day in the office like? when did you realize you wanted to be a writer? if you could write ...
  A: Describing a day in the office would be too lengthy for this space. I have written since I was ...
POV1/23/2009
  Q: a quick question on formatting. If I have a large part of my story taking place on a film set and I ...
  A: I hate to say it, but if the POV of the "on-set camera" is important to your storytelling, I think ...
i need copyright for a story inspired by a true events?1/18/2009
  Q: I'm a writer and my first script has been optioned. The production company is already working in ...
  A: I am not a lawyer, and the question you are asking is a legal one. I can only offer you my opinion ...
accentuating1/12/2009
  Q: Schulman just a quick question. In a screenplay how do I accentuate a word in a speech? Capital ...
  A: For a long time, italics were forbidden, because in olden days, typewriters couldn't do italics, and ...
CUT TO:1/12/2009
  Q: Schulman I have 2 situations where I don't know how to use the CUT TO:'s. 1) The scene involves ...
  A: This depends upon how much time we spend in the "movie within the movie." If you're going to spend ...
Network with filmmakers/writers/actors1/10/2009
  Q: I have a website that I would like to promote and I believe a great way to establish our image is by ...
  A: Go to the Writers Guild of America West website at www.wga.org. You might also try screenplay.com, ...
Pitching1/9/2009
  Q: I have just written a Christian play and I want the production to be in April of this year. I have ...
  A: As a screenwriter I'm not experienced enough in the theater to be able to answer your question, but ...
phenomena12/11/2008
  Q: there is some phenomena I practice want to take your opinion on ? when I m writing a scene or ...
  A: First, let me apologize for the delay in reply. A technical problem made it impossible for me to ...
Formatting Montage Sequence12/7/2008
  Q: I am currently writing a screenplay that takes place in a restaurant. The main character just got a ...
  A: First let me apologize for the delay in responding. A technical problem prevented me from accessing ...
Inspired By...11/13/2008
  Q: I was inspired by a short story I read (often) at bedtime to my young children. The screenplay I am ...
  A: Oh yes, you must get rights and permission. Imagine if someone read an original screenplay of yours ...
Script selling...11/8/2008
  Q: I noticed you have a great deal of experience in the film industry. I have written a couple of ...
  A: First let me apologize for not getting back to you sooner. A technical problem on the Web side ...
same as above11/8/2008
  Q: Lastnight as i was falling asleep. i had an idea. I'm creative, but i just a construction worker ...
  A: I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. A technical glitch on the website prevented me from ...
Dream10/12/2008
  Q: When I was in 6 grade in Ethiopia, I published a short story and sold few copies to students and ...
  A: Nazreth, if you sent a board of scientists a proposal that was written in a mathematics none of them ...
Script Writing Mentorship - High School Senior Project10/8/2008
  Q: I was wondering if you would be willing to be my mentor for my senior project, which I've decided ...
  A: Bryce, I'll probably have to say no to your flattering request, as my current production schedule ...
Transitions in a Screenplay9/19/2008
  Q: I have read many differing opinions on scene transitions such as CUT TO: and FADE TO:. Is it true ...
  A: There are many differing opinions because there is no factual answer. So leave it me to give you ...
short film option9/17/2008
  Q: I wrote a short play, and an actor in LA wants to option the film rights for a year, for a dollar. ...
  A: "They would take care of you" can mean anything from give you half the profits to ignore you ...
Reasonable option for "Indie Project"9/9/2008
  Q: What is a reasonable purchase price to ask from an "Indie Producer who wants to option my script? ...
  A: Unfortunately this is outside my area of expertise. I leave those sorts of questions to my agent ...
Character diagalog9/4/2008
  Q: Roger, I am working with a partner on this movie script and he has aHow do you write a character ...
  A: If both characters are saying exactly the same thing at the same time, you simply format it thusly: ...
On screnplays9/3/2008
  Q: Right now, i'm trying to figure out which university to transfer to once i do my two years in ...
  A: Every success story in show business is unique; it's one of the fields of endeavor that has no set ...
Selling a script8/29/2008
  Q: For a selling script do I need to put scene numbers? Also is their an agency you can recommend I can ...
  A: No, scene numbers are only used in production scripts. Production scripts are used on the stage ...
Re: Getting into Writing8/28/2008
  Q: How are you? I don't know if I am asking the right question, but I was wondering how would I get ...
  A: I'll be honest in the spirit of trying my best to help. If you're having trouble finding a job ...
Script Software8/21/2008
  Q: I have sent you a few emails regarding a script I have that I would like to have put in script form, ...
  A: Theresa, I apologize if emails have gotten by me -- I don't see any outstanding emails on my ...
Movie Script8/19/2008
  Q: I have a movie script that I would like to have put into script form, I can not find anyone who can ...
  A: There's a lot in my previous answers about this; just search previous answers with keywords like ...
Animated series pitch8/6/2008
  Q: Roger, My friend and I have created a Bible to pitch an animated series. The Bible is 30 pages ...
  A: I'm afraid I can't offer TOO much help here due to my ignorance. Here goes: 1. This sounds good. ...
Inspiration Legality8/3/2008
  Q: I would like to write play based on a book. What are the legal issues of writing a play that will ...
  A: If the book is merely inspiration, you need not do anything. All art is based on the feelings ...
The Pitch!8/2/2008
  Q: I have created a comedic TV show and have my first legitimate pitch next week. Do you have any ...
  A: There's the old story: a writer gets on an elevator with a studio executive at the lobby level. ...
TV writing7/14/2008
  Q: I'm interested in TV soap opera, drama, sitcom writing. Can you directly submit specs directly to ...
  A: First, let me suggest you search the database of my answers (and others' on this site) about this ...
Who is the right person for the rights6/4/2008
  Q: Could you suggest me that Who is the right person who can guide to obtain the rights of American ...
  A: This is outside my area of expertise; I generally answer questions about screenwriting. However, I ...
movie script6/3/2008
  Q: hi my name is rachel and I am currently planning to write a movie script which I would like to take ...
  A: Rachel, this question is extremely general and is almost impossible to answer fully. First, I would ...
question please6/1/2008
  Q: I wan to know whats the factors & standards must be put in film makers mind to let the movies ...
  A: Your English makes it somewhat difficult to completely understand your question; I assume English is ...
need to ask5/31/2008
  Q: because I want to improve my screen write with some shots & camera movement & angles so I required ...
  A: Instead of an online source, allow me to recommend a book I think will answer all your questions and ...
How to write a short cooking segment script5/5/2008
  Q: I am a Registered Dietitian who is creating sports related cooking segments. Can you suggest ...
  A: To better answer your question, I have a couple of questions of my own. --Is this a program in ...
Movie based on a book4/15/2008
  Q: i would like to make a movie based on a book, i already had chosen the book, but I am not sure what ...
  A: Your first step is to option the rights to the book. This means you pay a negotiated sum of money ...
TV4/13/2008
  Q: Schulman, Hello. I have about 500 ideas for reality shows. I won't list them here, but suffice to ...
  A: This question really is unanswerable, because in essence what you're asking is, "How do I have a ...
need to ask4/9/2008
  Q: I m making self studies on screen writing & also plays writing my question is , can you tell me ...
  A: For movie scripts, try Drew's Script-O-Rama on the Internet. For TV scripts, try TWIZ TV on the ...
using film clips in screenplay4/2/2008
  Q: In my screenplay, I would like to have my characters watching an old movie on television. This would ...
  A: The best way to definitively answer this question is for your producers to contact the owners of the ...
sitcom writing question2/21/2008
  Q: I'm writing a half hour sitcom that takes place the majority of time in a post office, thus I have ...
  A: There are no hard-and-fast answers to your questions, but I'll tell you what I would do, and think ...
Questions about adapting scripts2/4/2008
  Q: I have a question regarding the laws about adapting movie scripts or screenplays into scripts for ...
  A: I'm terribly sorry your question has languished; for some reason it didn't drop into my inbox and it ...
Structure1/28/2008
  Q: Schulman, I hope my email finds you well. I am writing today to ask two questions. Firstly, how ...
  A: I wouldn't worry too much about Syd Field, either specifically or generally. You've obviously read ...
Registering My Screenplay1/20/2008
  Q: Schulman, Because of the fact that I am not a native speaker of English, I would like to get an ...
  A: First let me say that your written English is better than 80 percent of the people who write me! ...
Screenwriters and show runners1/13/2008
  Q: I'm a reader of your blog and also a french student. I realize I really don't know well the american ...
  A: I took a look at the LA Times article you mention, and it does assume a bit of knowledge on the ...
what to do now?1/7/2008
  Q: I am 24 years old and have just completed writing my second film script of which I am proud of. It ...
  A: As this is a commonly asked question, I'd like to start by reprinting here a portion of an answer I ...
How to pitch1/7/2008
  Q: My name is Bob Bazer, I am a comedian. Myself and two other comics have written a pilot for a ...
  A: Since this is an oft-asked question, I'd like to start by replaying here a portion of an answer to ...
Cartoon series creator1/5/2008
  Q: I am currently working with an established Producer/friend in trying to get my idea for a cartoon ...
  A: If your project were live action, I'm afraid the picture would be brighter; cartoon creators are ...
Training / Scriptwriting12/8/2007
  Q: Roger Hello. Let me ask a question, maybe you can help me out. I read frequently your Blog. I ...
  A: Let me start by recommending what you NOT do. I took Robert McKee's famous screenwriting seminar, ...
inspired by true events12/6/2007
  Q: I am interested in writing a script based on a true crime story, using many articles and a ...
  A: First, I apologize for not replying sooner. For some reason, I didn't notice your question on my ...
TV (SOAP) DRAMA WRITING12/4/2007
  Q: I have a fair knowledge of writing feature screenplays. Now, I have to write a script for a TV half ...
  A: I don't know if I can be of much help to you; I've written half-hour television and features, but ...
Story Writing11/28/2007
  Q: I would like to start writing stories as a hobby. Not just any stories, but stories about my life. I ...
  A: This is the most difficult question I've ever received. It is at once all-encompassing and ...
now what11/20/2007
  Q: I have written a television script that is roughly thirty pages.. But now I don't know how to get ...
  A: I know you wish an answer; unfortunately, all I have right now are more questions. 1. Is this a ...
Novel to screenplay conversion10/19/2007
  Q: I am an aspiring screenplay writer. I have several books I can envision going to the big screen and ...
  A: I'm very excited that you've gotten this far; you've obviously done a good job of tracking down the ...
Outline10/18/2007
  Q: I'm entering a writing competition, and it's asking for an 'outline' for a pilot episode for a ...
  A: I'd like to answer your question as precisely as possible, so please provide a bit more detail. ...
concerning screenwriting as a serious consideration10/3/2007
  Q: schulman, Firstly, I have been fascinated, like so many others, with movies and books all ...
  A: They often say screenwriting isn't brain surgery, and in no sense is this more true than in terms ...
Great idea for a TV show -- format for submission9/20/2007
  Q: I believe I have a brilliant idea for a TV show. Of course, I realize that every putz in LA thinks ...
  A: A lot of people ask me this question. That's not to say it's pedestrian; rather, it represents the ...
LOL9/16/2007
  Q: using LOL as a primary topic in a screenplay. Who owns the copyright?
  A: First let me say I'm not a lawyer, and this is a legal question. Anything I say should be taken in ...
Multiple submissions9/9/2007
  Q: Roger, theatres take so long in replying to submissions (understandably so) that I'm wondering if ...
  A: Robert, I hope I haven't kept you waiting too long, but since I'm not qualified to answer your ...
Adapting my own manuscript into a play9/7/2007
  Q: I have my own manuscript, a memoir, which I want to adapt into a one person solo play. Most books ...
  A: I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "process," but I'll take my best guess and do what I can to ...
TV drama8/28/2007
  Q: Do you have any tips for writing serial drama for TV? I am working on a story in eight parts and ...
  A: I'm sorry, this is one of the things that I have never done, and I don't feel qualified to answer. ...
idea protection7/13/2007
  Q: I'm registered with the writers guild of America and I signed a submission release form with a ...
  A: First and foremost, I must tell you that I am not an attorney and that this is a question for ...
screenwriting7/10/2007
  Q: I want to write a screenplay that is satirical. I know exactly what it is about. How do I start?
  A: There are as many ways to begin a screenplay as there are writers. Some like to write character ...
1st time pilot writer6/22/2007
  Q: I'm re writing my 1 hour drama, my question is by what page should all your main characters be ...
  A: There's no hard and fast rule here. Generally speaking, the sooner the better. If your script has ...
Cost of script6/18/2007
  Q: I have just finished my script. The genre is Science-Fiction Action. I think that my ideas are ...
  A: This is a good question, but difficult to answer. There are so many variables in determing what a ...
This might be a stupid question6/15/2007
  Q: Are there any rights that need to be aquired to write and produce a story inspired by the bible.
  A: There are no stupid questions. To my knowledge, there are absolutely no rights to the Bible. It is ...
Where to go next?5/26/2007
  Q: i have a burning question regarding film scripts. I've finished mine, and will be registering it ...
  A: I doubt very much that any studio will consider your script unless it is submitted by an accredited ...

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Roger S. H. Schulman

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Expertise

I can answer questions on the creative aspects of writing for features and television comedy: brainstorming, character development, plotting, story structure, dialog, rewriting, editing, etc. I can also address the business side of show business: pitching, writing and presenting treatments, "taking" meetings, common pitfalls, etc. I'm also well versed in the relationship between screenwriting and computers: software for scriptwriting, brainstorming, presentation, outlining, an d general organization. I'm also a producer, and so can answer questions regarding the ins and outs of television production, specifically the half-hour arena. Visit my scriptwriting blog at http://scriptwriting.tumblr.com/

Experience

I have been working in Hollywood as a screenwriter for both TV and features for many years. I'm an Executive Producer and "showrunner" who has run several prime-time and cable comedies. I've written several featurs and contributed to many more for several major studios.

Organizations
Writers Guild of America, West

Publications
Newsweek, BusinessWeek, GQ, Connoisseur, UPI, New York Daily News, please visit my blog at http://scriptwriting.blogspot.com

Education/Credentials
I have a Masters of Science in Journalism from Columbia University.

Awards and Honors
Academy Award Nomination, Best Adapted Screenplay British Academy Award, Best Adapted Screenplay Emmy Award Nomination, Best New Series NAACP "Image" Award, Best Television Comedy "Annie" Award, Best Animated Film

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