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21 Suggestions to Better Your Chances of Winning Screenplay Competitions

Two Brads or Three?

Adventures in Judging
Screenplay Entries in a Film Festival

By Elizabeth English

21 Suggestions to Better Your Chances of Winning Screenplay Competitions

1.  Please send your submissions in early! Don’t wait until the final deadline date! Your submission can be buried under a pile of hundreds or thousands at the bigger festivals and competitions. The readings could be hurried. Maybe the reader saw one sent in earlier and has decided that’s his or her favorite.


2.  Two words: Two brads. Brass brads, SOLID brass brads #6, not those short, wimpy brass-plate brads that let the script fall apart by page 60. Acco has them at Office Max & Office Depot by special order. Try to find or special-order those little brass washers (to fit the #6 brads), too. They seriously hold the script together, even to the last page. Readers curl the script pages behind what they’ve read; they leave them overnight, half-read, to read next day. Your script is roughly handled, by three or four people. Make sure it stays together through all of that!


3.  Covers: please use plain cover-stock or card-stock. Print only the script title & author name on the front. Any color is OK, but white, grey or tan are preferred & more professional-looking. Do not bind your script in a highschool plastic binder or one with metal bars inside. Nothing else is acceptable but front and back card-stock covers.


4.  Title Page: Please have the first page of your submission be the title page. Print the title, author’s name, info on copyright or WGA-registration, and the author’s contact info: mailing address, phone number & e-mail address.

If you change your address, phone number or e-mail address, please let the festival know this right away, so they can contact you if you win! Send e-mail addresses for co-authors to be notified of script’s status in contest.


5.  Do not write the title or your name on the binding side of the script. That makes the script look old & shopped-around. The festival readers or registration people will do that when they receive the entry.


6.  A printed-out copy of the script from your computer looks a lot better than a copy-shop’s or a Xeroxed, faded copy. Make sure it’s nice and clear and clean, with black ink. It’s actually cheaper to print out a computer copy than it is to take it somewhere to be printed, in most cases.


7.  Use COURIER 12 point font. Nothing else will do.


8.  Do not try to cheat by doing a “loose” script to make your script look like 120 pages. Do not do a “tight” script, to try to make a too-long script look like 120 pages. If you have a 90-page script, that’s fine. If you have a 150-page script, you need to do some editing.Check every page of your submission, to make sure it’s printed clearly and that the pages are in order and none are missing.


9.  Have someone who is an English-major read your script for typos, incorrect grammar (except in the dialog, if that’s what you intend anyway), punctuation, spelling, syntax & other errors. You could offer to pay him or her a dollar for each error found (with which you agree). This will make you really edit in advance, like crazy, to save yourself the expense! Don’t ever rely only on your spell-check program. Print out the script and read it in hard-copy, and edit as you read. Use a red pen, so you can easily find the edits when you do the re-write. Spend the time to correct the errors. Nothing makes an author look more lazy and unprofessional as lots of un-edited errors in your submission.


10.  Format: use the standard script format found in books on the subject and in computer screenwriting programs. Don’t customize it. Use correct, standard spacing between elements and in all four of the margins.

11.  I would love to see the second page of your submission be the logline and mini-synopsis! Film festivals and prodco readers don’t usually ask for this, or require it, but it would make reading the screenplay a lot easier and more enjoyable. Plus, if your logline is great, it induces the reader to put your screenplay submission at the TOP of his or her pile of must-read-now.


12.  Give your submission a GREAT title! I got a script submission last year, entitled “THE TENT”. I didn’t want to read it. I didn’t want to go to my entry-form files & read her logline and synopsis, based on that title. It went to the bottom of the pile to be read when I absolutely HAD to. Well, guess what? When I finally read the script, it was very good, and made the Moondance 2001 semi-finalist list! I asked the author if she’d consider changing the title. She couldn’t think of one, until I reminded her that she had the title within the screenplay dialog: DANCE WITH ME, ALASKA. Even her agent loved the new title!


13.  Don’t send in long resumés and lists of credits or info about your other festival wins with your entry forms and submission. It won’t help you win. It won’t (or shouldn’t) influence the readers and judges, because each festival has a different criteria. (Film entrants should feel free, however, to do this)


14.  Entry fees: Attach the check or money-order with a paper-clip (don’t staple it in) to the front of the entry form. If it’s a US festival or competition, make sure the funds are in US dollars. Don’t just toss the entry fee into the bottom of the envelope. When sending a money-order, write your name on it, so we know who it’s from. When sending a check from someone else, write your name on it, for the same reason.


15.  Mailing: use the simplest packaging form possible, one that’s easy and quick to open. Don’t tape it together as if the contents were made of gold. Avoid the use of those envelopes that are full of grey fluffy stuff that gets all over desks and clothes and the floor when the reader has finally managed to slice it open. That grey stuff damages videos, too. A script generally does not need padded envelopes.


16.  Postage: use enough postage to cover the cost of mailing. Most festivals and competitions will not pay the postage due, and your entry will probably be returned to you, un-opened.


17.  Entry forms and release forms: Please fill them out CLEARLY in black ink. Sign them. Print them, rather than using fancy cursive writing in purple or pink ink. Make sure your e-mail address is clear. If you have a mix of zeros (0) and the letter O, make sure they can be read for what they are. Same with the letter I & 1, or L & lower-case l. They all look the same sometimes, so be clear, if you ever want to hear from the festival again. MAGOO0011Ill@aol.com is hard to figure out.


18.  Remember to enclose the entry form, release form and entry fee with your script in the same envelope.

19.  If you want a confirmation that your submission was received, please send (with your submission package) an attached post card with US postage (if entering a US competition). Write on the postcard: your name and address in the mail-to area, and on the back or in the message area, write: (name of festival) has received the screenplay (title of your entry) on this date_________.


20.  Do not send an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) with your submission if the festival or competition announces that they will not return any entries or submissions. You’ll be wasting the postage.


21.  Make sure your entire submission package is reader-friendly!

NOTES:

Every one of the above 21 suggestions are based on personal experience of mistakes former entrants made when submitting materials to Moondance or to other festivals and competitions.

As for the content of your screenplay; structure counts, usually. Have a clear Act I, II, and III. Try to hook the reader on the first page! Make the first five (or ten pages at most) be Act I, wherein you introduce all the main characters and show the reader the who, what, where, when and why of your story. Notice that I said SHOW. Telling is not so good. Film is a visual medium and you should actually be writing a FILM, not a script.

Act II is the rest of the story, where you build on what you started, and it climaxes at the clear end of Act II. Act III should be five or ten (max) pages, where all loose ends are tied up and all conflicts are resolved.

Make sure you’ve defined your characters and have given them unique qualitites special to them, so they are recognizable as individual people and have depth. Same with the dialog. Don’t have every character speak the same. Or as you speak. Let the environment and ambience of the settings be shown. Mention weather and seasons and time of day or night. Make sure your characters visibly REACT to each other, and to dialog spoken to them.

Have conflict, whether personal, local, national, or world-side…or even universal. Then resolve that conflict at the end.

Avoid too many clichés in characterizations, dialog, actions and reactions. Do something new and interesting. Avoid like the plague having your actors speak long lines of exposition! Actors and directors and the audience hate to hear a character verbally explaining what he or she is thinking, planning, worrying about, or is going to do, or did in the past. Action! Show it, don’t tell it!

Every word of dialog and every word of action and exposition in your screenplay must move the story forward toward its conclusion. Every scene must move the story forward. The screenplay should read like a good novel, and the reader should not want to put it down until the end.

Remember transitions. Each scene should flow into the next, logically, or be hinted at in a previous scene. Don’t make the reader wonder where we are in this scene. Lead them into it. If your two characters will be going out for pizza in the next scene, or are going to rob a bank, hint at that in the previous scene(s). Set it up for the pay-off. You can have many set-ups and pay-offs, all moving the story forward and building toward the ending pay-off, which resolves the conflict.

Write your dialog and scenes for specific actors you may have in mind, and imagine them reading your script to see if they’d like to play the parts. Give the stars and lead characters the best lines and the best action. Try to write memorable dialog &/or memorable action. The actors and the directors love it and this stuff sticks in the audiences’ minds. Remember, somebody has to spend millions of dollars on your idea, if they like it. It has to make them a profit. Most studios and production companies are not only in the business of making movies; they’re also in the business of making MONEY.

Don’t write a director’s script. Don’t have scene numbers on the sluglines. Don’t use cut-to or dissolve-to any more than you absolutely have to. No camera angles, unless it’s vital. Try to keep the number of sluglines to 85-100 max. Each scene change costs production money.

And finally: The more professional and reader-friendly your entire submission package is, the better your chances are of winning a competition and of selling that screenplay. Remember, when entering a competition, if your script wins or is a finalist, or even a semi-finalist, producers and agents will ask you for it, and the festival will want to be proud to have selected your screenplay!



MOONDANCE: On Directing Actors in Film & call-for-entries!

“The flowering, bright green of springtime provides us with a multi-layered, rich, and complex symbol of the self and its journey toward enlightenment and awareness. It is what life can be in its ideal form and when understood in its true nature.” ~ EE

SCROLL ON DOWN: For info, festival news, insider tips on directing actors in film, recommendations, great photos & thoughts for the day!

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THE MOONDANCE MISSION:

  • We believe that films, scripts and music can contribute to a healthier society and that these works should encourage the active involvement of audiences to connect and act collectively to address social challenges. The Moondance mission is to entertain, to inform, to inspire, to encourage and to educate.

  • We are eager to continue to be one of the most important film festivals in the world by being innovative, risk-taking, and open to new thinking, new concepts, new talent, and new ways of telling stories.

  • Our mission is also to present a vibrant and growing collection of films, writings, and music, which is an ideal means for communication across perceived boundaries of race, culture, place, age and gender.

~~~~~~~~ Come join us! ~~~~~~~~

MOVIEBYTES.COM lists Moondance as one of the top 10 film festival competitions worth the entry fee!

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

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The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

CHECK OUT OUR MANY SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.categories.html

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

We look forward to previewing your submissions!

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MOONDANCE NEWS:

A SPECIAL NEW CATEGORY FOR 2013 SUBMISSIONS:

~~~~ FILM TRAILERS! ~~~~

Do you have a really good 3-5-minute trailer you’d like to send to Moondance?

Haven’t quite finished your film yet, but want to promote it now?

Submit your trailer here: www.acteva.com/go/miff

The entry fee is only $25!

All winning trailers will be screened at Moondance 2013!

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INSIDER TIPS:

DIRECTING ACTORS IN FILM

“Lights, camera, and…action!”

By

Elizabeth English

When judges preview films for film festival competitions, or when distributors look at films they may decide to screen in theaters, or during Academy Award nomination season, or when a talent agent may decide to take you on as a client, or when a production company or film studio is watching your demo reel,  trailer, or film, and considering you to direct a film, the actors’ performances are one of the most important elements they look for in the film. You may have a unique story, the best cinematographer, incredible editing, memorable film score, interesting locations, fabulous action scenes, great dialog, and impressive production values, but…if any of the actors, not just the lead actors, fluff a scene, or are wooden, over-act, are amateurish, or are simply unremarkable in their roles, your film will be rejected, you’ve just lost most, if not all credibility as a film director, and you may never get a second chance.

Directing a feature or short film, commercial, music video, or television pilot requires an extraordinary output of time, energy, patience, and talent. You owe it to yourself, and to the success of the film project, to get the richest, most realistic, relatable performances possible. Directing actors is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, aspects in the array of creative tasks that await any film director.

You’ll need to know how to constructively and efficiently collaborate with actors to create truthful, compelling, and natural performances. Unlike the creative process of writing a script or generating shot-lists and storyboards, actors are unpredictable, and you can’t completely plan their performances in a film, but you can direct them toward the performance you envision for the role.

Kathryn Bigelow, Oscar-winning director, for “The Hurt Locker”

Some film directors (even seasoned veterans) just don’t seem to know how to communicate with actors – they often don’t speak a language that is useful to them. You need to learn a new language, which enables you, as the director, to give the actor a clear point of departure for a performance, and which allows you to quickly communicate adjustments, as that particular scene or performance evolves, yet also allows the actor his or her interpretation of the character and scene, but always based on what you  and the script require.

This is a directorial process that begins by articulating a “through-line” – a concise statement that captures a director’s interpretation of the script, into language that will help the actors build their performances, and establish a productive working relationship between actors and director. You want the actors to “quit acting” and just BE the characters, tapping in to emotions which the actor has experienced in her/his own life and applying it to the scene. No hitting their marks and just reading their lines!

Woody Allen, directing

Directing actors for film is much different from directing actors for the stage. Because a stage has 3 walls, and the audience sits at the fourth “wall”, seeing and hearing everything on the stage, and everything the actor does or says, as it occurs, there can be no multiple takes, no do-overs. Larger gestures and broader, more visible facial expressions, as well as throwing one’s voice to the back of the balcony, are needed in theater, but not usually in film.

Anthony Hopkins, as Hannibal Lecter

With a roughly a 22’ tall X 52’ wide movie screen, actors can use much more subtle facial expressions, especially in close-ups, simpler body movements ad gestures, and with lower, more modulated voices. A twitch of an eyebrow, or a tiny smirk can easily be seen by the audience, unlike on stage. A good film actor will be aware of this.

And, with film, many takes of the same scene can be shot until the director is happy with that scene. An actor must be capable of accommodating this arduous and frustrating process, and to be able to make adjustments in his or her characterizations, over and over, without complaint.

When auditioning actors for specific roles in a film, you can see, at that time, how amenable each one is to suggestions for adjustment, how patient he or she is, how a particular actor has his or her own interpretation of the role, and how capable the actor is of listening and understanding what you, as director, want to see, and giving it to you. An actor may look right for the role as a particular character, but may not be able to be the character, not merely memorize the lines and play the part.

The camera can move to different viewpoints, can do a two-shot, a close-up, or a crowd scene, or action outdoors, and even use a parkour technique, by following the actor(s) for several minutes moving through a location sequence. With just a single camera, if you’re shooting two actors speaking back and forth, each actor must be able to speak his or her lines and react accordingly, but must then wait while the other actor speaks and reacts, then speak or react when the camera is back focused on him or her. A demanding lesson in patience, and staying in the role while the camera changes position, sound and lighting is set up, makeup and hair are fluffed, and lens focus is established, for each shot.

As a director, if you’re working with non-professional actors, or interviewing people for a documentary, you may need to remind them to pay extra attention to their total body language (head-to-toe) in a scene, tone of voice, and facial expressions, to get a realistic characterization from them. In narrative and documentary filmmaking, actors & interview subjects generally need to move a bit more slowly than normal (but not too slowly) through a scene, in order for the camera to focus and catch the image, and not cause the audiences to feel they are being forced to visually follow the scene too quickly.

Acting is reacting. Reacting to another actor’s dialog or actions. Reacting with what is already known, and can be, should be, brought into the role’s characterization from the actor’s and director’s own life experiences and personal observations, as well as by what the particular role requires.

One might consider the talented actor as a visual story-teller, a creator of visions who can transport movie audiences out of their habitual ways of being, create an atmosphere of “suspension of disbelief,” and who leads them on a journey of self-discovery and possibly new perceptions. Personal magnetism and charisma, intense body awareness, voice control, and great sensitivity are among the special abilities that contribute to the actor’s mystique, and a film director can encourage and inspire the actor to bring this out in performance.

As a director, you should know all there is to know about filmmaking: cinematography, editing, production, lighting, sound, and etc., and that, of course, includes acting. You need to study the art and craft of acting, both stage and film acting, especially improv, and consider learning to be an actor, yourself, in order to understand actors and communicate with them, and most effectively bring out the best performances from your actors.

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SUGGESTED READING:

Changing Direction: A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre: by Lenore DeKoven, foreword by Ang Lee

Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television by Judith Weston

The Film Director’s Intuition: Script Analysis and Rehearsal Techniques, by Judith Weston

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SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

“We tend to make spirituality a part of our lives in the same way we go to a yoga class, but it can’t really benefit us if it isn’t consistently becoming more and more the core of our being. 

Spirituality isn’t something we do. It is part of our consciousness. It is how we see the world. 

The spiritual path is a constant walk where we make a conscious effort to be the best version of ourselves, and make a difference in the lives of others.” ~ YEHUDA BERG

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ellenjaskol.photoshelter.com

“It’s no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years, while saying, ‘Really, I was meant to be a ballerina.’ By that time, pigs will have become your style” ! QUENTIN CRISP

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Photo by Dominique Browning

“Patience. Clay cannot be forced to dry faster than it wishes. Clay cannot be forced to do anything faster than it wishes, lest it explode. We must do everything in stages lest the process become overwhelming. You have to focus, so that you move the clay and the clay doesn’t move you. The clay does have its memory, so you must have a firm idea in mind before you begin to shape a form. And stop when you are tired, as that is when things fall apart. Same with our mortal clay.” ~ DOMINIQUE BROWNING, Slow Love Life blog (excerpt)

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National Geographic photo

It’s sometimes tough to accept, but nothing happens suddenly. We don’t awaken one day and find a full-grown tree on our front lawn, because in the world of physicality, there is always a process. 

Every action we make plants a seed in our lives that will manifest something positive or negative. 

A good deed today may manifest a blessing later when it is needed most.” ~ YEHUDA BERG

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“The Obstacle in Our Path”

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a 

roadway.  Then he hid himself and watched to see if 

anyone would remove the huge rock blocking the way. Some of the

 king’s’ wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by 

and simply walked around it.. Many loudly complained and blamed the

 king for not keeping the roads clear, but no-one did

 anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a simple peasant came along, carrying a load of 

vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the 

peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the 

stone to the side of the road. After much pushing

 and straining, he finally succeeded. After the 

peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed 

a purse lying in the road where the boulder had

 been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note

 from the king, indicating that the gold was for the 

person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

The 

peasant learned what many of us never really understand: Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve 
our condition, and maybe even to help others, in the process.

Dominique Browning photo

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

~~~~~~~ 7seas Productions ~~~~~~~

7seas Productions, an enthusiastic Moondance International Film Festival sponsor, offers professional screenwriting, screenplay reading services, critiques, coverage and edits to screenwriters & filmmakers, other writers, and to production companies and agencies, at a special discount price!

Focusing on the elements crucial to creating a compelling and readable script, or a winning, marketable film, our helpful comments will allow you to concentrate on solving the problems that will make your material move toward receiving a CONSIDER or a RECOMMENDED from a studio or prodco reader, and will assist in advancing your script or film up toward WINNER in screenwriting competitions & film festivals.

An advantage of this low-cost service is that we will help you prepare your screenplay or film before sending it to producers, agents, managers and others who may have requested it.

Elizabeth English, the founder, executive director and artistic director of Moondance, is also a professional screenwriter, with 3 award-winning screenplays produced, and currently in pre-production on 2 more. She is available for feature screenplay commissions from individuals, novelists, writers, directors, producers, production companies and studios.

Contact Elizabeth at: mermaid7seas@gmail.com

or call 303-545-0202 or 303-818-5771 today!

7SEAS PRODUCTIONS: http://7seasproductions.wordpress.com

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MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL IS FOR YOU:

Filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, playwrights, short-story writers, TV writers, and the many indie film audiences, internationally!

FOR OUR 2013 FESTIVAL EVENT, WE ARE SEEKING: UNDERWRITING SPONSORS, PRESENTING SPONSORS, GENERAL SPONSORS, SUPPORTERS, DONORS, FINANCIAL & IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS, PARTNERS & FRIENDS OF MOONDANCE!

Very Special Promotional Opportunities Available
for Partners, Donors, Supporters, Sponsors & Friends of Moondance!

MORE INFO:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/04_sponsors.info.html

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/04_sponsors.list.html

Moondance International Film Festival provides our generous sponsoring partners with a full spectrum of marketing visibility, including on the website, in the popular blog, print & Internet advertising, flyers, the festival print program, & social media!

Make your donation today at: www.acteva.com/go/miff

CONTACT ELIZABETH ENGLISH AT: director@moondancefilmfestival.com

Thank you!

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ROGER EBERT (1942-2013)

Bettmann/Corbis photo

A “two-thumbs-up” accolade for the nation’s best-known movie reviewer, who wrote about movies, (both great, good, mediocre and bad ones), with a passion, and with real knowledge of film and film history. Ebert was one of the most influential film critics in the US, won a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism, and was the first film critic to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. From the Chicago Tribune & The New York Times: President Barack Obama issued a statement that “movies won’t be the same without Roger. Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient — continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world. When he didn’t like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive — capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical.”

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

If you’re not yet a subscriber, please subscribe now:

www.moondancefilmfestival.com/blog

Send comments or questions to: moondancefestival@gmail.com

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

Charlotte Zink @ ZinkMetalArt.com

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MOONDANCE NEWS & SPRING CALL-FOR-ENTRIES!

“When spring comes, even the false spring, there are no problems, except where to be happiest.” ~ ERNEST HEMINGWAY

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SCROLL ON DOWN: For info, festival news, insider tips on documentary filmmaking, recommendations, great photos & thoughts for the day!

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MOVIEBYTES.COM lists Moondance as one of the top 10 film festival competitions worth the entry fee!

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity to showcase your talents and for a good chance to win the Moondance!

CHECK OUT OUR MANY SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.categories.html

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

We look forward to previewing your submissions!

“Our film…involves complex subject matter, told in unconventional narrative structure…. Moondance is one of the few festivals on the circuit that consistently rewards films and filmmakers that take risks and are willing to depart from the status quo.” ~ John Chi

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MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

FOR OUR 2013 FESTIVAL EVENT, WE ARE SEEKING: UNDERWRITING SPONSORS, PRESENTING SPONSORS, GENERAL SPONSORS, SUPPORTERS, DONORS, FINANCIAL & IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS, PARTNERS & FRIENDS OF MOONDANCE!

Special Promotional Opportunities Available
for Partners, Donors, Supporters, Sponsors & Friends of Moondance!

MORE INFO:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/04_sponsors.info.html

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/04_sponsors.list.html

Moondance International Film Festival provides our generous sponsoring partners with a full spectrum of marketing visibility, including on the website, in the popular blog, print & Internet advertising, flyers, the festival print program, & social media!

Make your donation today at: www.acteva.com/go/miff

Thank you!

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

~~~~ INTERNATIONAL CRANE FOUNDATION ~~~~

Cranes, which mate for life, are the symbol of wisdom, fidelity, purity, vigilance and discipline. They are frequently seen as messengers of the gods. In many myths and folktales the crane is portrayed as the animal guide who leads the hero on the right path. Cranes help bring light into the darkness and are associated with the ability to take people to higher levels of spiritual consciousness.

Mission: The International Crane Foundation (ICF) works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds and flyways on which they depend. ICF is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to these ecosystems.

FOR MORE INFO & TO DONATE: https://www.savingcranes.org

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SCREENWRITERS:

Timeless Writing Tips from the Master of Drama

by J. M. Evenson

All the world’s a stage, and this is the book you need in your library, whether you’re a screenwriter, novelist, playwright, filmmaker, or just want to understand how Shakespeare managed to write such wonderful stories and create those fabulous characters! I love “Shakespeare for Screenwriters”!

This is now my favorite, absolutely must-have book on screenwriting! The table of contents alone is articulate, cleverly-written and gives you imaginative ideas before you even open the first chapter! Using the master’s own writing elements, it eloquently speaks to the essence of writing a great story, in any genre, creating memorable characters, putting together relatable dialog and action that all work together in an easy-to-follow manner. The book will inspire, encourage and guide beginning, intermediate and professional screenwriters toward perfecting their script writing style.

PRE-ORDER NOW FROM THE PUBLISHER: www.mwp.com

or www.amazon.com

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SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

Photo from: www.project.nsearch.com

“The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; that lack of respect for growing, living things soon leads to lack of respect for humans, too.” ~ CHIEF STANDING BEAR

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“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”  ~Native American Proverb ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.”  ~MOHANDAS K. GANDHI ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“It wasn’t the Exxon Valdez captain’s driving that caused the Alaskan oil spill.  It was yours.”  ~Greenpeace ad, New York Times, 25 February 1990 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

INSIDER TIPS:

CREATING WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILMS

By Elizabeth English

Here’s an example of a winning short documentary film screened at the first Moondance in 2000: the “Beyond Words” short doc, directed by Linda Phelan McCoy and Andre Alosine, a cinematic and visual expression, without words, of the truth, sorrow, hope, emotions and thoughts of breast cancer patients. As I remember it, from 13 years ago: it shows a dozen women & kids arriving at a barn on a lovely Rhode Island farm. They go in, take off their shirts & bras (if wearing one), and help each other put wet white plaster over the front tops of their bodies.

No introductions, no explanations, no captions, no dialog or talking heads, other than vague soft chattering in the background. Some women have already had a mastectomy, one needs second one, all will be having one. Some women who will lose a breast cut a hole in the cast where it will be removed. They let the plaster dry, then peel it off, everyone helping each other, kids included. By now, the film audience is starting to understand. Next, they all paint or draw something on the dry body casts. They paint rainbows, birds, red hearts, write poems, & etc. on the casts, then…this is the kicker, everyone carries the painted body casts outside and hangs them on the clothesline to dry, and stand back, smiling.

The camera now sees only the red barn, blue sky, green grass, the music rises, and we see these beautiful, sad, hopeful body casts waving in the breeze. Beyond words. Touching, heartfelt, passionate and real. The film evokes much emotion. See why it won?! The director got a standing ovation for 5 minutes, and half the audience had tears streaming down their faces. People in the audience started giving her money to continue her work with this important program in Rhode Island.

painting by William Erwin

Finding Your Subject: First, select an interesting subject for your documentary film! Choose a subject that is of interest to a wide-ranging audience, and to you, and which will be the kind of project many different types of film festivals will select for screening. A unique story, well-told is what gets selected and wins.

Telling the Story: Write or have a screenwriter write a script for your film! Yes, documentary films need a script, a plot-line, a blueprint, a plan, a storyboard, an outline to follow during all phases of the production, from location scouting, interviews (if any), the shoot, the edit and adding the music background. Tell the story visually. Let your viewers see the story; don’t just tell them.

Avoid “talking heads”! Film is a visual medium, and a documentary film must always be cinematic. Use voice-overs, instead. Dialog or interviews work best with perhaps a 10- to 30-second shot of the speaker, then segue to a visual to show what the speaker is saying or describing. As they say in Hollywood, “Show; don’t tell”.

Cinematography: Use the best camera, lenses and cinematographer you can afford or find, and…

  • Frame virtually all images and shots as if they were paintings or professional photographs for an art gallery or book.
  • Linger on shots long enough to give the viewer time to see and comprehend the subject of each shot or action, but don’t drag it out.
  • Don’t look up or down at your subject; try to stay at eyelevel when pointing the camera.
  • Try to keep the lighting the same or similar when moving from shot to shot.
  • Use close-ups to further define long or wide-angle shots.
  • If using still photos, slowly pan in or out on them; don’t keep the camera static, but keep them to a minimum, or intersperse them throughout the film.
  • If you are, or someone else is, the narrator, let the viewer see you or him/her, so the viewer can relate to the speaker.

Sound: The tone and quality of sound in your doc film is vital to its success. Sound should remain clear and even, throughout. Natural, ambient sound is also very important, and adds depth and a more realistic, recognizable element to the film. Ambient audio levels will usually be lower than other types of audio.

(This text on ambient sound is excerpted from www.mediacollege.com): Ambient sound (AKA ambient audio, ambience, atmosphere, or background noise) means the background sounds which are present in a scene or location. Common ambient sounds include wind, water, birds, crowds, office noises, traffic, etc. Ambient sound is very important in video and film work. It performs a number of functions including:

  • Providing audio continuity between shots.
  • Preventing an unnatural silence when no other sound is present.
  • Establishing or reinforcing the mood.
There are several types of ambient sound used in film production:
  • Matching ambient sound: Any ambient sound recorded to match the ambient sound of a scene.
  • Wild sound: Background noise with distinct sounds, i.e. more than ambient sound, which is not synchronised with the main vision. Example: Children playing in a playground.
  • Buzz track: A general term for ambient sound.
  • Room tone: The sound of an empty room, or a room in which all the actors are standing silently.

Music/Film Score: Definition: A film score (also sometimes called background music or incidental music) is original music written specifically to accompany a film, and can make the difference between a forgettable film or a successful one. The score forms part of the film’s soundtrack, which is timed to begin and end at specific points during the film in order to enhance the dramatic narrative and the emotional impact of the scene in question.

A film score can be artfully used:

to arouse to manipulate or inspire to frighten to soothe & calm to aid in transitions from scene to scene to punctuate to comment to move the plot along to focus attention to add sense of continuity to add information to heighten tempo to add dramatic tension to change mood to add character to define to add dimension …and to give the film or scene a new or different meaning

Editing: (This text on film editing excepted & edited from Wikipedia.org): Film editing is an art, the only art that is unique to cinema, separating filmmaking from other art forms that preceded it, although there are close parallels to the editing process in other art forms like poetry or novel writing. Film editing is often referred to as the “invisible art”, because when it is done well, the viewer can become so engaged that he or she is not even aware of the editor’s work. On its most fundamental level, film editing is the art, technique, and practice of assembling shots into a coherent sequence.

A film editor must creatively work with the layers of images, story, dialogue, music, pacing, to effectively “re-imagine” and even rewrite the film to craft a cohesive whole. Editors play a very dynamic role in the making of a successful film.

Film editing is an art that can be used in diverse ways. It can create provocative montages; become a laboratory for experimental cinema; bring out the emotional truth in a story or subject matter; create a point of view of events; guide the telling and pace of a story; create an illusion; give emphasis to things that would not have otherwise been noted; and even create a vital subconscious emotional connection to the viewer, among many other possibilities.

Budgeting: (This text on film budgeting excepted & edited from Wikipedia.org) Film budgeting refers to the process by which a line producer, unit production manager (UPM) or the filmmaker prepares a budget for a film production. This document is used to secure financing for the film and leads to pre-production, production and post-production of the film, as well as for budgeting in costs of marketing and advertising, insurance, and theatrical distribution, and/or for entry fees and other expenses to submit the film to film festival competitions, which is an effective type of marketing.

A budget is typically divided into four sections: above the line (creative talent), below the line (crew & direct production costs), post-production (editing, visual effects, music, etc.), and other (insurance, completion bond, marketing, & etc.). Film financing can be acquired from private investors, family & friends, colleagues, sponsors, product placement, social media crowdfunding such as Kickstarter.com or Indiegogo.com, a film studio or production company, out-of-pocket funds, and all or any combination of the above.

Some other good examples of Moondance’s winning documentaries:

PEACEABLE KINGDOM: THE JOURNEY HOME: feature documentary, Directed by: Jenny Stein (US). Combining the gripping testimony of farmers breaking a long-held code of silence, and with rare footage demonstrating the rich emotional lives of farm animals, this new documentary from the award-winning filmmakers of THE WITNESS invites viewers on an epic journey of awakening conscience. The farmers’ touching personal experiences with individual animals challenge what they’ve been taught since childhood, forcing them to acknowledge that these beings have greater mental and emotional depth than they were ever led to believe. A Moondance 2009 premiere & festival winner!

FAMILY VALUES: THE MOB AND THE MOVIES, feature documentary, directed by Joseph Consentino & Sandra Consentino (US). This film asks the question: who influenced who? Did the mob influence the movies, or did the movies influence the mob? They break arms, shoot off kneecaps. They leave the gun and take the cannoli. Sometimes they whack people. Stars from “The Sopranos” and other Mafia TV shows and films describe the broader issues of Italian-American identity and Hollywood’s fascination with the Mafia way of life.

BLUE VELVET IN THE SINAI, feature documentary, 52 minutes, directed by Gulrukh Kahn (UK).This lovely film is set in the exotic Sinai desert, Egypt. It focuses on the remarkable relationship between a wild female dolphin in the Red Sea, named Olin, and a hearing- and speech-impaired Bedouin fisherman. Olin gives birth to a male calf, who develops a remarkable bond with a Bedouin child, and the family of dolphins bring healing and prosperity to the village. Each part of this story relates to larger issues such as captivity, oceanic pollution and over-fishing. Ric O’Barry (Oscar-winner for THE COVE) relates stories and evidence relating to captivity and solutions for it, as well as dolphin healing with sonar and giving birth amongst dolphins.

ONE DEGREE MATTERS, feature documentary, directed by Eskil Hardt (Denmark). Now, even one degree matters! Travel to the Arctic to witness climate change at first hand, in this visually stunning travelog. An insider’s view on immediate and realistic solutions for tackling climate change. “It could be called An Inconvenient Truth, Part 2” – The New York Times film review

MISSION OF MERMAIDS, short documentary, directed by Susan Cohn Rockefeller, 15 minutes, (USA). Mission of Mermaids is about the current state of the ocean. Ms. Rockefeller takes a radically personal approach in the film, based on her deep love and concern for the seas. She invokes a mythical and spiritual connection, using the metaphor of the mermaid, as well as describing dire facts: ocean acidification, over-fishing, and pollution. This personal approach offers a powerful way to open a dialogue about changing the human relationship to the sea, knitting our past reverence for the natural world with our understanding of the urgent need to change course.

UNDER OUR SKIN, feature documentary film, directed by: Andy Abrahams Wilson (USA). It’s bigger than AIDS, West Nile Virus, and Avian Flu, combined, yet most physicians don’t recognize it or are afraid to report it. Insurance companies pay experts to say it’s all in your head. And the mainstream medical establishment won’t want you to see this film. Each year tens of thousands go undiagnosed or mis-diagnosed with such conditions as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and even autism, MS and Alzheimer’s. The shocking story of Lyme disease, what may be the fastest-growing infectious disease in the nation, and a hidden epidemic destroying untold numbers of lives.

SUGGESTED READING:

  • The Documentary Film Makers Handbook: A Guerilla Guide, by Genevieve Joliffe & Andrew Zinnes (www.amazon.com)

  • Documentary Storytelling: Making Stronger and More Dramatic Nonfiction Films, by Sheila Curran Bernard (www.amazon.com)

  • Filmmaking for Change: Make Films That Transform The World, by Jon Fitzgerald (www.mwp.com)

  • When The Shooting Stops, the Cutting Begins: A Film Editor’s Story, by Ralph Rosenblum & Robert Karen (www.amazon.com)

  • Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign, by John T. Trigonis (www.mwp.com)

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23 Ways to Get Your Screenplay Rejected

WRITING A MOVIE SCRIPT:
23 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO GET YOUR SCREENPLAY REJECTED

1-13 by Pinaki Ghosh from www.thescreenplaywriters.com

14-23 by Elizabeth English

1. Offer camera directions in your screenplay. Don’t trust the intelligence of the director or cinematographer and offer camera directions in your script like, ‘pan’, ‘zoom’, ‘dolly’, ‘trolley shot’ or ‘low angle shot’. That will make your script look like one from history and is a definite way of getting it rejected.

2. Offer editing directions in your screenplay. Similarly, go ahead… show a complete disregard to the editor’s intelligence and write editing instructions like ‘cut to’, ‘dissolve’, etc. and your screenplay will look like a thing of the past. In modern day screenplays editing directions are no longer in vogue. Only ‘fade in’ and ‘fade out’ are used twice or thrice in an entire screenplay.

3. Do not capitalize character names. Do not capitalize the character names in the beginning, while writing a movie script. Leave them in lowercase text and your screenplay will be rejected for sure. Similarly, leave words that denote sound, like WHOOSH, or CLANG in lowercase, to show how little you know.

4. Make your screenplay shorter than 90 pages or longer than 140 pages. While writing a movie script, you should definitely make it longer than 130 pages, or shorter than 90 pages to make sure your screenplay goes straight into the trash bin, because normal screenplays are 90 pages to 130 pages in length.

5. Write very lengthy dialogs. Writing a movie script? Love writing interesting dialogs? Then go ahead and make them lengthy. Make each dialog lengthier than 5 lines and that will ensure your screenplay is ripped and made into paper airplanes.

6. Write very lengthy scenes. While writing a movie script, make sure your scenes are lengthy enough to get the screenplay rejected. While normally scenes are less than a page in length to maximum three pages, with 5 page scenes being an exception; you should concentrate in making your scenes more than 5 pages in length… to join the rejected screenplay writers’ club.

7. Write lengthy descriptions. While the normal length of writing a scene description is 1 to 4 lines, you should break the rule and write at least 10 line scene descriptions to be a part of the frustrated screenwriters’ league.

8. Use character names that sound and spell similar. Make your character names sound confusingly similar. Or make them start with the same letter, so that the viewers are thoroughly confused.

9. Use character names for very minor characters. Give character names to even minor characters that appear just once and have one line dialogs, to prove you want to get your screenplay rejected. While the rule is, you should use the professions to identify minor characters, rather than names, a violation of the rule is recommended if you want to do the opposite of normal.

Eg.
POLICE OFFICER

Show me your driving license. God save you if you don’t have one.

The above is normal, if this POLICE OFFICER appears only once in the entire movie. In a good screenplay, a name like ‘HARRY’ or ‘TOM’ or ‘DICK’ would have been inappropriate for this role.

10. Use wired slug lines. Scenes start with slug lines like:

INT. COFFEE HOUSE – NIGHT or EXT. BEACH – DAY

While normal screenplay writers use only ‘day’ or ‘night’, you can be a rebel and use wired slug lines like DUSK, DAWN, SUNSET TIME, SUNRISE TIME, to stay ahead in the race of getting your screenplay rejected.

11. Make a mess of the alignment. And finally, make a mess of the alignment. While the rule is, scene slug lines and action descriptions should be extreme left aligned, character names should be center aligned and dialogs should be left aligned, but an inch towards the right.

12. Use plenty of mood descriptions throughout the screenplay. Use of phrases in brackets like (smiles), (looks worried), (laughs out loud) with every possible dialog to prove yourself to be a complete novice. Experienced screenwriters avoid using such phrases as far as possible because these are for the director to decide. Three such uses in a complete good screenplay are allowed.

13. Do not visualize. While writing a movie script, write it just for the sake of writing it. Do not visualize anything in your mind’s eye. Do not bother if your scenes will be picturesque or boring.

14. Exposition in dialog. Have the character explain and describe what is happening on the screen.

 

15. In the action paragraphs, describe in detail what the character is thinking, wanting, expecting, is afraid of, plans to do, how he/she feels about something in the past, or what he/she did long ago. Don’t show it, tell it!

16. Describe the characters in detail, exactly what they are wearing, their age, hair color, weight, etc. Say what movie star they look like. You’re the casting agent, right?

17. Note what copyrighted music should be playing, or what songs are heard: title, artist. This greatly adds to the cost of the production!

18. Don’t have characters mention each others’ names at the beginning of the script. The audience will be reading the screenplay while watching the movie, so they’ll know who is who, OK?

19. Forget about transitions from one scene to another. Just jump right into the next scene without any mention beforehand of what to expect. Audiences love to be surprised and confused.

20. Do not break up dialog with action. Let your character talk on and on. Everybody loves talking heads. Full pages of dialog, with no action, is one of the best ways to have the script rejected.

21. Don’t bother having characters react to each other or to various situations, either visually or in dialog. Just drop it there, leave them, and the audience, hanging, and quickly move on. People in real-life never react to anything, right?

22. Don’t waste time editing that screenplay. Never mind checking spelling, punctuation, grammar, formatting, syntax, missing pages, or a 3-act structure. What you learned in elementary school is good enough. Someone else will edit it for you after its optioned.

23. No need for a great first page. Write a screenplay like a novel, with long 3-page descriptions of the opening scene. Don’t forget to mention how and where the opening credits roll in that scene. You don’t need to “hook” the reader from the first page. They’ll read the whole script, word-for-word, because they’re paid to, and then reject it!



MOONDANCE MARCHES ON!

新年快乐

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

THE YEAR OF THE WATER SNAKE IS UPON US!

If your energy is guided in a positive direction, it can bring intelligent and innovative ideas and successes. (But beware of cunning, unpredictable and deceptive elements!)

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SCROLL ON DOWN:

For info, festival news, fast-forward contest winners, insider tips, recommendations, great photos & thoughts for the day!

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MOVIEBYTES.COM lists Moondance as one of the top 10 film festival competitions worth the entry fee!

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The 2013 Moondance OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES is open for submissions! Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity to showcase your talents and for a good chance to win the Moondance!

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CHECK OUT OUR MANY SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.categories.html

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3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

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3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

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We look forward to previewing your submissions!

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MOONDANCE 2013 FAST-FORWARD CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED*

Prize: 2 free tickets to attend 2013 Moondance film screenings!

Alex Ginsburg
Alma Murray Dunham
Amy Mc Corkle
Andrew Garrett
Chloe Bolan
David Mech
Dawn Leak
Diane Lynn Gardner
Doug Nelson
Gar & Beth Hoover
Gen Hiraiwa
James Cockerham
Jeana H. Grady
Leonardo Reis
Lidice Abreu
Margie Walker
Maria Lennon
Maria Morancho
Mary Goldman
Muri Mc Cage
Patrick Gamble
Richard Levine
Rik Filion
Robin Martin
Rosalie Skinner
Sirin Parkan
Victor Ghizaru
Wendy Wilkins

You may pick up your free tickets at the box office during the film festival

All “FAST-FORWARD” submissions with a final status of winner, finalist or semi-finalist, to be announced in August, will receive an official certificate of your submitted project’s award status!

* The prize-winners listed above include all who submitted a project to the special Moondance 2013 fast-forward contest, regardless of award status.

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A MOONDANCERS WRITES US:

“I thought your most recent news blog was GREAT! I was particularly interested in all you had to say about short stories, which is my new-found love. You are REALLY very helpful to writers. I guess that’s one of your very important missions in life, and you certainly do come to the fore.” ~LORNA KANTER, award-winning artist & writer

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MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

IS NOW OPEN FOR OUR 2013 FESTIVAL EVENT!

SEEKING: UNDERWRITING SPONSOR, PRESENTING SPONSOR, GENERAL SPONSORS, DONORS, FINANCIAL & IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS, PARTNERS & FRIENDS OF MOONDANCE!

Special Promotional Opportunities Available
for Partners, Donors, Sponsors & Friends of Moondance!

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Moondance International Film Festival provides our sponsoring partners with a full spectrum of marketing visibility, including on the website, the blog, print & Internet advertising, flyers, the festival print program, & social media! Make your donation today at: www.acteva.com/go/miff

Thank you!

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INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS:

HOW TO GET AN AGENT!

What Agents Want (and Don’t Want) to See

By Elizabeth English

First, call or write to literary agents who are listed as being willing to look at unsolicited screenplays. Do not send a script unless you are invited to do so!

How to find listed agents:

  • The Hollywood Creative Directory’s Agent/Management directory
  • Writers Digest
  • Writers Guild of America (East & West)

Guidelines for getting an agent:

  1. Write killer titles, loglines and one-sheet synopses for the all the scripts you want to submit to agents.
  2. Write up a one-sheet document with titles and loglines of all your completed screenplays. You may be asked to send these before sending in a screenplay.
  3. Presentation of script: be sure to have a plain cardstock cover, front and back; a title page with all your contact info; three-hole punch white paper; two solid-brass brads in the top and bottom hole.
  4. You may be asked to submit your script digitally, via email. In that case, ask if the agent wants it in a screenwriting program, such as Final Draft, or as a .pdf.
  5. In any case, always be sure to register your script with WGAw or WGAe, and/or copyright it before sending it out!
  6. “Attachments”, in the form of actors, director, producer, and most importantly: money, to your project, will always help get almost any agent interested. Mention this, if applicable, in your cover letter. But don’t send a “wish-list” of actors, director, etc.
  7. If you’ve had a film or films produced from other screenplays you’ve written, definitely mention this in your cover letter.
  8. Getting your screenplay to an agent is a 4-step process:
  9. Have more than one screenplay completed. At least three of your best screenplays need to be completed and ready to go, when and if requested.
  10. In your initial phone call or e-mail, try to find out what genre of story that agent is looking for, at the moment. Agents generally know exactly what the buyers and/or producers want to see, and will usually only request those genres. But needs change all the time, and at a moment’s notice, so let them know what you have, even if they’re not looking for that at the time of your call or email.
  11. Story: This is the first thing agents look at, when considering whether to read your script or not. Write a unique story, well-told.
  12. Writing ability and style. Everything depends on this.
  13. Dialog: your ability to write good, memorable and believable dialog is paramount.
  14. Format and structure: in submitting your work to an agent, you should be sure the script is in proper format and structure. There are many books and online articles on these vital subjects.
  15. Print out your script and read it in hard-copy, checking every word and every line for typos, edits needed, and etc.
  16. Submit a reader’s script, not a production script! No camera angles or technical suggestions. Don’t use (continued) or (con’t.) after every character name and scene or bottom & top of each page.
  17. Remember, you’re the writer, not the director, director of photography, costumer, set director, producer, cinematographer, lighting director, editor, music director, and so on.
  18. Budget: yes, a screenwriter needs to know about this. Many buyers are looking for specific subjects with very specific production budgets. Currently, a low-budget feature film will be $10-20 million, for example. If your script requires action scenes and/or CGI graphics, double that figure.
  19. If you know The Business at all, make the agent aware of this, so he or she will know you are a professional.
  20. Let the prospective agent know you are open to re-writes and edits of your scripts. You will almost always be asked to do re-writes, edits and revisions, sometimes “on spec”, so prepare yourself mentally and be agreeable to it.
  21. Be willing and able to pitch your screenplay to production companies and studios, with the agent, in person. If you live far from L.A., let the agent know you can arrange to go there for pitching appointments. Try to schedule more than one pitch meeting at a time.
  22. Be friendly and easy-going, yet professional and self-confident. Hollywood, even though it’s a “snake-pit” at times, is run on connections and contacts. If they don’t like you, and don’t feel they can work with you, you don’t have a chance there.
  23. Be honest! Never, ever hype yourself or your script unless the information is absolutely true & provable. If you’ve won a contest with your script, let them know. And if you’ve been submitting your scripts around to everybody for years, and they ask, tell the truth. Production companies and studios keep lists of what has been submitted to them, and you don’t want to embarrass your new agent!

How to get “discovered”:

  • InkTip.com is a good website to post your scripts on, to be seen by many agents, producers, and development company executives)
  • If you live in or near Los Angeles, attend parties and other events where Hollywood types will be.
  • Enter the top film festival competitions, and win!

What should an Agent do for you?

  • Send out your loglines and one sheet synopses, and scripts to Development Executives at production companies and studios
  • Give suggestions on potential edits, revisions and re-writes that may be needed to sell the script
  • Set up pitch sessions for you at production companies and studios
  • Get the best deal he or she can for you, at or above schedule of WGA minimums.
  • Encourage and inspire you to create new material and projects.
  • An agent should NOT charge you any reading or consultation fees, nor for any expenses incurred for promoting you or your script. The agent will be compensated from his or her 10 or 15 % of the sale of your script.

What agents DO NOT want to see:

  • A script sent to them “cold”, with no phone call, e-mail or letter first
  • A script that is too long (over 130 pages), or too short (under 90 pages)
  • A script that is bound incorrectly (no brads, no cover, no title page)
  • A script that is not formatted correctly & has grammatical and/or spelling errors
  • A cover letter that is more than one page long
  • A script that is mostly descriptions of people and locations, like a novel
  • A script with unrealistic or stilted/boring dialog
  • A script where the real action of the story begins late, after page 10 or 20
  • A script with more than 100 scenes (each scene costs money)
  • A script with a prospective production budget over that what is requested
  • A script that has a lot of well-known copyrighted music noted in the text.
  • A script that is not in the genre requested
  • A writer who is unwilling to consider re-writes, revisions and edits
  • A script that has any typos, misspellings or poor syntax
  • A script without conflict in the plot and story-line
  • A script without interesting, memorable characters
  • A story without character development
  • A storyline that has been done a million times
  • An incomplete screenplay
  • A script that has been shopped around for years
  • A writer who calls or e-mails sooner than 2 weeks after the agent received the script

If and when you do call an agent, after you’ve sent your query letter, title & logline, and synopsis, then the screenplay, if requested, and waiting at least two weeks to get a response, don’t ask, “Did you get my screenplay? Did you read it? Did you like it?” Ask, instead, “Have you had a chance to take a look at (title of screenplay)?” If the agent or assistant or intern says “not yet”, and he or she probably will, ask when it might be OK to call again to follow up.

SUGGESTED READING & RESOURCES:

Relevant articles, by Elizabeth English:

Books & Magazines:

  • Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434
  • Linda Seger’s How to Make a Good Screenplay Great
  • Linda Seger’s How to Make a Good Screenwriter Great
  • David Howard’s A Writer’s Guide to the Craft and Elements of a Screenplay
  • Creative Screenwriting
  • Scr(i)pt Magazine

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SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

“Aurora on Ice” Photo by Thilo Bubek

“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart.” ~ INUIT BLESSING

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It is a great paradox, yet a powerful spiritual principle, that an act of sharing benefits the giver infinitely more than the receiver.” ~ YEHUDA BERG, Kabbhalist

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“One of the hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.” ~ DAVID RUSSELL, Scottish classical guitarist ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Andrew Wyeth painting

“It is better to sleep on things beforehand than to lie awake worrying about them afterward.” ~ BALTAZAR GRACIAN, (1601-1689) Jesuit & writer of the Spanish Baroque literary style ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“In this world, I would rather live two days like a tiger than two hundred years like a sheep.” ~ TIPU SULTAN, (1782-1799) scholar, soldier and poet, also known as the Tiger of Mysore, India ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~ NELSON MANDELA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Take a leap of faith today, even if you’re not sure what’s going to happen. Your chances for success are greater than you think. Let go of expectations, and embrace the unknown. You’ll be amazed at what you will find!” ~ Source Unknown ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of weather. ~ JOHN RUSKIN

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Read about: how to win a screenplay competition; how to win a film festival competition; winning titles & loglines for films & scripts; screenplay submissions; movie script writing; writing character, dialog & action; how to get an agent; what Hollywood wants to see; directing indie films, documentaries, short films, animation; film scores; stage plays; short stories; TV MOW; TV pilots; kids films; music videos; radio plays, and more!

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/05_other.ezineindex.html

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WHAT YOU NEED
TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOONDANCE:

  • As Moondance’s founder, executive director & artistic director, I have had the rare pleasure of personally previewing and judging every single film, reading all screenplays and other written works, and listening to all music and film scores submitted to the annual competition.
  • I have selected all the films to be screened and all the winners in every category, and have done so, successfully, from the very first Moondance, in 2000.
  • I do not travel to other film festivals looking for films to invite. In the rare event that a very special film is invited to be screened at Moondance, it is clearly labeled as “invited”, and it can have no chance of winning an award. Only submitted films have that opportunity.
  • When submitting your work to the Moondance annual competition, you can be 100% assured that it will be carefully previewed and judged fairly.
~~Elizabeth English Founder, Executive Director, Artistic Director, Moondance International Film Festival

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

Moondance founder & director, Elizabeth English, with 8’ white python, at Kok River, in Thailand, January 2013

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MOONDANCE GOOD NEWS:

• LINKEDIN.COM lists Moondance in the top 1% of visits, endorsements, & networking by their over 200 million world-wide members! Also, Moondance was recently listed at LinkedIn.com as a top LinkedIn Influencer!

• WORDPRESS.COM lists this Moondance blog as “an Internet phenomenon”, with an incredible 80% open-rate & a 50% click-through rate, compared with the standard 8% open rate & less than 1% click-through rate for other WP blogs!

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog! ~~

If you’re not yet a subscriber, please subscribe now:

www.moondancefilmfestival.com/blog

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NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me, will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

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MAKE A SPLASH WITH THE MOONDANCE FILM FESTIVAL!

MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

WINTER NEWS & INSIDER TIPS!

Clark Little photo: www.clarklittlephotography.com/

Let’s make a splash!

SCROLL ON DOWN:

For news, info, festival news,

insider tips, recommendations,

great photos & thoughts for the day!

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

CHECK OUT OUR MANY SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.categories.html

PLUS! We have a new submission category for 2013:

WEB SERIES WEBISODES!

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

We look forward to previewing your submissions!

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INSIDER TIPS FOR SHORT STORY WRITERS:

SHORT STORIES & FILM

The short story genre is one of my personal favorites. I was inspired to add that category to the Moondance competition by Francis Ford Coppola, who started Zoetrope.com for short-story writers, because he believes that short stories are one of the best ways to find the seed of an idea for a feature film. I agree. Short illustrated graphic novels and comic books are also a part of the short story genre. I encourage writers to submit up to 3 short stories (for a single entry fee) for the best chance to win. I sincerely look forward to reading your stories each season.

Short stories have frequently been adapted for radio dramas, A popular example of this is “The Hitch-Hiker“, read by Orson Welles. Sometimes, short stories are adapted into television specials or shows, and are often made into short films, usually adapted by other people, and even as feature-length films.

Some short stories and novellas that were made into successful feature films:

“Alice in Wonderland”, by Lewis Carroll;

“The Body Snatcher”, by Robert Louis Stevenson;

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, by Truman Capote;

“Brokeback Mountain”, by Annie Proulx;

“Children of the Corn”, by Stephen King;

“A Christmas Carol”, by Charles Dickens;

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, by F. Scott Fitzgerald;

“Apocalypse Now”, by Joseph Conrad;

“It’s a Wonderful Life”, by Phillip Van Doren Stern;

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, by James Thurber;

“The Gift of the Magi”, by O. Henry;

“2001: a Space Odyssey”, by Arthur C. Clarke.

A short story is a brief work of literature, usually written in narrative prose. Emerging from earlier oral storytelling traditions, the short story has grown to encompass a body of work so diverse as to defy easy characterization. At its most prototypical, the short story features a small cast of named characters, and focuses on a self-contained incident with the intent of evoking a “single effect” or mood. In so doing, short stories make use of plot, resonance, and other dynamic components to a far greater degree than is typical of an anecdote, yet to a far lesser degree than a novel.

The short story has been considered a crafted form in its own right. Short story writers may define their works as part of the artistic and personal expression of the form. A classic definition of a short story is that one should be able to read it in one sitting. The maximum word count of the short story is anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 words. Stories of fewer than 1,000 words are sometimes referred to as “short-short stories”, or “flash fiction”.

As a concentrated form of narrative prose fiction, the successful short story must have all the elements of the traditional dramatic structure, which is also true for a feature or short screenplay:

ACT I

EXPOSITION: the introduction of setting, situation and main characters

COMPLICATION: the event that introduces the conflict

ACT II

RISING ACTION: crisis (the decisive moment for the protagonist and his or her commitment to a course of action)

ACT III

CLIMAX: the point of highest interest in terms of the conflict and the point with the most action

RESOLUTION: the point when the conflict is resolved

The endings of many short stories are abrupt and open, and may, or may not, have a moral or practical lesson. O. Henry had an inimitable hand for isolating some element of society and describing it with an incredible economy and grace of language in his popular short stories.

As with any art form, the exact characteristics of a short story will vary by creator. Short stories tend to be less complex than novels. Usually a short story focuses on one incident; has a single plot, a single setting, a small number of characters; and covers a short period of time. The modern short story form emerged from oral story-telling traditions, the brief moralistic narratives of parables and fables, and the prose anecdote, all of these being forms of a swiftly-sketched situation that quickly comes to its point.

In order for a short story to be considered for a film adaptation, it must be cinematic, visual, have vivid characters and dialog, action, 3-act structure, as well as a unique, clear and interesting story. American writer O. Henry’s short stories are known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization, and with clever, thought-provoking, surprise  twist endings.

Some text & info excerpted from Wikipedia & edited by Elizabeth English

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SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles one has overcome.” ~ BOOKER T. WASHINGTON

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“The key to completing large life goals is having the willpower and the skills to do so.” ~ excerpted from www.luminosity.com

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“Freedom” by Zenos Frudakis

“You can travel great distances, but still stay where you are. 

Sometimes we spend our lives running from one place to the next, but remain the same person. This is why the same types of situations, people, and chaos seem to follow us wherever we go, until we discover the lessons we are meant to learn and make an inner change.” ~ YEHUDA BERG, Kabhallist

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“The Flatirons” view from Boulder, Colorado, winter

“Winter is an etching; spring is a watercolor; summer an oil painting, and autumn is a mosaic of them all.” ~ STANLEY HOROWITZ, American author, poet

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“Jones beach Sunset” Photo by Christopher Anastasiadis

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” ~ NIDO QUBEIN, motivational speaker

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In memory of CHARLES DURNING, 1923-2012, award-winning actor in film, TV and theatre in his prolific 50-year career as a consummate Oscar-nominated character actor, playing everyone from a Nazi colonel to the pope to Dustin Hoffman’s would-be suitor in “Tootsie”, WWII hero, and a faithful Moondance supporter and friend. “I never turned down anything and never argued with any producer or director,” Durning told The Associated Press in 2008, when he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me, will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

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A MOONDANCE VALENTINE & NEWS!

“Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening…” ~ Robert Frost

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

SCROLL ON DOWN:

For news, info, festival news, insider tips, recommendations,

great photos & thoughts for the day!

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The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

CHECK OUT OUR MANY SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.categories.html

PLUS! We have a new submission category for 2013:

WEB SERIES WEBISODES!

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

We look forward to previewing your submissions!

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MOONDANCE NEWS:

Hurray! Moondance now has one of the top 1% most-viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/profile/12/35a/248

EMAIL FROM LinkedIn, February 12, 2013: Elizabeth, Congratulations! You have one of the top 1% most-viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. LinkedIn now has 200 million members. Thanks for playing a unique part in our community!

I want to personally thank you for being part of our community. Your journey is part of our journey, and we’re delighted and humbled when we hear stories of how our members are using LinkedIn to connect, learn, and find opportunity.

With sincere thanks, Deep Nishar, LinkedIn Senior Vice President, Products & User Experience

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WordPress.com reports that this super-popular Moondance news blog has an unheard-of 80% open-rate, and a 50% click-through rate, which is an Internet phenomenon! The standard rate for other WP blogs is only an 8% open-rate and less than a 1% click-through rate.

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Welcome to Moondance’s new webster, Kelly Brenner, who works to keep the website fresh. Kelly lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her website:  http://www.sailordesign.com

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PLUS! We have a new submission category for 2013:

WEB SERIES WEBISODES!

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MOONDANCERS WRITE US:

“Thanks for this blog email. I find it beautiful and very interesting – a cut way beyond the usual. Whatever you do, keep it up. And let me know of future developments.” ~~ NAOMI LAZARD, playwright & co-founder of the Hamptons International Film Festival

“Just thought I would say that your blog newsletters are fabulous, they always seem to arrive when I am having a bad day and they lift me right up and remind me that I am an artist, not a bureaucrat.” ~ JACK NIEDENTHAL, award-winning Moondance filmmaker, Marshall Islands

Well done. I’m convinced that this is a festival close to my heart. I’m inspired to give Moondance a try.” ~ MACDONALD ANNIE

As a Finalist in the Moondance International Film Festival 2007 for my full length male friendship comedy, “A Burning Desire,” I received several calls from story editors and producers. I am in talks right now for two short comedy screenplays, “Uncle Henry’s Funeral” and “The Romance of Esther Kiddish”. Moondance really came through for me!” ~ LORNA KANTER, screenwriter, artist

“I’m proud to announce that, thanks to the 2012 Moondance win for my feature screenplay, ROUGHNECKS!, InkTip.com has placed a promotional advertisement, for free, at the top of  their current magazine listings, which goes out to producers and directors looking for good writers and  scripts to purchase.” ~ MICHAEL L. EDWARDS

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INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS & FILMMAKERS:

PAUL FLECK’S 5 MAJOR RULES IN WRITING A FILM SYNOPSIS:

(from a LinkedIn Guest Post)

Even after all the work you’ve done writing a great film script, raising plenty of money, shooting and editing a masterpiece, films (and scripts) are ultimately sold based on the title, the logline, and the synopsis.

As an audience member you do the same thing. When you’re scrolling through Netflix or standing in the rain at Redbox you read the synopsis to decide if you want to see that movie.

Today’s guest post comes from former Marketing Executive at Paramount Studios, Paul Fleck. Paul was at Paramount for an unusually long and very successful career during the studios’ release of TITANIC,  FORREST GUMP, BRAVEHEART, CLUELESS, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and a slew of other box-office hits.

Here are Paul Fleck’s five major rules in writing a film synopsis:

  1. Find a HOOK. Mood and tone in particular are both critical so the use of special and/or unusual adjectives is in order.
  2. Introduce the main characters. Describe — succinctly — their conflicts, goals and motivations. No detailed physical descriptions here unless critical to the story.
  3. Build the body of your synopsis with the high points of the story in chronological order. Paragraphs must be tight. Each line should include action, reaction and decision whenever possible!
  4. Use four or less paragraphs to convey the crisis and resolution of the story. Describe the main character’s reactions. Don’t keep the reader guessing. Any synopsis MUST include the resolution to the story.
  5. Keep writing — and re-writing –until every sentence is polished to perfection. Use of strong adjectives and verbs is a must — and of course a synopsis is always written in the present tense. Make every word count!

The synopsis is a crucial sales tool. Make it work to your benefit!

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.” ~ SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

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“By all means, don’t say ‘if I can’, say ‘I will.’” ~ ABRAHAM LINCOLN

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Small Things Considered: frost crystals on ice

“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.” ~ MARCEL PROUST

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Japanese moss garden

The cultivation and attainment of wisdom is part of the goal and practice of Buddhism. In order to attain wisdom one must understand the nature of things (the dharma), and part of the practice of Buddhism is the investigation and appreciation of Nature. At the heart of Buddhist philosophy is the realization of no “self” or “I” (and hence the delusion) as a separate self-existing entity.

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“Happiness is sharing a bowl of cherries and a book pf poetry with a shade tree. It doesn’t eat much, doesn’t read much, but listens well, and is a most gracious host.” ~ ASTRID ALAUDA, poet, author

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“Remember your childhood? That complete certainty you had, looking at the grown-ups, that you would never be like them. It was a lonely feeling, but euphoric, too!” ~ JANE CAMPION, Oscar®-winning film director

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Mahatma Gandhi’s glasses

“A powerful exercise to awaken our consciousness to what is really important: Consider what you would leave behind if today was your last. 

Physical things always deteriorate; it’s the non-physical things – wisdom, love, energy, friendship, etc. – that when we give away leave a lasting legacy. 

What can you give of yourself that will live on forever?” ~ YEHUDA BERG, Kabbalist

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me, will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

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MOONDANCE FEBRUARY NEWS & PHOTOS!

Sculpture by Charlotte Zink, at Zink Metal Art

Mermaid is home from beautiful, friendly,  serene Thailand & back in the USA!

WATCH & LISTEN TO THIS LOVELY VIDEO OF THAI FOREST MONKS

SCROLL ON DOWN:

For news, info, insider tips, recommendations,

great photos & thoughts for the day!

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

CHECK OUT OUR MANY SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

PLUS! We have a new category for 2013:

WEB SERIES WEBISODES!

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

Challenges come to teach us something, to make us stronger, or to shatter our belief system about what we can and can’t overcome. 

Once we understand the real purpose of whatever challenge we face, we will see the truth: there are no obstacles. Only opportunities to grow.” ~ Yehuda Berg

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INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS & FILMMAKERS:

THE FIELD OF DREAMS:

Conflict as Metaphor

By Elizabeth English

“If you build it, they will come!” The skillful use of metaphor can give visible shape to a character and recognizable, believable impetus to conflicts in film. The deeper meaning of a situation becomes clear and powerful to the varied cinema audience, when metaphors for conflict are utilized. The film, “Field of Dreams”, is one example of strong use of this device. Put in the simplest terms, a farmer, played by Kevin Costner, down on his luck (conflict), is advised by a voice only he hears, to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield in Iowa. He fights with his wife, his friends and the bank over this wildly improbable notion (conflicts). He builds the baseball diamond anyway, always believing in his dream, though he has no idea why he does it (conflict). He just “has to”. He solicits the reluctant help of a famous & combative author (conflict), and a long-dead doctor. The ghosts of former baseball players, including the farmer’s deceased father, appear. The film ends with the farmer finally playing catch with his father and rectifying past wrongs, the doctor saves the life of the farmer’s child (conflict), the author goes to his fate, peacefully at last, and the financial fate of the farm and his family is salvaged when long lines of cars arrive with paying baseball fans (solution to conflicts).

The farm itself is a metaphor for one’s career or chosen path in life, which is in conflict with the protagonist’s social and situational milieu. The cornfield/baseball diamond is a metaphor depicting a small portion of that life, but which affects and is in conflict with all other parts of his life. The farmer is Everyman/woman. The wife, the child, the friends and relatives, the bankers, the author and the doctor, as well as the ghostly baseball players and the neighbors, are all recognizable and human metaphors, to whom the audience can relate, for conflicts in one person’s life; past, present and future. The farmer’s character is identified by his conflicts and how he deals with them.

Visual metaphors can speak directly and visibly to our characters’ conflicting feelings and emotions, when used to convey abstractions, such as death, love, fear, joy. A bare winter field can convey death or hopelessness as the character trudges across the frozen wasteland; a bright red balloon floating upward into a blue summer sky can impart happiness or a character surpassing expectations, a sense of freedom, irreplaceable loss, a letting go, or even childlike emotions of simple joy. A woman sadly gazing into pieces of a broken mirror tells the audience more about her personal conflict than does a page of dialog. In the short film, “The Unique Oneness of Christian Savage”, a child’s best friend falls from the tall tree in which they were playing, and is killed…the surviving child runs from the pious words spoken at the funeral and grabs a broken tree branch, and beats at the “evil” tree that killed his little friend. Conflict in film made visible and powerful! And without a single word of dialog.

NORMA RAE tells the story of a factory worker, played by Sally Field, from a small town in North Carolina, who becomes involved in the labor union activities at the textile factory where she works, a cotton mill that has taken too much of a toll on the health of her family for her to ignore her Dickensian working conditions. The young mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved. After hearing a speech by New York union organizer Reuben Warshowsky, Norma Rae decides to join the effort to unionize her shop. This causes conflict at home when Norma Rae’s husband says she’s not spending enough time in the home.

The film “Cool Hand Luke” beautifully shows the conflict between the protagonist/hero, Luke, played by Paul Newman, and his captors, who are inhumanly cruel and evil and hold all the cards. Luke seems to have no hope of escape or of retribution., though he makes every effort, only to be doomed to return to solitary confinement over and over, and to further punishment.

Similarly, the film “The Great Escape”, starring the late Steve McQueen, is filled with conflict against the Nazi captors, who are in conflict with the prisoners who try to escape, and whom are killed or re-captured for their trouble. Some other powerful examples of well-written conflict in film are “Babette’s Feast”, “Dersu Uzala”, “American Beauty”, “Jules et Jim”, “The Bagdad Café”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Dr. Strangelove”, “The Virgin Spring”, “Mulan”, “Sophie’s Choice”, “The Life of Pi”, “Midnight Cowboy” and “La Strada”, to name just a few.

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, is about two of the most memorable, conflicted characters in movie history, Clarice Starling, played by Jodi Foster, and Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, and their strange, strained relationship. Both are ostracized by the worlds they want to inhabit–Lecter, by the human race because he is a serial killer and a cannibal, and Clarice, by the law enforcement profession because she is a woman. Both feel powerless–Lecter because he is locked in a maximum security prison and Clarice because she is surrounded by men who tower over her and fondle her with their eyes. (excerpted & adapted from a Roger Ebert review)

There are five distinct types of conflict that can be utilized in screenwriting. Inner or personal conflict, relational conflict, social or local conflict, situational conflict, and universal or cosmic conflict. All five types of conflict can be in a single screenplay, and can involve most, if not all of the characters, interacting with each other and with the protagonist and antagonist(s).

Conflict as the central event drives the story and the characters. Conflict in the plot structure breathes life into your story! The audience relates to your protagonist and to the conflicts he or she faces. The patterns of tension resulting from the visible and invisible forces the characters overcome create a believable reality for the filmgoer, and increase the film’s impact on that audience.

Inner conflict is the hardest type of conflict to convey successfully in a film, if that’s the central focus of conflict in the story. It’s also the most difficult kind of screenplay to sell, despite the recent success of such films about inner, personal conflict, like “American Beauty”. In the comedy, “Tootsie”, the protagonist goes through conflict with his original situation (poverty, wanting to be a great actor), to personal conflict (lack of confidence in his ability to pull off the scam), relational (falling in love with a woman who thinks the protagonist is a woman), social conflict (with his boss and co-workers, friends, the father of the woman he loves, and his TV audience), and another situational conflict (should he let the cat out of the bag in order to win the heart of the woman he loves?). Only when inner, societal, situational, or universal conflict is projected outward toward another character, and becomes relational, and is therefore the basis of the clear story-line, does it have the most dramatic impact. THELMA & LOUISE, starring Susan Sarandon & Geena Davis, Before their journey is done, these two conflicted characters will have undergone a difficult rite of passage, and will have finally discovered themselves.

The wildly-popular American TV reality series, “Survivor”, is an archetypal example of strong conflicts among a group of people, and of those clear conflicts driving the “story”. The producers and directors of the reality-based series emphasize conflicts when editing each week’s film footage. The millions of fanatic audience members cared about the characters, or they hated them. The TV viewers hoped that their favorites remained on the island, jungle or various exotic locations, and that one of them would win the prize. They argued on internet chat rooms and message boards, and around the office water cooler or in the halls at school about complete strangers whom they perceived to be bad guys or good guys worthy of achieving the show’s goal, of winning the million dollars, despite the characters’ conflicts with isolation, hunger, danger, competition with the other “tribe”, and with each other. Same with “Downton Abbey”, “Mad Men”, “Breaking Bad”, “The Simpsons” and “American Idol”. Conflict, conflict, conflict!

THE COLOR PURPLE, As a young teenager, Celie, played by Whoopi Goldberg, is raped by the man she takes to be her father, and both of her babies are taken away from her. Told she cannot have more children, she is given to a brutal farmer named Mister (Danny Glover), who beats her, uses her as a servant and as a receptacle for his lust, and convinces her she is ugly, but we can empathize with her struggle and ultimate victory. We learn something about what it must have been like to be her, and share her conflicts.
 Celie is a great & powerful movie character, played with astonishing grace and tenderness, and to feel her story is to be blessed with her humanity. (excerpted & adapted from a Roger Ebert review)

Conflict is the ultimate basis of dramas, action films and comedies, and is the key ingredient for great characterizations and is key to a successful screenplay and film. All conflict occurs when a character has a goal that is not shared with another character, whether it’s the protagonist and antagonist, &/or secondary characters in the story. One will win and the other will lose, or may come around to the viewpoint and goals of the main character. Build each hurdle or obstacle your protagonist faces higher than the last. Make each subsequent conflict be more insurmountable or impossible than the one before.

In a film, the audience comes to observe and to experience the story’s conflicts and the expected or surprising conclusion. The audience wants the protagonist to have as much trouble reaching his or her goal as is possible. The antagonist must be as strong as, or stronger than, the protagonist. The more powerful and persuasive the antagonist, the greater the eventual victory is for the protagonist. The last five or ten pages of the script should play out the final conflict and answer the question whether the central character will realize his or her goal.

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A MOONDANCER WRITES US:

“Just wanted to thank you for the wonderful information and insight that you put into the festival blog. It’s such a joy to have people in the world that value and share the beauty around us. I’m so glad we found you.” ~ HEATHER M. SPENCER, Mission Positive Films

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

Annalia, Paraguay, photo by Britt Newell

“You come into this world naked, and you leave this world naked. What remains is the goodness you have done. All that we leave behind is that which we’ve given away.” ~YEHUDA BERG

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The Dalai Lama

“…it is one thing to hear the lesson, another to learn it, and yet another to live by the lesson…” ~ DOMINIQUE BROWNING, Slow Love blog

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Often we don’t even realize who we’re meant to be because we’re so busy trying to live out someone else’s ideas. But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.”~ OPRAH WINFREY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Amelia, photo by SKV

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” ~ ANNA FREUD

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Photo by Dominique Browning

It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.” ~ PHILIP ADAMS

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You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~  ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

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Reclining Buddha, Shanghai, China

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” ~ THE BUDDHA

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Seek beauty, truth, harmony…the promise of the future and the blessings of today. Live well, laugh often, love much, gain the respect & the love of children; fill your niche, accomplish your tasks; leave the world better than you found it. Appreciate Earth’s beauties & express it. Look for the best in others and give the best you have.” ~ Source of quote: in dispute

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“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live, if you are always looking for the meaning of life.” ~ ALBERT CAMUS

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“Hollow Man” sculpture by Bruno Catalano, France

“Enlightenment is simply the falling away of untruths and darkness so that the inner light, that has been there all along, is revealed. It is a process of unveiling, rather than  one of attainment.” ~ LYNNE FORREST

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Cornwall, UK, Seascape

“The more I see of life, the more I perceive that only through solitary communion with nature can one gain an idea of its richness and meaning.” ~ CYRIL CONNOLLY

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Peace is not the absence of chaos, commotion, or challenges. 

Peace is to be in the midst of those things, while remaining calm, and with love in your heart.” ~ YEHUDA BERG

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

VISIT THAILAND!

“The Land of a Million Smiles!”

Elizabeth receiving blessings from a Buddhist Monk at a temple in Northern Thailand

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OUTLINING IN REVERSE!

By AARON HAMBURGER

NY Times, January 22, 2013

In my experience, one of the surest ways to kill the creative energy of a work of fiction at its inception is with an outline. During my early years as a writer I dutifully worked with the outlines of my youth. However, the longer I wrote, the more loose the structure of those outlines became. The numbers and letters gradually transformed into bulleted key words or bolded phrases, little Hansel and Gretel bread crumbs I left for myself to find and expand during revision.  Later on, I wrote in stages, first blocking out the general parameters of my piece, then going back to fill in the details. It’s much the same way a sculptor begins by carving into a hunk of raw clay with broad strokes to determine the proportions of the limbs before going into muscles, veins and fingernails.

Read more: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/21/outlining-in-reverse/?hp

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LGMA TV: http://www.lgma.tv/

Georges Leclere, CEO, Georges has over 40 years of experience in television and new media, starting in 1968 as a producer and on-air personality in Lebanon and later in his native France. Currently, Georges is internationally involved in the Florida Media Market, the Sichuan TV Festival, the Seoul Drama Awards and was the Director of the Competition and Awards at the Banff Festival. Much of the programming he’s done recently through LGMA has been focused on fighting the causes of climate change, including format game shows “Go for Green!”, “Worried Green” and “District Green.” www.lgma.tv

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Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha

By Thich Nhat Hanh

Drawn from original sources, Old Path White Clouds is the beautiful classic recounting of the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha over the course of eighty years. If you read only one book on Buddhism, let it be this one. Thich Nhat Hanh, a monk, is one of the world’s great teachers, and this life of Buddha is his masterpiece. Every chapter is a perfect gem, every idea put forth bears witness not only to the noblest spiritual tradition, but to the purity of heart of its author. This is literature of an everlasting kind. The art of narrative found here really has no equal in all of contemporary philosophical literature. Beautifully delicate line drawings accompany every chapter like a faint temple bell.  Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, a renowned Zen master, a poet, and a peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, and is the author of many books, including the best-selling The Miracle of Mindfulness.

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STEPHEN MCGHEE LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS

CONVERT YOUR POTENTIAL NOW!

Each of us has greatness within. That may sound cliché but it’s true. You want to accomplish amazing things in your life and career. Some of us want to leave a powerful legacy. It isn’t always easy. It requires vigilance and a high degree of commitment.  Stephen McGhee works with people who want to convert potential into results. He supports and empowers his clients to live into their leadership possibilities. This is one of the most important choices of your life. http://www.mcgheeleadership.com/

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

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NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

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Titles & Loglines: 25 Words Open the Door

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
TITLES & LOGLINES

By Elizabeth English

Have a fabulous, unique idea for a movie? That’s wonderful, but you need to know how to turn your great story into a great logline. There is and always has been only one real secret to success in the entertainment industry. Tell a great story. Period. And you need to figure out how to tell that fabulous story in only 25 words or less! You need to learn how to get your script idea enthusiastically read by an agent and then a producer, director and actors. Learn what they look for in a title and logline. Your first impression to these movers and shakers is all about the fine art of pitching your film or screenplay, your TV series concept or story idea, via your eye-catching title and logline.

“SELL THE SIZZLE; NOT JUST THE STEAK!”

A great title for your film or screenplay is the first (and maybe only) introduction to an agent, a producer, director or studio. “You’ve got 3 minutes; pitch me what you’ve got,” is what you’ll hear from the entertainment industry movers & shakers who might buy your project. But you probably wouldn’t even get that meeting or a reply to your query letter, if you didn’t have an interesting title and logline that caught their eye.

You can find that great, eye-catching title within your screenplay text, and then write a sizzling logline to go with it. Know how to “dress” your script for success, make it stand out from all the others, and get it noticed in the first round.

Whether you’re a newbie, a struggling writer, or an old pro; a screenwriter, television writer, or story-teller, you need to know the latest & greatest on how to break in to today’s film & television industry, how to further your success, and how to get your spec screenplay put into the “weekend read” pile, and seriously considered within the Hollywood shark-pit. And how to adapt your logline for whomever will be reading it. Yes, I hate to say it, but you’ll need different loglines for the same script, for sending it out to a director, a producer, an actor or an agent. That very first impression may be the only chance you’ve got. And remember, it’s worth a whole LOT of money, if it sells the screenplay.

As screenwriters, we use dynamic titles and loglines to sell our scripts. We use them in query letters to impress agents and to get their attention and to encourage them to ask to see the script. We need a title and logline that really rocks! Great loglines can often work better as a sales tool than whole screenplays can do. Agents and producers are looking for easy, quick reads. Loglines provide less for them to say no to than a synopsis or a complete script does. The logline introduces the story to them, without forcing them to read the whole script to know what your story is and if it might be a concept they can sell to a producer.

HOW NOT TO WRITE A LOGLINE

Don’t simply summarize your movie with set-up, conflict, and resolution. Don’t just write a one-sentence TV Guide-style logline emphasizing the main storyline. Don’t limit yourself to the set-up or the plot. Don’t write that the story is “exciting”, “amazing”, a “blockbuster”. Never describe the details of your script in the logline or leave out important information. Try not to use your characters’ names in a logline.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

Do emphasize the unique elements of your script that enable audiences and readers to connect with the situation and to identify with the protagonist. Do use “buzz-words”, like “love”, “death”, “sex”, “adventure”, “mystery”, “romance” that help the reader identify with the story. Consider writing a high-concept line at the end, to make your story instantly recognizable to anyone. A high-concept logline might be something like “When Harry Met Sally” aboard the “Titanic”. Or “Braveheart” meets “City Slickers”, or even “Shakespeare In Love” with “The Witches of Eastwick”.

You’ve got to cram a lot into a short, three-sentence logline: genre, conflict, character, action, location, time, any crisis to be resolved, hint at the potential transformation of the main character, marketability, and do it all in 25 words or less, all in present tense. And it needs to sizzle! The synopsis and logline are the keys that open the door to getting your script read. The same amount of thought that a writer takes in writing a script should also be taken in writing the logline. A logline is not a mini version of your script! It’s much, much harder to write the three-sentence logline than it is to write the 100 to 120 page screenplay.

A reader should be able get the full story concept of the script from these one to three sentences. He or she should know immediately what the whole movie is about and get excited about the story-line and idea, and can visualize the finished film. Always consider who your target audience is. Who’s going to be reading your title and logline first? Unfortunately, your first reader may be a young college intern working for free in the producer’s or agent’s basement mailroom. Your first reader could well be the producer’s temporary secretary, or a jaded and bored assistant. He might be a guy who only likes “Scream” or “Matrix” and you’ve asked him to read your romantic comedy, “Sleepless in Seattle” script. Or your first reader could be a young woman who loves “The Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and you’ve mailed out “The Rock”.

Use that title and logline to make them sit up and take notice, and then to send the script up to the next level.

GREAT TITLES

I received a script submission, entitled “JENNY, THE RED-HEADED WHORE”. I didn’t want to read it. It went to the bottom of the pile to be read when I absolutely had to. Well, guess what? When I finally read the script, with much trepidation, it was one of the best scripts I’d ever read! This script was one of the five finalists for Moondance. I convinced the author to change the title to “The Virgins”.

Another writer sent me a script called “THE TENT”. Who wants to read about a tent? In her script, however, I learned that the protagonist was a big, strong and independent woman who braved a winter in Alaska in a tent. Her family even called her “Alaska”. So when she and her husband had finally completed the log cabin, they climbed up on the roof to enjoy the Northern Lights in the night sky. He reached his hand down to her and said, “dance with me, Alaska.” That great line of dialog became her new script title! It was there all along and just needed to be found.

The title of your screenplay needs to fit perfectly with your logline and be attention-getting. Titles are like mini-loglines in that they must be unique and they need to attract interest and make the reader want to go ahead and read the logline. But be sure to go to IMDb.com to see if your title has been used before. IMDb.com has a listing of every film produced from the 1800s to today’s films and those that are in pre-production and production.

But then again, what was “Claire’s Knee” all about? It was a unique title and made them look! “Forrest Gump” took ten years of rejections from every studio and producer in Hollywood. What if the writer had changed the title and logline to help it be seen as the potential blockbuster film that it became?

ADAPTING YOUR LOGLINE TO YOUR READER’S INTEREST

Agents and producers want to read screenplays that he or she can instantly recognize as sellable to a wide audience. Producers think about production costs, the available budget and marketability. Directors, on the other hand, want to read screenplays that will show off their talents in the best light and offer them artistic challenges, and maybe even win them an Oscar. Actors want to read screenplays that showcase their acting ability and which give them the best role in the film. Story editors need to see a unique, sellable idea they can take upstairs. Readers want that one fabulous concept they can bring to the attention of a producer, story editor or creative executive. Interns are often told to recommend no more than ONE screenplay a year! You need to make sure that one is yours, by altering the wording & focus of your logline to appeal to each reader and potential buyer.

Remember, your all-important first impression gets you in the door to pitch your story, and may be worth millions of dollars and that success you’ve been working toward as a screenwriter.



MOONDANCE IN THAILAND NEWS!

THAI GOLDEN BUDDHAS

This news blog is being sent to you from Bangkok, Thailand!

SCROLL ON DOWN:

For news, info, insider tips, recommendations,

great photos & thoughts for the day!

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The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the 2013 Moondance!

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

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INSIDER TIPS FOR FILMMAKERS:

PARKOUR is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one’s path by adapting to the environment within your personal obstacle course. It’s a playground for building strength, freedom, courage and discipline. Parkour is an international discipline that is best described as the art of forward motion in spite of obstacles, or to put it simply: the art of purposeful movement. Parkour’s chief aim is to never move backward, but instead to overcome obstacles fluidly, with strength, originality and speed.

The Great Wall of China

It emphasizes the integration of the human mind and body to overcome obstacles, and gain victory over one’s fears and weaknesses. Friends can challenge each other to improve upon their most recent efforts, and feed off each other’s energy and achievements, as they seek new boundaries to break, within a loose and perfectly amicable framework. A mental form of parkour can be learned, practiced and utilized to overcome obstacles in one’s life and career! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour

Since the inception of parkour in 1997, it has been used in cinema to aid in great storytelling. Through the magic of editing, an entire sequence of moves can be cut together to look like one non-stop stunt sequence, often to breathtaking effect. Parkour founder David Belle has said the philosophy behind parkour is “You want to move in such a way…as to help you gain the most ground on…something, whether escaping from it or chasing toward it.” and this philosophy lends itself perfectly to the narrative structure of a great action film or commercial.

One of the first to leverage the spectacle of parkour in cinema was founder David Belle himself. In 1997 Belle created a group of traceurs (parkour practitioners), free-runners, and street acrobats called Yamakasi. Inspired by this group, Luc Besson scripted a heist film by the same name in which the Yamakasi clan rob from the rich to pay for a heart implant for a young boy injured, while imitating their stunts. There’s a couple of thrilling sequences where they’re being chased by Doberman Pinschers and over the rooftops (a popular parkour theme) by cops.

The success of Yamakasi led, understandably, to a sequel, Les Fils du Vent, in which the Yamakasi crew travel to Bangkok, Thailand to fight the Yakuza. In the opening credits, Yamakasi play a (highly competitive) game of capture-the-weathervane ball across the rooftops of the city.

One of David Belle’s fellow traceurs in the group Yamakasi was Sébastien Foucan. He’s also one of the founders of free running, a discipline similar to parkour, but with the focus being more on the movement aesthetics (although they are sometimes considered interchangeable). In the opening of Casino Royale, Foucan’s character, Mollaka gives James Bond a chase that would be an acrophobic’s worst nightmare up an unfinished construction site in the Bahamas.

As soon as advertisers realized they could make a buck or two by exploiting the panache of parkour they wasted no time doing so. To its credit however, Nike went one step further in its “Presto” campaign by approaching parkour with a much-needed humorous tone, proving it didn’t have to be pigeon-holed into the action genre.

Parkour info excerpted from an online article by msaleem, http://weburbanist.com/2008/06/30/10-examples-of-parkour-in-film-and-television/

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A MOONDANCER WRITES US:

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“I am a filmmaker and past attendee of your wonderful Moondance Film Festival. Because I am writing my first feature script, right now, I was delighted to find your notes on Creating Characters & Characterization in your last newsletter. Thank you very much for including your valuable information.” ~ EVA COLMERS

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

Statue of ancient Thai Buddha surrounded by Bodhi Tree limbs & roots

“To know a little less and understand a little more; that, it seems to me, is our greatest need.” ~ JAMES R. ULLMAN

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Phuket, Thailand

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” ~ ANDRE GIDE

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Regal Malaysian tiger in Thailand

“In this world, I would rather live two days as a tiger, than two hundred years as a sheep.” ~ TIPU SULTAN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Waterfall, near Chiang Rai, Thailand

“I, personally, measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.” ~ MARGARET MEAD

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Sacred Bodhi Tree, Thailand

“A society grows great when old people plant trees whose shade they know they will not live long enough to sit under, nor to harvest the fruits of those trees.” ~GREEK PROVERB (paraphrased)

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

Read the many articles on successful filmmaking & screenwriting in

THE MOONDANCE E-ZINE:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/05_other.ezineindex.html

Gromit, by Aardman Films, UK

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

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NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

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