The New Site is Here

The New Site is Here It’s been a lot of work but we're finally putting the finishing touches on the new website. There are a few things that need smoothing out, and I'm still working on some of the pages, so please bear with me as we get this finished. Feel free to let me know if you see anything that should be fixed. There are a number of reasons I’m excited about the site, the first being that I finally have my own domain name, Easy to remember! And the other most exciting thing is that we will finally—FINALLY!—have threaded comments, meaning you'll be able to respond directly to someone else’s comment, and they can respond directly to yours. I’ve wanted this for so long—I think it’s going to make the blog so much more fun!
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What Have YOU Learned from Hollywood?

What Have YOU Learned from Hollywood? We’ve spent this week going over a few Hollywood truisms that can help writers. So now it’s your turn. As a writer, what have you learned from watching movies and television? Share your best tips… and have a great weekend! © 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent
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The Talent Here is Ridiculous

The Talent Here is Ridiculous Advice from Hollywood, part 4 Since it’s Hollywood Week, it’s only fitting that we have a lesson from American Idol’s Hollywood auditions. Just last night, Idol’s field was down to 61 performers and by the end of the show it was going to be cut to 24. The contestants’ biggest worry wasn’t their own performance but how it would stack up against their competitors. They were all good. Which meant it was no longer going to be just about whether they could sing. As the competition gets stiffer, the judges are looking at more nuanced details of performance—pitch, harmonizing, stage presence, uniqueness, overall appeal. And each performer is not just being evaluated on their own merits, but measured against everyone else’s. As one of the contestants aptly commented “The...
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Action is Character

Action is Character Advice from Hollywood, part 3 In real life, it’s not what a person says that shows us who they are. It’s what they do. The content of a person’s character is revealed in action and behavior. Who a person says they are, or thinks they are, doesn’t necessarily reflect their true character. In screenwriting, the challenge is to show a character in action, and have their actions reveal to the audience what kind of person they are—what’s important to them, what they want, what they love, and what they hate. You don’t want characters telling each other (and the audience) who they are. We have to see it. Likewise, novelists need to allow their characters to show us who they are through their actions and behavior, rather than “tell” us who they are through narrative. One of...
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It Doesn’t Have to Be Great Art for People to Like It

It Doesn’t Have to Be Great Art for People to Like It Advice from Hollywood, part 2 Here’s another little tidbit from my former Hollywood life. I used to be a part-time “reader” meaning I read screenplays and wrote “coverage” for the production company to help them make decisions about which scripts to pursue. You have to audition to become a reader for a production company, and I was looking for more gigs so as part of an audition for a major well-known producer, I was given a screenplay for a Western and I had to do “sample coverage.” I thought the script was awful, and I detailed all its problems in the sample coverage I wrote. For some reason I didn’t get that job! A couple years later, I saw the movie “Wyatt Earp” with Kevin Costner and realized this...
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Nobody Knows Anything

Nobody Knows Anything Advice from Hollywood, part 1 Back in the early ‘90s I was an L.A. girl working in television and writing screenplays on the side. Every single Saturday morning our screenwriting group would meet at my home (50 feet off the beach—it was a rough life) and critique our weekly ten pages in excruciating detail. We took classes together, read the great screenwriting books, and studied the art of screenwriting in such depth that you’d think we’d all be making millions in Hollywood by now. Well, not so much. Each of us went on to different careers. But the things I learned from those years of studying the art of the screenplay have stuck with me and been instrumental in my understanding of story, and my ability to (I hope) recognize good ones. So it’s...
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