flying wrestler

thoughts on screenwriting from writer-producer erik bork

I’m a screenwriter best known for my work on the HBO miniseries BAND OF BROTHERS and FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, for which I wrote multiple episodes, and won two Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards as part of the producing team. I’ve also sold series pitches (and written pilots) at NBC and FOX, worked on the writing staff for two primetime dramas, and written feature screenplays on assignment for companies like Universal, HBO, TNT, and Playtone. I teach screenwriting for UCLA Extension, National University and The Writers Store, and offer one-on-one consulting to writers.  Click here to email me.

In defense of formula

Script Magazine has just published my new article where I discuss the issue of "formulaic" writing, and the use of story structure paradigms to help guide the process of crafting a screenplay. It begins thusly: Writers often rebel against the idea that a screenplay...

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Left brain, right brain

So much of writing seems to be about “figuring stuff out.”  Figuring out what should happen in a story, or in a scene.  Figuring out how to address feedback you’ve gotten.  Figuring out whether anyone will ever care about your project, and make it a success.  (As if...

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Dealing with Feedback

At all levels and at all points in the process of screenwriting, there are "notes" from others.  Whether it's you first screenplay that you give to trusted loved ones -- or a network pilot where every draft of outline and script is run past a production company,...

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“Premise pilot”

"Premise pilots," in my experience, are not seen as a good thing. But the definition of a "premise pilot" seems to move around a bit, depending on who you ask. Some sources on the internet say that a "premise pilot" is when the characters and situation of a series...

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Sellable Screenplay Concepts

My March 12 webinar on "Creating a Sellable Screenplay Concept" is now available from The Writers Store. In it, I analyzed the loglines of some spec scripts that sold in 2013 -- and discussed the common elements. It's a 90-minute audio/powerpoint presentation that...

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Award Season Genres

SCRIPT MAGAZINE has published my online article where I break down the SAVE THE CAT "genres", as I see them, of most of the big movies vying for Awards this season.  Check it...

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Serialized Storytelling

Over the holidays, I finally checked out HBO’s THE WIRE, a decade after its five-year run began.  I found myself binge-watching through the first three seasons.  This show was never a clear hit with audiences, and didn’t win many major awards.  But WGA screenwriters...

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People We Care About

This Sunday Downton Abbey goes up against Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Mad Men and House of Cards to try to win its first Emmy as Outstanding Drama Series.  It’s probably not going to happen, I’m guessing – thought it is now the most-nominated non-U.S....

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All-time best written series

I couldn't resist creating a chart that breaks down the recent WGA member-voted "Best written series of all time" by decade and type of show. What conclusions, if any, can be drawn from this? (If you have trouble viewing the document below, you might need to log in or...

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Specs that sold in 2012

SCRIPT Magazine has published my article analyzing the common elements of screenplays that sold in 2012.  One of the key things that I noticed was the pretty obvious SAVE THE CAT genres of each.  Here's how the article begins:   We screenwriters want to sell our work,...

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