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.

The first 10 pages of a script

Yes, it’s true that a writer might only get the opening pages of their script read -- and that it will likely be put down right away if those pages don’t immediately engage the busy industry professional who has given it a chance by opening it. Most screenwriters who...

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Great Stories/Great Games

I’m a Los Angeles Lakers fan. As I’ve followed the team over the past few years, I’ve noticed certain elements need to be present, in a game, for it to be the most engaging and entertaining — the kind that keep me glued to the TV screen. Specifically, there are...

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The Key to Industry Access

When I work with writers giving feedback and guidance on their material and career paths, I often end up giving advice about how to gain access to agents, managers, and producers – which seems to most writers to be the biggest challenge of this business. The common...

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BRIDESMAIDS: The Beat Sheet

I created a “beat sheet” for Bridesmaids for the folks at Save the Cat — it’s now up on their website.

Which of Blake Snyder’s genres and subgenres do you think this hugely successful comedy fits? Take a look to find out…

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SAVE THE CAT genres for recent movies

I just saw trailers for five new movies which all fit clear "Save the Cat" subgenres - my favorite tool for developing viable script ideas.   I haven't seen any of these films yet, as they haven't been released, but these previews in each case seemed to be selling a...

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Don’t withhold; reveal, and complicate.

A writer I work with as a script consultant recently shared a phrase with me that came from her friend Craig Hammill (thanks, Craig!), which perfectly encapsulates a point that I often make with writers: "Don't withhold; reveal, and complicate." What that means is...

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What makes a good series idea

In my work pitching series ideas and writing pilots (and on good days, selling them to networks such as NBC and Fox), I’ve learned a few things about what they’re looking for, and what makes an idea sellable – as well as what a successful pilot script tends to include…

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Writing from a subjective POV

The single most devastating note I could ever hear on one of my scripts (if readers were brutally honest enough to say it), would be, “I didn’t care.” I would go as far as to say that my single biggest job as a writer is to make readers and audiences care: to get them...

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THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

As I watched this very enjoyable movie recently, I found myself trying to identify the main character, central story problem, and possible Save the Cat genre, as I tend to do when presented with a story idea or finished script or manuscript.  Below (SPOILER ALERT!) is...

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SAVE THE CAT genres

Ever since an established producer recommended I read  Blake Snyder's Save the Cat, I've found it to be an essential tool, both for my own writing, and for the writers I've worked with doing script consulting. I think its "Beat Sheet" is great for structuring a story...

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