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How to Write a Movie: Screenwriting fundamentals.

Remodeling... continuously. Please pardon the heterogeneity and potsherds on older pages.
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What does it take to make a story rise to the top? Since 1990 I have had the privilege of critiquing screenplays from individuals, a few studio writers, and seeing some pilots. Most of the time they are in the "good range," but rarely rise to excellent or superior... and they aren't that difficult to fix. All of the information necessary to make a screenplay rise above the rest is on the menu button at left, marked "Screen Writing." A few hints are here.

What's New?

Articles and Series with something for everyone
•  Pippy Hotamus for Christmas song
•  Cybersecurity Improved
on Nations Agenda (this site)
•  Story idea: Dead, Dead, Dead: The main character dies on page 1 - Comedy
•  Making News Credible
The Future Project on Nations Agenda (this site)
•  Communicating Effectively.
Can we do it? (On site)
•  Nations Agenda is now part of Visual Writer.
Informative and educational articles and commentaries on government, economics, climate change....
•  How Does Feedback Help People?

Author's book, Genre: Romantic Comedy, legal dramedy, suspense. Length: Novella - PG, 14 and over.

Unauthorized Access Dion demands justice and a rewarding career making a difference in people's lives, but... be careful what you demand. Nothing is ever as it seems with his clients and they drive him crazy. His "come here, get away" girlfriend and clients try to be good, but it's hard work keeping them all out of jail. Justice narrowly prevails at this nexus of the individual and larger questions about justice.

•  Nicholl Reader Judging Criteria
•  Story idea: Paranoia: Psychological thriller. A skeptic finds paranoia is real as he fights for his life.
•  Putting Variety in Stories: Easier than it seems. Story architecture.
•  Should I write that? Story architecture.
•  Movie Review: Spy.
•  What is the Most Important Element in Your Story? Story architecture.
•  Pushing a Rope Leadership, on
•  About the business of screenwriting, in What does it take to make a story rise to the top?.
•  Story idea: Mars Problems. The race to Mars gets treacherous.
•  Everything Communicates in a movie.
•  Editorial: The Challenge of War - Challenges series
•  Film Violence - revisited

Interview With A Gremlin

STL Comedy - Movie Stream Productions - Author's production Interview With The Gremlin - PG to PG-13

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•  Propaganda Oh, how are you deceived! Learn to recognize how others deceive and manipulate you, and get smarter than them, in this 10 part series on sister site One Spirit Resources. Stop polarization.
•  Writing Comedy, 3 of 3 Length format for Writing comedy
•  Writing Comedy, 2 of 3 Writing comedy one-liners
•  Writing Comedy, 1 of 3 The highest art is 90% perspiration and 5% inspiration.
•  Get your grammar on! Links offsite.
•  How To Get People to Do Anything You Want. Dangerous communication. Are We Creating the World We Want?
•  Are We Creating the World We Want? The Impact of Political Party on the Economy, in The Challenges For Capitalism Series
•  Are We Creating the World We Want? Or are special interests and polarizing voices leading us down a trail of self-destruction? Writers and leaders raise the consciousness of our world.
•  The writer's, director's, and editor's job - a step beyond "show don't tell". Writers and director's believe their job is to "tell a story in a visual medium." The following is a subtle shift, but often a very important one: "The writer and director's job is to understand what the audience wants or needs to see, and give that to them, so that they can imagine the story." - Dorian Cole. From The MSP Insider, on the Movie Stream Productions Web site.
•  Will artificial sweeteners make you gain 10 pounds? Update Sugar: The Imperfect Chemical. Writers should always be wary of how research is interpreted or misinterpreted and how others try to mislead us.
Nowhere Man: A frustrated psychiatrist has a crisis with his incurable wife, and an unsolvable, rapidly spreading, medical epidemic spiraling out of control, plus religious fanatics and conspiracy theorists. He must tackle a crisis in his own beliefs and confidence to resolve them all. Total Immersion: Two people strike out in relationships, then avoid people in a 3D virtual world. Work in that world forces an awkward intimacy. Their friends and work push them to confront and overcome their fears, bringing them together.
•  The Challenge of Polarization: Will our economy fail due to Congressional inaction?
•  Writing for the Market, on Movie Stream Productions:
Writing for the Market, and Loving It
Architecting a Story for the Market
•  Successful Thinking in College Dealing successfully with philosophy and the unknown, On sister site
•  Should We Dumb Down Communications and lose the ability to think? What's In A Word series.
•  Would you like to review screenplays and movies? Following are guides for doing reviews:
•  Philosophy of Democracy What new challenges are we seeing? A capstone article in the Challenges Series.
•  Movie Review: The Karate Kid (2010) Excellent example of the ability to change settings, characters, etc. Examples of visual writing, and the use of the set as a third character.
•  Say It Visually.
•  Eight steps to sparkling characters. What is it about a character that sparkles? Learn how to make them sparkle in Story Architecture.
•  How To Write Visually. What is this thing called visual writing, and how do you do it?
•  Conversations with a Cat. Just for fun.
•  Conveying meaning through non-verbal action. A movie scene study for individuals and groups.
•  Communicating the Message Effectively. Create drama better by learning the basics of effective communication. Whether in drama, speaking, or ministry, many of the principles of effective communication are the same - On sister site One Spirit
•  Story idea: Reality fiction - live! A story idea about real writers and for real writers.
•  Movie Review: Forbidden Kingdom - very entertaining movie with Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
•  Polarization: What divides us is how we choose to divide ourselves. Expanding Horizons series: Words and concepts that open windows to new worlds
•  Story idea: One Week To Live (Drama)
Broochim Habaim!
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Dga' bsu!
Latcho Drom!
Dobro pozalovat!
Hos geldiniz!
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Cead Mile Fáilte!
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Aya aya!
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Ant chukoa!
Hau koda!
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The Visual Writer Web site is a resource sites for story writers (including journalistic and other nonfiction stories) for screen, stage, and print.

This site empahsizes the visual qualities of a story, and good storytelling techniques.

The overriding concern of this site is what kind of world we are creating through the narratives that influence the meaning frameworks of our lives. Stories tell and reinforce narratives, and sometimes even originate narratives. Narratives stimulate diversity and empowerment, or diminish human potential. No specific philosophy or religion is promoted on this site, but they are discussed, and philosophy, religion, and spirituality are encouraged.

The articles are meant to challenge people to research stories more thoroughly and portray society more accurately, but do no harm.

Terms of Use

The information on this Web site is freely presented, but that doesn't mean that it is "public domain." The information provided here is copyrighted material, is subject to national and international law, and can't be distributed in any form by any person or institution, in whole or in part, for any commercial purpose or for the purpose of providing collections of information, or as part of another person's or institution's work. Standard citations, properly attributed, including quotes and brief portions of material of course are acceptable and encouraged. Provisions have been made and displayed on individual articles and index pages that permit the distribution of articles in non-commercial enterprises, such as in educational institutions and writers groups, as long as the author's name, Web address, and copyright notice appear on the page. Any other use requires arrangements through direct consultation with the author. Preferrably, articles will be distributed as complete works.

Linking to this site is encouraged. The pages on this site are set up to fully enable the function of the overall site, so the point of entry is irrelevant. Including any page on this site within another site through linking, copying, or by any other means is prohibited. Linking to any graphics file or program on this site is prohibited. Linking to pages on this site so that a page appears within a frameset on another site is discouraged.

Caching of this site is discouraged since caches that don't update on a daily basis provide out of date resources, and caches prevent having accurate knowledge of page visitation and demographics.

Plagiarism (copying)

While properly attributed quotes from this site are encouraged, unattributed copying and other improper use are likely to be discovered. This site is routinely scanned by antiplagiarism companies such as which detect improper use of material.

•  Copyright © 1996 - 2012, Dorian Scott Cole for all content including all text and images.
•  International rights reserved.
•  Some resource material used on this site predates 1996, and is copyrighted material.
•  Registrations pending
•  VisualWord is a trademark for printed materials produced by The Visual Writer, LLC.
•  Writers Port and WritersPort are trademarks of The Visual Writer, LLC.
•  The Visual Writer Web site is a production of TechGenie Media.
•  The Visual Writer, LLC. Communications Services is a company name and trademark.
•  The javascript menu system used on portions of this site is a result of the fine skill and graciousness of Angus Turnbull, and the scripts are available for free from his Web site,
•  Some of the popup tooltips used on this site are a result of the fine skill and graciousness of © Erik Bosrup, OverLIB
•  The Visual Writer, LLC. is not associated with Visual Tools, Inc., a maker of writing correction programs using the VisualWriter trademark on writing correction programs.
•  The Visual Writer, LLC. is not associated with PACEL Corp. Pacel's Visual Writer is a suite of software programs that allow you to create Interactive Electronic Documents without writing any code.

The Visual Writer. Mission Statement

Who visits The Visual Writer Web site?

  • Growth: doubled in "user sessions" every 12-24 months (consistently from 1996 to 2002).
  • Peak: Peak visits surpass 12,000 individual users per month (2 pages per session).
  • Demographics: 42% Hollywood area, 33% other US, 25% international (over 80 countries).
  • Retention and New: over 60% of those visiting return, with 10 to 15% new visitors each month.
  • Top 3 Category popularity (ranking of these 3 varies each month):
    • How To Write A Movie
    • Human Condition
    • Critiques (See Movie Critic)


•  Links on this server are no longer case sensitive.

•  Coding meets XHTML (HTML 5) standards.

The Visual Writer Web site was established in 1996, and provides free content and resources to communicators world-wide. Its content was born free and will remain free. Information (education) should be freely shared with all who want it, while skill in using information is what has commercial value.

Welcome to all! I hope you are challenged by these pages.


Page URL:
The Visual Writer Web site is a production of TechGenie Media.


Other distribution restrictions: None

All pages on this site, copyright © 1996 - 2010, Dorian Scott Cole