Welcome to RJFS: SCREENWRITING – Official Video Discussion


This is the official discussion for the first video in our Screenwriting Track.

Do you have any questions for Mike or Lauren? Thoughts about the video? Suggestions for the track? Post them here!

What do I do now?

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I have been getting into screenwriting as a medium a lot lately, I’ve been reading a book about it (Save the Cat) and even started some of my own screenplays, so I can’t wait for more screenwriting videos in RJFS! I do have a question for Mike: I know how to format a spec script, but how would you format a shooting script? For example, how would you list what type of shot (CU, MS, etc) for each take? Right now, I just put my slug line, then below that put “SHOT 1: CU” or “SHOT 5: MS”, and then have the action that goes on in that shot. Thanks!


There are many applications and resources out there that you can use to write, share, edit scripts etc. I was wondering what RocketJump uses and/or what you might recommend we would look into using.


Hey! So, I’ve got a book to recommend to you. It’s called ‘Screenwriting 101’ by Film Crit HULK (he was once on the podcast with Rocket Jump!) and it kinda explains why Save the Cat isn’t that great a book. In a once sentence summary, it’s not that great because it basically teaches you how to write the movies he wrote, which isn’t helpful. HULK’s book goes a lot more into the thematic principles of art. It’s a fascinating read. If you don’t otherwise know of him, he writes fantastic movie columns at brithmoviesdeath (formerly Badass Digest).

I hope you give it a read, because it is truly fantastic. I also hope you enjoy writing!


Thanks so much for the advice, I’ll definitely look into getting that book!


I think I’d really enjoy writing as a thing I do every day because I do it pretty much every day. I’ll admit, a lot of the things that pop in my head are a little gore-ish than most things that pop in other people’s heads such as a bear slowly eating your entrails whilst you are still alive and feel everything; or a person that axe murders everyone they ever knew and them devouring every part of their victims’ body; or a person’s story married to a Satan worshiper that sacrifices a person everyday, but you don’t turn them in because you love that person but they inevitably try to sacrifice you as well, then in self defense, you kill them and you have to live with the question ‘Did I do the right thing?’ … but don’t get my wrong, I still know how to make people laugh.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
To run away from the butcherer that want to make chicken nuggets… and bathe in chicken blood…

But in all seriousness, I know I’d love something like this and would love to see what other people come up with.

And before anyone wants to comment ‘oh you don’t know what you’re talking about! You’re just a kid who’s board and wants to troll’ I love what I do and don’t make fun of the way I think, at least I’m not a murderer.


Great first video man can’t wait to learn more from you


There’s one thing I’d really like to know - how to properly format a script. I essentially write how I best feel conveys my idea, but I’m never sure of proper terminology, markers, scene labels etc. A small tutorial on the technical aspects of script writing would be kickin’.


Could you guys possibly post a video on how to properly build a world filled with a vast lore and lots of character focusing on the steps and motions to go about creating a universe properly. What are the questions you’d have to ask yourself to test to see if the world that you’d created would make sense? Basically, I don’t want to just see a video which tells me basically what lore is and that there are different types of worlds you can create like fantasy or sci-fi, (not that i’d assume that that’s what you’d do!) rather I’d like to see a step by step process of the ways in which you can lay the foundation of a world for your story to prosper.

Many apologies if this post actually doesn’t make sense, and thanks for the awesome work you guys are doing though!


@RedRocketFilms Hey there! Sorry, for the delay, but I’m finally jumping into forums and catching up! So first off, one of my favorite screenwriting books isn’t even a screenwriting book but it’s called “The Art of Dramatic Writing” by Lajos Egri. It just does such a good job getting you to the crux of conflict and other ideas that foster story. As to your second question, I would say if the script is anything you are submitting or just wanting people to read, there’s no need for a shooting script yet. If you are in the stage where you are going into shooting (and you are the one directing, or working with the director on shooting script) then all you would really want to register is any specific kinds of scene transition and camera notations that are BIG DEALS or counter-intuitive. It’s sort of just preliminary camera notes if that makes sense like “zoom in super fast on” or “quick whip pan to” etc, but you definitely don’t need to make any longer notes. What you’re describing is something I would reserve strictly for a shot list, so anyone reading doesn’t get too bogged down. Does that make sense? I hope it makes sense. Thanks so much for your question! Cheers!


@Doorfink We’re absolutely going to do a video on script formatting!

@KitVarney Hey there! I think we absolutely will talk about mythologies and tropes and metaphors and allegories and all the stuff that makes for good world building, but I’ll also tell you the lesson we’d do before that. The thing that most believable and interesting worlds is believable and interesting characters. And it’s not about having them exhibit realistic or natural behavior or anything like that, but understanding their psychology and what they want, and being able to empathize with them as they go through their journey. Believe in the character and the audience will follow them into even the craziest sci-fi worlds :slight_smile:


@Dkimball Thank you! More to come indeed!

@ChaoticLaw Hey, I know tons of people who love making horror movies and doing fun gorey scenes that make an audience squirm. But the thing I love most about horror movies is there is a real honest sense of craft to them. You have to learn all the mechanisms of drawing people in with tension and then nailing them with a scare or a gross reveal. It’s real cause and effect filmmaking ingrained into bits of mini-storytelling. Throw yourself into the language of horror movies! Try to figure out what makes one gore scene work better than another one. Look at all the best ways to effectively “play” with an audience instead of merely pushing them away. Horror films can be so much fun!


This one is in the pipeline :wink:


@RocketjumpMike @cherish Excellent, thanks guys! Also, this may be harder to discuss (as I’m sure it’s very dependant on the individual), but will you guys have any tips for writing with another person/group of people? I’ve written a few times with other people, and sometimes it’s a challenge to get a good rhythm. It may just have to do with compatibility, but if you guys had any handy tips for a video, that’d be rad!


For all the guys who are wondering about formatting a script, it’s great to know what the format is but there are lots of great screenwriting softwares out there that do a lot of that for you such as Celtx or FinalDraft. I don’t know what @RocketjumpMike and you all use but personally I’ve been using Celtx for years and it works fantastic for me.


I would like to see video discussing how to put screenwriting into storyboards that will be put onto screen. Its something that really interest me because there are movies like Tim Burton’s or Wes Anderson’s that uses certain tones and images to create those type of films.


Same, I’ve been using it for quiet some time as well, works great.


I just started using Celtx again. This time on my phone. It’s great to write stuff on the fly!