Sharon A. Fox - 10 Minute Recipe For A Perfect Screenplay

Learn screenplay writing and structure if you have any interest in the filmmaking industry.

The money is there. It is available to you. Producers are looking for great screenplays. Be the goose that lays the golden screenplay. The whole world will thank you.

When you have that great screenplay it doesn't matter where you are located. A truly great screenplay will find it's way to the silver screen.

Sharon A. Fox recommends 7 books that will help you write a great screenplay. I have read a majority of the books she has mentioned. If you aren't familiar with the Hero's Journey, you owe it to yourself to become familiar with it.

Other tips she mentions in the video are to learn the dynamics of family relations and write strong roles for women. Sharon cites Nia Vardalos as one of her idols. Vardolos wrote the indie gem My Big Fat Greek Wedding and took home a few awards for it.

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My Guide to using Digsby

Why you Should Use it:

Are you the type of person who finds themselves using multiple IM programs, logging in and out of email accounts, and refreshing Facebook for new updates from friends? It's time to simplify. Digsby is here to help.

What is Digsby?

Digsby is a free program that helps you manage all your IM, email, and social network accounts from a single application. Log in once and have access to all of your accounts (a free Digsby account is required).

Digsby (Build 19212) is faster than ever with optimized RAM usage, a snappier interface, better connectivity with IM networks, and fewer bugs.

Who can use Digsby?

Digsby is currently Windows only. Users of other operating systems might try:

1. Adium (Mac OS X)
2. Pidgin (Windows and Linux)
3. Miranda IM (Light Weight, Windows)

See a full list of Instant Message clients.

Digsby is coming soon to Apple and Linux users.
Receive an email Digsby is available for OSX or Linux.

My Experience with Digsby:

I was cautiously optimistic when installing Digsby for the first time. I've used Pidgeon and Adium before to some success on Linux and OSX, respectively.

I wondered what features from AIM (or other clients) might be limited under Digsby. I haven't tried video or audio chats yet. I've been using Digsby everyday while logged into my computer for a week. I track 5 gmail accounts, Twitter, Facebook, 2 Myspaces, LinkedIn, AIM, MSN, and GoogleTalk.

Digsby uses around 50-60,000 K of ram or about 1/4th that of my Firefox installation with a few add-ons. I absolutely love the uniformity of
having this single program combine multiple other programs and browser windows. All of the themes match and look great under Vista. Digsby offers most all of the customization options I want.

While the program is still considered beta software, it functions well. I've had problems staying connected to MSN and AIM, but those are more than likely caused by issues with my router.

Below I have listed the features I like about Digsby. Some of these features are exclusive to this program.

Instant Messaging

Support for:
- Facebook Chat
- Google Talk
- Jabber
- Yahoo

Coming support:
- MySpaceIM
- Skype

1. Tabbed conversation window removes clutter and keeps your conversations in one place.
2. Hide both the “Formatting Bar” and the "Menu Bar" at the top of the IM window.
3. Reply to IMs from the new IM popup.
4. Integration with iTunes and Winamp to display what you are playing in your Buddy List.
5. Rename contacts with an alias or use their real name.
6. Combine your friends multiple IM accounts into one contact.
7. Support for sending SMS messages.
8. One place to log your chat history. It is searchable as well.
9. Makes updated status on multiple accounts simple.
10. Complete control over the layout of your buddy list.
11. Custom sorting options for buddies.
12. Dock your buddy list to the side of your screen.
13. Choose whether to let people know if you are typing a reply.
14. View your allow and block list in one place for all IM accounts.
15. Check your spelling while you type.
16. No annoying ads.

You can set up your IM window anyway you'd like. I like it clean and minimalistic.

Managing Email

Support for:
- AOL/AIM Mail
- Gmail
- Hotmail
- IMAP and POP
- Yahoo Mail

1. No need to keep refreshing your email.
2. See all of your new email at a glance.
3. You send emails from the website.

Social Networks

Support for:
- Facebook
- LinkedIn
- MySpace
- Twitter

Coming Support:
- Bebo
- Hi5
- Orkuk
- Plurk

1. Don't waste time logging in to all your accounts. Updates are delivered to you.
2. Choose to recieve alerts as popups on screen.
3. Keep up with your friends activity in real time.
4. Keep track of multiple Myspace and Twitter accounts.
5. Update Twitter status and include shortened URLs.

You can click the double down arrows to hide your IM connect/disconnect list in the buddy list.


1. Keep a consistent look. Choose the colors and styles you like.
2. Know where to expect pop up alerts (choose the location on your screen).
3. Unique themes for your IM conversations.
4. Your personal settings are backed up to Digsby servers and can be accessed from any Digsby client.
5. Customizable notification system: choose what events display notifactions.
6. Choose how often Digsby should notify you when your friends post updates.
7. Set one folder destination for all file transfers.
8. See your accounts listed in your icon bar.
9. Easily disable sounds.


Digsby offers users a Flash widgit to post on their site that enables users to send messages to you when you are logged in to Digsby.

Add Digsby Widgit to Facebook now.

More About Digsby

1. As of November 24, 2008, Digsby is in public beta.
2. It is released under a proprietary license and is currently free to download.
3. Digsby is written in wxPython and uses Webkit for rendering.
4. The developers and software company are looking at various business models to earn revenue.
5. Developed by dotSyntax, LLC of Rochester NY.

Awards readers voted it Best Third-Party Instant Messenger with 65 percent of the votes (1893 votes)/

Vote for Digsby for the 2nd Annual Open Web Awards
(Closes December 14th, 2008)

Digsby Links

Check out the getting started guide to get an idea of Digsby works

FAQ and Common Issues

Wikipedia Entry

Digsby skins, themes, emoticons, sounds and more at

My Digsby Features Wishlist

1. Support for sites with APIs like Digg, Reddit, Stickam, BlogTV, and Youtube.
(I wish all of my favorite sites has APIs.)
2. Built in RSS support.
3. Firefox integration via an Add-on.
4. The ability to store chat history online.
5. More quailty themes!
6. Integration with Songbird to display songs you play.

Have you used Digsby?
1. What did you think of it's features?
2. What did you think of it's compatibility?
3. Would you recommend it to other Geeks?

Please let us know in the comments.

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Time Wasters and Relaxing Your Mind

After a long session of writing, I find that my mind needs to relax. Other times my mind will relax when it wonders away from the task at hand to something tangentially related. Ten minutes later I'll wonder how I arrived at a Wikipedia entry.

What do you guys do to take a mental break?

Sometimes I play stupid flash games. Like this one:

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Hollywood script sales report from ScriptGirl

Wondering what types of scripts are being produced in (and more importantly: sold) in Hollywood?

For the last 2 years I've been working as an assistant to an old school Hollywood producer. He's sort of a Jack Warner/Benito Mussolini hybrid, infamous for sleazy-ish behavior and general jackassery.

Also, lucky for me, he hates "those f***ing internets!" Not only am I woefully underpaid, but he also demands that I compile daily script sales info and read it to him as if he were a dimwitted child.

Now I've decided to grab hold of the affirmative and use my "job skill" to make the world a better place for my fellow screenwriters while simultaneously making online mega-stars of my desk and office wall. Please aggressively disseminate my reports to that end. ;)

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Filmmaker Magazine: Blog

I'm not a magazine and can't offer you the amount of content of such a publication. Maybe I'll get around to reviewing the magazines I do subscribe to. Until then, here is a magazine (that I don't have a subscription to) with a blog for you.

Filmmaker Magazine: Blog

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Pay for advice about your project

"In an uncertain economy, why not give your film or event the competitive advantage
of access, knowledge and real-world advice that works."

That's a great question.

The folks at Reel Plan would like to provide that advice for you. For a fee.

This might not be an affordable option for independent filmmakers, but it could save you from making a costly mistake. I looked around to try the name of the founder, but I couldn't glean much from the shiny website.

Visit Real Plan.

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Happy Halloween and Wes Craven

Here's some thoughts from horror Director Wes Craven on filmmaking.

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Hot Hollywood writers share information with you

Academy Award ®-nominated writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio want to share with you what they know about writing a script that will sell.

With 52 to-the-point columns about screenwriting, you can spend less time reading and more time working on your script.

After you've read them all. That is.

There is even an option to have them emailed to you. There simply is no excuse not to read them.

Check out these great Wordplay columns!

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Classical, Minimalism, and Anti-Structure

How will you design your story?

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Creative Limitations in Writing

Writing is deciding what not to say.

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American Cinematographer magazine podcasts

This appears to be a new contribution from the magazine. There are two podcasts each with two episodes so far.

American Cinematographer

AC magazine presents a series of interviews with cinematographers, directors and other key collaborators involved in filmmaking process.

"Guillermo Navarro, ASC, cinematographer of Hellboy II: The Golden Army, discusses shooting tooth fairies and elementals, creating otherworldly environments and working alongside Guillermo del Toro with American Cinematographer’s Iain Stasukevich."

Conversations on Cinematography

The American Society of Cinematographers presents an ongoing series of cinematographers speaking with fellow cinematographers in frank discussions about their work on film and television productions.

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RIP Movie Trailer Voice Guy

You may not have known his name or recognized his face, but the voice behind your favorite movie trailers has passed away. He will be greatly missed.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Don LaFontaine, the voice behind thousands of Hollywood movie trailers, has died. He was 68.

LaFontaine's agent Vanessa Gilbert says the voiceover artist died Monday as a result of complications from the treatment of an ongoing illness at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

LaFontaine has been a fixture in Hollywood for decades, working on about 5,000 movie trailers. Much of his fame stems from his trademark movie-trailer catch phrase, "In a world where..."

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Indy Mogul video tutorials

The self proclaimed "first network for the YouTube generation" and official Honorees of the 2008 Webby Awards. The Indy Mogul guys have created a community of digital video makers.

Our premiere show here is “Backyard FX,” coming to you every Monday and hosted by zero-budget wizard Erik Beck. Erik shows you how to create special effects the fun and cheap way, and then subjects his siblings, roommates, and puppets to his creations. Each week he takes challenges and suggestions from you, the viewer, and gets those latent creative juices flowing fast and free without making your wallet sweat.

You can view their videos on Youtube or on their website.

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Ask Someone For Research Information

While browsing the Writer's Guild of America website I came across this page with a list of contact information from various government and other reputable agencies.

The following are organizations willing to provide free information to writers. While every attempt is made to ensure that FYI listings are purely informational and accurate, the WGAW does not endorse any of the following listings or the information they provide.

Government Departments
Medical Authorities
Religious Information
Psychological References
WGA Departments
Points of Interest

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New Online Screenwriting Tool

I just came across a new website that promises online screen writing functionality. It promises to make collaboration easier. I haven't used it myself, but it looks like it might be something I try in the future.

From the about page:

The advantages of web-based applications are obvious - no software to install, no updates to keep track of, easy portability, and automatic off-site backup of data. Screenwriting, in particular, enjoys significant benefits from this architecture. By hosting the software online, we are able to offer easy and intuitive collaborative features. Users can work privately as they do today, collaborate with a few friends, or even collaborate with the entire web community. We automatically manage revision history and maintain a record of authorship. Also, by offering a web-based application, we can easily reach a diverse population of writers and build a dynamic community that is not possible with traditional screenwriting applications.

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