MY NEW E-BOOK -- NOW AVAILABLE!



to Award-winning Short Film

(As of 9/29/19, a "#1 New Release in Screenwriting" on Amazon/Kindle store!)


A Beast Is Born! chronicles a writer’s arduous eleven-year journey to develop his short horror script Susie’s Beast from nascent idea to award-winning film. Compiled from emails, text messages, phone conversations, and personal journal entries, A Beast Is Born! demonstrates just how dogged perseverance and sheer determination are the screenwriter’s truest allies when searching for a filmmaker who can transform words on a page into a captivating cinematic entertainment. A Beast Is Born! is an absolute must-read for any screenwriter who believes their stories were meant for the big—or small—screen. 



A Kindle eBook!

The exciting life of a writer!


Over the years I've been asked, 
"Jim, what's your typical writing day like?" 
I usually give some long-winded response. 
But actually, it can all be boiled down far more succinctly.

Click here to watch the exciting video!







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No witches, no warlocks, no vampires. 
Just a sexy, rollicking tale about a guy trying to hit it big in Hollywood. 
 "A great summer read!" 
"A sexy Hollywood tale!" 
"It's WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN for the 21st century!"

Why Studios Won't Read Your Pitch...




Whether you're a budding screenwriter or a budding novelist, I think you'll find some solid value in this video posted by filmmaker/writer Austin McConnell.


Why Studios Won't Read Your Pitch...










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If you like novels about screenwriters in Hollywood,
you'll love...
Luigi's Chinese Delicatessen




Horror script reading!





The reading of my script was yesterday afternoon. Twenty people were on hand, with only three of them participating in the actual reading. After 90 minutes it was all over. A little nerve-racking, lemme tell ya. But everyone—well, nearly everyone—seemed to really respond to the story being told and the two characters within it. Yes, there were ideas for improvement tossed around. Later, after everyone had gone, the director and I went over these ideas and came up with a handful of relatively minor (I hope!) changes to the structure and character arcs. I’ll commence on the revision in the next few days. My pencils are sharpened.

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If you like reading novels about Hollywood and about screenwriters, you'll love



Watch my web-series on Facebook!




A web-series I created and wrote--MY ROOMMATE SAM--hit Facebook last month and it's been racking up some nice views. Hope you'll check it out!


To watch a video montage of on-set photos I took during production, click here!


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More from Jim Vines...

Read how 16 working screenwriters did it!

Q & A: The WorkingScreenwriter--An In-the-Trenches Perspective of Writing Movies in Today's Film Industry


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No witches, no warlocks, no vampires. 
Just a sexy, rollicking story about a guy trying to hit it big in Hollywood.

"A great summer read!"
"A sexy Hollywood tale!"

"It's WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN for the 21st century!"

Check out LUIGI'S CHINESE DELICATESSEN!





Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional 
cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.


Your screenwriting questions answered! (#3)



Many thanks to those who have sent in their questions about screenwriting!


Q: How long should it take me to write an outline? 

A: Depending on the story, mine take anywhere from two weeks to two months to sketch out. Once a solid outline has been crafted, the actual scriptwriting process usually proceeds relatively smoothly. Based on my typical writing pace of 2 to 5 hours per day, I usually crank out a workable first draft in 2-6 weeks. Of course, subsequent drafts—which lead the way to the final submission draft—could take a few weeks, to several months longer. But there’s a lot to be said for getting that first draft done. It’s a real psychological boost to have those 100 pages of neatly bound text in your hot little hands. Once this first draft is completed, the subsequent drafts seem far less daunting.

Q: How long should my outline be?

A: Mine generally run anywhere from 25-35 pages. (I recently sent a producer a 46-page outline.) But I’d say nothing less than 15 pages (12 pt. type, single spaced). In my opinion, anything less than about 15 pages just isn’t detailed enough to do you much good. But, as always, see what works best for YOU.

Q: Can my script deviate from the outline?

A: Of course! Changes along the way are inevitable and welcomed. If I could put numbers on it, I’d say 75% of my scripts are based on the outline and 25% are wrought from discovery along the way. 


MORE Q & A TO COME--SOON!



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Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.



No witches, no warlocks, no vampires. Just a sexy, rollicking story about a guy trying to hit it big in Hollywood.

"A great summer read!"
"A sexy Hollywood tale!"
"It's WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN for the 21st century!"



Check out my book, Q & A: The Working Screenwriter! Interviews with 16 working screenwriters! 

Your screenwriting questions answered! (#2)

Many thanks to those who have sent in their questions about screenwriting. This is the second batch of your questions and my answers. More to come!


Q: I’m always getting writer’s block! How do I get rid of it?

A: As far as I’m concerned, writer’s block is nothing more than a form of total, absolute and complete laziness. Face it, you’re just not willing to sit yourself down, put on your thinking cap and plumb the depths of your creativity. Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but that’s what screenwriting is all about. So get used to it.

Do whatever you have to do, but force yourself into your writing mode every day. Whatever it takes. And believe me, once you get rolling and ideas are flowing, you’ll wonder what all your apprehension was about. However, if you still find it near-impossible to park yourself in front of that keyboard, and/or if you continually have trouble coming up with ideas, and/or you’d prefer to watch Championship Knitting on C-SPAN rather than crank out script pages, then this might be the universe telling you, “Sorry, pal, you’re not a screenwriter.”

"There's no such thing as writer's block. That was invented by people in California who couldn't write." - Terry Pratchett

A fellow writer posted the following on one of the screenwriting boards. I liked what I read (mainly cuz I wholeheartedly agree with every word of it).  Here it is...

I don't believe in writer's block. Most of the “serious” writers I've known don't, either. I agree with the one who says, “It's an indulgence of amateurs. When you've got a contract with a deadline, you either turn in a manuscript or return your advance. You may find writing difficult and your results unsatisfying, but you do it anyway, because that’s what professional writers do: they write.” However…

I do believe in the realization that if your current work is of poor quality it should be abandoned. (Don’t delete it—the idea may be worthwhile even if the execution isn’t.)

I believe in inadequate preparation.

I believe in inadequate organization, too.

I believe in writing yourself into a corner so tight that you either need to start over or abandon it.

I believe in lost enthusiasm for a particular work.

I believe in lack of focus, in not knowing what your story’s really about and why these characters should tell it.

I believe in increasing boredom with an entire genre that’s become too familiar.

I believe in well-crafted characters you don’t want to spend time with. (And if you don’t, nobody else will, either.)

I believe in stories that require a daunting amount of preliminary research before you can write. (“Sure, that’s it—a police procedural following a serial killer who’s targeting milliners in 1910 Belgium!”)

I believe in shyness and lack of confidence that makes seeking expert advice or background hideously difficult or impossible.

I believe in not knowing how to start, or where to start, or even if you should start.

I believe in finding the need to learn basic writing mechanics and screenplay format so boring or off-putting that you’d rather procrastinate than spend the time it takes (which isn’t much for format).

I believe in concluding that your whole concept is stupid, immature, derivative, impractical, embarrassing, too personal, legally actionable, or any of a host of other fatal flaws.

I believe in realizing that you're not as good as other people—the ones who ought to know, like teachers and fellow writers—think you are.

I believe in realizing that you're not as good as you think you are—or ought to be.

I believe in that “what’s-the-use” attitude after you learn that your first several screenplays are probably going to be pretty bad regardless of the blood, sweat, and tears you give them.

I believe in the inability of young writers to write characters well beyond their own age and, regardless of research, situations well beyond their experiences—and I believe in the incredible frustration of being young and bursting with ideas that you shouldn’t tackle yet.

Now, any of those can stop you dead in your tracks and keep you stopped. The question then becomes: How can you get started again?

Give yourself permission to write utter crap. Lousy ideas, poor grammar and spelling, stilted dialogue…Write it anyway. Nobody has to see it. Written things can be revised or rewritten to improve them. The blank pages of the “blocked” remain blank.

Change your writing environment. Try something radically different. If you write on your computer in a quiet room, try a spiral notebook in a park or coffee house, or ruled paper on your grandmother’s dining room table. (Not recommended: your blood on walls.)

Perform writing exercises. Writing something different may free you.

Move physically. Play a sport, go for a walk or run, swing on a playground, whatever you like, but get your blood pumping. When it's racing through your body, the brain gets plenty of oxygen—and ideas.

Give yourself blocks of unstructured time when you’re not likely to be sleepy. Find a quiet place, think about your current writing project, and let your mind wander. Rein it back to the subject as needed. This can be combined with physical movement—a long walk may be an idea wellspring!

Play What If…? with what you see. What if the kid cutting your sandwich suddenly plunged that knife into the woman at the cash register? What if he merely put caustic chemicals in the mayonnaise? What if the sandwich and kid are fine, but you choked, right here at your table? What if you gave half your sandwich to that lady over there who looks poor? What if she thanked you for it by giving you something valuable (that she didn't think was worth more than the sandwich)? What if you sold it and couldn’t find her to give her any of the money? What if she found you and demanded all of it? What if...

Write daily, every day, no exceptions, for a set amount of time. If you can't write, you must remain in your writing environment for the set amount of time anyway. Your choices are a) write, and b) don’t write. No games, no internet, no texting, no TV.

Stimulate your mind with new experiences. If you're a movie fan, see a play or watch a street performance. Hear live music rather than CDs, or listen to something in a genre you know nothing about. Eavesdrop on or observe people unlike most of the ones you know. People-watch (and invent lives for passers-by). Attend a sporting event (any kind, at any level) where you don't know anyone and watch the crowd rather than the players.

Upon waking, jot down the surrealistic snippets of whatever dreams you remember. They don't mean anything, in my opinion, but the odds are good that they're packed with drama.

Just do it. You don't want to be a self-indulgent amateur, right?

© 2011 by Maryn Blackburn.  Used with permission.


MORE Q & A TO COME--SOON!



Disclosure: The link below is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.


No witches, no warlocks, no vampires. Just a sexy, rollicking story about a guy trying to hit it big in Hollywood.

"A great summer read!"
"A sexy Hollywood tale!"
"It's WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN for the 21st century!"





Learn from those who have done it! Interviews with 16 working screenwriters!