Su-City Pictures East, LLC

Screenplay & Film Consulting By Susan Kouguell

Month: May 2014

Writing Diligence: Making Time To Write And Sticking To A Plan

Susan’s article for The Script Lab


Let’s face it — life can get in the way of writing.  But when life isn’t getting in the way, sometimes writers are the ones getting in their own way.

Whether it’s fear of success or fear of failure — or not knowing where to start, continue, or end a screenplay — or feeling overwhelmed or underwhelmed — it can all be rather daunting.

There is no magic answer to making time and sticking to a writing plan, but the following are suggestions to step out of your own way and back onto the screenwriting page.


1. Be nice to yourself. If you don’t achieve your specific writing goals — that’s fine, just keep writing. Don’t use this as an excuse that you have failed and therefore stop writing.

2. Find an environment that’s conducive to your writing. Maybe you work best in complete silence or listening to music, or sitting at a café eavesdropping on conversations. Perhaps visual prompts might help you stay on track; tack up inspiring photos and postcards on your corkboard.

3. Rid your distractions. Clear off your desk or at least organize the piles.

4. Unplug. This means turn off your phone and all social media during your writing time.

5. Write down your goals. For example: “I want to write one scene per week.”

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“What is that script about?”

A logline is a one-sentence plot summary; it is also known as a written pitch. The first step in writing a logline is to ask yourself: “What is my script about?” and then answer the question.

A logline is not a tagline, as seen in a movie trailer or movie advertisement, such as in this example:


Will Jenny overcome her demons before it’s too late?


•           It sounds like a movie trailer.

•           It doesn’t tell us what the story is about or what the major conflict is.

•           The phrase “too late” doesn’t tell us what’s at stake in your story.

•           It includes the character’s name, which loglines should not.

•           Jenny could be a child, a teen or an adult.

•           It doesn’t tell us who Jenny really is.

Loglines must clearly and succinctly convey what the core of your story is about, using your story arc as your guide.


It’s a story about a teacher who learned life lessons as she discovered the meaning of life.


•           It’s written in the past tense.

•           “It’s a story about” is too wordy and unnecessary.

•           We don’t know what type of teacher or person she is.

•           “Learns life lessons” and “discovering the meaning of life” identifies the themes of the story, and it repeats the word ‘life.”  (A logline must not include the theme of your script; it should be evident.)

•           It doesn’t tell us what the story is about or what major obstacle she must overcome.


  1. Describe your story and setting, your protagonist, and his or her major goal and conflict/obstacle.
  2. Use present tense.
  3. Every word must do double duty. Less is more.
  4. Indicate how your characters are distinct by using strong adjectives to describe them.
  5. Show the reader how your story is different and unique, and what sets it apart.

To read more:


Susan’s Ask the Screenplay Doctor: How to Pitch a TV Series


Jeff Greenstein with the cast of the new award-winning series Husbands Jeff Greenstein (far left) with the cast of the new award-winning series Husbands.

How can you pitch a new TV series? Screenplay Doctor Susan Kouguell finds an answer to this question of the month with Jeff Greenstein, the Emmy-winning writer and producer of Dream On, Friends, Will & Grace, Parenthood and Desperate Housewives

Question: One of my partners and I have begun creating a pitch for a new television show.  We’ve great faith in the idea, but I’ve never pitched for TV before.  Is there a different approach to presenting our ideas when it is time?  Besides a treatment, should we have a “pilot episode” teleplay at the ready?  Should we also have a synopsis of several episodes?  What do you recommend?

Susan’s Answer: Pitching for television takes skill, a lot of preparation, and some luck. Writers must know the company to whom they are pitching and the types of projects they are seeking.

For television, it is generally recommended to…

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Susan’s Ten Top Tips On Marketing Your Screenplay – The Script Lab


Ten Top Tips On Marketing Your Screenplay


QUESTION: How do you capture a film executive’s attention?

ANSWER: Write a brilliant screenplay.

QUESTION: I wrote a brilliant screenplay.  Now what?

ANSWER: Gain entry past the film industry gatekeepers.  Here’s how…

1.     Only submit your screenplay to a company when it has been requested.

2.     Research companies producing in your genre and query them.

3.     Learn the company’s script submission guidelines and follow them closely.

4.     Use up-to-date resource directories. Development executives come and go; someone who is working at a company today may be gone tomorrow or may have a new position and title.

5.     Write an attention-grabbing query letter that has the executive’s name and correct spelling. Do not address your query: To Whom It May Concern.

6.     Write a scintillating one-page synopsis that accurately reflects your screenplay.

To read more go to: