A Screenwriting Minute With Jurgen Wolff

If you already know the topic of a screenplay that you intend to write, start your research ahead of time. A great way to do this is to set up a Google Alert for relevant topics.

Once a day (or another frequency you choose), Google will email you a list of sources of information on that topic. These will be links to news articles, blog posts, press releases, and more. Don’t read them now, just put that notification into a folder on your email system.

For instance, let’s say that you are going to write a script about somebody who is humiliated on a talent show and the effect it has on his or her life. You could set up Google Alerts for “X Factor” or “America’s Got Talent” or “Britain’s Got Talent,” and “musical auditions,” and “rejection” and probably a few more.

When you get ready to devote more time to that project you can go through all these notices. Even just the titles might give you some good ideas for scenes or characters.

You can read the information that seems most relevant and add that to your research, and use those leads to dig up more. Instead of being the usual source of distraction, Google does  the legwork for you while you’re doing something else.

(Jurgen Wolff’s screenwriting blog is at www.ScreenwritingSuccess.com, where you can sign up for his free monthly Brainstorm creativity e-bulletin. His most recent books are Your Creative Writing Masterclass and Your Writing Coach, both published by Nicholas Brealey and available from Amazon and other booksellers.)



Jurgen Wolff is a writer whose credits include "Family Ties," "Benson," "Love Boat," "Relic Hunter," and the film, "The Real Howard Spitz," starring Kelsey Grammer. I also wrote two TV movies for the Olsen twins back when they were just millionaires instead of billionaires, and the mini-series, "Midnight Man," starring Rob Lowe. Jurgen has been a script doctor on numerous projects.

His books include, "Focus: the power of targeted thinking" (Pearson 2008), "Your Writing Coach" (Nicholas Brealey, 2007) and "Do Something Different" (Virgin Business Books, 2005). He has two more coming out in 2009, "Marketing for Entrepreneurs" and "Creativity Now" (both from Pearson). Previous books also include "Successful Scriptwriting," "Successful Sitcom Writing," and "Top Secrets: Screenwriting." My ebook Time Management for Writers, is available from my website, www.TimetoWrite.com.

Jurgen teachs writing workshops internationally, and divide my time between London and Southern California. He teaches Script Coach at Raindance