Understanding the Business of Screenwriting, with Bill Boyle

images-2Screenwriter Bill Boyle is coming to San Francisco April 27 to offer a one day class on selling your screenplay, so I thought it would be fun to bring you all a short interview with him, as well as some information on the course.

Click here for the brochure: Marketing and Business FlyerSanFrancisco


Here’s the interview! 

Q: Do you feel an education in screenwriting is important, and what are some of the various ways you recommend screenwriters learn their craft and the business?

I’m not sure that a formal education in screenwriting is particularly that important once the basics are understood. Writers fall into the realm of a ‘craft’ as do actors and carpenters and other skills that strongly evolve around an individual’s styles and tastes.

I do believe that it is imperative that writers find some kind of mentor to guide them in developing the story without stepping on their voice.

Q: What separates your course from the rest, and what drives you to teach?

Well there are two different areas or courses that I teach and I also use them both in my consulting services.

In the actual process of writing I am a huge proponent of the Visual Mindscape of the Screenplay.

If film is first and foremost a visual experience then does it not make sense that the screenplay which is the heart, soul and the spine of the film should also be a visual experience?

I believe that a ‘fully realized’ screenplay reveals itself primarily through images, making use of what I call the “Visual Mindscape”. This allows the reader or viewer to ‘discover’ elements of the story rather than being told.

If in ‘Citizen Kane’ one of the characters that the reporters interview said “Oh, I know what he meant by ‘Rosebud’” and then proceeded to tell us, would it have the same impact as seeing the sled being thrown into the furnace? Of course not, because the later involves us making the discovery.

By being able to actively participate in the unfolding of the story makes the overall experience for the reader a more visceral and luminous experience. This is why the last few minutes of ‘Usual Suspects’ is such a kick.

The other area I offer instruction in is Script Marketing and Industry Access which is the course I am bringing to San Francisco on the 27th.

I was an Agent/Manager for many years so I have insight into how to best approach agents and producers. Also, every screenplay I have written has been either produced and/or optioned for a significant fee.

No one can promise your script will sell, but I can promise you that with my strategy you will create a marketing package and an approach to industry access that offers you the very best chance for success. The areas covered in the course include Marketing Tools, Industry Access, Script Protection and Basic Legal Issues.

Q: If you had to start from scratch today, would you do anything differently?

I would have started earlier and have been more confident in my own writing and style. I remember years ago when a director who was well known in Canada trashed my writing. I gave him too much credit and was devastated. It took me years to get back to writing again. That experience plays a major effect in how I engage with my clients.


Bill’s website: http://www.billboyle.net

More about Bill: 

Bill Boyle is an award-winning screenwriter who has been involved in the film industry in both Canada and the U.S. for over 25 years as a writer, director, agent, producer, story editor and mentor.

He has become one of the most popular script consultants in the industry and has consulted on nearly 1,000 screenplays. Creative Screenwriting Magazine rated him among the top 10% of screenwriting consultants.

He formerly teaches screenwriting at UCLA Extension as well as lecturing at various universities and film schools throughout Canada and the United States.

Mr. Boyle differs from most of the other screenwriting “gurus” in that he also maintains a successful screenwriting career. Films based on his screen plays have received multiple awards and recognition including: Palm Springs Film Festival “Critics Choice” • Atlantic City Film Festival “Audience Choice” • Toronto Reel World Festival “Best Canadian Feature” • ACTRA nomination for Best Dramatic Writer • Canadian Film Awards Finalist • Recipient of the Harold Greenberg Fund • Chicago Film Festival Special Jury Nomination.

He is also the lead proponent of a visual style of screenwriting called “The Visual Mindscape of Screenplay”. His textbook of the same name was released in early 2013.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s