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Please Leave A Message And I’ll Get Right Back To You

Many thanks to the peeps that emailed to wish me a happy birthday yesterday… 28. Yuk. I was supposed to be a squillionaire by now and have my own TV series like Lynda La Plante. But let’s brush over that bit and concentrate on the good bits – successful reading business, kids, husband, yeah that works for me. But I better be a squillionaire by next year else I’ll have to release said husband and kids back into the wild since they’re obviously the ones distracting me from greatness.

Right, I’m off to sunny Bournemouth tomorrow… FOREVER! That’s right, the evil moving saga is now officially over (bar the actual moving of course) and we are out of the depths of Devon and into…The depths of Dorset. I wonder if the sheep speak a different language over there?? : P

Anyway, just ‘cos I’ll be preoccupied for the next few days doesn’t mean you lot can’t have your usual ruckus, so based on previous inflammatory posts here are some debates for you to fight it out over until my return. You may answer as many of these as you like and please do cause a scene. I thank you.

1. What constitutes a spoiler?

2. Which genre is the best?

3. If a scene is “essential” to the plot, why can’t it be removed? What is special about it? (no old adages like “it pushes the story forward” on its own please – let’s delve into specifics). Is there any such thing as an essential scene in a) an actual movie (can it always be re-edited?) b) a spec (can it always be “reimagined”)?

4. What makes a great title?

5. What is constitutes great structure – ie. how do we avoid those “saggy” bits? What about those alternatives to The Three Acts? Is good structure a question of preference or experience? etc, etc.

Come on then, if you think you’re hard enough that is… ; )

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17 thoughts on “Please Leave A Message And I’ll Get Right Back To You”

  1. 1.Don’t care about spoilers in films but get oddly irritated when anyone talks about anything on TV, in particular the Sopranos.

    2.I enjoy Rom Com. I know it’s uncool, but there you go. Bring it on bitches.*

    3. As for essential scenes, there is NO SUCH THING. All scenes can be reimagined in a spec I reckon – there are always different ways to tell your story or get across particular story points. Writers who get in a flap about how their script “can’t” be told a different way are muppets** who are stuck in their ways.

    4. Structure is similar to number 3: if you’re open to suggestion, are committed to your story – and not neccessarily what’s IN the story, then you will go further than someone who gets caught up in the mechanics of it – ie. they can’t bear to kill a character, cut a scene that’s not needed, etc.

    * & ** added only ‘cos of Lucy wanting a ruck. Blame her. Especially since she cannot defend herself.

    Luv Mike

  2. Something that forces your brain to picture the entire movie is what makes a title great.

    Therefore, best movie title every:

    Texas. Chainsaw. Massacre.

    I mean, come on. “Texas” is chilling enough. People will lineup to see a flick called “Chainsaw.” And, well, “massacre” just appeals to the masses.

  3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre also has my favourite tag-line of all time: “Who will survive, and what will be left of them?”


    Which leads me to conclude that the best genre is horror. Yes, I know it was a joke question, but still: horror.

  4. 1) a ‘spoiler’ is the thing that goes on the back of your car to create downforce…*yawn*

    2)I like action flicks. 😛

    3)An essential scene is essential because it reveals something that is critical to the story…there will be plenty of ways to do that. But there will be some that are better than others. More a case of choosing your battles…fight for what’s important to the story, not your own ego.

    4)Well, I never liked “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” as a title…
    I don’t know what makes a great title, but I do know when I found the ‘right’ one for me.

    5)We avoid those “saggy bits” with exercise…and if I had the money, plastic surgery.

    Oh, you meant writing…


  5. 01. It depends how integral this “spoiler” is to the film’s story. If the film pretty much hangs on one big reveal, it can’t really be much of a film. There’s got to be a lot more to it than that, right?

    02. I think all genres have something to offer. Except slasher flicks or those “horror” films that are basically extended torture sequences. People who make that kind of nastiness have a lot of issues they need to get proper help for rather than share with everyone else. And certainly nothing that has the credit “directed by Paul W.S. Anderson” slapped on the front. That’s like eating a cheese sandwich right before bedtime.
    Stick to a good thriller or caper movie followed by a hot mug of Ovaltine. Or something with hot girl-on-girl action. With guns!

    03. Take the bugger out, I say. Make the audience think for a change. Of course, because most people aren’t well read (Sorry, Heat, Nuts and Empire don’t count), had a shit education and need to be spoonfed utter drivel, that may be easier said that done.

    The alternative is to get rid of all the bloody morons clogging up this planet. Turn the fuckers into fertiliser so at least they’ll have made some kind of contribution. Grind them up and plough them under, every last one of them!

    04. A good play on words works for me. Or something simple and direct. Using a song title is not clever. Like adding a 2 or 3 or 4 to an existing title, it should be punishable by slow death.

    05. Weren’t Jaws (on the island/on the boat) and Full Metal Jacket (training on Parris Island/in Viet Nam) basically TWO acts each? They worked. Doesn’t it all come down to a great story done right? It might seem bloody obvious (and absolutely no help at all) but if the story is told well then the structure falls into place.

    As for this… By page whatever such and such must happen… absolute tommyrot, I say! Blah, we didn’t have an empire that was the envy of the world just so things could fit together like an erector set with only three pieces!

  6. I agree with anonymous and possibly with Good Dog (apart from the carnage and general murder of our fellow man) regarding so-called “essential scenes”: there are always new, different and/or possibly better ways to present your story and those critical moments in them. Those writers who insist that everything in their script is “essential” are usually deluded I find; I used to go to a writers’ circle here in NY until I wanted to kill everyone in the room since they would never accept other people’s POV – after asking for it!!!!!!!

  7. Mike at the top of these comments -you really like Rom Com?? And you’re a fella? That LIKES GIRLS? Or this is cleverly mastered plan to get chicks to like you ‘cos you watch these soppy films with them? Please advise ASAP as I may have to change my strategy…

  8. Hope you’ve settled in to the new place by now Lucy. I’m in no mood for a fight today, so I won’t contribute to the debate 😉

  9. Eat My Shorts: bit familiar aren’t you?? Anyone would think we’re related or something. Watching Rom Coms CAN help you get girls on specially manufactured “DVD nights” (read “get my hands on you nights” though, so I recommend it. But I actually do like Rom Coms, too.


  10. So we’ve got the usual threats and insults, not to mention Good Dog’s insistence the whole world must die. Nice to see some things never change. I see we have some more family members online – has my blog become a past time for families like monopoly or something? Intriguing. Want to hear more on structure, please: is good structure a question of interpretation?

  11. Structure for me is The Three Acts – don’t do all these alternative versions: why have 22 of something John Truby if you can have 3 (5 inc the turning points)?

    Having said that, I can see some use in The Mini Movie Method – it doesn’t work for me, but then I think I’m more of a holistic thinker and I think the MM appeals to sequential thinkers… Or am I talking guff?

  12. Where did I say the whole world must die? Where, huh? Where? Where? Where?

    All I’m saying it would be a lot more tolerable if this awful human infestation was trimmed a wee bit.

    A few billion should do it…

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