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How to Fail As A Screenwriter – EPIC EDITION

I get a lot of messages from people asking if I have ‘any writing tips’ for them – my answer is always, ‘YES! LOADS!’ 

But I was in a silly mood today so I thought I would flip this notion on its head and offer up some HORRIBLE writing tips, that are absolutely GUARANTEED to make you fall flat on your arse as a writer. (You’re welcome!). Here we go …


1) Don’t both studying craft

Intuition alone is enough to guide you through the components of a brilliant script and story! You know it.

2) Research is for losers

Your imagination is rich and varied, just fill in the gaps yourself. You’re a writer, right??

3) Hah suckers!

Don’t be concerned about whether your ending pays off adequately – you got the bums on seats, they HAVE to watch it!

4) Don’t sweat the small stuff

Nobody’s perfect, so don’t worry about typos, punctuation and grammatical errors. No one notices anyway.

5) NEVER rewrite!

You’ll only spoil the magic of that first draft and dilute your writer’s voice. Do it first time OR ELSE.

6) Forget about networking

People will realise your genius and come to you, obvs.

7) ONLY pound out those pages

Ignore your friends and family until they hate your guts; sleep as little as possible and do not enjoy yourself. You are a tortured artist.

8) Quit your day job immediately

Work gets in the way of your writing. Living in poverty is character building.

9) Forget about genre

Various genres and subgenres are just lazy writers’ signposts for equally lazy audiences.

10) Ignore structure

It’s a stupid formula for stupid people, writers and audiences alike.

11) NEVER pander to what audiences

How cares what audiences want! They can like what you give them or lump it!

12) Be as obnoxious as possible

This is what true creatives are REALLY like.


13) Be high fallutin’

Be as mysterious and ambiguous as possible in your plotting and characterisation. Make the reader work hard!

14) You don’t need to make sense

Don’t worry about narrative logic or consistency, keep your readers on their toes by changing things up whenever you feel like it. If the script reader can’t keep up, that’s his/her problem!!

15) The first 10 pages can kiss my …

The first 10 pages are simply for introducing characters. Make sure you tell us their entire backstory up front, then we can relate to them. Make the audience wait for the story to start, tell them it’s worth it!

16) Don’t bother finding out what has gone before

NEVER read or watch movies or TV shows that are like yours. You might get influenced by it!

17) Images, schmages

Don’t worry too much about your opening image or writing visually. Great screenwriting is SOLELY about the dialogue!

18) Do not ever read for other writers

Critiquing won’t help you, only them – and you don’t want more competition, do you???

19) Always be RIGHT

If you receive constructive critique, be as adversarial as possible and make sure you ‘win’ by pointing out what they have ‘missed’.

20) Do not use screenplay software

It’s good discipline to constantly have to move format elements around the page in MS Word.

21) Make life difficult

Do not use apps or Dropbox or anything that makes the writer’s life easier. You are a tortured artiste, remember!

22) Reject the rejections

Write back harshly worded emails and letters to people who have rejected you. Remind them of your genius whenever possible and tell them they will regret it.

23) Be  paranoid

Never take the advice of produced or published writers. They’re trying to ensure you don’t come up through the ranks and nick their spot in the industry.

24) Be paranoid # 2

Accuse everyone of trying to nick your ideas, your scripts or exploit you.


25) Rely on FATE

Don’t bother setting goals or evaluating your progress. Just throw spaghetti at the wall randomly, as and when the mood takes you.

26) Don’t do your foundation work

Don’t bother road-testing your concept. Just keep writing, it’ll work out in the end.

27) Pour your efforts into ONE thing

You don’t need a portfolio. Keep writing the same screenplay, non stop and tinker with it for years.

28) Ignore EVERYONE

Don’t listen to any of the ‘gurus’; never go to screenwriting events like London Screenwriters’ Festival; don’t read blogs; watch videos or listen to podcasts; and don’t check out free writing advice on social media. What the hell do these people know!

29) Never show your writing to anyone

It’s the only way to make sure the beauty of your writing prevails.

30) Get angry and bitter

This will fuel your genius and you’ll SHOW THEM GODDAMMIT! To prove this, write your complaints and rage all over the internet, so people can see how right you are. Yeah!

Take Your Writing To The NEXT LEVEL! all know format is the LEAST of our problems as screenwriters … but *how* do we improve our writing craft?? My course with LondonSWF, Advanced Fundamentals of Screenwriting at Ealing Studios, London (Oct 20th-21st, 2018). Over two days, we will put writing craft under the microscope & you will learn tricks to elevate your writing to the NEXT LEVEL. Don’t miss out!

CLICK HERE for full details of the course (or on the pic above). We expect it to sell out , so act now to avoid disappointment. See you there!!!

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5 thoughts on “How to Fail As A Screenwriter – EPIC EDITION”

  1. I am so very glad that I NEVER have committed any such transgression. Even so, those SOB’s
    will reap a ferocious harvest of pain when I show the suckers how worthless they all are, they and their sycophantic, cloying a—hole colleagues in this miserable, soul-destroying enterprise they call showbiz. Oh, wait a minute…uh,…I, uh, take that back. 🙂

  2. OH DEAR I’ve just scored 23 / 30 – that’s not good is it . lol.
    Are well back to reading the good stuff. How to write drama by LVH 🙂

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