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10 Of The Worst Screenplay & Novel “Fillers”

Okkkkkkkkkk, so we all know “scene description is scene action” in our screenplays and that we should be kickstarting the prose in our novels, right? RIGHT??? Um, no. We don’t it seems, which is why there’s a stack of scripts and novels with what I call “Fillers” in them … those “actions” and moments that AREN’T REALLY ACTIONS AT ALL, but just a way of breaking up dialogue in screenplays, or filling up space in novels, just for the sake of it rather than any “real” character or story-based reason. Now, we’re ALL guilty of shoving a “Filler” in an… Read More »10 Of The Worst Screenplay & Novel “Fillers”

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How to Write Your Script to A Microbudget (And Not Make It Look Microbudget On Screen)

Everyone’s looking for that micro-budget breakout project. The next Following, Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch Project. But how do you make yours stand out? And how do you turn your script into a micro-budget film? We’re midway through filming our debut feature project Kidnap Me, for a budget of virtually nil, so I thought I’d share some thoughts and lessons from its development and production.  1. Have a USP Kidnap Me is a comedy. An edgy black comedy of love, sex and mistaken identity. With spanking. In a marketplace packed full of zero budget horrors, rape-revenge thrillers and Richard Curtis knock-offs, ours… Read More »How to Write Your Script to A Microbudget (And Not Make It Look Microbudget On Screen)

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7 Ways To Name Your Characters

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”  Names. They’re important. They’re not important. It depends. For me, names are important. I spent a long time choosing my children’s. I had various reasons for this and the names I chose (and I did choose them all; my Husband had power of veto, but we came to the agreement I carried the babies, so I named them. And no, don’t feel sorry for him – he suggested this!). Ultimately, I wanted a name for each of the children with a meaning… Read More »7 Ways To Name Your Characters

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5 Top Tips On Visuals For Your Novel From Hollywood Blockbusters

I love RJ’s ideas here, especially the notion of a “mental back pocket” and using “ordinary” places and experiences to evoke EXTRAORDINARY detail in your novel! Nice on RJ … Enjoy! What makes the pages of an action thriller turn into a treat for the mind’s eye? It is a question that has a one word answer: visualisation. My name is RJ Mitchell and I am the author of a Glaswegian crime thriller series which has just seen its third novel “The Longest Shadow”, published on November 21, by Fledgling Press of Edinburgh. I am an ex-cop from Glasgow and my… Read More »5 Top Tips On Visuals For Your Novel From Hollywood Blockbusters

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4 Reasons **That Moment You Don’t Like** Is NOT A Deus Ex Machina

All About The Deus Ex Machina So, the Deus Ex Machina. What is it? Well to know a word or phrase is to be able to define a word or phrase (as my English teacher always used to say!). So here is the dictionary’s definition … Pretty straightforward, tbh. In other words, by today’s standards, it’s *something* that’s parachuted in to a story to SAVE characters in some way and/or SOLVE a problem FOR THEM. Obviously, the Deus Ex Machina is lame. No one wants to put one in their stories. Oh, except those using it for comedic effect of… Read More »4 Reasons **That Moment You Don’t Like** Is NOT A Deus Ex Machina

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What’s The Difference Between Thriller And Horror?

Thriller Vs. Horror Thriller and Horror … They’re practically the same genre, right? NOPE. Not by a long shot. Whilst they may share certain characteristics, Thriller and Horror are two definitive genres and this post will attempt to explain why in more detail. It’s A ‘Thriller / Horror’ Though I touch on this issue in my book, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, I think it’s worthwhile to go into more detail on this element. I see LOTS of spec screenplays that call themselves “Thriller / Horrors” and this is nearly always a mistake. Not only does it wind up the… Read More »What’s The Difference Between Thriller And Horror?

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7 Reasons You Should Write A Sports Movie

Want to Write a Sports Movie? I hate sports. I mean, REALLY hate them. What’s the point: run up a track? Unless you’re being chased by a monster, do me a favour. Kick or throw a ball? No chance. I was the kid who had “period pain” four weeks of every month rather than do PE at school. True story. (Of course, the joke’s on me now ‘cos Mr C is OBSESSED with sports … not a week goes by without some tournament, however obscure, on the telly. THANKS COSMIC JOKER). So it may surprise you then to note I… Read More »7 Reasons You Should Write A Sports Movie

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5 Reasons I Got Involved In ASSASSIN

  1. It has not one, but TWO savvy female characters … As regular Bang2writers know, my passion is for female characters who have agency of their own and pull their weight in the narrative. Unlike many gangster films where females are purely there for decoration, Chloe and Alex both contribute to the story and are absolutely essential to the plot beats. As writer/director JK Amalou says, “The female characters play a bigger part in our story than is usual in films of this type.” 2. … But there are no patronising gender politics. I obviously read a lot of… Read More »5 Reasons I Got Involved In ASSASSIN

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5 Ways To Beat Exposition

Let’s look at five ways you can sucker punch static exposition by using your information more effectively. Or: 5 WAYS TO REARRANGE INFORMATION TO MAKE THINGS HARDER FOR YOUR CHARACTERS AND MORE INTERESTING FOR US. 1) CONSIDER FOR WHOM IT IS HARD? WHO IS IMPACTED THE MOST? If information is essential to a story, then it must impact someone. Figure out who that is and see if it can filter through that character. I always bring up the example of a crime scene where two cops are dispassionately discussing the murder. Snoresville, right?  But who is it hard for? What… Read More »5 Ways To Beat Exposition

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5 Reasons Screenwriters Should Watch PACIFIC RIM

 — No *real* spoilers, though do note I discuss stuff like theme, character arcs, dialogue from a screenwriting craft POV, as ever — 5. It’s Genre-Busting. I can just see how **this** meeting went. EXEC: We’ve got giant robot movies going back thirty years … and giant monster movies going back fifty or more! Bring me a goddamn giant robot vs. giant monster picture!! And in my mind I can see DECADES of screenwriters attempting to offer up the goods – but you just know everyone screwed it up by being too whacky, too OTT or conversely too arty/serious. And… Read More »5 Reasons Screenwriters Should Watch PACIFIC RIM

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How To Write The Most Cliched Script Opener EVER

As regular Bang2writers know, I frequently talk on my Twitter feed as @Bang2write about the first ten pages and how cliches so often rear their ugly heads there. Genuinely, cliches in your opening pages are the fast track to losing a reader’s interest. I can’t  stress this enough. It’s not hard to see why If a reader is treated to the same *types* of events, characters, moments and dialogue over and over again (and they are), why would they recommend a screenplay??? It really is as simple as that. Human beings prize novelty and originality. That’s just the way it is. We… Read More »How To Write The Most Cliched Script Opener EVER

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7 Ways Of Showcasing Your Writer’s Voice In Your Screenplay

What Is ‘Writer’s Voice’? Writer’s Voice. We hear LOTS about it, but hardly ever a) what it is or b) how to make the best of it in our screenplays. I think of Writer’s Voice as that *thing* that sets YOUR work apart from someone else’s, usually in very specific ways. Regardless of whether you personally like them, the Tarantinos*, Codys, Sorkins, RTDs, Whedons, Moffats, Blacks (*insert top screenwriter here) all have very distinctive voices. (The same goes for authors too, by the way). We know this from: The *types* of stories they tell The *way* they tell them (Cue… Read More »7 Ways Of Showcasing Your Writer’s Voice In Your Screenplay

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