All About Stock Characters A stock character is a stereotypical fictional character in a work of art such as a novel, play, or a film. Stock characters are immediately recognisable because they occur so frequently. I put it to you there are the stock characters infecting – yes, infecting – the spec pile. We must attempt to treat this disease with a huge dose of Spec Writing Salve, so we might cut off these tired tropes and offensive myths, rather than perpetuate them in our novels and screenplays! But where do we start??? 6) ‘Magical Queer’ AKA The “Gay… Read More »6 Stock Characters That Need Retiring By Writers NOW
“Show it, don’t tell it” is probably the most frequently quoted screenwriting advice (though you’ll hear it for novels and short stories too). And at its heart, yes it’s good stuff: OF COURSE we want to “show” our viewers and readers things; OF COURSE we don’t want to be “on the nose”, but use subtext instead; and OF COURSE we want to be thought of as “good” writers. Durr. But on surface level, “Show it, don’t tell it” is NOT good advice, especially for those writers struggling. Here’s 3 reasons why: 1. … The phrase has become redundant and/or unhelpful. Anyone… Read More »3 Reasons Why “Show, Don’t Tell It” Is Bad Writing Advice
All About Scene Description Scene description is arguably the most problematic, yet most important, element of your screenplay. You probably write more of it than anything else (that’s right … even if you subscribe to the notion “less is more”!). I’ve been writing a fair bit about scene description lately in notes for people lately. I thought I would write a dedicated post about the pesky things that can interrupt the “flow” of the story and/or make the page look messy. So, good scene description should: Push the story forward Reveal character Do a bit of both Well, durr, etc.… Read More »10 Ways To Conquer Your Scene Description
I love being transported by movies, not just entertained, but transported, moved up the ladder to a different reality. I love walking out of the cinema with a story and storyworld still sticking to me, like napalm in the morning. This explains why I’m attracted to period pieces (and “period piece” also includes science fiction films, which are period pieces that look forward rather than backward). A lot of my screenwriting – paid gigs and spec work both – has focused on slips up or down the timeline. So here are a few guideposts that have been helpful to me… Read More »5 Tips For Writing Period Movies
Many thanks to Natasha aka Script Smart for tagging me in this Blog Hop, which consists of ten questions and then tagging other authors/writers. So here’s mine: 1. What is the working title of your next book? I’m currently editing WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS. It’s a non-fiction book about, oh – you can probably guess. At the moment I’m contacting all the industry peeps I can think of to contribute quotes on either writing or selling Thriller screenplays, so readers can have as many great insights as possible from the industry. 2. Where did the idea come from… Read More »Blog Hop: My Next Book – Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays (Sept 2013)
FYI, there’s now dedicated B2W Resources AND Free Downloads pages at the top of this blog, under the banner! Or click > HERE I get lots of questions about One Page Pitches, such as how “best” to lay them out, what to put in them etc, so have created a new resource at The B2W Required Reading List. Download The One Page Pitch Reference Guide as a PDF here … And as a .doc here. Here’s another 6 Tips on writing a one page pitch for your script or novel. Other B2W resources that may be of interest: The B2W… Read More »Bang2write Resources
NB. PITCH ME IS NOW CLOSED If you recall, back in November 2012 I ran Pitch Me, where I invited writers to send me their loglines for their features, TV pilots and sitcoms, according to a list of what I was and wasn’t looking for. It was an interesting script call, with over 100 writers submitting. Here’s a run down of how I found the first round. No B2W-led script call would be complete without my announcing who made it all the way … Here’s the 5 lucky writers/teams who have made it through to a full read: 1) Dan &… Read More »Pitch Me … Full Reads
Claire Yeowart asks: What are the specific differences in television pilots vs features?… In pilots – how do you balance characters and plot without there being too much going on overall? These are really good questions which other Bang2writers have struggled with in the past, so I’ll break down the aspects of features vs. pilots, one by one as I see them. STRUCTURE Features. There are many ways of looking at features in terms of structure, but I think of The Three Acts in a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of way – and because the industry… Read More »Q: What Are The Differences Between Features & TV Pilots/Series?
[Updated] The Script Report (Aka ‘Script Notes’ or Coverage) In my experience as a script reader, there is NO definitive script report template. Instead, when working for script initiatives, screen agencies and some literary agents or production companies I have been supplied with *their* script report template. Crucially, every single script report template I have seen has been quite different … Some are quite short (1-2 pages maximum) and an “overview” Others are very detailed, with many different sections (the longest being 8-10 pages!) Some look SOLELY at the story and craft of the screenplay (what’s on the page) Others… Read More »How To Write A Script Report
Bang2writer Matthew Prince has been back in touch, this time asking: So many bloggers and websites recommend reading scripts, but they don’t offer a framework or checklist or step-by-step guide to use to get the most out of doing this. Sure, I can “read” each script for the story, but what do I look out for? What am I supposed to be noticing? How can I apply it to the scripts I am currently writing? It would be so easy if a screenplay website would actually provide a guide like an PDF file showing the comments made on a script… Read More »Q: How Do I Analyse A Script??
What Is A ‘TV Series Bible’? A TV Series Bible refers to the treatment, or pitch document that accompanies a spec TV pilot when it goes out on submission. Since there are spec TV pilot scripts flying all over the place, your bible needs to “stand out” from the rest of ’em. But how? Well, for me, that’s a no-brainer … You write the PERFECT spec TV series bible and hook the reader! Sadly, I’d venture a whacking 95% of spec pilots are let down by their accompanying TV series bible. In the course of this post, I will break down… Read More »How To Write A TV Series Bible That Sells Your Pilot
As my final word on this series, I thought I would take a look at the decisions we make in pushing the story forward with our scenes throughout our scripts. Very often scenes are good in the spec script: the dialogue may be well-drawn, the characters interesting – yet the scene does little to move the story forward. But what does this mean? Well, as a reader, very often I will read a scene and wonder how it “fits” in the bigger picture of the script itself. It’s as basic as that. It appears to me as a reader (rightly… Read More »Scene Focus 3: Readers Versus Writers