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Authorship For Screenwriters? By Samuel Caine

I want you to take a moment to think about the poor scriptwriter: Imagine a sad little scriptwriter face, the eyes moist with recently shed tears. They’re trying to contain the sobs but they just can’t. Why? Because they’re going to have a very hard time ever being dubbed an ‘author’. ‘And?’ I can almost hear you say… take a seat, and allow to me explain. Authorship is a pretty old idea (biblical, in fact), and one that I’d argue doesn’t actually sit too comfortably with film/television making. An author is usually defined as the person SOLELY responsible for the… Read More »Authorship For Screenwriters? By Samuel Caine

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Q: What Are The Differences Between Features & TV Pilots/Series?

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?

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Have Script Levels Improved Over The Last Decade?

At the weekend, James DeMarco asked me on Twitter: “With the proliferation of online script analysts, screenwriting advice, etc in past decade, has level of submissions improved?” Teenie Russell very helpfully put the whole Twitter thread on Storify, which you can view here. As you’ll see the conversation went on to such things as career advancement, development and peer review, so I thought I would expand here. The bad news: Same old, same old. I’ve been reading scripts for over ten years now and can confirm that despite script advice being everywhere, the same problems with character and structure remain in… Read More »Have Script Levels Improved Over The Last Decade?

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Theme

I recently asked Bang2writers to get in touch with their thoughts on narrative function, so Ben W emailed me this: “I was in a meeting recently and the producer kept going on about how much she liked my theme of “Anti-Capitalism taking on big corporations”. I just nodded and said “thanks” but to be honest, I didn’t really know what she meant because I never really thought about any of that writing it … To me, it’s just a Zombie movie! So who’s right?” The dictionary defines the word “theme” as an “implicit or recurrent idea”. Typical themes in movies… Read More »Theme

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4 Great Prose Fiction Writing Guides by Angelita Williams

There’s lots of great books out there on writing, but which ones should you choose? Angelita steps in with her thoughts – and they’re not the “usual” either! Check ’em out. Listen: we know a novel is not a film is not a play is not a TV show. Each narrative medium works us over in different ways and possesses its own unique strengths. Nevertheless, the history of each is littered with successful adaptations (typically the newer medium cannibalizing the older one – though that’s been challenged with movie-based plays like The Producers, have you ever seen a film novelization… Read More »4 Great Prose Fiction Writing Guides by Angelita Williams

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Reading Screenplays by Lucy Scher – Review & Giveaway

When Kamera Books asked me my opinion of The Script Factory’s Lucy Scher’s book, “Reading Screenplays” I was happy to oblige … I’ve not met Lucy or done her script reading course, so it’s fair to say I was curious! And I wasn’t disappointed. Genre and storytelling plays a major part of Lucy’s book – and is why I’m recommending it so strongly. As I often say on this site, very few writers consider how genre and/or various ways of storytelling affect their scripts and then wonder why their writing fails to progress. Underpinning your screenwriting craft skills with a strong understanding… Read More »Reading Screenplays by Lucy Scher – Review & Giveaway

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Guest Post: Want To Write Better Screenplays? Read A Picture Book by Ezra Paris

A GREAT guest post from Bang2writer Ezra here, with some fab advice and writing exercises for screenwriters… Let the other Bang2writers know how you go if you give any of them a shot. Thanks Ezra! ————————-Picture books, you say? I am writing a Lynchian take on the Western. I’ve completed character biographies, a beat sheet and a coloured coded layout of my three act structure. Surely there is nothing for me to learn from plucky little steam engines, children who do not wish to sleep and an array of cute baby animals who are unable to locate their mother? Think… Read More »Guest Post: Want To Write Better Screenplays? Read A Picture Book by Ezra Paris

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Writing From Life

About five or six times a year I get an email that goes *something* like this: “I/my parents/my grandparents/my best friend/somebody I found in a book or newspaper had an amazing life! I really want to turn the story of my/their life into a screenplay. Can you help me?” First off, well done for finding the story and being so inspired. Secondly, I absolutely CAN help – via my e-library, “The Required Reading List“, where I have collected articles on everything writing-related I can think of, by many different authors, so you can get multiple perspectives on things like character,… Read More »Writing From Life

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Writing The Low Budget Screenplay: Part 2

Carrying on from yesterday’s post about genre, locations and characters in the low budget screenplay, here are some other factors you may want to consider when planning out and writing your low budget masterpiece. Enjoy! Star Appeal. Great writing attracts great actors – and of course NAMES attract sales agents. Think of the Names you would like to target with your hot script… Can you write a role with them in mind (why not – if that Talent attaches, it may gain you a Director or Producer, plenty of films have done it that way round)? So… What is your… Read More »Writing The Low Budget Screenplay: Part 2

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Writing The Low Budget Screenplay

Seems to me there’s two ways of doing this scriptwriting thing: 1) The Sample Route and 2) The Making Route. Writers following Route 1? WRITE A SCRIPT. That’s it. Of course it has to be ace and they have to have a strategy (“TV/ Radio/Film + stacks of networking” in the very least) but the story CAN be anything: high budget, low budget, whatever. The name of the game is IMPRESSING someone with your writing enough to take you on to SOMETHING. People following Route 1 will typically wait a good while before their own ideas are made. In comparison,… Read More »Writing The Low Budget Screenplay

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Giving Them What They Want Without Selling Out

I like tea tree shampoo. It’s cheap, smells nice, gives your scalp a pleasant wake-up tingle in the morning AND it keeps nits at bay… Which as anyone with kids knows, is a VERY BIG DEAL. (Yes, I *know* this is a screenwriting blog, bear with me). So anyway. I always used to buy my tea tree shampoo at a big-named store around the corner from my house. Then suddenly, inexplicably, they stopped stocking it. I asked them why. Apparently I was the only one who bought it. Harumph. No matter though, ‘cos a discount store across the road from… Read More »Giving Them What They Want Without Selling Out

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Hollywood: Mighty Machine

It’s very fashionable at the moment to denigrate Hollywood movies. And as screenwriters, it’s not difficult to see why this has occurred. Hollywood is a gigantic machine with a HUGE output, so liken it to a sausage factory and really, you’re not far wrong. Yet the difference between Hollywood movies and indie output, apart from sheer volume, is not really that big: Hollywood has many, many misfires – those films no one would touch with a barge pole. Yet their hits are SO big, this distracts us even as filmmakers. After all: who *really* cares if no one went to… Read More »Hollywood: Mighty Machine

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