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Tick-The-Box vs. Perfect Craft

So on Twitter this week came the following question – organically, rather than directly, via discussion – between myself and Dodgyjammer: What is the difference between tick-the-box screenwriting and “perfect craft”? Let’s look at them both. Tick-The-Box Screenwriting. I think this is down to one thing and one thing alone: believing a formula alone can CREATE a “successful” piece of writing and/ or filmmaking. And if we’re talking about MONEY and a *certain* level of audience satisfaction/participation, those writers/filmmakers are indeed correct. There are many films on the market which follow formula very successfully. I had a boyfriend back in… Read More »Tick-The-Box vs. Perfect Craft

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Genre Films: Don’t Overthink It

Dev Execs want the “same… but different.” But crucially, so do the audience. Every time someone does something cool and new, do we say “Hey, let’s invest in other cool and new stuff and push that boat right out”? No we do not. The Dev Execs say, “Let’s REPLICATE THAT SUCCESS!” And the audience say, “You know what? I’d love to see a sequel or a remake or a reboot or something VERY SIMILAR to that other thing that was cool and new and I ENJOYED SO MUCH.” I often think how successful a film is deemed should NOT be… Read More »Genre Films: Don’t Overthink It

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Streetdance 3D: More Please

SPOILERS So I watched Streetdance 3D recently. Actually I watched the 2D version, cos 3D gives me migraines, but you catch my drift: I watched *that* UK Dance Movie; the first one ever, apparently. The US in particular has a rich history of dance movies going back to the age of Fred Astaire and the Goldigger movies, so I’ve always wondered why the UK doesn’t do them. Certainly as a young kid/teenager I watched all of the usual suspects – Dirty Dancing, Fame, Footloose, Strictly Ballroom, Saturday Night Fever, Stayin’ Alive, even Coyote Ugly, Step Up and Save The Last… Read More »Streetdance 3D: More Please

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Your Audience: Who Is Your Script FOR?

Audience Ratings Dawn asks the excellent question: As screenwriters, how do we rate our scripts for sexual content, language, violence, gore? Before I begin, it should be noted this is NOT a post about the potential rights/wrongs of censorship. Rather, this is a post about AUDIENCE – something often disregarded by scripts in the spec pile. Knowing *where* your script *could* go in the schedule or what rating it would receive is highly desirable and is something a producer or agent may ask you. Why? Because without a sense of audience, scripts often lack a sense of identity. Case Study… Read More »Your Audience: Who Is Your Script FOR?

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I’ve Written A Screenplay. Now What?

Updated So, You’ve Written A Screenplay ‘I’ve written a screenplay, now what?’ is one of the top Google searches that leads writers to this blog. Plus Bang2writers write to me, asking me for ideas on what to do / where to send scripts they’ve written, so I thought it was time I put my thoughts on this in one place, once and for all … Enjoy!  1) Get Some Screenplay Feedback i) Getting it – do peer review You don’t have to pay for this, though you can if you want to.  Alternatively, you can do peer review aka a… Read More »I’ve Written A Screenplay. Now What?

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Welcome To Rom Com Hell: 8 Awful Ways To Write Romantic Comedy

Rom Com / Real Life Hell Rom Com was always one of those genres I avoided through my teens and early twenties. Being a Goth, I was way too cool for boy-meets-girl, obviously. Besides which, by 18 I was a total cynic … I had after all been the girl who’d met the boy, then got knocked up and ripped off by him! I’d been left with a broken heart, a wailing baby and a man-hating attitude problem for approximately five years.  I was also of the (not unreasonable) belief that post-FOUR WEDDINGS in the late 90’s/early noughties that all… Read More »Welcome To Rom Com Hell: 8 Awful Ways To Write Romantic Comedy

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All About Dramatic Irony And Twists In The Tale

All About Dramatic Irony Dramatic irony is a tool I see often in produced and published works, but hardly ever in spec scripts or unpublished novels. Recently I was talking with Uber-Agent Julian Friedmann and mentioned how much I love Yves Lavender’s book Writing Drama. Segnor Friedmann replied how much he loves the book’s section on dramatic irony, lamenting the fact that so few screenwriters actually use this fantastic device. His comments really struck a chord, so I think I’ll have a good look at what makes dramatic irony so great. What is Dramatic Irony? First off however, what is dramatic irony? Well, this… Read More »All About Dramatic Irony And Twists In The Tale

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How To Use Plot Devices – Voiceover, Flashback, Montage, Intercut and Dream Sequence

Plot Devices With A Bad Name … There are lots of plot devices in scriptwriting we hear are “frowned on”. We shouldn’t use voiceover or flashback is the usual (or voiceover WITH flashback!). I’ve also heard montage maligned in a similar fashion, as well as intercut and dream sequence. This is a load of rot as far as I’m concerned. You can use what you like. These accusations we see levied like “flashback is a lazy way of telling a story” is just another generalisation. Flashback can be an amazingly dramatic way to tell a story. … For A REASON!!… Read More »How To Use Plot Devices – Voiceover, Flashback, Montage, Intercut and Dream Sequence

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A Little Less Description, A Little More Action Please

I’m not fond of those “scriptwriting sayings” that gurus, websites, seminars and books bark at writers, since so many need much more clarification (“Show It Don’t Tell It” anyone?), especially for the new writer. There is one however that I do make an exception for and that’s @wcmartell’s: Scene description is scene action. I love this one. It sums up exactly what it means. It’s the Ronseal method of writing here in that it does exactly what it says on the tin, no further clarification required. Even the complete writing novice can look at that and say: “Ah, yes. In… Read More »A Little Less Description, A Little More Action Please

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