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A Dream Within A Dream

Hello to Script Pete, who emailed me the other day with this question: “Character is institutionalized…..deluded into imagining she is a singing star! Do you consider, beginning @ page 49 the next 26 pages are mixed over 60 pages…..too many in dream? Dream scenes I was told is difficult to put on film? 109 pages total ie: 26 dream 83 real…” I find the difference between dream sequence and “reality” in film a bit of a contradiction in terms; whenever people talk about reality or realism in film, I wonder if there is any such thing, philosophically-speaking? Edgar Allen Poe… Read More »A Dream Within A Dream

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What Kind Of Writer Are You?

Many thanks to the intriguingly-named Billy The Kidney who emailed me asking what type of preparation is “best” before diving into a draft head first. Before I begin, I should probably offer some kind of disclaimer, but you know the drill: writing is subjective, so preperation – and what constitutes preparation – is also subjective. I had a writer friend once who believed that preparation for a night’s writing included snorting four lines of coke, drinking innumerous bottles of Bud and smoking fifteen cigarettes. He would then write for approximately twenty hours solid and produce about three pages. He’s now… Read More »What Kind Of Writer Are You?

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Arena, Part 2: Resonance

Some interesting comments and questions were raised yesterday, proving that what constitutes an Arena is not only a little controversial, but touched with a soupcon of subjectivity. I made Shell’s brain melt yesterday (Hi Shell) by suggesting that Arena goes beyond the “world in which your story operates”. To recap, I suggested that Arena can not only go beyond your actual story and become a reflection of the theme and/or message behind it, it can also become a character in its own right, suitably freaking our Jason out to boot. Before I begin, I should point out that perhaps I… Read More »Arena, Part 2: Resonance

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Arena, Part 1

Many thanks to David, who asked I blog about Arena. Arena is a term I use with abandon, since until quite recently, I thought it was universal in that “everyone” knew what it was. I learnt it first at university and it was then reinforced for me through working for both literary agents and writing initiatives, where it often comes as part of the actual report templates: How does the writer reveal/use arena in this script? etc etc. So Arena is important. People are looking for how you use it in your script. But what is it? Well, the dictionary… Read More »Arena, Part 1

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Your Script Is A House

So the vendors didn’t accept our offer. I thought I would be disappointed, but the vendors were such 24 carat WANKERS that I’m just mad as hell. The price they wanted for a house that needed that much work was totally unrealistic; I went off it in seconds. I don’t watch Kirsty and Phil and Sarah Beeny for nowt you know, you can’t pull the wool over my eyes punks! They’re the ones that lost out, not us: we can find something a hell of a lot better than that with more potential and less work. It had salt and… Read More »Your Script Is A House

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The Edge

No, this isn’t a post about how close I am to the edge of sanity, though you’ll notice my flat has sold already, despite being on the market only three days so I suppose you could make an argument for it, especially as we now have approximately five minutes (really) to find a new place to live as well as a school for my son. Wow, that was a long sentence. Anyway. We’ve had all the posts about finding your voice, practice makes perfect, etc etc – but now, I’m thinking of those writers who have gone beyond the beginners’… Read More »The Edge

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Genre Crisis

Genre. Defined by screenwriters’ salvation Answers.com as “a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, marked by a distinctive style, form or content.” The operative words here then? 1. Category. 2. Style. 3. Form. 4. Content. Category is pretty self-explanatory; it’s the label we afford the types of film that we write. Sci Fi (sorry Good Dog, SF); horror; comedy; romance; drama; thriller; supernatural and countless others. Then there are the genre hybrids – favourites being romantic-comedy, supernatural thriller/horror, horror-comedy. In addition, there are what I call “splinter genres”: examples include the slasher-pic (loner kills everyone, preferably in… Read More »Genre Crisis

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By The Power Of Greyskull!

It’s an emergency, my friends. I need help, He-man/She-Ra style – and quickly! Rescue me! After some stellar notes from my first Power of 3 earlier in the week, I now need three sets of fresh eyes cast over my 25 Words or Less package for the UK Film Council please. That’s a 25 word pitch, a one page synopsis and ten pages of sample scenes (so about 11.25 pages, in effect). Since this particular story comes from the biggest WTF? Draft I’ve EVER written (it was my very, very first script!), I have reservations about its clarity and originality…… Read More »By The Power Of Greyskull!

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25 Words or Less: The Debate

For those of you who don’t read the Shooting People List any more because of the amount of cyber whining that seems to go on, there’s a “debate” raging at the moment about whether it’s fair that the UK Film Council exclude non-repped writers from the 25 Words or Less Scheme. Oh, and yet another accusation has been levvied at Adrian Mead. I love Shooting People, it’s a fabulous resource, yet people are being put off posting – even their grammar and spelling is under scrutiny! This is crazy. Anyway, I waded in this morning: you know me, I can’t… Read More »25 Words or Less: The Debate

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Deus Ex Machinas

Two different people emailed me on Friday and asked me what a Deus Ex Machina was ‘cos apparently they’d both had feedback from course tutors saying they had one in their scripts and they were too embarrassed to say they hadn’t a fig what that tutor was talking about. Jinx or what! Now they are both under my power, *evil laugh*. However, because I am feeling charitable, before I make them dance down the street in their underwear, here is my article from the old blog* that I wrote last year. ——————————————————————————–I’ve said before that my lad is a chip… Read More »Deus Ex Machinas

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Grammar Revisited

Since there has been the second outing of the tri-annual scrap about grammar on Shooting People this week and since the lovely Lianne requested it, now seems an opportune time to revisit an article on grammar from the old blog. Enjoy.—————————————————————————— The two things I correct most in people’s drafts are grammar and spelling. That’s the nature of script reading as far as I’m concerned and I’m happy to do it (maybe I’m an anal retentive). However, in the past on various writing initiatives in particular (my private clients usually do not do this, thank goodness) I have had to… Read More »Grammar Revisited

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The Main Plot and The Sub Plot

I see a lot of scripts that are what I call, King Lear Drafts. King Lear drafts are screenplays with essentially two main plots: for those of you who have not read King Lear (shame on you!), we follow the fates of – unsurprisingly – a King called Lear whom is arrogant and proud and casts his good daughter Cordelia out of his kingdom for speaking her mind, keeping his evil daughters Goneril and Regan who plot to bring about his downfall. Pretty stern stuff one might think, but oh no: Shakespeare is a little worried perhaps we might not… Read More »The Main Plot and The Sub Plot

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