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Scriptwriting Degrees, pt 1: University

Whilst it’s a given that talent can’t be taught – you have it or you don’t – a scriptwriting degree seems to be the latest “must have” if you’re going to get *anywhere* in this biz. This of course is total pants – some of the most successful writers I know of or have met have no piece of paper that SAYS they’re “trained”, yet still people sign up in their droves: I have a BA (Hons) Scriptwriting for Film and TV from Bournemouth University for example, as does Dom and Lianne. I believe Pillock is going for the MA… Read More »Scriptwriting Degrees, pt 1: University

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Writing & Ethics, Part 1

In UK Law (and I would imagine many other countries, including the US), if you instigate, persuade or tell someone to enact a crime and they do it, this is called incitement. This is why someone like Charles Manson, who never actually murdered anyone, will spend the rest of his life in jail for inciting his minions to do it for him. (I understand the exception to this rule is when you hire a hitman to kill someone: then you are as guilty of murder as the person who does the actual murdering). This is not a post about law,… Read More »Writing & Ethics, Part 1

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Having It All

Blogging about screenwriting craft sometimes is like lighting the blue touchpaper and needing to stand WELL BACK… And predictably, my last post started a comments bomb off. One thing that always amazes me about screenwriting craft is how far people *seem* to be at either end of extremes – writers either go for white OR black on the page it appears, the usual worry being story may not be what a writer intended if there’s not enough detail or that “texture” or “colour” in a scene may be missed out somehow. Yet why can’t you have both? Enough black to… Read More »Having It All

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Directing From The Page

“Directing From The Page” is a contentious issue and something levvied at new writers particularly when they send their specs out to initiatives, but also agents I’ve noticed. Sometimes it’s not called “directing from the page”; you might get some feedback that says you have “overwritten” your scene description, perhaps even the whole thing. “WTF? How can you OVERWRITE?” was my initial reaction when I got feedback like this… I *couldn’t* have overwritten anything, I’d stuck to the four line rule, I hadn’t referenced anything like the camera, I’d laid it all out properly! Directing From The Page is not… Read More »Directing From The Page

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Comedy and Team Writing

Many thanks to the enigmatic JB who had this to say in the comments thread of my last 10 on TV Drama post about Moving Wallpaper and Echo Beach: “It has got me thinking about the benefits of the US system of writing teams, especially for comedy, where many minds are likely to be better than one in ramping up the laughter count…What do you think?” I am undecided about the benefit of team writing, though other bloggers have written about their own experiences of it (thanks James Henry) and others have been vocal in their support or dislike of… Read More »Comedy and Team Writing

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Adaptation and "Success": The Golden Compass And Beyond

Regular readers of this blog know how interested I am in adaptation, so this course with Adrian Mead is definitely of interest: provided I can get some funding, I’ll be there, hopefully see you there too. The marvellous Steve too is interested in adaptation and over the Christmas break, he sent me the following email, which he gave me his kind permission to reporduce here to stimulate debate: Hi Lucy Let me run this by you, it’s an idea I had about movies in general. In film adaptations of books, you often get the situation that recently occurred with The… Read More »Adaptation and "Success": The Golden Compass And Beyond

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The Truth Of Fiction

I’m going to be incommunicado for most of this week: it’s half term and the kids are at home, meaning I have to write coverage in-between calls of “Get me a drink!”, “Stop the baby from climbing up on the window ledge!” and “What do you mean, “we need to talk”?” as well as a variety of other deadlines that have descended all at the same time. Obviously. A woman’s work is never done and all that. But here’s something juicy for you tp get your teeth into while I’m gone, I’ll check in when I can. ———————————————————————- I get… Read More »The Truth Of Fiction

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7 On Structure #1: Preference

Structure. We all know it, we all do it… Don’t we? Well actually, structure is probably the most talked-about element of screenwriting since it’s probably the element that is most maligned, misunderstood and misused. Certainly it’s the element that I write most about in my coverage for private clients in particular, but also in reports for writing initiatives, funding cos and indies in terms of whether a script is “ready” or not for development (the usual assertion being that, if a structure is bad – or as my favourite non-technical term goes, “lumpy” – it isn’t). So, here are the… Read More »7 On Structure #1: Preference

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Rights And Responsibilities

WARNING: Major Spoilers for Wolf Creek are present in this post towards the bottom. My husband works with kids who have behavioural difficulties. This ranges from kids who have a basic attitude problem because they’re finding growing up hard, right through to kids who have been abused and/or neglected and kids with special educational needs such as Asperger Syndrome. I don’t think he’s paid even half what he’s worth, especially since he loves working with these kids. And who else wants to? Not very many people. But that’s a soapbox moment for another time. One thing that my husband is… Read More »Rights And Responsibilities

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Please Leave A Message And I’ll Get Right Back To You

Many thanks to the peeps that emailed to wish me a happy birthday yesterday… 28. Yuk. I was supposed to be a squillionaire by now and have my own TV series like Lynda La Plante. But let’s brush over that bit and concentrate on the good bits – successful reading business, kids, husband, yeah that works for me. But I better be a squillionaire by next year else I’ll have to release said husband and kids back into the wild since they’re obviously the ones distracting me from greatness. Right, I’m off to sunny Bournemouth tomorrow… FOREVER! That’s right, the… Read More »Please Leave A Message And I’ll Get Right Back To You

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If It Wasn’t For those Pesky Kids…

This Power of 3 malarkey, how to do it and what constitutes good feedback has got everyone talking, it seems. Since posting on Thursday I’ve had a deluge of emails and IMs and have noticed a variety of conversations on blogs, message boards and forums ranging from concurrence to the faintly bemused to the full-blown attack on amateurs and newbies. The “newer” writer – as in, the writer who has written only a few scripts – will always get a bum deal it seems. Sometimes it would appear that the more experienced a writer becomes, the more they forget what… Read More »If It Wasn’t For those Pesky Kids…

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