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Approaching Rewrites

For the lovely H who asked last week for my thoughts on rewrites. If you have a query for the blog, leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll get to it as soon as I can.————————————————————————–The thing to remember with your spec scripts is: it’s a work in progress. It’s never finished. You may do three billion drafts of a spec before it gets an option, but chances are you’ll end up doing a billion more AFTER the option. I have never heard of a writer optioning a script and a producer or director making it the… Read More »Approaching Rewrites

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Specs I’ve Seen # 2: The Vigil By Caroline Henry

Caroline first approached me last October, so she’s been a confirmed Bang2writer for almost a year. She told me she had come to writing later in life, having had all the commitments of marriage, family and work first – but it had always been something she wanted to do. Having had no formal training in creative writing, Caroline wisely wanted to “work her way up” through the basics of screenwriting by first attempting some shorts, then longer scripts, then eventually a feature – and of course I was happy to assist her. Caroline first sent me two shorts, VOLUPTUA and… Read More »Specs I’ve Seen # 2: The Vigil By Caroline Henry

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Script Mistake # 4: Fatty Dialogue

We all know the scripts that have dialogue that goes a bit like this: “Who am I? I am your husband, her brother and that kid over there’s father. We’ve been married for fourteen years, but your persistent amnesia dear wife has meant I have secretly been having an affair with your sister (that woman over there) and I fathered all seven of her children without you even having noticed. And by the way, can someone get me some coffee? I only like it black because that’s the way I had in ‘Nam, a place I will never forget: I… Read More »Script Mistake # 4: Fatty Dialogue

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Do Your Preparation: How To Write Outlines, Beat Sheets And Treatments

You should do your preparation! Bang2writers often ask me what is the “best” way to go about writing a screenplay or novel. My answer? There is no “best” way. But it’s definitely going to help if you’ve done your preparation first in the form of an outline, beat sheet and/or treatment. Here’s why preparation work helps you get rid of all the obvious pitfalls and crap FIRST, as it … GIVES your brain time to “breathe” and work out all the machinations of the plot and the character motivations and themes etc concurrently STOPS you writing a load of junk… Read More »Do Your Preparation: How To Write Outlines, Beat Sheets And Treatments

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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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Q&A, pt 1: Yves Lavandier On Scriptwriting

Regular readers of this blog will remember this post where I reviewed the book “Writing Drama” by Yves Lavandier. As anyone who knows me knows, I usually have little time for scriptwriting books since their assertions and formulas largely do my nut, but I REALLY enjoyed Writing Drama because it takes away all the guff and explores the nature of what creates good DRAMA (not scripts!). Here’s a Q&A I did with Yves last week. Enjoy!————————————————- When does drama become melodrama in your view? When it accumulates external obstacles and ill-fortune. I agree with George Bernard Shaw when he says… Read More »Q&A, pt 1: Yves Lavandier On Scriptwriting

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Dialogue Is The Least Of My Problems

Writing a spec screenplay is difficult. Writing a spec screenplay that someone will say, “Bloody hell! This is brilliant! I’m going to pay this scribe well and not change this concept beyond recognition!” is akin to making it up Mount Everest on rollerskates. You may make some headway, but chances are you’ll slide all the way back down and collapse in a bloodied heap. Any movies that are made of your script will be changed drastically from what you first conceive. That’s the fate alloted to all scribes. Why fight the inevitable? With a bit of luck, the movie made… Read More »Dialogue Is The Least Of My Problems

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