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directing from the page

Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make On Page 1 Of Their Screenplays

The Page 1 Test Page 1 is THE most important page in your entire screenplay. You have to start as you mean to go on. Most spec screenwriters know they have up to 10 pages to impress the script reader … but few realise it’s page 1 that really needs to rock FIRST. So, to make sure your first page doesn’t sink your chances, read on. Let’s go! 1) Starting with something DULL on page 1 Dull is in the eye of the beholder of course … but there’s plenty of pitfalls we can commit with the very first sentence… Read More »Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make On Page 1 Of Their Screenplays

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Top 5 Formatting Mistakes Writers Make

Formatting Errors If you’ve written a great screenplay, you don’t want to ruin its chances of success by getting something simple like the formatting wrong. By formatting it properly, you’re making sure the reader won’t be distracted or disengaged. Screenplay software makes the job much easier, but there’s still a few major formatting things you have to look out for on your own. Here are the top formatting mistakes to avoid at all costs. 1) Too Much ‘Black On The Page’ … Or Too Little! It’s normal that people would rather read text that has plenty of ‘white space’. It’s… Read More »Top 5 Formatting Mistakes Writers Make

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In The Spotlight: Elmore Leonard’s Top 10 Writing Rules

Elmore Leonard’s book, 10 Rules For Writers was published in 2010. But it’s a summary of that book, Top 10 Writing Rules has become one of the most popular shares and memes amongst online writing groups. No doubt you will have seen this list and been tagged in it many times! (As any veteran Bang2writer knows, I prefer to call them ‘best practices’ rather than rules, but whatevs). Regardless of what you call them though, it’s not difficult to see why the summary of Elmore Leonard’s tips does the rounds so often. It is a short and to-the-point list, plus any… Read More »In The Spotlight: Elmore Leonard’s Top 10 Writing Rules

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Set Design: does your story have enough ROOM?

See what I did there?? It’s the way I tell ’em 😉 So I’ve just been at London Screenwriters’ Festival, where I spent two hours doing a live script edit, looking at pages from writers’ screenplays and working through various craft elements and what they can do to make their work stand out in the spec pile. Suffice it to say: I spent A LOT of time talking about scene description with screenwriters at the event. Why? Well, it’s simple – there’s two things screenwriters generally do when it comes to scene description in their spec screenplays: i) They write… Read More »Set Design: does your story have enough ROOM?

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How To Avoid Killer Errors In Your Screenplay’s Scenes

Killer Scenes I’ve been working my way through a GIGANTIC pile of Bang2writers’ screenplays of late and noticed a common theme between most of them: their individual scenes needed work (as well as overarching story & characterisation). Since screenplays are the sum of ALL their parts, I thought I would compose a complete rundown of all the potential issues scenes can have individually, in orderto shed some light on the matter for interested parties. So, ready?? It’s a LOOOOOOONG list! Let’s go … 1) Starting too early The classic. Every time you write scenes – and I mean every single… Read More »How To Avoid Killer Errors In Your Screenplay’s Scenes

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10 Of The Worst Screenplay & Novel “Fillers”

Okkkkkkkkkk, so we all know “scene description is scene action” in our screenplays and that we should be kickstarting the prose in our novels, right? RIGHT??? Um, no. We don’t it seems, which is why there’s a stack of scripts and novels with what I call “Fillers” in them … those “actions” and moments that AREN’T REALLY ACTIONS AT ALL, but just a way of breaking up dialogue in screenplays, or filling up space in novels, just for the sake of it rather than any “real” character or story-based reason. Now, we’re ALL guilty of shoving a “Filler” in an… Read More »10 Of The Worst Screenplay & Novel “Fillers”

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My Thoughts On The Final 50 of “50 Kisses”

It was always going to be difficult, honing a list of 1800+ scripts down to just 50. It wasn’t just a case of picking only the “best” writing either, but balancing the “best” with the “right” subject matter too – we didn’t want 50 smoochy-smoochy scripts, or 50 outlandish ones either. The reading team needed to keep that end outcome in mind of “50 Kisses – the movie” as well! NOT easy. And I for one think the reading team did a fantastic job again. I wasn’t able to head the team this year because of other work commitments, but… Read More »My Thoughts On The Final 50 of “50 Kisses”

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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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Specs I’ve Seen #1: The Woman Who Screamed Butterflies By David Bishop

Often spec screenwriters will ask me to nominate and talk about another spec work with them that I’ve read that I’ve thought particularly good. As a reader however I take confidentiality seriously, so I have to decline. These repeated requests however got me thinking and I’ve approached several writers whose work I’ve admired and asked them if I can write about their work on the blog. This is the first of the series.————————————————————————————-I’ve been a big fan of David Bishop’s work for some time now: originally a Bang2write paying client (oo er), David’s now one of my own trusted circle… Read More »Specs I’ve Seen #1: The Woman Who Screamed Butterflies By David Bishop

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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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