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dramatic irony

Top 6 Reversals In Movies

FYI – SPOILERS! I’ve said only recently I don’t read enough reversals in spec screenplays, in ANY genre, so I thought it time to offer up some examples of those I’ve watched that I felt were effective. Obviously, if you Google “movie reversals” you’ll find various lists (on which many are duplicated), so I’ve put my thinking cap on to come up with some a little different from the norm. Before we get going however, you may want to read THIS POST, which contains a definition of what a screenplay reversal is, as well as a breakdown of the multiple… Read More »Top 6 Reversals In Movies

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How Does Exposition Work? AKA 9 Common Exposition Qs Answered

I’ve been talking a lot recently with Bang2writers about exposition and its place within their stories, whether novel or screenplay. As I’ve heard some common misconceptions, I thought it useful to put exposition under the microscope and really consider WHAT exposition is and HOW we can use it, framed as questions to answer. Enjoy! 1) Isn’t exposition a **bad** thing? No. Exposition in all stories – whether novels or screenplays (or something else) – is 100% necessary. Exposition is basically just the background information a reader or viewer needs in order to be able to understand the story. However, many… Read More »How Does Exposition Work? AKA 9 Common Exposition Qs Answered

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How to Write Your Script to A Microbudget (And Not Make It Look Microbudget On Screen)

Everyone’s looking for that micro-budget breakout project. The next Following, Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch Project. But how do you make yours stand out? And how do you turn your script into a micro-budget film? We’re midway through filming our debut feature project Kidnap Me, for a budget of virtually nil, so I thought I’d share some thoughts and lessons from its development and production.  1. Have a USP Kidnap Me is a comedy. An edgy black comedy of love, sex and mistaken identity. With spanking. In a marketplace packed full of zero budget horrors, rape-revenge thrillers and Richard Curtis knock-offs, ours… Read More »How to Write Your Script to A Microbudget (And Not Make It Look Microbudget On Screen)

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4 Reasons **That Moment You Don’t Like** Is NOT A Deus Ex Machina

So, the Deus Ex Machina. What is it? Well to know a word or phrase is to be able to define a word or phrase (as my English teacher always used to say), so here is the dictionary’s definition: Pretty straightforward, tbh. In other words, by today’s standards, it’s *something* that’s parachuted in to a story to SAVE characters in some way and/or SOLVE a problem FOR THEM. Obviously, the Deus Ex Machina is lame. No one wants to put one in their stories. Oh, except those using it for comedic effect of course, like we see in DODGEBALL (the… Read More »4 Reasons **That Moment You Don’t Like** Is NOT A Deus Ex Machina

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5 Ways To Beat Exposition

Let’s look at five ways you can sucker punch static exposition by using your information more effectively. Or: 5 WAYS TO REARRANGE INFORMATION TO MAKE THINGS HARDER FOR YOUR CHARACTERS AND MORE INTERESTING FOR US. 1) CONSIDER FOR WHOM IT IS HARD? WHO IS IMPACTED THE MOST? If information is essential to a story, then it must impact someone. Figure out who that is and see if it can filter through that character. I always bring up the example of a crime scene where two cops are dispassionately discussing the murder. Snoresville, right?  But who is it hard for? What… Read More »5 Ways To Beat Exposition

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Top 5 Ways Writers Screw Up Their Characters

Don’t Screw Up Your Characters Characters are the lifeblood of any great story, so we don’t want to screw up on this … BUT writers frequently do. There are multiple, multiple ways to screw up on characterisation, but here are the typical ways … Characters are ‘tropey’, ie. derivative of existing characters, so boring They are stereotypes or recycle toxic myths and ideas The characters feel inauthentic Readers feel they can’t invest in the character’s journey for a specific craft reason (as opposed to personal reason) So if we don’t want to screw up, we need to keep the above… Read More »Top 5 Ways Writers Screw Up Their Characters

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6 Stock Characters That Need Retiring By Writers NOW

All About Stock Characters A stock character is a stereotypical fictional character in a work of art such as a novel, play, or a film. Stock characters are immediately recognisable because they occur so frequently. I put it to you there are the stock characters infecting – yes, infecting – the spec pile. We must attempt to treat this disease with a huge dose of Spec Writing Salve, so we might cut off these tired tropes and offensive myths, rather than perpetuate them in our novels and screenplays! But where do we start??? 6) ‘Magical Queer’   AKA The “Gay… Read More »6 Stock Characters That Need Retiring By Writers NOW

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Special 600th Post: The Art of Consequence

Scribes often write to me and ask, based on my script reading, how I can recognise a “good” script. The answer? I’m not sure you can put it into words. If you have a relationship that works, think of that moment you knew you were going to spend the rest of your life with that person. You just know, right? Cheesy, but true. Sure they annoy the crap out of you by leaving the seat up or using your razor on their legs, but ultimately This Is It. That’s not to say it won’t go to Hell at some point… Read More »Special 600th Post: The Art of Consequence

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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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