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If ALIEN Were Made in 2008…

It’s hard to believe that Alien will be thirty years old next year. Barring a few special F/X and props, I think it still looks better than some movies produced only ten or fifteen years ago and story-wise it is still one of my faves. Here’s my tongue-in-cheek look at some of the elements that make up this great film and how they might be viewed from today’s perspective by a (totally barking) script reader… The first thing that really jumps out at me is the fact these characters seem really larger than life. All of them have unlikable traits,… Read More »If ALIEN Were Made in 2008…

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Specs I’ve Seen # 3: Technicolor By Martin Adams

Technicolor, a feature by Martin Adams is a particularly interesting project for me, not only because I have been script editing it on London Metropolitan University’s Metlab course, but because it originally came to me as a short film script well over a year ago. Martin is a particularly able short film writer – it’s a style I have never mastered myself (I find it difficult to think “small” enough, if that makes sense) – and when Technicolor first came through the doors of Bang2write, it was approximately ten minutes long. The tale of a man haunted by the ghost… Read More »Specs I’ve Seen # 3: Technicolor By Martin Adams

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Sometimes Your First Idea Is The Best One

It’s largely accepted that things change – and get better – as you draft and redraft. I’d be a nutter if I didn’t say that feedback helps one’s writing, not only because I am an actual script reader, but because I have seen my portfolio of specs literally grow and improve thanks to the tireless of efforts of other professional readers I go to, plus of course my beloved Po3ers. Yet sometimes one can go off the boil whilst rewriting. Just as it’s possible to be blind to a particular device’s faults in your script, it is possible to reject… Read More »Sometimes Your First Idea Is The Best One

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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Dramatic Irony Dramatic irony is a tool I see often in produced and published works, but hardly ever in spec scripts or unpublished novels.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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The Future Of Feature Film Funding?

My Dad got a letter from Carnaby International Films Plc recently. Given that my Dad is a retired jewellery maker, this was more than a little surprising since he knows absolute zilch about filmmaking, though I suppose he must have ended up on some sort of mailing list from something or other. Since they’re sending out letters to random people like my Dad whom they’ve never contacted before, I can only suppose they won’t mind me reproducing the letter here: Dear Lucy’s Dad (arf), Carnaby, named by Screen Finance magazine as one of the UK’s most prolific film production companies… Read More »The Future Of Feature Film Funding?

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Script Mistakes # 2: Don’t Care Characters

SPOILERS: ALIEN TRILOGY Some characters are indelible. They leave their mark, as if they’ve been seared on to our brains lasting even though S/FX, technology, props or sets may end up looking dated. Sometimes it’s because of their integrity and survival instinct, like Ripley. Other times it’s because their self denial reminds us of what WE should really be doing too, like Miles in Sideways. Sometimes it’s because they’re a classic hero, protecting the innocent like John Book in Witness; other times it’s because they are both protagonist AND antagonist like Riddick. Often a memorable character is memorable because they… Read More »Script Mistakes # 2: Don’t Care Characters

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Top 5 Script Mistakes # 1: Murkiness

In response to a variety of emails asking me what mistakes/issues I see most often in spec scripts (TV or Film), here are my thoughts… I’ll try and do another “Research or Die” by the end of the week. Enjoy!—————————————————————————-Sometimes I’ll find myself writing in development notes that I’m not *really* sure what is going on in a story. No doubt this will be extremely odd to a writer who can see the action clearly in his/her head – and indubitably this is most often why a writer will accuse a reader of “not reading properly”. After all, if YOU… Read More »Top 5 Script Mistakes # 1: Murkiness

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More on Genre, Pt 2: Steven Sheil

Steven Sheil, writer and director of the horror film Mum and Dad, drops in to share his thoughts on genre!Why do you think genre has mass appeal, when drama films don’t necessarily provide a draw for audiences when they’re so celebrated by critics? I think audiences like being told stories – and the more ‘story-like’ something is, the more they like it. With realist films, obviously you are still being told a story, but it’s one that is probably a little closer to the audience’s own experience – and therefore it’s more likely to produce feelings of empathy (“that’s happened… Read More »More on Genre, Pt 2: Steven Sheil

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If This Is A Rom Com, Kill The Director…

Okay, okay, the song was on the radio while I was writing that post title! During my research for my genre article over at Twelve Point I was lucky enough to talk to many writers about their thoughts, but time and space meant I coulodn’t include all of them or everything they said (boo!), so I’m going to put their thoughts here instead. Here’s Steve Lawson, writer and director of The Silencer: if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I’m well up for Brit Film – and if that Brit Film happens to include extreme violence then, all the… Read More »If This Is A Rom Com, Kill The Director…

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You Are The Architect

They don’t teach good time management in school. They should: instead of wasting all that time on stuff we will never ever use (Tangent Ratio anyone?? Okay, maybe if you’re an architect or something…), why don’t we get taught specific skills that will help us in our everyday lives? (Please note that I am NOT saying all academic stuff or stuff learned-for-learned’s sake as a discipline is invalid: I’m a trained ENGLISH teacher, that would make no sense… But can we please just have a few more practical skills in the curriculum as well, maybe?? If nothing else it’ll stop… Read More »You Are The Architect

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Credit Crunched

This sign might as well be stapled to my wallet right now. Inside I have two penny pieces, a button in the shape of a flower and a piece of spearmint Wrigley’s. Not. Even. Joking. Save us people! Send me your scripts to read. I have no one in next week yet, so you can be first in line Monday morning at this rate, yay! Even better: I have not one, but two special offers to entice you that little bit more… One for short scripts, one for longer scripts: £15 for an overview report on shorts 20 pages or… Read More »Credit Crunched

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How To Use Plot Devices – Voiceover, Flashback, Montage, Intercut and Dream Sequence

Plot Devices With A Bad Name … There are lots of plot devices in scriptwriting we hear are “frowned on”. We shouldn’t use voiceover or flashback is the usual (or voiceover WITH flashback!). I’ve also heard montage maligned in a similar fashion, as well as intercut and dream sequence. This is a load of rot as far as I’m concerned. You can use what you like. These accusations we see levied like “flashback is a lazy way of telling a story” is just another generalisation. Flashback can be an amazingly dramatic way to tell a story. … For A REASON!!… Read More »How To Use Plot Devices – Voiceover, Flashback, Montage, Intercut and Dream Sequence

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