Movie Lessons For Writers

What’s The Difference Between Thriller And Horror?

Thriller Vs. Horror Thriller and Horror … They’re practically the same genre, right? NOPE. Not by a long shot. Whilst they may share certain characteristics, Thriller and Horror are two definitive genres and this post will attempt to explain why in more detail. It’s A ‘Thriller / Horror’ Though I touch on this issue in my book, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, I think it’s worthwhile to go into more detail on this element. I see LOTS of spec screenplays that call themselves “Thriller / Horrors” and this is nearly always a mistake. Not only does it wind up the… Read More »What’s The Difference Between Thriller And Horror?

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5 Reasons Screenwriters Should Watch PACIFIC RIM

 — No *real* spoilers, though do note I discuss stuff like theme, character arcs, dialogue from a screenwriting craft POV, as ever — 5. It’s Genre-Busting. I can just see how **this** meeting went. EXEC: We’ve got giant robot movies going back thirty years … and giant monster movies going back fifty or more! Bring me a goddamn giant robot vs. giant monster picture!! And in my mind I can see DECADES of screenwriters attempting to offer up the goods – but you just know everyone screwed it up by being too whacky, too OTT or conversely too arty/serious. And… Read More »5 Reasons Screenwriters Should Watch PACIFIC RIM

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4 Big Non Linearity Mistakes In Screenplays

Non Linearity is big news I’d venture for every ten spec screenplays I read, at least three will feature non linearity. Renowned non linear movies include Pulp Fiction, Memento, Twelve Monkeys, The Bourne Supremacy, Slumdog Millionaire, Groundhog Day and Premonition. Non-linearity sometimes finds its way into TV spec screenplays too  – particularly of the supernatural genre – usually in the form of flashback. (For the purposes of this post, note that when I say “non linearity”, I mean the “beginning, middle, end” will not necessarily be in *that* order). I love non linearity. Done well, it can really add a new… Read More »4 Big Non Linearity Mistakes In Screenplays

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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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