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
Oedipus is someone you might have heard of. The basic gist: he was the foundling child who grew up to be the Greek king who found he’d killed his own Dad and married his Mum. The result: Oedipus poked out his own eyes and his wife/Mum hanged herself. Bummer. Even worse, it only all happened ‘cos his Mum and Dad heard a prophecy that said their child would…Guess what: kill the Dad and marry the Mum, so they had a midwife put the baby out on a mountain to be exposed. Which she did and the child was found (or… Read More »Consequence: A Chain Reaction
Agents are much maligned: you don’t have to go far to find a professional writer who will say all theirs does is take their commission, leaving the writer to do all the donkeywork. I know one guy who insists that he hasn’t heard from or even met with his in fifteen years except at Christmas where she sends him a card… And spells his name wrong every year without fail. So why have an agent, if you have to find your own work? Not only are you in the same position you were previously, you’re now actually WORSE OFF: if… Read More »Agents, Part 2: What Do They Do?
In UK Law (and I would imagine many other countries, including the US), if you instigate, persuade or tell someone to enact a crime and they do it, this is called incitement. This is why someone like Charles Manson, who never actually murdered anyone, will spend the rest of his life in jail for inciting his minions to do it for him. (I understand the exception to this rule is when you hire a hitman to kill someone: then you are as guilty of murder as the person who does the actual murdering). This is not a post about law,… Read More »Writing & Ethics, Part 1
WARNING: Spoilers present Eric Berne developed a theory in the 1950’s called Transactional Analysis (TA). This theory is based around the notin that when communicating, human beings actively “give something” to one another; in other words, a transaction takes place. It is a thoery widely used in teaching in the UK (possibly too widely and to its detriment in my view, but that’s a debate for another time): give your students positivity, they will be positive learners; give them negativity, make them hate you and learning in general. The notion then is very simple at its heart. But Eric Berne… Read More »Transactional Characterisation
I’m going to be incommunicado for most of this week: it’s half term and the kids are at home, meaning I have to write coverage in-between calls of “Get me a drink!”, “Stop the baby from climbing up on the window ledge!” and “What do you mean, “we need to talk”?” as well as a variety of other deadlines that have descended all at the same time. Obviously. A woman’s work is never done and all that. But here’s something juicy for you tp get your teeth into while I’m gone, I’ll check in when I can. ———————————————————————- I get… Read More »The Truth Of Fiction
SPOILERS: Lost Highway I had a boyfriend once who liked arthouse films. He would regale me, sometimes for hours at a time, about the various plotlines he loved so much. Yet whenever I would ask, “What’s the point?” of a particular narrative, he’d say, as if I had clearly lost my mind, “This is arthouse, Luce. There isn’t one.” Is there no point to arthouse film? I would argue there absolutely, categorically, is a point. All arthouse films have something to say, even if you haven’t got the foggiest what it is. If you consider a film like LOST HIGHWAY… Read More »7 On Structure #7: The Point Is There Is No Point
I got my Bluecat feedback yesterday; since not one of the three scripts I submitted even made it within sniffing distance of the top ten per cent, I expected it to be lukewarm at best. I was pretty surprised then to discover that not only did all three lots of feedback offer up some interesting points in its “What Needs Work” sections, all three attracted praise. Which was nice. This is what I like about Bluecat: you don’t end up feeling like a loser, even if you lose. In this game of constant rejection, that’s something definitely not to be… Read More »The Author Is Dead (Or Why You Should Show Your Script To As Many People As Possible)
Many thanks to the intriguingly-named Billy The Kidney who emailed me asking what type of preparation is “best” before diving into a draft head first. Before I begin, I should probably offer some kind of disclaimer, but you know the drill: writing is subjective, so preperation – and what constitutes preparation – is also subjective. I had a writer friend once who believed that preparation for a night’s writing included snorting four lines of coke, drinking innumerous bottles of Bud and smoking fifteen cigarettes. He would then write for approximately twenty hours solid and produce about three pages. He’s now… Read More »What Kind Of Writer Are You?
A writer writes. It’s the nature of the beast, the whole point. You write because you have to, because you have a need to communicate a story in some way, whether that’s because you want fame and fortune, respect and security or because you want to give the world a message. Whatever the case, I’m sure you are all aware of what I call THE URGE – that moment where an idea hits and you have no choice but to get it down on paper. You may be in bed, picking raisons off the carpet or going to the post… Read More »Your Vision
There’s been a lot of talk recently over at English Dave’s, on the SP e-bulletin and on Robin’s blog (ok, I started that one) about the issue of gender and whether the UK is living up to its transatlantic cousin’s standards in terms of churning out quality television drama. Whilst whether the UK is as “good” as the US has to be a question of interpretation one could argue CSI vs. Silent Witness, ER vs. Casualty et al until the cows come home, drawing not only on opinions on writing and directing etc but also philosophical notions of media impreialism… Read More »Are You A Girl Or A Boy?