All About Kirsten Smith Kirsten Smith and her co-writer Karen McCullah are trailblazers in the Rom-Com genre. They are the screenwriting duo behind classic teen movies Legally Blonde and 10 Things I Hate About You, to name just a few. But just what is the secret behind their success? What are the rules, tips or best practices they swear by?Smith in particular has been open with her advice for screenwriters. Here’s what she has to share … Enjoy! 1) Conflict is key “Conflict, conflict, conflict between characters. Although we try to avoid it in life, it’s essential to embrace it in… Read More »In The Spotlight: Kirsten Smith’s Top 10 Writing Rules
All About John August I had the pleasure of talking with ALADDIN, BIG FISH, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, and CHARLIE’S ANGELS screenwriter John August recently. John is not only an amazing and successful screenwriter, he is also generous in terms of the knowledge that he gives away. His in-depth podcast Scriptnotes (hosted with CHERNOBYL writer Craig Mazin) has more than 400 episodes and his blog (which can be found at www.JohnAugust.com) has more than 1500 posts. Because he has already given away so much instruction in screenwriting, it was hard to find things to ask him that he hasn’t… Read More »John August: ‘The Greatest Barrier To Writing Is Just Starting”
Gotta Be Honest Bang2write is known for being honest in its feedback. Note that doesn’t mean brutal, vitriolic or cavalier. Writing is tough and writers have to make all kinds of sacrifices to get words on the page. Nothing winds me up more than readers and feedback-givers who don’t exercise due care. Every piece of work is an expression of someone’s hopes and dreams. I take this very seriously. But I do have to be honest. I would be failing in my remit as a script editor if I do not put honest notes at the very heart of what… Read More »Be Honest, Writers – Do You REALLY Have A Story?
F Off, Grammar Purists Grammar purists have always nestled like alabama ticks in every dark corner of the internet. In the past year or so, they seem to be everywhere! These guys police statuses, tweets, threads and then call those out they feel are ‘unacceptable’. (Why anyone who doesn’t like colloquial speak online would follow a platform like B2W, I have no idea. Some people are their own worst enemy, yet point fingers at others as being ‘the problem’. Le sigh). But this phenomenon is not only related to B2W. It seems internet-wide. It started with basic corrections of typos and spelling.… Read More »5 Reasons Grammar Purists Can Go Fuck Themselves
Ann Marie Williams is the author of Screenplay Competitions: Tools and Insights to Help You Choose the Best Screenwriting Contests for You and Your Script. I read this book recently and was impressed by its detail and strategies. Please check out her book at the bottom of the post and grab your B2W discount. Over to you, Ann Marie — Here’s 10 quick tips on entering screenplay competitions. 1) Decide what you want out of the competition process Before you start researching screenwriting competitions, decide what you hope to gain from entering. Do you want a competition that will launch your… Read More »10 Quick Tips On Entering Screenplay Competitions
The Debate Every year or so, what I call ‘The Great Screenplay Format Debate’ pops up. Some years it’s just once, others it’s multiple times. It never gets more heated than on Twitter, where produced screenwriters will insist over and over it’s about ‘great writing’, NOT ‘great format’. Mic drop. Debate over. So, are these guys right? Of course. B2W also bangs on about this, after all. As far as I’m concerned, the notion of great writing ultimately comes down to just three things (that’s concept, characters and structure, for anyone wondering). OF COURSE there’s a bunch of other stuff… Read More »What No One Is Talking About In The Great Screenplay Format Debate
Break Story – A Definition I love the term ‘break story’ to describe the process of testing a new idea. (It’s borrowed from the building world, where you ‘break ground’ to lay the foundations of a building). Though I learned this in the screenwriting world, I discovered it works with all ideas. Now it does not matter if I am writing a script, novel or short story … I always break story. Whilst every writer has their own individual process, most do it to check the story ‘stands up’ at concept level … Such as: Premise – does it ‘stand… Read More »How To ‘Break Story’ To Write Something Great!
What’s In the Spec Pile Don’t know what to write? It can be difficult to understand what the industry wants, so sometimes it’s easier to work out what they DON’T want! When human beings prize novelty, standing out from the rest can be half the battle for writers … Equally, so can utilising a tried-and-tested trope or character in a unique way. But what IS unique? I rounded up 20 Industry Pros I know and asked them: What types of stories, tropes, characters, genres, story worlds (etc) feel stale, cliched or overused to you at the moment? The Industry Pros… Read More »22 Industry Pros Share Their Advice On What They DON’T Want
Don’t Miss Out Bang2writers this year have swarmed all over this website … With 35K+ hits per month this year, they’ve absorbed its delicious writing-tip-goodness like the 1950s version of The Blob. Wow! But this means NON-regular Bang2writers might be at a disadvantage. You see, this blog has been going for a looooong time now. So if you’ve not read the most popular articles on this site? You are literally missing out on the knowledge your competition already knows!! But you know B2W will always have you covered. So I’ve rounded up the top 55 articles Bang2writers hit consistently this… Read More »55 Top Tips Bang2writers Already Know … Do You?
Been Rejected? Join the club! Who wants to be rejected? No one! We all want agents, publishers or producers to say, ‘We love it! Here’s a bag of money!’ Wouldn’t that be great??? Alas, you can’t be a winner unless you know what it is to be a loser. Some writers are rejected a handful of times before that all important YES happens. Some are rejected repeatedly for years. But ALL of us have to find a way to deal with this inevitable part of the industry. Here’s a round-up of everything you need to know about the dreaded ‘R’… Read More »The Rejected Writer’s Ultimate Survival Guide
‘Aspiring Writers’ Unite ‘Aspiring’ is a word defined in the Cambridge English Dictionary as ‘someone who is trying to become a successful actor, politician, writer, etc.’ It’s also a word that many, many writers use to describe themselves, both in online bios and in person. Everywhere you look you will see and hear ‘aspiring writer’, whether that person wants to be a screenwriter, author or other type of writer. Last weekend I taught my course, Screenwriting Fundamentals at Ealing Studios for the guys at London Screenwriters Festival. Part of the course is a ‘logline lab’ where writers share their pitches.… Read More »Why You Should Stop Calling Yourself An ‘Aspiring Writer’
Career Secrets of TV Writers There’s lots of Bang2writers who want to be TV writers. But writing career secrets can be hard to come by when everyone’s journey is so different. It becomes easier to imagine breaking in and grabbing that elusive career is all just luck. But it’s not. If we focus on BUILDING a career, then we can see it is all in our own hands. The TV writers below have all broken into the industry and built a career, so why can’t we? Here’s what my 10 (okay, 11!) Top TV writers said when I asked them,… Read More »10 Top TV Writers Share Their Writing Career Secrets