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What Is A “Static Scene”? (Plus What To Do About Them)

Static scenes often slow down your story and cause problems with your structure, especially in screenplays. But what is a static scene and why do they cause such issues? Here you go: 1) Chains of dialogue Very often this is due to CHAINS of dialogue, exchange after exchange going on and on for pages and pages. In cases like this, it’s always wise to not let dialogue run away with you: just because it feels good to write lots of dialogue, doesn’t mean it should ALL be there. As I always say — ALL scripts have too much dialogue. Think of… Read More »What Is A “Static Scene”? (Plus What To Do About Them)

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Sarah Golding: Working With Script Editors, Initialize Films’ Insider’s Guide

I went to Initialize Films last night with my mate Jared (yes, the one who can’t find his way to the RIGHT pub) to meet Sarah Golding and hear about her work as a script editor. Sarah’s probably best known for being the script editor on The Constant Gardener, but has also worked as a script consultant, script editor or script executive on Patagonia (2009), Hotel (2009) , Mad, Sad & Bad (2009), The Edge of Love (2008) and in TV for Zenith Entertainment. Here are my notes – enjoy!——————————————–SARAH GOLDING ON IMDB THE REALITIES OF SCRIPT EDITING Script editing… Read More »Sarah Golding: Working With Script Editors, Initialize Films’ Insider’s Guide

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My Writing Story, pt 1: University

Miss Read has been writing about her own experiences at university doing a scriptwriting degree, which has got me thinking about mine. I’ve had a roundabout journey in scriptwriting, falling into script reading on the way and giving up on this whole lark more than once in pursuit of a more “sensible” job. But it seems I just can’t keep away, ‘cos I’m still going… Let us know how you got into it in the comments section.————————————————————————————-When I decided to become a writer, I was 18 and had dabbled with the creative arts my whole life. I’d done a journalism… Read More »My Writing Story, pt 1: University

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Phew

My number one fave article of all time, Bill Martell’s “16 Steps To Better Scene Description” on The List of Wonder disappeared off the face of the internet this week – not only did I have a heart attack, I got a bunch of emails panicking about it too! Frantic Googling revealed little – just dead links to my list. Noooooooooooooooooo! But here it is. Phew. Thanks to Bill Martell for the link. You really are a prince among screenwriters. Worship him over at his website now, bitches! Oh – and have a lovely weekend.

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Note To Reader: IOU One Action Sequence

There once was a time the spec pile only ever involved two or three genres, especially from the “newer”, Brit writers: the reader would be treated to the uber-low budget social drama, the horror where everyone is stuck in one place and the low budget rom com where everyone hangs out in two or three locations. There were obviously exceptions, but when I first started reading, Brit spec writers *generally* seemed to stay away from the likes of period drama, the supernatural (barring vampires and their lack of make-up) and of course, the big explosion-style action movie. I’m pleased to… Read More »Note To Reader: IOU One Action Sequence

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Adverbially Yours

From the old blog: on the request of the lovely J Stein and for Eleanor who’s worried about the adverb “well” in the previous post! the “51 Tips” are still available, I may even sign up again myself – take a look, Script For Sale is a great site. ——————————————————————–I signed up for the “51 Tips For Winning Screenplay Contests” at Script For Sale and can’t recommend them enough. Every day you receive two free tips via email (a much better idea than scrawling through acres of text in one go), complete with quotes from contest readers and winners to… Read More »Adverbially Yours

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Specs I’ve Seen # 2: The Vigil By Caroline Henry

Caroline first approached me last October, so she’s been a confirmed Bang2writer for almost a year. She told me she had come to writing later in life, having had all the commitments of marriage, family and work first – but it had always been something she wanted to do. Having had no formal training in creative writing, Caroline wisely wanted to “work her way up” through the basics of screenwriting by first attempting some shorts, then longer scripts, then eventually a feature – and of course I was happy to assist her. Caroline first sent me two shorts, VOLUPTUA and… Read More »Specs I’ve Seen # 2: The Vigil By Caroline Henry

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Specs I’ve Seen #1: The Woman Who Screamed Butterflies By David Bishop

Often spec screenwriters will ask me to nominate and talk about another spec work with them that I’ve read that I’ve thought particularly good. As a reader however I take confidentiality seriously, so I have to decline. These repeated requests however got me thinking and I’ve approached several writers whose work I’ve admired and asked them if I can write about their work on the blog. This is the first of the series.————————————————————————————-I’ve been a big fan of David Bishop’s work for some time now: originally a Bang2write paying client (oo er), David’s now one of my own trusted circle… Read More »Specs I’ve Seen #1: The Woman Who Screamed Butterflies By David Bishop

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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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Scriptwriting Degrees, pt 1: University

Whilst it’s a given that talent can’t be taught – you have it or you don’t – a scriptwriting degree seems to be the latest “must have” if you’re going to get *anywhere* in this biz. This of course is total pants – some of the most successful writers I know of or have met have no piece of paper that SAYS they’re “trained”, yet still people sign up in their droves: I have a BA (Hons) Scriptwriting for Film and TV from Bournemouth University for example, as does Dom and Lianne. I believe Pillock is going for the MA… Read More »Scriptwriting Degrees, pt 1: University

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Directing From The Page

“Directing From The Page” is a contentious issue and something levvied at new writers particularly when they send their specs out to initiatives, but also agents I’ve noticed. Sometimes it’s not called “directing from the page”; you might get some feedback that says you have “overwritten” your scene description, perhaps even the whole thing. “WTF? How can you OVERWRITE?” was my initial reaction when I got feedback like this… I *couldn’t* have overwritten anything, I’d stuck to the four line rule, I hadn’t referenced anything like the camera, I’d laid it all out properly! Directing From The Page is not… Read More »Directing From The Page

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S/D: Whiter Than White

“Too much black” is something that script readers get used to. You get your scripts, on paper or electronically, and the first thing you do is open it, look at the first page and either a) groan or b) emit some sort of “surprised sound”. In other words, the density of black is something readers check for. The groaning is because a script with a lot of black means, right from the first page, this is a script that’s going to take longer. Given that readers are not paid on the basis of page count and/or black by anyone other… Read More »S/D: Whiter Than White

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