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classic script mistakes

7 Best Proofreading Tools For Writers

As a writer, you likely have a pretty long list of fears. What if people don’t love your work? What if you don’t find your audience? What if your writing is riddled with typos? While online tools can’t help with the first two concerns, they can certainly eliminate the fear of embarrassing mistakes in your novel. These proofreading tools can cross one thing off your list, at least: 1) Hemingway Editor The best writers can take long, complicated thoughts and turn them into simple, easy to read sentences. Nobody did this better than Ernest Hemingway. Bring a little Ernest Hemingway… Read More »7 Best Proofreading Tools For Writers

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3 Questions Your Writing MUST Answer

Bang2writers sometimes write to me, asking if I can tell them whether it’s “worth” them continuing with a project, or even writing altogether. But my answer is always the same: if YOU feel it’s “worth” it? THEN IT IS. If you don’t, then it’s not! Simple, really. But often, those writers don’t really mean the above. What they mean is, “How can I TELL if my project or my writing *could* get any traction with agents, publishers, producers [and so on]?” Well, it’s good news. You totally CAN tell “upfront” if your writing is “worth” pursuing and all it takes… Read More »3 Questions Your Writing MUST Answer

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8 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Drama Screenplay DEAD

Drama can be ANYTHING. Literally, anything. So why am I reading the same stuff??? Whether short film, TV pilot or feature, here’s how to KILL your drama screenplay’s chances in the spec pile: 1) Write about the same-old, same-old These are the facts. Everyone writes dramas about: i) depression/suicide ii) addiction iii) domestic violence iv) terminal cancer v) poverty Sometimes ALL of these in one piece! True story. Now, you CAN write about these things, but you gotta have some authenticity and emotional truth, otherwise DON’T BOTHER (see number 2). Also, make sure it’s not written the same way as… Read More »8 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Drama Screenplay DEAD

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How To Avoid Killer Errors In Your Screenplay’s Scenes

Killer Scenes I’ve been working my way through a GIGANTIC pile of Bang2writers’ screenplays of late and noticed a common theme between most of them: their individual scenes needed work (as well as overarching story & characterisation). Since screenplays are the sum of ALL their parts, I thought I would compose a complete rundown of all the potential issues scenes can have individually, in orderto shed some light on the matter for interested parties. So, ready?? It’s a LOOOOOOONG list! Let’s go … 1) Starting too early The classic. Every time you write scenes – and I mean every single… Read More »How To Avoid Killer Errors In Your Screenplay’s Scenes

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Want To Get Noticed? Then Don’t Write These Type Of Screenplays

Updated Previously titled, ‘Want To Get Noticed? Don’t Write Low Budget Depressing Drama or High Budget Science Fiction/Fantasy Spec Scripts‘, this post will outline why trying to get out of the submissions pile with a low budget drama or a high budget sci fi TV pilot like a gazilion other writers (probably) ain’t gonna work for you. Strap yourself in and suck it up, peeps … Cliches + Stereotypes = BORING When I started script reading, everyone was writing very “worthy”, very personal psychological dramas where generally everybody died or was at least miserable as Hell and in the grip of addiction,… Read More »Want To Get Noticed? Then Don’t Write These Type Of Screenplays

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7 Things Readers Can Tell About Your Script On Page 1

I’ve lost count over the years of how many writers have told me readers *can’t* know their story from the first ten pages. Those writers complain it’s not enough time and that readers are nasty creatures who form premature and false assumptions about the writing in front of them. It’s not fair, etc. Well I have news for you. Readers don’t just form a judgement in ten pages – they form it in ONE page. That’s right. ONE PAGE!! But you know what? So do you!!! Seriously. How many times have you opened a book and read the first few paragraphs… Read More »7 Things Readers Can Tell About Your Script On Page 1

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Case Study: All About Symbolism in ALIEN (1979)

Symbolism in Screenwriting Many spec writers want to introduce symbolism in their scripts. And why not? Sometimes the best writing we see “hints” at other things; there are multiple ways of “reading” it — and us screenwriterly types can pat ourselves on the back for “seeing” it. So Think LAYERS When it comes to symbolism of any kind, think LAYERS, like an onion. You can do this any way you want: visual metaphors, allusions, motifs, character traits. There are no rules, remember. However, the biggest issue I see when it comes to symbolism: It’s not clear what the screenwriter is… Read More »Case Study: All About Symbolism in ALIEN (1979)

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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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Script Mistake # 5: The Journey

So here we are again… Structure. Oh, come on. You must have known THIS was coming (oo er). I’ve already written about fatty dialogue, don’t care characters, murkiness and abrupt genre/tone change. It was only a matter of time! ; ) There are many ways bad structure can screw up a script. I’ve covered most of them on here, but the one I see time and time again is meandering structure. In other words, characters do one thing… Or another thing… Or another… For seemingly no particular reason, at least at first; sometimes for no apparent reason at all. This… Read More »Script Mistake # 5: The Journey

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Script Mistake # 4: Fatty Dialogue

We all know the scripts that have dialogue that goes a bit like this: “Who am I? I am your husband, her brother and that kid over there’s father. We’ve been married for fourteen years, but your persistent amnesia dear wife has meant I have secretly been having an affair with your sister (that woman over there) and I fathered all seven of her children without you even having noticed. And by the way, can someone get me some coffee? I only like it black because that’s the way I had in ‘Nam, a place I will never forget: I… Read More »Script Mistake # 4: Fatty Dialogue

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Script Mistakes # 3: Abrupt Genre/Tone Change

SPOILERS: DUSK TIL DAWNImagine you’re a script reader. You’ve just started reading a gritty realist drama about a girl whose family life is pretty rough, maybe somewhere up North or in the boonies down Sarf somewhere. The pace is pretty nice, characterisation’s rounded, dialogue’s okay. Nearly twenty pages in, you’re beginning to understand the focus of this girl: she’s going to run away to London, sure there’s a better life for her there (only you *just know* it’ll be even worse). This is the sort of stuff that would light Ken Loach’s fire, no question. Then you get to the… Read More »Script Mistakes # 3: Abrupt Genre/Tone Change

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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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