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10 Screenwriting Lessons from THE EXORCIST (Part 1)

Happy Halloween! There are many seminal Horror works that have influenced cinema, but they probably don’t come any bigger than THE EXORCIST. Whether you love it or loathe it, over forty years on, this movie has made an indelible (bloody) stamp on the genre, so if you want to write Horror? You NEED to watch this film & learn from it! Here’s why, according to Dave at the fab new website, StoryBeats. Enjoy! 1) THE EXORCIST did it first Nearly every film convention, trope and cliché seen in horror films today was created in The Exorcist back in 1973. Bumps… Read More »10 Screenwriting Lessons from THE EXORCIST (Part 1)

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Writing Fantasy: 10 Dos And Don’ts From Author Lucy Hounsom (Starborn)

Tips From Fantasy Author Lucy Hounsom I was lucky enough to meet fantasy author Lucy Hounsom at the recent Tiverton Literary Festival in my hometown in Devon. She spoke so well about the genre on her panel, I thought Bang2writers would like hear some of her top tips as well. Enjoy! Over to you, Lucy Hounsom … 10 DOs and DON’Ts Writing Fantasy Although the same general ‘rules’ of writing apply to fantasy, i.e. character creation, exposition, structuring, crafting dialogue, fantasy is a genre with roots in the ancient world and it’s important to be aware of its established themes,… Read More »Writing Fantasy: 10 Dos And Don’ts From Author Lucy Hounsom (Starborn)

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Producer Case Study: 4 Reasons I Optioned A Screenplay

I first came across Phil Peel’s work as part of my 2012/13 “Pitch Me” comp and enjoyed his screenplay, PHOEBE LANGTRY, a huge deal. I was also privileged to help edit his fab, fun (yet grossly titled!) comedy short film, JOHN LENNON’S TURD (you can read Phil’s own guest post on B2W about the film, HERE). So when producer Jason Attar contacted me asking if I knew any screenplays or screenwriters worth a punt on, I had no hesitation recommending Phil! Now Jason’s back, looking for MORE great writers for his new writing initiative, so I thought it would be a… Read More »Producer Case Study: 4 Reasons I Optioned A Screenplay

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Top 6 Reversals In Movies

FYI – SPOILERS! I’ve said only recently I don’t read enough reversals in spec screenplays, in ANY genre. I thought it time to offer up some examples of those I’ve watched that I felt were effective. Before we get going however, here is the definition of ‘reversals’ I am using for the purposes of this post … “A place in the plot where a character achieves the opposite of his aim, resulting in a change from good fortune to bad fortune.” You may also want to read THIS POST, which contains a definition of what screenplay reversals are. There’s also a great… Read More »Top 6 Reversals In Movies

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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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4 Reasons Your Concept Counts Above All Else

Your Concept Counts NEWSFLASH: your concept counts above all else! Here’s why … I see a lot of spec screenplays and novels with concepts that “misfire”. There can be hundreds of reasons for these misfires, but generally speaking ends up one of these … Ready? Let’s go! i) There’s more than one story going on This is a particular problem for spec screenplays, especially features, but it can adversely affect TV pilots and novels too. You see, even if you DO have various different story strands going on, they should generally relate back to that single central concept *in some… Read More »4 Reasons Your Concept Counts Above All Else

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5 Steps To Writing The Perfect Cover Letter

Congratulations – you have written a novel! This is no small thing, for in the words of Hemingway, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” After the effort that has gone into your manuscript, it’s understandable that you’re eager to secure a literary agent, but you need to be patient for long enough to write a great cover letter. It’s the gateway to getting your book published. Here are 5 tips to help you on your way: 1. Write concisely Your letter should be no longer than one page. Not one-and-a-bit,… Read More »5 Steps To Writing The Perfect Cover Letter

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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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Genre & Tone, A Case Study: BEETLEJUICE

This post is inspired by  two separate Twitter conversations over the last two weeks between myself and Michelle Goode & Claire Yeowart and then Hina Malik – so stand by for some serious musing. Years ago I attended a conference held by The British Board of Film Classifcation (BBFC). It was a very interesting  – and of course the notion of film censorship reared its head. Since the majority of us in the room were students, many of us expressed outrage that censorship existed at all; we claimed that as artists we should be “trusted” to make the “right” stuff.… Read More »Genre & Tone, A Case Study: BEETLEJUICE

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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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