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Genre or Die, Pt 8: Art Film – More Than Meets The Eye?

SPOILERS: Memento, Dust Devil, Angel HeartOkay, Art Film isn’t *strictly* a genre on its own. But it’s a “type” of film and though Art Film can incorporate all types of genre (though it’s often horror/thriller, but not always), it’s something scribes are very often interested in. Not only did Elinor ask for Art Film to be looked at as part of Genre or Die, such films as Pi, Lost Highway, Hellraiser and Existenz [amongst others] have come up for discussion on this blog more than once. But what is Art Film? I don’t get a lot of art scripts, has… Read More »Genre or Die, Pt 8: Art Film – More Than Meets The Eye?

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Genre or Die, Pt 7 (2 of 2): Gangster/Crime Specs

I’ve always been interested in crime and read lots on the subject: I’ll never forget my year 9 English Teacher Mrs. Robins’ face when I gave in a discursive essay – with gory photocopied pictures, no Google images then! – on serial killers. But hey, I got an A. So it’s kind of inevitable then that I LOVE gangster films. And though gangster films have “peak times” when everybody’s doing ’em, they never *really* go away. Maybe less so for me, since one genre Bang2write gets A LOT is gangster. You may remember I’ve already posted about Marc Pye’s Act… Read More »Genre or Die, Pt 7 (2 of 2): Gangster/Crime Specs

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Highs & Lows

This writing thing is great, I love it. But it also sucks. Big time. It’s inevitable that if things go well, they have to be pretty rubbish as well. It’s balance, just part of life: stuff goes up, it’s gotta come down too – else how will you ever know how good, good is if you haven’t also experienced the bad? That’s what I’m telling myself at the moment, anyway. I’m feeling pretty dejected about the state of my career at the moment – I’ve had a few too many rejections close together, basically – and I’m wondering if I… Read More »Highs & Lows

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Genre or Die, Pt 5: Science Fiction

SPOILERS: Minority Report & Impostor in particular———————————————————-Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF. Take your pick. For safety’s sake after last time I’m going for SF. Also it takes less time to type and I’m a lazy moo. SF appears to me to be the one genre that needs another to really “work”: think about it. When was the last time you saw a movie that was *just* set in the future or had futuristic elements? Alien – SF Horror. Minority Report – SF Thriller. Galaxy Quest – SF Comedy, Running Man – SF Action, etc etc. It seems (to me anyway) that… Read More »Genre or Die, Pt 5: Science Fiction

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Genre or Die, Pt 4: Comedy

SPOILERS————————————-Comedy is not something I really think about in my own work; I don’t think of myself as a funny or witty person and comedy is not I think one of my scripts’ strong points. Yet weirdly my scripts are often praised as being funny, if not as a whole (I tend to avoid the whole comic premise), then in part – usually lines of dialogue or a character’s outlook, rarely a scenario. And that’s what really makes and defines a comedy spec first and foremost in my opinion – a scenario. Something original, funny from the first look. You… Read More »Genre or Die, Pt 4: Comedy

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Genre or Die, pt 3: Thriller

SPOILER ALERT The Thriller genre is pretty varied: unlike Horror where there are conventions aplenty to pay tribute to (or break), or very specific role functions in Rom-Com that you can use (or not), I would argue that in Thriller the only thing a script really needs to do is be, well, thrilling. Yet so many of the thriller specs I read are NOT thrilling. Sometimes they don’t make sense, especially if they’re conspiracy thrillers – I will end up questioning a character’s particular motivation usually (along the lines of “Why not go to so-and-so and avoid all this? Or… Read More »Genre or Die, pt 3: Thriller

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Genre or Die, pt 2: The Romantic Comedy

SPOILERS PRESENT Having had a good look at Horror under the microscope then, let’s go the other end of the scale and examine the Romantic Comedy… Here’s my take on the types: The Wedding Rom-Com – does exactly what it says on the tin, bringing the protagonist and love interest together usually through a chance meeting as mutual friends of the bride and/or groom of an otherwise unrelated wedding like Four Weddings & A Funeral, though sometimes for other reasons, as in the Wedding Crashers, where the characters’ job is to well… crash weddings, unsurprisingly. The Supernatural Rom-Com – the… Read More »Genre or Die, pt 2: The Romantic Comedy

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Genre Or Die, pt 1: Horror

SPOILERS! So genre movies are what’s-what at the moment: it’s apparently what audiences want, so it’s what prodcos want. Yet so many specs out there have no genre to speak of; yes they have generic elements but they’re not a GENRE FILM in the classic sense. They pay little attention to convention or classic characterisation; they have no set pieces to speak of, nor do they give us something that’s the same….But different. Speaking to writers, it would appear the notion of the genre film gets the thumbs down, big style: some writers seem to think of them as formulaic,… Read More »Genre Or Die, pt 1: Horror

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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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What’s Interesting About YOUR Character?

Okay, I’ve just about had it with heroes whose wife/children/best friend/dog has been killed and they want vengeance. I’ve had it with the female protagonist who needs to learn something, most often the notion that there’s more to life than money and/or looking good. I’ve had it with the two dumb friends who go on a road trip and get into hilarious capers that usually involve kidnapping someone by accident (how do you kidnaop someone by accident??). I’ve also had it with the loser who can’t get laid and with the drama character who has a few days before they’re… Read More »What’s Interesting About YOUR Character?

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Adaptation, Pt 5: 22 Steps To Adapting For Screen

Now for the last of my posts from The Art And Business of Adaptation: here’s Adrian Mead’s thoughts on how to approach writing an adaptation. Obviously everyone’s different and when you approach your own, you may find your working method/thoughts on this is entirely the opposite, but I still think it’s an interesting insight on how to go about it. I’d be interested to hear from any screenwriters who have adapted stuff what they think of this too – did you do something similar? Not at all? Let us know and enjoy!—————————————————————- BOOK INTO FILM – A CHECKLIST STAGE ONE:… Read More »Adaptation, Pt 5: 22 Steps To Adapting For Screen

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Adaptation, Pt 4: Bye-Child And The Butterfly Tattoo

We’ve heard about what an adaptation entails, adapting true stories and what publishers think of the process, so now is the right time I think to take a look at two specific adaptations. Watch out for spoilers. First up is Bernard MacLaverty’s Bye-Child (2003). An award winning short film (part funded by long term Bang2writer Scottish Screen), Bye-Child is taken from the poem by Seamus Heaney. This was of particular interest, since adapting from poetry – bar the usual suspects like Homer -had not really occurred to me. But why not? Poems are just as rich in visuals and offer… Read More »Adaptation, Pt 4: Bye-Child And The Butterfly Tattoo

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