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7 On Structure #7: The Point Is There Is No Point

SPOILERS: Lost Highway I had a boyfriend once who liked arthouse films. He would regale me, sometimes for hours at a time, about the various plotlines he loved so much. Yet whenever I would ask, “What’s the point?” of a particular narrative, he’d say, as if I had clearly lost my mind, “This is arthouse, Luce. There isn’t one.” Is there no point to arthouse film? I would argue there absolutely, categorically, is a point. All arthouse films have something to say, even if you haven’t got the foggiest what it is. If you consider a film like LOST HIGHWAY… Read More »7 On Structure #7: The Point Is There Is No Point

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7 On Structure: Top Heavy

SPOILER ALERT: 28 Days Later / Resident Evil/ 28 Weeks Later Forgive me Bloggers, for I have sinned… It has been FIVE days since my last post on structure… How can you ever forgive me, especially you Dublin Dave?! 😛 So– Have I mentioned this screenwriting malarkey is like a house of cards? Oh yeah, I have. And also one of those tile puzzles where you move ’em around to get the pic. Oh, I’ve likened it to a jigsaw too, right right. I could say it’s also like a dress: get your measurements wrong and you aren’t going to… Read More »7 On Structure: Top Heavy

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7 On Structure # 5: Reel Writing

Many thanks to the marvellous Chris Soth who agreed to play a part in my series on structure by allowing me to reproduce one of his articles on his famed Mini Movie Method of film structure on this blog. Enjoy!——————————————————————————THE LOST LANGUAGE OF STORY: BE A “REEL” WRITER Don’t you love movies about the movies? I’m not talking remakes of movies that were far better the first time around, or even worse, creatively bankrupt works that don’t purport to be remakes but ARE, inferior, watered-down versions of stories have already been done well. I mean movies like SINGING IN THE… Read More »7 On Structure # 5: Reel Writing

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Who You Gonna Call?

So, since the treacherous Andrew called me The Dragon Lady on the SP Screenwriters’ Bulletin this week, I thought it best to dispel this myth that I will scorch your script into ash. I won’t. But I will chop it into little pieces. Why? ‘Cos a script is the sum of its parts. It has to be. I might always bang on about stuff like structure (much to the chagrin of the mysterious DD it appears! Loving your work darling btw, MWAH), but a good script is bomb-proof. A reader should slice and dice your script, stick it back together… Read More »Who You Gonna Call?

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Dialogue Is The Least Of My Problems

Writing a spec screenplay is difficult. Writing a spec screenplay that someone will say, “Bloody hell! This is brilliant! I’m going to pay this scribe well and not change this concept beyond recognition!” is akin to making it up Mount Everest on rollerskates. You may make some headway, but chances are you’ll slide all the way back down and collapse in a bloodied heap. Any movies that are made of your script will be changed drastically from what you first conceive. That’s the fate alloted to all scribes. Why fight the inevitable? With a bit of luck, the movie made… Read More »Dialogue Is The Least Of My Problems

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7 On Structure # 4: Narrative Logic

SPOILERS: SPIDERMAN and ALIEN I’ve suspected for some time now that my nine year old lad is really an impostor. Approximately three weeks ago (around the time we moved, in fact) my all-rocking, Hells Angel son (he’d have a mullet if I let him – when he grows up I’m sure he will look just like the boyfriend in ERIN BROCKOVICH, or at least I thought he would, *sob*), suddenly started listening to The Prodigy instead of Tool and Nine Inch Nails and even started chastising ME for swearing. Like all good mothers however I told myself it was just… Read More »7 On Structure # 4: Narrative Logic

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7 on Structure # 3: Keeping It Up

Some writers are getting better at presenting themselves: they are realising that first impressions count. They’ve noticed that, to get taken seriously in some of the bigger circles (or even medium-sized ones), they need to start well in order to have a good stab at overcoming the sizeable competition they are up against. So they’re stating their intent; they’re setting up their protagonist and his/her goals; they’re formatting well and their script sails past page ten and into a full read. In short, their Act One rocks. Nice one. So what’s the problem? They can’t keep it up. I’m seeing… Read More »7 on Structure # 3: Keeping It Up

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7 On Structure # 2: Plot Construction – Meandering

SPOILER ALERT: Children of Men and Harsh Times Plot construction is something a lot of “official” script reports look at it in detail. If you send your script to an initiative in order to apply for a course or for funding for example, there is a very good chance the reader will be asked to look at this and comment on how the writer has built up his/her narrative. There are two main problems that I usually flag up in this section of official script reports; there are of course many more, but it’s surprising just how many scripts have… Read More »7 On Structure # 2: Plot Construction – Meandering

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Top 5 Scripts We Can Learn From

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, since one of the most often asked questions I get is “What script can I read that will help me improve as a writer?” My answer? There is NO one script that will help you improve as a writer, for no script is perfect. Also, our ability to obtain scripts – whether it’s a transcript, the “right” draft (ie. the one that made it to the screen), etc – is limited largely to the internet. Then there’s your personal preferences, from genre right through to whether you like/dislike certain elements… Read More »Top 5 Scripts We Can Learn From

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Rights And Responsibilities

WARNING: Major Spoilers for Wolf Creek are present in this post towards the bottom. My husband works with kids who have behavioural difficulties. This ranges from kids who have a basic attitude problem because they’re finding growing up hard, right through to kids who have been abused and/or neglected and kids with special educational needs such as Asperger Syndrome. I don’t think he’s paid even half what he’s worth, especially since he loves working with these kids. And who else wants to? Not very many people. But that’s a soapbox moment for another time. One thing that my husband is… Read More »Rights And Responsibilities

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Read All About It

So there you have it: two posts, two rowdy comments sections, readers vs. writers, new writers versus working writers. Some interesting stuff, the headline being: THERE ARE NO RULES. Except– Don’t be boring. Oh and– Believe in yourself. And pay some attention to formatting. But make your scene description as interesting as possible – whilst not loading it up with “fillers”. And don’t tell your story through dialogue. Plus develop your voice and what you’re trying to say. And last of all: make sure, if your script is in a bit of a mess, you have raw talent to back… Read More »Read All About It

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What’s In A Visual? NCI Pt 2

Well, quite a lively debate kicked off in the comments section of my last article: for those of you who don’t read the comments (and you really should, for moments like these if not the general threats, double entendres, paddies and frank admissions by various readers), the mysterious Dublin Dave proposed that all that was needed was engaging the Reader, not adherence to supposed rules like Thou Shalt Not Overuse Staring. He went on to post a link to an interesting example of where he thinks internal thought processes can aid the action, Ron Bass’ My Best Friend’s Wedding which… Read More »What’s In A Visual? NCI Pt 2

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