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Zeitgeist Stories

Stuck In A Rut: 7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Yourself (And 1 Thing That Will Set You Free!)

Stuck In A Rut Is your writing stuck in a rut? You’re not alone. It’s  been a week since I posted *that* post about avoiding low budget depressing drama & high budget science fiction/fantasy spec scripts if you want to stand out from the crowd … And what a week! Some writers have been expressing: AMAZEBALLS! I TOTALLY GET IT! INVEST IN IDEAS! YAAAY! Others have been decidedly lukewarm: *Grumble grumble* MY SCRIPT IS ONE OF THOSE AND I HAVEN’T GOT ANY LEADS SO I “SPOSE” YOU “COULD” BE RIGHT *Grumble* … And others have said, point-blank: YOU’RE TOTALLY WRONG, GET… Read More »Stuck In A Rut: 7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Yourself (And 1 Thing That Will Set You Free!)

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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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4 Ways Samey Stories Happen … And 1 Thing You Can Do To Beat Them

Samey Stories = YAWN! There are always samey stories that make multiple appearances in the spec pile, yet are told by different writers. I call them “Zeitgeist” stories. This is from the German Geist (spirit) and Zeit (time), because frequently it will be something like an anniversary , a particular news story,  (and most often) a hit TV show or movie that means writers all come up with the same idea, at the same time. Zeitgeist stories should not be confused with story archetypes/staples like “fish out of water” comedies or “cops n’ docs” precinct dramas. These are frequently actively desired… Read More »4 Ways Samey Stories Happen … And 1 Thing You Can Do To Beat Them

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Have Script Levels Improved Over The Last Decade?

At the weekend, James DeMarco asked me on Twitter: “With the proliferation of online script analysts, screenwriting advice, etc in past decade, has level of submissions improved?” Teenie Russell very helpfully put the whole Twitter thread on Storify, which you can view here. As you’ll see the conversation went on to such things as career advancement, development and peer review, so I thought I would expand here. The bad news: Same old, same old. I’ve been reading scripts for over ten years now and can confirm that despite script advice being everywhere, the same problems with character and structure remain in… Read More »Have Script Levels Improved Over The Last Decade?

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The Great Writing Myth: How To REALLY Make It As A Writer

Wanted: Great Writing GREAT WRITING (ie. original and well-written) sells, right? That’s logical. So if I focus on ‘great writing’, I figured I would get there in the end. After all, that *had* to be what the AUDIENCE wants, right??? But as a script reader, I was LEFT AGOG when what **I** thought were derivative, crappily-written scripts made their way to screen. But then I decided it was just a freak occurrence and toddled off on my way… … Then it happened again. … And again. … Over And Over … Again. Argh!!! Originality is overrated I started to notice that… Read More »The Great Writing Myth: How To REALLY Make It As A Writer

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