No More Heroes Anymore

The Hero’s Journey: mythic or myth? ☛ Toby Litt recently wrote a fascinating article in which he argued that writing screenplays about climate issues has become difficult because movie screenwriters, and indeed audiences, have all got too use to the Hero’s Journey model of storytelling. His logic goes that tackling climate change requires collective action, […]

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Executive Stress

When Money People Monkey with your Cut ☛ In the Oscars this year Harrison Ford unpocketed a set of notes that had been given by the Executive Producers on his 1982 film Blade Runner. His intention was clearly to ridicule the wrong-headedness of Hollywood executives and the way they blunder into the editing process; these […]

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Emotional Distancing

When to hold back ☛ One of the basic tenets of the industry that has grown up to help screenwriters with their scripts is: make your story as emotional engaging as possible. It’s not bad advice: well-written, emotionally impactful scenes cost the same to shoot as averagely written ones; but they can make the difference […]

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Meditations on Monochrome

Should we be defaulting to colour? ☛ During the first film on which I worked, I got chatting to an old-timer in the camera department who bemoaned the lack of black-and-white films being shot. “You’ve got to have a reason to shoot in colour,” he argued. I should add that this was in the ’90s […]

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Cast Away

The Joy of Small Cast Screenplays ☛ Times being what they are, and social distancing being a fact of film sets for the foreseeable, we’re all scrabbling around for ways to deal with the restrictions this creates. What seems to be generally agreed is that scripts with small casts will be considerably easier to film. […]

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Directorial Style

Why directors make their mark ☛ One thing that distinguishes many successful directors is their tendency to leave their own personal stamp on a film. From Woody Allen to Ken Loach, Spike Lee to Tarantino, directors whose names we know often give their films such a distinctive feel that, were we to be dropped into […]

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The Heart of the Matter

The Primacy of Emotion in Screenwriting ☛ Emotion is at the heart of every story. This statement won’t sound controversial if you write relationship dramas or rom-coms, but those of you who pen complex political thrillers or action movies will probably disagree. If you do, you’re wrong and I’ll tell you why. In a bit. […]

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