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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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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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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When is a Movie not a Movie?

The Spielberg Supremacy ☛ Last week Steven Spielberg called for a tightening of the rules of the American Academy, which awards the Oscars, to prevent films like Roma, which is backed by Netflix, being eligible in future. Now BAFTA is also feeling the pressure, with two cinema chains – VUE and Cineworld – protesting over the eligibility […]

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The Return of the Reel

In Which the Writer has a Kodak Moment ☛ Film is dead. It was coming for a time: when I left film school I got a lot of work as a 1st assistant editor because I was good at hand-holding editors who were being forced to stop cutting on 35mm. That was the late 90s. […]

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How Long You’ll Need to Edit…

…and When You Should Stop ☛ One question that I’m often asked when interviewing for a low-budget feature is: “how long do you think you’ll need?” The answer is… it’s complicated. There used to be a rule of thumb for feature films: 1.5 times the length of the shoot. This was based on the assumption […]

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