The Root of Rootability

How to Make your Protagonist Engaging I don’t think I’m the only screenwriter to be frustrated when I’m given the note “Couldn’t the main character be… just a bit more likeable?” My frustration comes partly from the fact that a lot of my protagonists are intentionally not conventionally likeable, and partly from the note having … Continue reading

Conversations with the Invisible Man

Writing Movies Within Your Means, pt. 3 ☛ Previously I’ve looked at how locations can bring down your budget and how to justify shooting on cheaper cameras, but you can also save money through clever use of writing itself. Dialogue When asked why his movies were so dialogue–heavy, indie auteur Hal Hartley quipped “Talk’s cheap”. … Continue reading

Writing Movies Within Your Means, pt. 2

Writing Lighting ☛   In my previous piece I discussed how decisions about the location of your screenplay can help bring the budget down. This time I’ll focus on how your general approach to story can save you money on camera and lighting. Time was that picture quality was the first thing that would tell … Continue reading

Writing Movies Within Your Means, pt. 1

Forget Set and Go ☛ Film is one of the most expensive art-forms, which means getting films made is hard. One way for screenwriters to get their scripts noticed, and for writer/directors to get their first feature made, is to build affordability into the script. The challenge is that with each element you remove from … Continue reading

Film Themes

The importance of theme ☛ I wrote a piece a little time back about the essential elements of any cinematic story, where I claimed that one of the basic building blocks is ‘theme’. At the time discussion of theme got drowned out by arguments about act structure, but I think that there’s more to say … Continue reading

Why we Need to Write Weaker Female Characters

Why we Struggle to Write Good Parts for Women ☛ I had a discussion online the other day with actress Alice Lowe about the portrayal of women on screen. The place of women in the film industry, on-screen and off, is something of a hot topic following the woeful under-representation of women at this year’s … Continue reading

Looking After the Little Fella

A guide to writing walk-on roles for the screen

Rule of Thumbnail

Screenwriting tip #1: How to Introduce Characters in your Script   For an unknown screenwriter it’s always a struggle getting a person of influence – an agent, a development executive, a producer  – to read your script. There’s a reason for this. When these readers do turn the title page bearing an unfamiliar name, all too … Continue reading

Left Hanging

The Art of the Open Ending ☛ Nothing guarantees a good post-movie discussion like an open ending. Some of us love up-in-the-air endings, others hate them, but what are they there for? What do they say? Given this subject matter, be warned: there will be spoilers, but I’ll try to keep them to a minimum. … Continue reading

Signal to Noise

How filmmakers throw emphasis on what’s essential ☛ Cinema is one of the most naturalistic of the arts: it’s often shot in the real world and we expect movie characters to behave pretty much as people do in reality. This naturalism can make our stories all the more compelling; the audience love to come out … Continue reading

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