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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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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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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Not ‘How’ but ‘What’

There’s a question that’s on the lips of virtually no screenwriter. So how is that a good subject for a blog? Because, while they rarely ask it openly, it’s a question all writers will have asked themselves privately at some point in their career. And it is: What should I write? Whether you take that […]

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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 […]

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Can movies cause political change?

Covering how to found a country and the devastating power of the ordinary. In the light of recent and possible future events I have been doing some soul-searching about my filmmaking. The not-so-gradual rise of the far right, both in Europe and America, has lead me to question whether there’s more I could be doing […]

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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”. […]

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