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

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

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

The Art of Screen Dialogue

Working in layers ☛ A month or two back I wrote a piece about the nature of screen dialogue, focusing on naturalism and style; back then I suggested that there was more to say about the business of making your character talk. There is. Part of the challenge of writing really good dialogue lies in … Continue reading

Saving Your Breath

The Nature of Movie Dialogue ☛ For many years I’ve been puzzling over the nature of movie dialogue and how it works. Anyone who’s ever tried to write a screenplay will tell you that dialogue is deceptively difficult to get right. If they think it’s easy, they probably haven’t yet heard actors struggling through their … Continue reading

Buy-Out

A Brief Guide to Losing your Audience ☛ My last piece about Buy-In – the thing that makes us want to love a movie – provoked some questions on online discussion boards. Some folk asked about my thoughts on exactly the opposite subject: they wanted to know what causes the audience to fall out of … Continue reading

25 Little Words

Loglines and short pitches  ☛ Do you believe in magic spells? Probably not. But if a filmmaker utters the right 25 words to the right person at the right time, their dreams will come true – they could be on the road to glory and a massive pay-cheque. If that’s not a magical incantation, I … Continue reading

Screenwriters Anonymous pt.2: Sustainably Sourced Feedback

How to handle feedback ☛ Readers of my previous piece will have swallowed their pride and sought feedback on their screenplays from carefully selected readers, whom they have taken pains to approach with an attitude of open enquiry (you have done that, haven’t you?) But what happens next? Is it just a case of getting … Continue reading

Make ‘Em Laugh

Online comedy as an alternative to short films ☛ Despite their length, short films can take as long as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ to get made. Raising the money is nigh-on impossible; even if you do get funded you’ll never get quite enough money, so you have to finagle favours. Those take months to come through, … Continue reading

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