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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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