Writing

OtherWriting

The Problem With Twitter Threads

It’s about 18 months now since Twitter introduced Threads, a way of linking tweets together to form a coherent and conjoined narrative. Not so much for the purposes of conversation, but to link together a semi-coherent flow of thoughts. Now, in principle this is certainly an improvement: As the tweeter, it joins up what could otherwise be more incoherent ramblings, and as a reader it allows a stream of thoughts to be read as intended, adding often much-needed context. Furthermore it facilitates engagement, as every individual tweet can be commented on in isolation, as well as in the whole. TweetStorms

Bird Box
MoviesWriting

Story of a Script: Bird Box

Bird Box was written by Eric Heisserer, based on the book of the same title by Josh Malerman. While Eric’s previous adaptation, Arrival was a stunning science fiction release from last year, Bird Box was a somewhat different affair, eschewing a wide cinema release for Netflix. Bird Box is a post-apocalyptic survival thriller, telling the story of a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, trying to survive with her children. It is the story of a parent trying to find the a way to protect her children from a world of terrors unseeable, that may only exist in the mind. The

Go Into The Story
Writing

Screenwriting Back to Basics

Some time back, Scott Myers of Go Into The Story posted up a series of articles on the fundamentals of script writing. They were useful but I felt they didn’t get as much traction as they deserved. So, for your reading pleasure, I present to you Scott’s complete Screenwriting Back To Basics series. Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 1: Writing Scenes Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 2: Protagonist Metamorphosis Arc Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 3: Plot = Structure Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 4: Character = Function Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 5: Reader Identification

Gonzo Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
Writing

Gonzo Blogging

There was some discussion on Twitter the other day, about how a blog differed from a journal; that many blogs were in fact mere journals, filled with personal thoughts and observations, and that there should be a different nomenclature for them. I’d say though, that the differentiation is at best paper-thin. Unless you’re writing a commercial listicle of dry facts, a blogpost is no different from a journal entry. At the end of the day, it’s gonzo self-published article, and that’s a good thing. Gonzo journalism, popularised by Hunter S. Thompson, puts paid to the fallacy that any writing can be

calendar
EventsFilmmakingOtherWriting

Dates for your diary – December 2018

Rather than re-publishing dates of contests, festivals, and opportunities every few months, I’ve instead gone for a big annual page for 2019. I’ll then use the blog posts for significant updates. The main page is still a bit empty, not everyone has announced their dates yet. However, Screencraft has a announced their 2019 dates.  S.O.U.L. has announced their February screening and networking event and the (free) tickets are available on January 25th. Here’s their blurb: Celebrate:Connect is S.O.U.L.‘s first initiative and has been created to offer Britain’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic filmmakers a public and recognisable platform to showcase their

Arrival Whiteboard Human Amy Adams
MoviesWriting

Story of a Script: Arrival

Story of Your Life is a science fiction novella by American writer Ted Chiang, first published in Starlight 2 in 1998, and in 2002 in Chiang’s collection of short stories, Stories of Your Life and Others. It took 18 years from first publication for the novella to be highly acclaimed as the Denis Villeneuve’s movie Arrival. And in between those two events? In that space we had screenwriter Eric Heisserer, writing feverishly away. I loved Arrival, from the direction, to the theme, to the acting; but especially the screenplay. And in that regard we are very lucky that we have available

calendar
Writing

Screenwriting Opportunities and Contests September 2018

Planning out the year’s submission strategy for screenplays can be tough, there are so many of them, with dates scattered throughout the year. Time it wrong, and you can end up slipping into late submission windows, often significantly more expensive than the early bird option. So, to make that all a little easier, here’s the deadlines for the rest of the year, and I’ll be posting every month with updates. I’ve probably missed a few, but I’ll keep it updated as much as I can! DateDescriptionRequirementPrice7th SeptemberChannel 4 Screenwriting Course 2019 Applications OpenC & one writing sample; must be free

Blaise-Pascal-Shorter-Letter-Quote
Writing

Project Carnaby – Loglines

Chances are if you see a screenwriter crying and/or banging their head against the desk, possibly whilst wailing about the injustice of the world, it’s probably because they’ve been asked to write a logline. If writing a screenplay is finding the conflict and the drama and exploring that over 60 to 120 minutes, loglines are taking all that nuance and throwing it out of the window. Depending on who you ask, loglines are between 20 and 50 words long, they’re an elevator pitch. A tiny sales document, selling sizzle more than steak. And they’re really hard to write well. Case

Final Draft 10
Writing

Recovering Corrupted Final Draft Files

Considering how often I’ve heard reports of Final Draft crashing or corrupting files, it’s astonishing to me that people still recommend it. Sure, it had it’s heyday as the de facto screenwriting software, but there are now so many better solutions, my favourite of which is Fade In. But, if you are still in the Final Draft paradigm, what to do if you suffer disaster and you end up with a corrupted file? That’s what happened to Helen Shang, writer on TV shows like Hawai Five-0 and Hannibal. Luckily, she managed to find an automatic backup generated by Final Draft, and

Writing

Project Carnaby – Urban Fantasy

Most of what I write is in the genre of urban fantasy, and this project will be too. So I probably ought to define it before we continue. According to Wikipedia: Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has an urban setting. Works of urban fantasy are set primarily in the real world and contain aspects of fantasy, such as the discovery of earthbound mythological creatures, coexistence or conflict between humans and paranormal beings, and other changes to city life. A contemporary setting is not strictly necessary for a work of urban fantasy: works of the

Writing

Project Carnaby – Research

Write what you know. Such a misunderstood phrase, and it’s why you get so many terrible scripts about writers with writer’s block. (Everyone has a pet peeve, that one’s mine). ‘Write what you know’ is so much more about emotional situations, it’s about theme and mindset. For example, the life of a being with supernatural immortallity is utterly unknowable, but loneliness and ennui, that’s something many of us know, and understand. I’ll get to the theme of Project Carnaby in a subsequent post, and it definitely falls into the remit of ‘write what you know’. But what I didn’t know about,

Writing

Project Carnaby – A Writer’s Saga

No, I’m not breaking my golden rule of not writing about writers with writer’s block. There are lots of motivational groups and programs for screenwriters, such as WRAC and Zero Draft 30. However, for my own motivation, and by way of illumination, I wanted to chronicle my path from hair-brained idea to complete feature film screenplay. Unvarnished, and including all the process missteps and crises of faith. Project Carnaby I’d reached the point of saturation with my last project, a TV pilot called Breached. It had been submitted almost everywhere it could, it was complete if imperfect and it was

Monica Beletsky
TVWriting

Monica Beletsky on Writing a One-Hour TV Drama Script

There’s no denying that Twitter is an imperfect medium for communicating longford thoughts. There’s also no denying that people do so anyway, including kind people willing to share their industry experiences with anyone interested. A recent thread or “tweetstorm” was by writer/producer Monica Beletsky, known for Fargo and The Leftovers, writing about her process for writing TV scripts. This insight is invaluable! Update 1: There’s now a PDF version of this, thanks to EdithD! Download it here. Update 2: I was worried about all the embeds going wrong, and I wanted to incorporate all the addenda, so I created a new

MoviesWriting

Gone Girl – A Screenwriter’s Analysis

The news came down this week that an amateur screenwriter is attempting to sue Gillian Flynn for taking the idea from her unsigned screenplay, and turning it into the bestselling novel Gone Girl and its subsequent screen adaptation. Now, I’m not saying it’s impossible that preternatural writing talent Flynn stole… No. Wait. Yeah, I am saying that. You only have to read her work, whether the novel or the astonishingly written screenplay to see that she’s in a league of her own. But I thought this would be a good opportunity to bring together a few resources and talk about Gone Girl. Storywise,

Emmy Statuette
FilmmakingWriting

Scripts for 2017 Award Winning TV Shows

Say what you will about awards shows, not only do they get everyone talking about great television, they also mean that a lot of great resources get released. Scripts, or even if we’re lucky series bibles, start getting released from around now to help build the case for the nominees. And this has been also true of the Emmy’s this year; a year where in our opinion The Handmaids Tale and Big Litttle Lies deservedly did well. We’re just sad that the excellent Westworld didn’t get more recognition. So, here are some scripts from some of this year’s winners and

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