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Cosmo Lawlor in Sing Street
Articles

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Cosmo Lawlor (SING STREET)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Conor, a.k.a. Cosmo Lawlor (newcomer Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), from SING STREET. Cosmo Lawlor and SING STREET From writer-director John Carney (ONCE), SING STREET

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character sacrifice in Wrath of Khan
Articles

OPINION: Writing a character sacrifice that works

A character sacrifice is a difficult moment to get right. Audiences today are incredibly cine-literate. They’ve seen it all before, and can tell when a film or TV show has used storytelling shortcuts. When It Works Still, like any common trope handled well, a character choosing to die can still be very effective

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Dale Cooper thumbs up, Twin Peaks
Articles

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Dale Cooper (TWIN PEAKS)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This month’s instalment focuses on FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan), the lead character from TWIN PEAKS. Dale Cooper and TWIN PEAKS TWIN PEAKS is the

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kathryn bigelow feature
Articles

20 Kathryn Bigelow Quotes For Writers & Filmmakers

Alongside an eclectic filmography that includes vampires in NEAR DARK, surfing in POINT BREAK, and war in THE HURT LOCKER (though as yet fails to combine them), Kathryn Bigelow is the first (and, as of yet, only) woman to win either an Oscar or a BAFTA for Best Director. Her

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stuart hazeldine the shack
Articles

The Insider Interviews: Stuart Hazeldine, Part II

  The Insider Interviews series started in 2010 as a set of recorded interviews, featuring the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Gareth Unwin, who produced THE KING’S SPEECH, Ben Wheatley and Hossein Amini, the Oscar-nominated writer of DRIVE and THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. You can watch these here. The Insider Interviews now

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john carpenter quotes
Articles

John Carpenter Quotes and Lessons for Screenwriters

15 John Carpenter Quotes Writers & Filmmakers Can Learn From John Carpenter entered film wanting to make cowboy films.  He claims that horror as a genre found him, not the other way round.  Ironically, though, his enormous career hasn’t featured a single feature length cowboy film, with Carpenter establishing himself as a “brand”

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Money - Script Coverage Fees
Articles

The Bigger Picture of Script Coverage Fees

Writers at the start of their career have a lot to contend with. For one, they get called ’emerging’, something better done from swamps or during childbirth than at the start of a creative endeavour. For another, they’re faced with the issue of criticism, specifically where to turn for a

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theme-rich screenplay paterson
Articles

Is the Subtle, Theme-rich Screenplay Dead?

Is the Subtle, Theme-rich Screenplay Dead? Theme-rich Screenplay Treated Unfairly? The plot-light, theme-rich screenplay is often – at the script development stage at least – unfairly maligned with the phrase ‘nothing happens’. But there are many that more than make up for that ‘nothing’ with atmosphere, character and theme, from

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Screenwriter - Unsettle Audience
Articles

OPINION: When Screenwriters Should Unsettle Audiences

There’s an old Hollywood saying to writers that if you want to send a message, use Western Union. The idea is that audiences want films to entertain them, not to make them think. Studio heads and producers didn’t want to unsettle the audience. This is depicted in the Coen brothers’

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tim bevan industrial scripts
Articles

The Insider Interviews: Tim Bevan

The Insider Interviews The Insider Interviews series started in 2010 as a set of recorded interviews, featuring the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Gareth Unwin, who produced THE KING’S SPEECH, Ben Wheatley and Hossein Amini, the Oscar-nominated writer of DRIVE and THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. You can watch these here. The

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Camille Gatin
Articles

The Insider Interviews: Camille Gatin

THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: CAMILLE GATIN The Insider Interviews series started in 2010 as a set of recorded interviews, featuring the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Gareth Unwin, who produced THE KING’S SPEECH, Ben Wheatley and Hossein Amini, the Oscar-nominated writer of DRIVE and THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. You can watch

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The Wild Bunch
Articles

50 Quotes About Defiance Every Screenwriter Should Live By

Defiance is a Rule to Live By Screenwriting often runs the risk of turning into plate-spinning – following narrative rules; trying to appeal to an audience; trying to appeal to a producer; trying to be original; trying to meet genre expectations (but not too much); pandering to multiple outside opinions

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create intrigue in screenplays - the ultimate guide
Articles

Top 5 Story Questions That Pique Our Interest

Stirring Interest If a story doesn’t pose a dramatic question, you’re probably reading a shopping list. Story questions are the narrative equivalent of a sales pitch, the means by which we’re convinced to stick a story out instead of mowing the lawn or something. Story Questions Moment to moment, the

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3D audience, cinema experience
Articles

OPINION: Screenwriters Should Consider the Cinema Experience

It’s a cliché, but the entertainment industry is an industry. Show business is a business. It behoves screenwriters to remember this and to consider why write films in the first place. What makes the cinema experience worthwhile? When deciding whether an idea is worth developing and writing, it’s worth asking first: Is this

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Holland March (Ryan Gosling), THE NICE GUYS
Articles

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Holland March (THE NICE GUYS)

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a short amount of screen time. This instalment focus on Holland March (Ryan Gosling) from the crime comedy THE NICE GUYS, written by Shane Black and

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Tom Reagan in Miller's Crossing
Articles

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Tom Reagan (MILLER’S CROSSING)

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a short amount of screen time. In this instalment, we focus on Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) from the 1990 crime film MILLER’S CROSSING.   MILLER’S CROSSING The

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Riverdale - teenage characters
Articles

OPINION: Crafting Convincing Teenage Characters

A major problem with crafting convincing children and teenage characters is that as we grow up it’s too easy to forget what it’s like to be young. Whether a project is aimed at children, teens, adults, or a range of ages, badly written young people stand out. The result is that

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emily leo producer
Articles

The Insider Interviews: Emily Leo

 THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: EMILY LEO The Insider Interviews series started in 2010 as a set of recorded interviews, featuring the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Gareth Unwin, who produced THE KING’S SPEECH, Ben Wheatley and Hossein Amini, the Oscar-nominated writer of DRIVE and THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. You can watch these here.

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Rebecca O'Brien
Articles

The Insider Interviews: Rebecca O’Brien

THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: REBECCA O’BRIEN   The Insider Interviews series started in 2010 as a set of recorded interviews, featuring the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Gareth Unwin, who produced THE KING’S SPEECH, Ben Wheatley and Hossein Amini, the Oscar-nominated writer of DRIVE and THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. You can

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Manchester by the Sea, flashbacks
Articles

OPINION: Flashbacks and the (Rare) Stories that Need Them

One of the major exceptions to the oft-repeated “show, don’t tell” screenwriting rule is the equally common received wisdom that screenplays should avoid using flashbacks. The criticisms are familiar from scores of screenwriting books. They weaken the dramatic tension, breaking up the momentum of the story to show the audience things

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Ricky Baker, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Articles

Character Reveal: Ricky Baker (Hunt For The Wilderpeople)

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a short amount of screen time. In this instalment, we focus on Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) from the coming of age film HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE.

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godfather part 2 featured
Articles

The Genius, Multi-Conflict Opening of THE GODFATHER PART 2

There are, broadly speaking, two ways to convey conflict: implicitly and explicitly. The former involves illustrating some kind of dissonance through setting, silence, the way one character looks at another; the latter involves someone saying ‘I hate you’, punching, or a deliberate explosion. THE GODFATHER PART 2 is rich in both

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Colin Vaines
Articles

The Insider Interviews: Colin Vaines

THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: COLIN VAINES The Insider Interviews series started in 2010 as a set of recorded interviews, featuring the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Gareth Unwin, who produced THE KING’S SPEECH, Ben Wheatley and Hossein Amini, the Oscar-nominated writer of DRIVE and THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. You can watch these here. The Insider Interviews now exist as live monthly events in

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sarah radclyffe
Articles

The Insider Interviews: Sarah Radclyffe

THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: SARAH RADCLYFFE The Insider Interviews series started in 2010 as a set of recorded interviews, featuring the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Gareth Unwin, who produced THE KING’S SPEECH, Ben Wheatley and Hossein Amini, the Oscar-nominated writer of DRIVE and THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. You can watch these here. The Insider Interviews now exist as live monthly events in central

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Stranger Things nostalgia
Articles

Nostalgia: Finding the Future of Film & TV, in the Past…

Audience Nostalgia From looking down 2016’s box office results, it’s clear that a certain trend shows no sign of stopping. Sequels, remakes and reboots abound, tapping into audience nostalgia to massive success. Family animation is one of the few areas where original stories can become big hits, and even they are soon

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John McClane Die Hard
Articles

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: John McClane

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. In this instalment we focus on John McClane (Bruce Willis) from DIE HARD. DIE HARD is the quintessential, archetypal modern action

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Boogie Nights
Articles

10 Screenwriting Lessons We Can Learn from…BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)

Like much of Paul Thomas Anderson’s work, the BOOGIE NIGHTS screenplay has an odd structure, divergent POV and a hefty length, yet every page of it is full of worthwhile lessons for screenwriters. Here are ten: Conflict doesn’t need to be constant Conflict is often billed as screenwriting currency: you’re

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write omnisciently featured
Articles

Should Screenwriters Write “Omnisciently”?

To write omnisciently as a screenwriter often entails, for better or worse, including elements that may never show up onscreen: jokes in descriptions or insights into characters’ thoughts and histories that only a reader will ever truly experience and appreciate. This statement is unlikely to surprise anyone sentient, but film

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screenwriting lessons featured
Articles

10 Screenwriting Lessons From ANGEL HEART (1987)

ANGEL HEART Alan Parker’s ANGEL HEART is an odd blend of genres, taking noir, psychological thriller and horror to a three-way shotgun wedding. The screenwriting lessons it can teach us are similarly diverse. The basic plot is this: a private detective named Harry Angel is hired by the mysterious Louis

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thriller screenplays primer
Articles

10 Thriller Screenplays You Should Read

Thriller Screenplay Power As a genre, ‘thriller’ tends to gently caress several others, namely horror, sci-fi, and drama. As such, thriller screenplays provide a goldmine of various narrative and structural techniques. These may well be films you’ve seen; it’s just that some of them might not have left you desperate

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second act subplot listen up philip
Articles

Why Screenwriters Should Consider a Second Act Subplot

While first and third acts pose their own challenges, it’s in the weeds of the second act that many scripts (and movies for that matter) go astray. Introducing a second act subplot can be a strong solution, if executed well. The Challenge of the Second Act Alexander Mackendrick, the director

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brit list scripts 2014
Articles

The Brit List Scripts 2016

The Brit List Scripts 2016 As reported by ScreenDaily, The Brit List (a kind of contained, sporadic knock-off of The Black List) was released today. Reportedly more than 80 producers, agents, distributors and sales agents from the UK voted for more than 160 of their favourite scripts. A total of 22

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Annie Wilkes in Misery
Articles

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Annie Wilkes

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a short amount of screen time. This installment focuses on Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) from MISERY. MISERY saw legendary screenwriter William Goldman adapting a Stephen King

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screenwriting contests scripts
Articles

10 Script Notes You May Choose to Ignore…

Whilst advocating the deflection of script notes may be a strange thing for a dedicated script consultancy to do, the truth is that there is a great deal of bad advice handed out by script consultants at the murkier end of the industry (read also: “11 Reasons for the High

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movie scripts
Articles

10 Great Sites to Download Movie Scripts From

Smart and serious aspiring screenwriters not only watch a lot of movies but read a lot of movie scripts. Studying the craft is an invaluable part of the learning and developing process. Thanks to the great wonders of the world wide web, it’s easier than ever. You’ll find below ten

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minor characters arc
Articles

10 Minor Characters Who Still Have a Great ARC

One facet of screenwriting which causes writers enormous headaches is conveying a lot with a little. Studying great minor characters is one way of learning this kind of efficiency. Minor Characters To Finer Characters The best minor characters can be just as rich as main characters. Ideally they should feel like they

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Jim Donovan in Bridge of Spies
Articles

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Jim Donovan (BRIDGE OF SPIES)

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a short amount of screen time. In this installment, we focus on how BRIDGE OF SPIES introduces Jim Donovan (Tom Hanks). Steven Spielberg directs, from a screenplay

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unresolved plot thread inception totem
Articles

Unresolved Plot Threads: Magic or Madness?

Endings are crucial. The feeling an ending gives an audience is the feeling they leave the cinema with. It’s the feeling that will colour their perception of their whole experience and the whole film. How do unresolved plot threads make an audience feel? Often, creating a satisfying ending means tying

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screenwriting commandments
Articles

10 Commandments of the Accountable Screenwriter (Download)

There are two kinds of rugby player”, the legendary Scottish coach Jim Telfer told his players, “there are the honest ones, and there’s the rest. The honest player gets up in the morning and looks himself in the mirror and sets his standard, sets his stall out, and says: “I’m going

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low stakes in The Big Lebowski
Articles

10 Films That Make You Invested in The Protagonist’s Goal

In 9/10 cases the protagonist is the driving force of a successful film narrative. We invest in their story because we identify with their goal and become invested in it; but some goals are more easily conveyed than others. Convincing an audience to root for a character fighting an evil

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Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) in 45 Years
Articles

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Kate Mercer

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. Writer-director Andrew Haigh followed up his acclaimed film WEEKEND and HBO show LOOKING with 45 YEARS, which he adapted from a short

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Anachronisms in the Alex Cox film Walker
Articles

OPINION: Screenplay Anachronisms Can Bring the Past to Life

Films that are set in the past are often judged for their authenticity. The “goofs” section of IMDb is overrun with anachronisms: this porcelain wasn’t made until six years later; or this character shouldn’t have shaved underarms. However, anachronisms can actually be useful for bringing the past to life. It’s hard for an audience

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Setting as Character
Articles

14 Brilliant Uses of Setting AS Character in Film and TV

Ask yourself this: what is a setting? Really think about it. Is it just a backdrop on which to stage the events of your story? A static playground, conveying only time and place? Or can it be something more? Where is the screenplay electricity? Sometimes the best settings reveal something

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25 Francis Ford Coppola Quotes
Articles

25 Francis Ford Coppola Quotes For Writers & Filmmakers

Francis Ford Coppola Francis Ford Coppola is one of the greatest writer-directors to come out of the so-called “New Hollywood” wave of filmmaking, having made THE GODFATHER, THE GODFATHER PART II, THE CONVERSATION, and APOCALYPSE NOW all before reaching the age of 40. Nowadays, largely satisfied with his Hollywood filmography,

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avoid cliche
Articles

How to Write “Mythically” but Avoid Cliche – PDF Guide

Writing mythically with cliché is relatively easy: watch a couple of films, read a couple of books then regurgitate the obvious stuff: quasi-religious story world, the quest, the mentor, initiation, testing, the final battle, rebirth etc. Writing mythically without cliché, by contrast, is not easy at all… In the 3rd

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James Cameron Quotes
Articles

20 Great James Cameron Quotes on Storytelling

20 Great James Cameron Quotes on Storytelling With a filmography that boasts the likes of THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, and THE ABYSS, James Cameron is undoubtedly one of the finest genre filmmakers and storytellers the film industry has ever seen. “There are many talented people who haven’t fulfilled their dreams because

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no country
Articles

10 Almost-Great Screenplays

An almost-great screenplay can be more frustrating than a really bad one. The potential is strong and the execution is almost there, but something went wrong at the final hurdle. Of course, it’s easy to pick out flaws in retrospect or to credit (or blame) the writer for something that

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Mr Robot
Articles

OPINION: Hacking Films Don’t Have to be Boring

Computers are not the most interesting subjects. Anyone who’s had to watch someone else type very slowly into a search bar can attest to this. In a visual medium like film or TV, this frustration multiplies. When a character is shown typing, stories and scenes tend to grind to a halt.

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The Martian Mark Watney
Articles

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Mark Watney

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a short amount of screen time. THE MARTIAN was adapted by Drew Goddard (writer-director of THE CABIN IN THE WOODS) from the novel by Andy Weir

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