Didactic

“What we can learn from…” type articles.

Mike Judge quotes

15 Great Mike Judge Quotes for Writers & Filmmakers

15 Great Mike Judge Quotes After gaining a Physics degree from the University of California, Mike Judge put his science career on hold. The Ecuadorean-born American would go on to create some of the most influential American animated comedies of the 90s, including BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD and KING OF THE HILL. He’s also behind cult …

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screenwriting electricity in The Silence of the Lambs

What is “electricity”, in screenwriting terms?

On the Special Edition DVD/Blu-Ray for THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Jodie Foster is interviewed as part of a retrospective. In the interview, Foster explains that a structurally insignificant scene (the one where “Multiple” Miggs can’t contain his excitement, after Clarice’s first meeting with Hannibal Lecter) is in fact very important: The scene achieves one key …

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all blacks

What the Most Successful Sports Team Can Teach Screenwriters

Learning From the New Zealand All Blacks In the history of organised sports – globally – one team stands alone. The New Zealand All Blacks are the most successful sports team in history, with an astonishing 90% win rate. We’ll say that again so it sinks in properly – they win 90% of their matches. …

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R J Macready in The Thing

GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: R J Macready (THE THING)

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 R J Macready (Kurt Russell) the helicopter pilot besieged by a shape-shifting alien in John Carpenter‘s modern horror classic THE THING. …

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screenwriting etiquette

An Ultimate Guide to Screenwriting Etiquette in Film & TV

Why You Need a Screenwriting Guide As a new screenwriter, how does one conduct oneself in one of the most competitive industries in the world? It’s an important question, and one that so many new screenwriters only find the answer to through costly mistakes. Screenwriting etiquette is more important than you think. By way of …

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dead man's shoes

10 Screenwriting Lessons From DEAD MAN’S SHOES (2004)

DEAD MAN’S SHOES (2004) DEAD MAN’S SHOES follows Richard (Paddy Considine), a soldier who returns to his home town to get revenge on the men who abused his mentally-challenged brother Anthony (Toby Kebbell). The script was written by director Shane Meadows and Considine, with additional material by Paul Fraser. After the bigger budgeted ONCE UPON A …

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Kurt Vonnegut

31 Writing Lessons From Iconic Author Kurt Vonnegut

31 Writing Lessons From Iconic Author Kurt Vonnegut With his deceptively simple prose style, novelist, playwright and essayist Kurt Vonnegut, jr. (1922 – 2007) bridged sci-fi and literary fiction. Novels like Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle and Breakfast of Champions didn’t exactly open readers to new worlds as new ways of thinking. Perhaps this is why Vonnegut has rarely been adapted …

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screenwriter species

Which Species of Screenwriter are you?

The ‘building-block’ nature of screenwriting is such that any screenwriter needs a selection box of varying skills . As you’d expect, different screenwriters tend to find themselves drawn to, and more skilled at, certain aspects of the process. Whether its creative story ideas, unique characters, or a structure so tight, there are perks and pitfalls …

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theme-rich screenplay paterson

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 INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS to ONLY …

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3D audience, cinema experience

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 something I want to see? …

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write omnisciently featured

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 is a visual medium, and …

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screenwriting lessons featured

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 Cyphre to track down ex-singer …

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thriller screenplays primer

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 to read on the page. …

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minor characters arc

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 exist and live entire lives, …

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unresolved plot thread inception totem

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 up the major plot threads. …

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screenwriting commandments

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 to get better, I’m going …

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avoid cliche

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 installment (after “Writing Characters That …

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inciting incidents the goonies

15 Genius Inciting Incidents by Screenwriters

15 Genius Inciting Incidents by Screenwriters You’ve created a fully developed character or series of characters and are now pondering their motivation through the narrative you’ve started to develop. Inciting incidents come in all shapes and sizes, so you should try to think of something clever, inspirational or at least interesting so your narrative fires into …

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mid film plot twist john doe surrenders

10 Classic Mid-Film Plot Twists by Screenwriters

10 Great Mid-Film Plot Twists by Screenwriters Too often when watching a film, especially for those of us who have seen many of them, you can read where the story is going and predict what is going to happen onscreen prematurely. However, those screenwriters in pursuit of something that will truly stand out may think about …

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goodfellas

10 Moments Where Problem Upon Problem Hits the Protagonist

Conflict is essential in every great story. The amount and complexity of the situation can obviously vary greatly depending on the scope, settings and characters involved. In some cases, loading problem upon problem on your character(s) is important in that it shows what they are made of or it shows how they would react under …

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Ex Machina - Science Fiction Screenplays

Writing Science Fiction Screenplays

Writing Science Fiction Screenplays Sci-Fi is one of those odd genres – like the Western – that among script theorists often stimulates more argument about ‘defining your terms’ than it does about structure, plot or theme. It is helpful first to qualify the term ‘genre’, as film theorists and script analysts have differing – though …

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Cabin in the Woods - Writing Horror Screenplays

Writing Horror Screenplays: How to Write Teen Horror

Writing Horror Screenplays: How to Write Teen Horror From 1974’s BLACK CHRISTMAS – rightly credited with being the god-monster of the modern mainstream genre – through to every postmodern twist on the ‘final girl’ archetype, Teen Horror is now a mainstay of popular cinema. It was a cornerstone of the 1980s’ video revolution and still …

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The Exorcist - Writing Horror Screenplays

Writing Horror Screenplays: How to Write Occult Horror

Writing Horror Screenplays: How to Write Occult Horror Occult literally means ‘hidden’ so all Horror could be described as occult in the sense that all Horror deals with things that are suppressed, repressed, traditionally denied or habitually ignored. The Occult Horror sub-genre, however, specifically deals with the esoteric and magickal (as differentiated from the magic of …

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Insidious - Writing Horror Screenplays

Writing Horror Screenplays: How to Write Supernatural Horror

Writing Horror Screenplays: How to Write Supernatural Horror Supernatural Horror is perhaps the most writer-friendly of all Horror sub-genres because its effectiveness really does live on the page, rather than being hostage to practical or CGI effects (even though we should love those too!). Unlike other Horror sub-genres (Slasher, Urbanoia, Body Horror, Cannibal) Supernatural Horror has its deepest roots in …

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Yoda is wise, like our screenwriting tips article

These are the Only Screenwriting Tips Worth Keeping

In a giant sea of screenwriting tips and advice, where does one begin? It’s almost as bad as dieting these days. Cranberries are bad for you. No, scrap that, we’ve now decided they’re good for you. Your protagonist should dominate most scenes. It’s fine for your protagonist to drift in and out, to strengthen your …

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screenwriting contest screenwriting contests

10 Fee-Charging Screenwriting Contests, their Likely Profits and Prestige

You’ve rewritten, redrafted, typed ‘Fade Out’ more times than you can count. You’re finally satisfied that your script, the one you’ve poured months maybe even years into writing, is finished. Now what? For most writers, the endgame is seeing their script up on the big screen or on television, and getting paid. But, how do …

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Hitchcock decisions at screenplay stage.

Genius Hitchcock Decisions at Screenplay Stage

What hasn’t been written about Hitchcock already? From Francois Truffaut and Raymond Durgnat, to every casual message board user on IMDb, great swathes of humankind have discussed at length the directorial techniques of The Master of Suspense; the long take, use of POV, montage with a focus on hands, off-screen killing, humour within threatening scenarios …

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Predator

Lessons From Timing the Death Sequence in PREDATOR

Way back when… For much of the 80’s and into the 90’s, “Schwarzenegger” was a byword for a movie with a high body count. The box office was peppered with movies such as COMMANDO, TOTAL RECALL and TRUE LIES, which would draw as much attention for the dozens of onscreen deaths as for their creative …

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writing advice you should ignore

5 Bits of Famous Writing Advice You Should Ignore

You’re no stranger to getting advice if you’re a writer. Thousands of books, hundreds of films, and even entire college majors have been dedicated to the art of honing the English language. As a result, there are bound to be some bits of writing advice that come into debate. While some words of wisdom may …

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super troopers 2

The Film Producer Salary & A Pocket Full of Dollars

Let’s be blunt about it: the financial outlook isn’t great for Film Producers at the moment. A Film Producer Salary is firmly not what it once was… I remember the days as a Producer in the Noughties, where out of every budget (development and production) the producer received 10% as a fee and 10% for …

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cutting out the middle man

Cutting Out the Middle Man in Film Distribution

The Berlin International Film Festival was distinctly different this year. Sure, there was the typical melee of execs taking pictures around remnants of the Berlin Wall. And yes, as per usual, the films ranged from disappointing to exhilarating. Yet there was something that I can only describe as a digital change in the air. For …

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indiegogo logo

Swerving Development Hell in the New Dawn of Crowdfunding

Welcome and hello to the thousands of you who visit the IS website every week. By way of an introduction, I’m Miranda Fleming, and I’m thrilled to be starting this new monthly column. I’ve worked extensively in development (Channel Four Films aka Film4) and I’ve Produced, Exec Produced and supported funding of award winning indie …

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the script reader

Script Reader Jobs: Your Complete Guide

Like it or lump it, the role of the industry script reader is becoming increasingly important in film and TV. With the volume of scripts being written, increasing year-on-year, the challenge for those in power becomes one of filtration – everybody wants great writers and everyone wants hits, right? But hardly anyone has the resources …

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screenplay format

How to Write a Screenplay: Your 30-Step Guide

How to Write a Screenplay: Your 30-Step Guide.   So – you want to learn how to write a screenplay. You think about it constantly. Whenever you watch a movie you annoy your friends, going on about how you could have written a better script. You daydream about Jimmy Kimmel making fun of you as …

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screenwriting rules

Five Screenwriting Rules You Can Break and Five You Can’t

  Even the notion of screenwriting rules gets some people into a serious tizz, and it’s this controversial topic I want to explore this week. I’ve spent the last three weeks watching my new film Kajaki (out on Friday in the UK at all Vue Cinemas) over and over again, either with the creative team or …

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kajaki movie

What I’ve Learnt about Screenwriting: Part I, The Idea

What I’ve Learnt about Screenwriting: Part 1, The Idea So I’ve been doing this for a while now, and for some reason I feel a powerful, hubristic, intimations-of-mortality urge to communicate nuggets of web-friendly wisdom to all you aspiring screenwriters out there, who will no doubt be stealing jobs from me this time next year. Specifically, I …

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screenplay format

Screenplay Format: Your 30-Step Guide

Screenplay Format – Your 30-step Guide Before you start writing the next great film, it is essential that you have a comprehensive understanding of screenplay format. It won’t matter how amazing your story is if the formatting is sloppy. You’re a professional, so your screenplay must dress to impress. Setting Up Your Document   Screenwriting software: …

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Paul Newman

10 Honest Quotes about the Life of the Screenwriter

Nobody worships more reverently at the altar of screenwriting than us. We believe in The Screenplay. We recognise it as the critical component in whether a film or TV shows lives, or dies. In its own right, we recognise that crafting a superior screenplay is a magnificent feat in itself – a triumph against huge artistic …

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Writers Sceptical - Script Hosting Sites

Why Writers should be Sceptical of Script Hosting sites

Sceptical of Script Hosting Sites “I’ve barely got enough time for my existing clients, let alone trawling around websites looking for more” – Prominent UK lit agent. We’re not going to lie, here at Industrial Scripts one of the toughest parts of our work is gaining industry traction for our Talent Connector programme. In case …

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Tom Cruise Collateral

10 Great Michael Mann Quotes for Screenwriters & Filmmakers

Michael Mann Michael Mann started out writing for TV in the 1970s but made his feature directorial debut with THE JERICHO MILE in 1979. Several films later he finally struck gold in 1984, creating the long-running TV show MIAMI VICE which made Don Johnson a household name and pastel clothing de riguer. Over the years …

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same but different

“The Same, but Different” – Screenwriting Tips

  How many times have you heard someone describe a film as “it’s something meets something”? Unoriginal, or the keys to producers’ bank vaults? Industrial Scripts examines how to improve your chances of a spec sale – without selling out your originality with a list of our invaluable screenwriting tips. “Give them the same, but …

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Terminator - Alien - Predator

Why The Holy Trinity of Monster Movies are Impossible to Top

With the arrival of GODZILLA at your local multiplex you might be thinking it’s time to get writing some monster movies of your own — how hard can it be, right? But while GODZILLA may have roared onto screens large and small over 200 times since the mid 60s, quantity is no indicator of quality. …

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