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save the cat analysis series by industrial scripts
Articles

Save the Cat! Analysis Series: SUPERBAD (2007)

One of the world’s most popular screenwriting books, Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat has brought clarity and a sense of direction to thousands of screenwriters, many of whom were looking for the logical extension of Syd Field’s work. If you’re not familiar with it, the book delivered a structural screenwriting roadmap: not quite

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save the cat analysis series by industrial scripts
Articles

Save the Cat Analysis Series: GROUNDHOG DAY

One of the world’s most popular screenwriting books , Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat has brought clarity and a sense of direction to thousands of screenwriters, who were looking for the logical extension of Syd Field’s work. If you’re not familiar with it the book delivered a structural roadmap to writers: not quite join-the-dots,

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save the cat analysis series by industrial scripts
Articles

Save the Cat Analysis Series: DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS

One of the world’s most popular screenwriting books , Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat has brought clarity and a sense of direction to thousands of screenwriters, who were looking for the logical extension of Syd Field’s work. If you’re not familiar with it the book delivered a structural roadmap to writers: not quite join-the-dots,

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How to write a period drama - Mary Queen of Scots
Articles

How to Write Period Drama

Period drama “Period drama” is a slippery term. Typically, it means a project set in a time period that’s older than recent memory. (While STRANGER THINGS is set in the period of the 1980s, it’s unlikely anyone would refer to it as a “period piece”.) But where to begin when facing

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Reddit screenwriting
Articles

Reddit Screenwriting: A Comprehensive How-To Guide

Reddit Screenwriting: A How-To…   Reddit is an online community made up of smaller, individually themed communities, whether they’re centred around sharing simple images or jokes, posting personal anecdotes and requests for advice, or hosting Q&As with celebrities.  Then, of course, there’s the Reddit screenwriting community, pictured below.     

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Mike Judge quotes
Articles

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

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screenwriting electricity in The Silence of the Lambs
Articles

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

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all blacks
Articles

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

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R J Macready in The Thing
Articles

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

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screenwriting etiquette
Articles

An Ultimate Guide to Screenwriting Etiquette in Film & TV

Why Screenwriting Etiquette is so important…   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

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dead man's shoes
Articles

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

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Kurt Vonnegut
Articles

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

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screenwriter species
Articles

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,

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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inciting incidents the goonies
Articles

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

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mid film plot twist john doe surrenders
Articles

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

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goodfellas
Articles

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

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Ex Machina - Science Fiction Screenplays
Articles

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

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Cabin in the Woods - Writing Horror Screenplays
Articles

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

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The Exorcist - Writing Horror Screenplays
Articles

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

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Insidious - Writing Horror Screenplays
Articles

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

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Yoda is wise, like our screenwriting tips article
Articles

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

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Hitchcock decisions at screenplay stage.
Articles

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

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Predator
Articles

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

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writing advice you should ignore
Articles

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

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super troopers 2
Articles

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

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cutting out the middle man
Articles

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

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indiegogo logo
Articles

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

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the script reader
Articles

Script Reader Jobs: Your Complete Guide

Like it or lump it, the role of the industry script 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

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screenplay format
Articles

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

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screenwriting rules
Articles

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

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screenwriting truth
Articles

My Search for a Screenwriting Truth

In Screenwriting, the truth matters… Today we’re going to talk about The Truth. Not this sort of truth. Or this. Or even this. We’re going to talk about the kind of screenwriting truth that connected six out of the nine Best Picture nominees in the 2014 Oscars. The kind that

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kajaki movie
Articles

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

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dead man's shoes - write what you know
Articles

To Screenwrite Right, Write What You Know

Write What You Know or Just Say No! (and other rhymes) I’m going to give you procrastinating scribblers a little bit of advice today. Yes me, who gets up at the crack of 10.30 in the AM and eats really really really old Chinese food from the back of the fridge

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screenplay format
Articles

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 and there

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screenwriting envy
Articles

Seething With Screenwriting Envy!

Screenwriting Envy “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure”. Guess who said that? You never will. It was Bill Cosby! I have spent the past hour trying to find another quote to go alongside that one, possibly by someone like Ray

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Mountain - Screenplay & the Mountain
Articles

The Screenplay & The Mountain

The Screenplay. Like some kind of Mordorian tower it looms over the land. We can barely make out the top of it, so shrouded is it in snow, ice and whatever other element that makes things difficult to climb you want to throw in. The screenwriter, a veritable Kal-El among

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Ari Gold
Articles

10 Ways To Irritate a Development Executive

The Rafn Column Part II 10 Ways to Irritate a Development Executive When I finally made the transition from being a Development Executive to becoming a writer, I believed that I had a genuine advantage because I had been granted the gift of insight having been on both sides of

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Paul Newman
Articles

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 –

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