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literary agents
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The 10 Best Literary Agents for Writers & Filmmakers

The 10 Best Literary Agents for Writers   As a screenwriter, it can be confusing navigating the multitude of literary agents out there. Big or small, almost all literary agents won’t accept unsolicited material. Many specify that unsolicited material will be returned or destroyed unread, in order to protect them

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Theo Faron in Children of Men
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Theo Faron (CHILDREN OF MEN)

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 Theo Faron (Clive Owen), the weary and reluctant hero of Alfonso Cuarón’s prescient dystopian thriller CHILDREN

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great dialogue subtext
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OPINION: Great Dialogue is All in the Subtext

Writing great dialogue is difficult, but one way to get a step closer is through the use of subtext. Subtext, literally what is below the text, is the deeper implication behind the surface meaning. Dialogue is not the same as real speech. Dialogue is inevitably heightened, even if it’s simply a

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american beauty narrative momentum
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How To Generate Narrative Momentum in Screenplays

There’s a great quote from F. Hauser and R. Reich that states: “In all the best material, the outcome is inevitable and inherent in the opening moment and every moment inbetween”. Think how fated Daniel Plainview’s rise to power and fall into corruption feels throughout THERE WILL BE BLOOD or

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everyday heroes Sully
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Why Screenwriters Should Tell Stories about Everyday Heroes

With the dominance of superhero and tentpole films, sometimes it seems like there’s no place in cinema for everyday heroes. Most audiences don’t want their reality simply reflected back to them. However, there are still degrees between these extremes. It’s still possible to engage an audience by showing everyday heroes on screen. As

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Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Nightcrawler
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Lou Bloom (NIGHTCRAWLER)

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 Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), the thief-turned-cameraman in NIGHTCRAWLER. Lou Bloom and NIGHTCRAWLER NIGHTCRAWLER is a

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Mad Men - Mine History & the Real World for Your Next TV Script
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How to Mine History & the Real World for Your Next TV Script

History is, to gently mutilate a great quote, often stranger than fiction, which is what makes it such a great basis for fiction. Of course, mining history for a solid TV script isn’t as simple as shoving a good story into a period setting. So what makes for a good

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screenwriting contest screenwriting contests
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Why You Shouldn’t “Spray & Pray” In Screenplay Contests

One common feature of professional writers’ stories is that there is no single magic route into the industry. Everyone’s path is different. Entering screenplay contests, or entering a whole host of contests all at once, might seem like an attractive shortcut. Just the act of entering a screenplay contests feels like

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rhodri thomas
British Film

The Insider Interviews: Rhodri Thomas

THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: RHODRI THOMAS 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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classic movies usual
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10 Inspired Ways Writers Came Up With Classic Movies

‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ It’s the question that gets a ripple of groans at any Q&A session, and an answer comprising a shrug and escorting the asker into a waiting van. ‘Where did you get that idea from?’ That’s a different story. Often the initial ideas that

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Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds)
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Hans Landa (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS)

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 Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), the SS Colonel villain of Quentin Tarantino’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. Hans Landa

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robert jones
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The Insider Interviews: Robert Jones

THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: ROBERT JONES 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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dead man's shoes
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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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learn most from screenplays
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Download the 20 Screenplays You Can Learn The Most From

Stephen King said it best: “if you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” It’s essential that screenwriters are not only regularly watching films and TV but reading scripts too. What’s on the page and what’s in the film can vary,

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matt orton screenwriter
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The Insider Interviews: Matt Orton

THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: MATT ORTON 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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Planet of the Apes films send messages
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OPINION: Screenplays That Send Messages

There’s a famous piece of screenwriting advice that “if you want to send messages, use Western Union.” Now it might go, “if you want to send messages, Tweet about it.” The implication is that such idealised notions about art improving the world don’t belong in show business (emphasis on the

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Baby Driver
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Baby (BABY DRIVER)

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 Baby (Ansel Elgort), the eponymous protagonist of BABY DRIVER. Baby and BABY DRIVER With similarities

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room arguing laughing
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10 Cinematic Scenes of People, Arguing and/or Laughing

Cinematic Scenes of People, Arguing and/or Laughing It sounds like a dull writing exercise. Put your characters in a room and see what happens, arguing or laughing. But here are 10 great, cinematic scenes that prove being stuck in one room doesn’t have to mean being stuck in a boring

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Kurt Vonnegut
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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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silent pass featured
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The Ugly Rise of the “Silent Pass” in Script Development

It’s the experience almost any new writer faces at some point; the elation of getting that “yes, we’ll read it” email (the door’s ajar!), sending a fresh, hopeful script to an agent, producer or network, waiting days, then weeks, then months. And getting nothing. You try to contact them, eventually

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screenwriter species
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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 then, different screenwriters tend to find themselves drawn to, and more skilled at, certain aspects of the process. Whether it’s creative story ideas, unique characters, or a structure so tight,

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Baby Driver
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15 Edgar Wright Quotes for Screenwriters and Filmmakers

15 Edgar Wright Quotes for Screenwriters & Filmmakers Edgar Wright quotes aren’t hard to find: the celebrated writer-director is as open about his process, inspiration and influences as any Hollywood director in the business. A master Genre-Blender (see our article: “What species of screenwriter are you?”), Wright has made his

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ollie madden insider interviews live
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The Insider Interviews: Ollie Madden

THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: OLLIE MADDEN 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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Adam Driver, Paterson, low stakes
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OPINION: The Perks & Pitfalls of Low Stakes Screenplays

Is it possible to have a film that tells a story without conflict? Conventional wisdom would say no. However, this doesn’t mean that every film needs a world-ending threat. Not every film needs to have escalating stakes. It is possible, but difficult, to tell a great story with low stakes. The physical

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Cosmo Lawlor in Sing Street
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) - The Diary of a Teenage Girl
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Character Reveal: Minnie Goetze The Diary of a Teenage Girl

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 focuses on Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) from the period coming of age film THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE

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tim bevan industrial scripts
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

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Colin Vaines
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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
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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
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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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