Be The Best Writer You Can

Invest In Yourself

Trapped In Windows LandYears ago I was convinced that I had an amazing super power.

Sadly, even at its peak, it wasn’t actually very useful.

My super power was that I could destroy computers –

– but only at the point that I really, really needed them.

Over a decade or so it became glaringly apparent that computers become less stable in direct proportion to how much I really needed them.

If there ever came a point when I was late with a script, when I had spent all night rewriting a draft, when I had laboured and polished it and it was absolutely the last moment to submit before the Script Editor sent round an enforcer to drag the script from my hands – it was then that, far too often for it to be down to chance, my computer would freeze, and crash, and corrupt a few documents, and occasionally even have a little silicon melt down, often at the EXACT MOMENT I pressed SEND on the final version of the script.

You’ll be thrilled to find out that I still seem to have this super power. In the middle of the final day of submissions for the contest, as entries were flying in thick and fast, and many emails needed to be sent, and many, many people needed contacting, my old (but well trusted) PC decided it had a “corrupted Registry” and that it basically needed a long lie down.

I moved to my laptop – and the touchpad chose that moment to stop working completely.

I got through it, but I do apologise if I have seemed slow in my response.

It’s taken me a couple of days to buy a new PC, get all my data off my old machines, and install them on my new (rather fantastic) double screen setup.

Which, laboriously, brings me to my point.

It’s a small point, but I believe it whole heartedly at the moment:

If you are thinking of buying Final Draft, or Movie Magic Screenwriter, but you keep putting it off because you can limp along with Word, or some other text editor – I strongly recommend you bite the bullet and just do it.

It’s your dream job, you’re going to spend hours, months, years in front of that computer.

So invest in yourself.

Remove as many barriers to getting the words on the page as possible.

The difference made by a fast new computer, or fast, dedicated script writing software, is just astonishing.


So the contest has closed for 2013 and the fun bit is here – reading all those entries, and being taken into hundreds and hundreds of fantastically different worlds.

Looking through the list of entries I can see some absolutely wonderful titles, titles that promise great things. There are a lot of entries from familiar names, and a massive amount of new names too. Basically I can’t wait to get going. It’s going to be a great, fascinating summer of reading.

I’ll be in touch in the early Autumn with the quarter finalists – the contest dates are posted on the website.

All very exciting!


You might know that I run a separate newsletter with Philip Shelley (aka “The Two Phils” newsletter). It tends to have slightly more industry news than this Screenwriting Goldmine newsletter.

If you haven’t tried it yet why not give it a go? You can sign up here (for free).

If it turns out you don’t like what you’re reading there is an unsubscribe link in every email. (But you may not need it – I know I’m tempting fate with this, but we haven’t had a single unsubscribe from the Two Phils Newsletter since we started it back in January. Not one.)

We actually had a great turnout at our Two Phils workshop last weekend, including one writer who flew in from as far away as Budapest to take part – and the weekend creativity sessions were particularly interesting. Philip Shelley and I always say that we can’t believe the sheer number of comissionable ideas that come up in these sessions, and this last weekend was no different, with brilliant ideas ranging from global disaster movies in Tasmania to small, domestic TV comedies.

Our special guest also Esther Springer gave a fascinating and very funny session on with various stories and insights gleaned as a BBC script editor for the last decade or more.

Our next workshop happens July 13-14, with Bradley Quirk as the special guest. He is a Pathé Creative Executive who has worked on ‘Long Walk To Freedom’ and ‘Philomena’.

The seminar is in its usual venue not far from Kings Cross in London. To book a place visit the Two Phils website.


Si Spencer - Script Doctor Si Spencer and his amazing feedback has been a real hit with competition contestants this year. I’ve read SO many brilliant emails back to him after people have received his notes – it’s clear he has a real knack of getting to the heart of the story and reaching the parts that other analysts leave untouched.

(Mind you, with his massive writing CV I’m not surprised he’s good at all this.)

I’m therefore extremely pleased to announce I’ve managed to persuade him to stay on and keep offering reading and feedback through the Screenwriting Goldmine website. He’s offering two pages of feedback for an extremely reasonable rate.

You can find Si at his brand new page.

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