Happy Endings – Just Do It!

I strongly recommend you set up your story so the Hero beats the Villain in the end: Audiences prefer happy endings. And why not? Who doesn’t like the sun? Who, honestly, doesn’t instinctively gravitate towards light, and warmth, and positive energy? Why would you want to spend three months of your life on creating more negativity for the world? Horror movies – BAD! Will someone please explain why people spend so much time and energy creating fear, disgust, or nausea? …

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How Do I Stop Them Stealing My Ideas?

I have had quite a few people ask how they can stop their scripts, or part of their scripts, being stolen. There’s quite a few sides to this issue – not all of them are obvious. A. Until you get an agent I don’t think you can practically do much more to protect yourself than by registering the work with one of the big guilds like the Writer’s Guilds of America or Canada. B. Personally I never worry about people …

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Screenwriting: a Critical – and Common – Mistake

I’m going to get on my soapbox, and talk about an error of judgement I made when I started out that held me back for years. I think it’s a common mistake, and, especially early on, it seems like such common sense that it is unbelievably hard to shake off. I believe the single biggest mistake you can make as a screenwriter, the single biggest cause of a tedious screenplay, is to believe that screenwriting is something you do sitting …

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Opening The Doors (2)

I’ve learned the best route into the BBC yesterday for writers with no TV experience. Thought I’d pass it on… I had the first draft meeting on my screenplay yesterday. About 4 hours of good conversation about the script, in which the the Script Editor and Producer ran through their ideas for how the thing ought to develop. This is normally a fairly fraught process, and usually involves a fair bit of biting your tongue at the crazy, damaging, or just …

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Do You Write The Whole Series?

Now my eBook is launched, it’s time I got back to writing my episode. As it’s a medical show I’ve written out the bulk of the ‘drama’ and now I’m waiting for call backs from  the various medical advisors so that we can straighten out the medical action and dialogue and I can start to plug it into my script.   I thought I’d take this moment to describe what happens before you ever get to write a script. A lot …

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How To Give Good Meeting

Some of you have been saying words to the effect that: “it’s all very well writing the best screenplay in the world, but I’ll never be able to handle those hard nosed studio types, so what’s the point of even starting?” That depends on the meeting – they are all different, just as much as people are all different. But at heart most movie/TV execs all want to know three main things: That you have a dramatic story in you …

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Story Structure and Your Heart's Desire

There is a certain type of writer who believes the two are incompatible. Writers like this believe the heart wants to be free, and to respond to the emotions directly, and not be driven through rigid channels imposed from somewhere outside. They think the heart wants to just WRITE. Well, maybe. But there is something the heart wants more than all that. I think the heart wants to be HEARD, and the heart wants to be UNDERSTOOD. And using familiar story …

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The First Time

You never forget your first time. And if we are talking about the first time you write a script, well, the script will probably never get made, but it will always be special. Mine was a piece that I’d written as a short story years before and tried to sell to any place I could find that was publishing short stories. (I did manage to sell the occasional story back then, say 1 every 2 or 3 years, so you can …

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