Writing a comedy? In the first draft, concentrate on making the characters feel real. Jokes are for the second draft.
Every once in a while, step back from film theory and plot structure to think about your story’s place in the overall culture. What do you want your story to say, and why do we need that message right now?
Avoid opening scenes that exist just to demonstrate to the reader how clever/daring/evocative you are. If the scene has no bearing on the protagonist, it shouldn’t be there.
What you write belongs to you. Every word is a decision, and every decision is a reflection of yourself. Never forget that.
Audiences don’t love set-pieces. They love characters who do amazing things during set-pieces.
Can’t figure out what happens in the climax of Act Three? Study your own theme. The answers are hiding in the thematic choices you’ve already made.
When it comes to accepting script notes, there is a time for grace and flexibility, and there is a time when you must draw a line in the sand and say “No further”.
Everyone knows the villain is supposed to act like she’s the hero of her own story. But so should the romantic interest, the henchmen, the mentor and the supporting characters.
The more you write, the more the reader will linger on that moment. To draw out an emotional beat, write longer action paragraphs and full sentences. To rush through a scene, write shorter paragraphs and clipped sentences.
Don’t cater to the slower members of the audience. Move fast and force them to keep up.
When prepping for meetings, don’t come up with ten different concepts. Pick your two best and learn them inside and out.
Take time out every now and then to recharge your batteries.
Hi folks. This is a quick post to let you know that I’ll be taking a few weeks off. Regular daily tips will return at the end of January.
You may have noticed that I’ve been taking more short breaks recently. I feel it’s necessary to avoid burning out. After all, I’ve been writing daily tips for (almost) 1200 days in a row! I’m confident that I still have a lot to say about screenwriting. However, I also think that I may eventually need to transition to a less rigorous update schedule — say, two or three posts a week.
But that’s all in the future. For now: good luck, happy writing, and I’ll see you in a few weeks!
P.S. If you need to contact me in the meantime, please feel free to drop by my Twitter feed (twitter.com/xanderbennett) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ideally, every major choice a character makes should either A) strengthen what we know about them, or B) challenge what we know about them. If it doesn’t do either, maybe it doesn’t need to be in the script?
Biopics aren’t the whole story of a person’s life, from birth to death. They’re the story of one particular flaw in that person’s character. The question is whether they overcome the flaw or it overcomes them.