Oct
0

Discourse

Discourse

Broadly speaking, screenplays attract three types of notes:

Coverage (as it’s known in Hollywood) is a short-hand precise and overview of the screenplay or novel, usually written for producers, and not intended to be shown to the writer.

Coverage is always frank – sometimes brutally so. It often has a rating system (giving points for dialogue, plot, character etc.) to help busy executives choose where to focus their attention.

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Oct
1

Adventures in the Screen Trade – William Goldman

Adventures in the Screen Trade – William Goldman

I like to use the memoirs and biographies of screenwriters I admire as instructional manuals. They offer the best sort of advice: that which has been honed in the fires of hell.

William Goldman is among my top five favourite screenwriters. He’s also a legend, and two time Oscar winner (for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Marathon Man.) If that’s not impressive enough, he also wrote Marathon Man and All the President’s Men within the same year. He created the enduring fairytale The Princess Bride, and his other iconic screenplays include: A Bridge Too FarMisery and Chaplin.

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Oct
0

Nota Bene: Why Script Notes Matter

Nota Bene: Why Script Notes Matter

A writer writes. A writer also rewrites. And rewrites. And polishes. And edits. Erases. Cries. Reads and rereads — and very occasionally has the satisfaction of thinking, ‘Did I write that?’

If the first stage of a screenplay is getting a story out of your head, and onto the page, then the second stage (and indeed the third, fourth, fiftieth and happily-ever-after stage) is smoothing your language so that it tells the best story possible for the people who will be telling it.

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Oct
2

Rewrites: A Memoir by Neil Simon

Rewrites: A Memoir by Neil Simon

Rewrites: A Memoir
by Neil Simon
(1998)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Neil Simon is both a playwright and screenwriter. He is responsible for epic comic creations such as The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, and The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue. His book, Rewrites: A Memoir, deals with his early years, and is an inspiring resource for any new or insecure writer – which, compared to Simon, is all of us.

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Oct
0

Script Notes – Don’t Take This Personally

Script Notes – Don’t Take This Personally

Everyone has an ego. In filmmaking, it’s the entry-level requirement for thinking you can write or produce a screenplay.

Among the ego leaps I’ve made personally, re-writing Noel Coward for Ealing Studios was by far the biggest and most surprising. It still makes me laugh — not out of any inflated sense of self, but because the endeavour was so preposterous. Rewriting The Master? Who would do a thing like that? Bloody Australians.

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Jun
2

Directors Notes

Directors Notes

I tried something a bit new for this post. I ‘Tweeted’ and then ‘Storify’ed it… (Storified? Ooh! Crammar crisis!)

The result is here  I’d love you to click through and have a look, and tell me if I’m mixing my social media like my metaphors – or mixed like a fine cocktail.

Basically it’s a compilation of things that director Stephan Elliott has said over the years we’ve been working together.  Simple things, which really help to shorten and sharpen a screenplay:

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Jun
3

Read It.

Read It.

Ok, so I’ve been a real coward. I’ve been putting off reading what I wrote last April. I’ve been operating under the insecurity that while no-one looks at my screenplay – it’s perfect.

But a month has past since I finished. In that time, internet friend Hamish Downie, (who was writing in cyberspace with me,) has read his screenplay, and edited it. Damn him. Challenge on.

So here goes – squib Jobbins handing herself and her screenplay in to the Fraud Police for a read…

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May
2

A Couple Of Things I Learned This Draft

A Couple Of Things I Learned This Draft

Coffee Shops
No two scripts are ever the same, and every time I leave my the desk a couple of new things have been learned. The first thing I learned this time, is that I work better away from my desk, and best away from the internet entirely. I realised this on about the 14th day when I arrived at a local coffee shop and the waiter delivered me a cup of tea and a pain au chocolate without being asked. In fact, without even looking at me. About an hour later he returned with a fresh cup of tea. He proceeded to do this every other day I arrived. He never said, “Hello,” he didn’t look at me when he put the tea down, and since we don’t (fluently) speak the same language, there is almost no small talk. Seriously, I think I’m in love with him.

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May
0

Dancing with Coma_Boy

Dancing with Coma_Boy

I am currently dancing around the apartment to Herb Alpert’s ‘Tijuana Brass’. I really think I should put my hair in a beehive and make some ‘Devil on Horseback’ hors d’ouvres. There’s only one thing which would result in such an outpouring of wild celebration – I have completed the first draft of my screenplay: “Coma_Boy”. Yes, it’s a working title complete with irritating underscore – and it’s all mine, mine, mine.

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May
2

We’re not done yet. Join me on Twitter (5oh19)

We’re not done yet. Join me on Twitter (5oh19)

I’ve failed to ‘win’ Script Frenzy – but I have yet to fail at writing this script, so as you all return to your victorious lives… spare a thought for those of us still out here – blinking away in the dark like Vanguard 1 .

At the moment my script is running at just over 60 pages. I feel I’m on target plot wise, so I’ve still got another 40 pages to write. At the rate I’ve been going – that’s another ten days!

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