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Good Screenwriting Podcasts

I’m one of those people who like to listen to podcasts about screenwriting. It makes me feel like I’m doing something productive, when I’m actually avoiding writing. It’s also nice to learn from others while I’m doing my day-job. The number #1 podcast I listen to is ScriptNotes with John August and Craig Mazin. It covers a huge range of topics, from the legalities of credits, to dialogue tips. There’s bound to be something you can learn from in their…[read more]

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Unblanking the page

Being faced with a blank page is one of the scariest things for a screenwriter. It’s even worse when you think about the other 119 blank pages lurking just around the corner. Here’s a simple thing I do to ensure I never have that problem. It all starts in the planning phase. When I’m planning a screenplay I spend a lot of time on a beat sheet. I usually use something like a Google spreadsheet (this is so that I…[read more]

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Reading makes the best writing

I’m only now realising the importance, and the joy, of reading scripts.I did read some when I was ‘learning the craft’, but then I stopped. I didn’t want to pollute my own creativity. That stupid decision probably set my writing back a number of years. Reading scripts from good movies will help you to see what makes them great movies. Sure the acting will be amazing and the photography will be stunning. But the script will show you the underlying…[read more]

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Death and Taxes

It’s taken me a while to realise that writing is a business – a proper business. I’m not talking about all the guff to do with contracts, selling scripts, and attribution. I’m talking about claiming expenses. You are entitled to claim back some of the expenses from writing – even if you have not sold a script.

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Write what you… No

“Write what you know” – have you ever been told that? Or read it in a book? When people say that I really feel like slapping them. It would be better to say “Know what you write.” You can have a fantastic idea for a comedy about people working on nuclear reactors. You don’t have to have done it as a job. That’s where research comes in. Learn about what you want to write.

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Best time to write

Many people say that you should find the time of day that you are most creative. This is terrible advice. For a start, most of us have other jobs and responsibilities which take a large portion of our time. We only have a few hours in our busy day to get any writing done. So you need to sit down and write.

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Software to use

I’ve used a few different software packages through the years. The main thing I’ve learned is that the software doesn’t make you a better writer. People have written some utter crap in Final Draft. Others have written works of genius using mechanical typewriters. Tarantino actually writes his scripts by hand.

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Research the time hole

I love doing research. That was probably what lead to me doing screenwriting. Everything I read would turn into a story in my head and make me want to learn more. The problem is that I want to know absolutely everything about absolutely everything. When I start looking into a topic I don’t know when to stop.

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