On Screenwriting – Part 3 – How to improve

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Many people say you should read lots of screenplays. I say this is guff advice. Read some for sure, but in my experience, you will always be disappointed. They are nearly always (what I would consider) badly written, particularly the ones they release around awards season ‘for your consideration’, many of which are either verbose early drafts that ‘read’ better to the layman, or are just so full of the stuff I’ve told you to avoid above that they will make you cringe and wonder how on earth the film was ever made.

You’re better off trying to write your own version of scenes you like from films to develop your own style. This is also a good way to get into the director’s and editor’s heads. Why did they choose these shots? What do they say? How would you do it differently?

And beyond that, just keep writing. Write, write, write. When you hit a road block, keep writing, even if it’s utter bilge, or work on something else. The more you write, the more the brain is engaged in the process and ideas will present themselves from your subconscious (the little guys downstairs doing their work, as Stephen King says).

Follow the rules in the previous two posts and you’ll be streets ahead of the majority of Hollywood hacks. Unless they read this…

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