Day M86: How To Write A Blockbuster – Part IV

22.12.11: Antagonists This is the easy bit. Your antagonist could be a rival news anchor, a monster from the black lagoon or the protagonist’s own fear of commitment (although if your script is based around fear of commitment, I hate you). It’s just some thing that keeps throwing obstacles in the way of our hero. Wants vs. Needs Before you embark on the journey you must spell out very clearly is what your main characters heart’s desire is. It might be to go into space, get with the girl or win the world tiddlywinks championship. But that alone does not a good film make. What you can play with, and what you can be more subtle about, is what the character really NEEDS. Self confidence, trust, education, friends, the monster to stop eating his friends etc. The most blatant example of the wants vs. needs fandango…

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Day M85: How To Write A Blockbuster – Part III

21.12.11: The Re-writes Begin... There are certain rules you have to stick to in order to write a successful movie script. If you would prefer to ignore these rules, write a novel instead. The rules of movie making are pretty much set in stone and you’d have to be either very brave or very stupid to break them. Reservoir Dogs follows the rules. Casablanca follows the rules. The Godfather follows the rules. The Shawshank Redemption, Being John Malkovich, The Big Lebowski, Little Miss Sunshine, The Matrix, Gran Turino, Platoon, Raging Bull, Inception, Annie Hall, The Wizard of Oz... no matter how clever you think your favourite movie is, chances are, if it turned a profit at the box office it follows the rules. You want to see a film STICKS IT TO THE MAN and THROWS THE RULE BOOK OUT THE WINDOW...? Okay. Every film ever…

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Day M84: How To Write A Blockbuster – Part II

20.12.11: The Premise First up, work out the basic premise in your head. Don’t worry about making it all make sense just yet, just worry about the main features of the story. At the very least you should have a strong set-up, a strong dénouement and a good title. Unfortunately for you, the best movie titles of all time, Ice Cold In Alex, There Will Be Blood and Snakes on a Plane have already been taken, so you’ll just have to think of another one. At this point, if all you can think of is a single scene, you should really consider writing a short movie instead. The Audience This is important, possibly the most important thing about scriptwriting. You need three things to tell a story: a story, a storyteller and an audience. Otherwise you’re just talking to the wall. It’s interesting that British people…

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Day M83: How To Write A Blockbuster – Part I

19.12.11: I’ve been spending my days and nights (mostly nights) on board the good ship Southern Pearl practicing the ancient art of writing. I’ve been writing my blog (of course) which will one day become my book (it’s now pushing 750,000 words, so it’ll have to be edited down somewhat – James Joyce’s Ulysses is only 250,000 words). I’ve been writing Programme Bibles for TV shows you may never see and writing film scripts the names of which you may never see in backlit marquees. I don’t mind, I just enjoy writing. And then inflicting said writing on my family and friends. Writing, especially fiction writing, appeals to my love of two things: puzzles and logistics. Since I was a kid I’ve loved puzzles. It’ll come as no great shock to anyone that my favourite video games when I was growing up were the point n’…

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