Unchained Resources: “Screenwriting Tips, You Hack”


Screenwriting is a lonely profession. It’s just you and the pen/paper or Final Draft window for days, months, even years. But does it really have to be this bleak? There are classes and writing groups where you/your script can interact with live human beings. If you’re not lucky enough to have those options available, there is still hope. THE INTERNET. Bless the invisible wires that can connect emerging writers to season veterans who are gladly willing to share their knowledge. You don’t have to hide in the writer’s cave alone. There’s nothing wrong with keeping an ear out to listen to the smart folks in the room. For example, a couple of weeks ago, I was practically gushing about Scriptshadow aka Carson Reeves, a blogger who gives both professional and creative insight along with his weekly script reviews. Carson continues to dish out nuggets of gold as he live-reviews scripts from the 1st ever Twit-Pitch contest (read here).

This week, I’d like to introduce you to another blogger I’ve stumbled upon via Twitter. Xander Bennett of “Screenwriting Tips, You Hack” is exactly how the title of his blog sounds. He tells it like it is. Period. Xander offers daily tips for screenwriters at all stages of the process. The advice is brief, yet bold and sometimes humorous.Like Scriptshadow, Xander offers script notes services, so the knowledge he’s offering comes from the fact that he reads a LOT of scripts from new writers. I personally enjoy the daily tips and look for them to pop up on my Twitter feed. Because they’re on a different aspect of writing each day, you never know if it will actual apply to what you’re doing at that moment or if you can store it away for later.

Here’s a few of my favorites:

TIP #20
Seriously, could you stop describing in drooling detail the incredible, smoking hot curves of your female characters’ bodies? It’s just uncomfortable for everybody.

TIP #704
Be very, very clear with action lines. For example, in a hostage situation: “He presses the knife into Dave’s neck”. You’re thinking he’s threatening to kill Dave; I’m thinking Dave’s dead.

TIP #468
Watch your favorite movie at least once a year to remind yourself why you’re doing this.

TIP # 82
On Page 1? People should be talking OR shit should be exploding (so to speak). If your Page 1 is mostly set-up and description, start on Page 2 instead.

TIP #876
At the top of every scene, ask yourself: “What does the protagonist want, and why can’t she get it?”. From that one question, everything else in the scene will flow.

TIP #876
Let your writing move you. Allow it to make you sad, angry, painfully nostalgic or giddily excited. Put a little bit of blood on your pages.

Check out the screenwriting tip for today HERE!

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