I watched GRAVITY (Alfonso Cuarón 2013) again recently. Why? The film's astonishing visual impact. I think Gravity is one of if not the most phenomenal technical productions in film history. I am also fascinated with all things space. 2001 A Space Odyssey and much science fiction and physics read when a child and a youth changed me forever. OK, and I probably fell slightly in love with Sandra Bullock when I saw her in SPEED (Jan de Bont 1994). Talking of which: I did Michael Hague’s screenwriting weekend course a year or two later. The script he picked to dissect was Graham Yost’s script for Speed. Why? Because it’s a good screenplay. A story well told. And that brings me back to Gravity. Wa

To be, and stuff

It's hard not to go online and not be, well, a tiny polka dot bikini bit desperate about the human world, if for no other reason than what that world is doing to the planet, and how little everyone is doing about it, myself inc. This is not a political statement; it’s a statement about logic (in this case, the absence of it). I only start this blog about screenwriting in this way because I’ve just seen a Facebook post about someone who is asking if Final Draft (or any other screenwriting software) can format stage plays. What this person means is: can software save me the trouble of having to use the space bar and tab key as I write my stage play? This person is asking this question seriousl

The right kind of rewriting

Some years ago, I listened to a talk on screenwriting given by the British screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce at the British Film Institute on London’s South Bank. Frank said that for him, a first draft of a script is just a way to fill 90 pages. No more. Virtual ink on FD pages. For him, in rewriting that first draft script, the screenwriting then begins. John Truby explains the pitfalls of this approach - for mere mortals - in this video: In this video, Truby talks about the concretion of a first draft screenplay in the screenwriter’s head. This concretion - or solidifying - prevents the screenwriter performing an effective script rew

Screenplay adaptations

Should novelists adapt their books to the screen? I've performed numerous adaptations. In my experience the person who wrote the book will have too subjective an approach to the source material (and will find it hard to be as ruthless as is required by the adaptation process) to adapt their book into a screenplay well. Like creative ego (and we're all guilty), this subjectivity is a problem. When adapting a book to the screen, the screenwriter's objectivity is gold dust. The screenwriter's dramatic instincts should also be such that he or she will perform the adaptation with zero attachment to the source material. This will free the screenwriter from shackles that will likely bind the noveli

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