Shadowlands: a retrospective review

Some years ago I wrote a review of one of my favourite films: ‘SHADOWLANDS’ Richard Attenborough (1993). For me, this film exemplifies the craft of film making, as it does the craft of acting: Anthony Hopkins was at the peak of his powers (except that he just keeps getting better), and Richard Attenborough's nuanced and patient direction made the most of William Nicholson's wonderful screenplay (adapted from his stage play). So here is my (somewhat inadequate) review: The Golden Age of British cinema is over. It’s true. If you can keep your eyes open for 126 minutes you’ll see that I’m right. Lord Attenborough, you see, must have known it when he cast Anthony Hopkins, (before he was consumed

Lessons From The Screenplay

Just to shout up a YouTube channel called Lessons From The Screenplay. I've watched a number of Michael's videos. I think there is much to learn (and remind yourself of) in his insights and opinions. The videos are well worth watching if you - - Are passionate about film. - Are interested in learning the craft of screenwriting. - Are keen to become a better screenwriter. - Know that as a screenwriter ... There's always something to learn. ... Including the value of double-spacing important stuff in your script to emphasise the importance of that stuff, or are describing a montage or consecutive cuts. Remember: 'white' film scripts rock. Happy screenwriting.

How to annihilate an audience

I’m unwilling to join the chorus of disapproval of ANNIHILATION (2018, Alex Garland) for the sake of it. Making films is very difficult, and making good films is a lot harder. But the problems with Annihilation are writ large in the screenplay, and the screenplay was, we are told, written by the film’s director: Alex Garland. As we all know, Alex Garland also wrote and directed EX MACHINA. I think Ex Machina works quite well as a film and as a screenplay; but it has one fundamental issue: the android (Ava, played by Alicia Vikander) survives, and the human (Caleb, played by Domhnall Gleeson) is left imprisoned. It is Caleb that we, as human audiences, relate to and root for if we can, not an

Myth and the Movies

A number of years ago my then agent Julian Friedmann commissioned me to review Stuart Voytilla's book 'Myth and the Movies' for what was then ScriptWriter magazine (which went on to become 'Myth and the Movies' explores and re-applies Joseph Campbell's famous observations about the 'monomyth' of drama - the Hero With a Thousand Faces. I was impressed by the 'Myth and the Movies' to the extent that I'm republishing my review of it now. If you want to be a screenwriter, or are pro screenwriter looking to refresh your knowledge of the craft of screenwriting, it's well worth a read. ‘Myth and the Movies’ By Stuart Voytilla Review by Nick Green Stuart Voytilla claims that mainst

Joseph Campbell: a refresh

Here's a refresh on story and character archetype, and structural stuff you can to put good use when writing a screenplay. Even if you learn these basic screenwriting nodes and touch-points by instinct, I find it's still useful to go back to them and reappraise. You should end up forgetting them entirely, which means they've probably become part of your DNA. Happy screenwriting. THE HERO’S JOURNEY Joseph Campbell, an American psychologist and mythological researcher, wrote a famous book entitled The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In his lifelong research Campbell discovered many common patterns running through hero myths and stories from around the world. Years of research lead Campbell to disc

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