Gravity as a story

If you’re looking for a film that exemplifies the idea that scripts should keep putting the protagonist into even more difficult situations and that each respite is merely brief, then go see Gravity.

It is also a textbook example almost of the Save the Cat process and of McKee’s storytelling in three parts, so if you want a film to analyse that has a minimum of characters to focus on then this is it. It is also a damn good story and the first film I’ve seen that’s worth seeing in 3D since Avatar, and the first film I wish I’d seen at the Imax.


Bafta and Stellar Pitch Up! – pitching tips

I went to Bafta Pitch Up!, the TV drama and comedy pitching event the academy runs with the Stellar Network, and while I wasn’t pitching I came away with some great tips on pitching.

The advice comes from the best source possible – the panel of TV experts and producers on the panel, and the ones who ultimately decided which of the ten writers pitching would get to chat with the expert of their choice about their idea.

A lot of this advice can be found among the best books on writing and storytelling, but there’s nothing like hearing it fresh from the horse’s mouth.


Why Mad Men’s Megan has to be cheating on Don Draper

I think Megan Draper is cheating on Don in Mad Men. There, I’ve said it, I’ve spread salacious gossip and this isn’t Heat magazine, but it’s okay, because it’s about fictional characters.

Worse – or perhaps typical for gossip – I have no firm evidence other than a gut instinct, but again, that’s never stopped gossip from spreading.

Spoilers are on their way.


Writing – space and time

Many of us are finding it challenging to find enough time to do all the things we want and need to. Unfortunately, at least for me, it’s often the writing that ends up coming in second.

Ironically, there is no shortage of books about this: how to deal with the issue of both finding the time but also a space to write.

Personally I am not a fan of “help” books, although I have come across a few that make at least some valid points, and various writing exercises can help when you’re feeling stuck.

But knowing how other writers deal with the time and space issue can give you tools to increase your own productivity and find your own optimal working space and time.


Olympian uncertainty principle and the Olympic opening ceremony

The 2012 Olympic Games open in London next week but before the running, jumping and the like can start the games are officially opened – but will the London Olympics’ flame set the world on fire?

The opening ceremony, like any good introduction, sets the tone for the games, and while they’ve tended to become become grander and more expensive each time, as Hollywood has proved a fair few times, big bucks do not automatically mean a blockbuster.


Twist in the tail or twist in the neck?

The twist ending – is it for killer writers or dead lazy hacks?

Two recently read books made me ask this question this in different ways, Rob Grant’s Colony and David Baboulene’s The Story Book. The Story Book because of what he says: that if you have a twist that changes everything you should consider making it your inciting incident; and Colony because it seemed to be a example of not following this advice.


Dr Strangelove, or how I stopped worrying and learned how to love all my characters

Screenwriters can fall into a jealous love with their protagonist, wanting their beau’s life to be as simple and worry-free as possible, leaping in to push aside obstacles and tribulations.

And like many a relationship, the rest of the world doesn’t see things through gooey eyes and instead are sickened, or bored by the company of turgid, lacklustre secondary characters and pedestrian stories.

So it is to Stanley Kubrick I give thanks for Dr Strangelove and showing that proper love for a protagonist is to surround them with the worst kind of people – people who don’t want to do as their told, or what you want, but what they want.

Opinion Writing

Writing the easy option

Samantha Brick’s case shows it’s too easy to take the easy option when writing – and that’s what’s happening more and more. But is her pretty face the future of journalism?

I’ve worried for some time that writing is becoming slacker and it’s why I set up this site, and I still keep meaning to publish my research into change over time at some point as it needs a fair bit of testing.

So Shu Richmond’s criticism at her site rang true when I read it – journalism is becoming shoddy. But unlike Shu I am an optimist.


Upstaged by actors

Writing is hard work, and writing an award winning script, one that takes its place in the popular subconscious is even harder (or so I imagine, I’ll let you know when I’ve written one).

Even harder is to come up with one line that not only encapsulates the whole damn film but people remember or know, even if they’ve never seen the film. So how does it feel if you write the script and it’s not your line?

Opinion Research

“Here’s who’ll win the Oscar”

I’d love to tell you which film will pick up the Oscar for Best Picture or one of the Best Writing awards, so I through I’d have a look at some scripts.

If my prediction if it was based simply on what I’d read then I’d probably pick The Artist– but what if maths and stats had a part to play?

If you’ve read a few articles on Considered Words you may have noticed I like to put text through a word analysis program called the LIWC. At the heart of this bit of kit is a list of words that have been put into different categories and ranked – such as for positive emotions, for thinking and so forth.