Thursday, July 03, 2008

Maxims for Writing

Felker's adages:
1. Never hold your best stuff.
2. Put something shocking at the top of the page.
3. Women are the best reporters.
4. Point of view is everything.
5. Personal is better.
6. Never hold your best stuff.

(via Choire)

How to Write a Movie:
1. Write a play instead

Are you sure you need to write a screenplay? Almost any movie takes years. I've just done a TV film for the BBC that has taken 20 years to go from idea to execution. If you've got a great story, it might be worth writing it as a play first, or a book. To get a movie into the world, someone needs to love it enough to spend millions of pounds on it - and years of their life. A play costs a few thousand and takes a couple of months. Plus it makes you a playwright, which is way upmarket from a screenwriter. And if it's successful, people will want to make the movie.

2. Do the title first

Seems obvious, but you'd be amazed. A great title can make a big difference. The musical Oklahoma, as it was initially called, famously flopped in the provinces, but became a massive hit after they added the exclamation mark. Orson Welles said Paper Moon was such a great title they wouldn't need to make the movie, just release the title. If you want a good title, you need it before you start, when you're pumped up with hope. If you look for it afterwards, you end up thinking like a headline-writer. If Victor Hugo had waited until he'd finished Notre-Dame de Paris, he would have ended up calling it I've Got a Hunch.

3. Read it to people
4. Forget the three-act structure
6. Don't write excuse notes
7. Avoid the German funk trap
8. Do a favourite bit
9. Cast it in your head
10. Learn to love rewrites
11. Don't wait for inspiration
12. Celebrate your invisibility
13. Read, read, read, read, read

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