With just a few days until we announce the Quarter-Finalists for our Spring competition, we’re excited to be opening up submissions for the next one! Ladies and gentlemen, the WriteMovies Fall 2019 Screenwriting Contest is now open!
The first footage from Disney’s live-action remake of MULAN has landed, and it’s got plenty of people excited. But there’s also a good number of people who are already tired of seeing Disney dredge through its catalogue of animated classics for films to remake.
Since Kenneth Branagh’s CINDERELLA in 2015, no animated classic has been safe – and 2019 has already been the busiest year of all. DUMBO and ALADDIN have both already been released to mixed reviews, and they’re soon to be joined by THE LION KING in just a couple of weeks time.
At first glance, it might seem that Disney are in danger of over-saturating the market with remakes. However, the numbers don’t support that idea.
ALADDIN didn’t impress the critics (or us!) all that much, but that didn’t put people off, taking an extremely healthy $921.7 million at the box office. And just two years ago, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST managed a monstrous $1.2 billion!
The simple fact is that it doesn’t matter if a few people get tired of seeing these remakes because Disney has a core audience who will happily line up to see their films no matter what. Playing on childhood nostalgia and the strength of their own brand, these remakes are always going to be sure-fire hits.
And that brand strength gives these films yet another advantage: Disney doesn’t need to worry so much about casting big-name actors who will help attract audiences. Look at ALADDIN as an example, where the only famous name in the project was Will Smith. Just being remakes is enough to bring audiences in.
You may be getting tired of the endless Disney remakes, but there’s a core audience which isn’t – and it’s that core audience that ensures they’ll keep getting made.
Quentin Tarantino has never been shy about stating his intentions to retire. For years now, 10 has been the magic number; once he has made his 10th film, he’s always said that he’ll step away from directing.
Although it might seem confusing for such a renowned filmmaker and cinephile to retire, there’s a definite philosophy behind it. Tarantino wants be remembered as not just a great director, but as a great artist – and he wants to go out on his own terms. Instead of waiting for his career to decline, he’d rather go out in a blaze of glory at the peak of his powers.
No-one ever said he wasn’t dramatic.
With ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD being his 9th film, there’s good reason to be worried if you’re a Tarantino fan. That magic number 10 is coming up fast; we might not see too much more of a director who has had a massive influence on movies for more than 25 years now.
But now, in an interview with GQ Australia, he’s teased that he might not even make it to 10. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD has received rave reviews across the board, giving him that very blaze of glory he’s looking for when he retires.
“If it’s really well received, maybe I won’t go to 10. Maybe I’ll stop right now! Maybe I’ll stop while I’m ahead. We’ll see,” he said, when asked whether he might be stopping soon.
Either way, one thing is for certain: we won’t be seeing much more of Quentin Tarantino in the director’s chair. Even if he decides to go on after ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, he claims he’s still only got one more film in him.
Of course, nobody really knows – not even Quentin Tarantino. It might just be possible that he loves the movies too much to give up, and finds himself drawn back in.
Here at WriteMovies, we certainly hope that would be the case. Tarantino is a great writer and director – and as far as we’re concerned, the more we see of him, the better.
If you can’t write dialogue, you can’t make it as a screenwriter. In a medium where it’s all but impossible to show thoughts and feelings, it’s dialogue that drives the plot, demonstrates who the characters are, and makes up most of the word count.
Okay, there are films that have succeeded, against the odds, using only a few spoken words: ALL IS LOST is a great example. But for the most part, knowing how to write dialogue is a key skill for any screenwriter. Here are our tips…
- Give each character a different voice. A lot of scripts have characters that all speak exactly the same way – usually the same way as the writer! But if you make your characters talk in their own unique way, not only is it more realistic but it also gives us a better idea of their personalities.
- Avoid exposition. If the audience needs to know something, find a natural way to get the information across instead of throwing in a conversation that feels contrived. There are no worse words to read in a screenplay than “As you know…” If the character already knows it, why are they being told again?
- Listen to how people actually speak. Record a conversation and pay attention to the rhythm and style of real speech; when you write dialogue, that’s the kind of style you want to replicate, although you can cut out all the “um”s and “erm”s!
- When writing a foreign character, don’t turn them into a cliche. Treat them the same as all your other characters – as real, rounded people! Just because their grasp of English may not be perfect, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to just use a stereotype.
- Don’t overuse parentheticals to describe how a line should be delivered. A screenwriter’s job is to write the screenplay, not to direct the film itself; actors and directors won’t appreciate you trying to control how things are said. A lot of the time it’s unnecessary anyway – unless something is being said ironically, it should be clear from the words themselves how to say the line!
So there you have it – now you should know how to write dialogue in your screenplay, and make it stand out over the competition. But of course, this is just one of the skills you’ll need. There are a great many more things to learn…
There are several interesting things to note from the May 2019 Script Sales as reported by Script Pipeline, but what struck us the most was that there are several horror projects here.
This shows that no matter what, there’s always a core audience for this genre, making it a good target for screenwriters looking to get a production credit under their belt. The production costs are also often low for these kind of projects – always seen as a big positive by producers!
- DON’T GO IN THE WATER sounds like an interesting idea. Horror has produced plenty of iconic monsters and villains over the years, and it looks like they might be aiming for another one here as an alcoholic does battle with a tentacled monster in the lake. Yes, the idea of being trapped in an isolated cabin is a tired cliche – but the monster sounds like it might enliven things.
- Another year, another remake. This time it’s the classic HELLRAISER getting the treatment, set to be written by David S. Goyer. After ten films in the franchise already, you’d think that people might be getting tired of it; this is one that could either crash badly or breathe new life into the series.
- Speaking of remakes, how about a spinoff? Another series that seems to go on forever, SAW gets another instalment – which might not sound so surprising until you realize that the story concept is by Chris Rock. However this turns out, it should certainly be interesting!
On the other end of things, there are also several comedies being sold and set to star various stars including Chris Hemsworth – a welcome bit of news, given how well he plays comedic roles.
After a fantastic response to our one week deadline extension, the WriteMovies Spring 2019 Screenwriting Contest has now closed!
A big thank-you to everyone who submitted, both directly to this contest and to the WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award 2019. Judging is already underway, and we’re having a blast reading your scripts.
The first set of results is now just weeks away: the Quarter-Finalists are announced on July 19th, Semi-Finalists on August 2nd, and Finalists and Winners on August 16th.
And if you want to get ahead of the competition, why not buy a script report from us and get free entry to our next contest? Starting from just $89, you can get valuable feedback on your work from our industry experts, helping you take your script to the next level and find out what you need to do to succeed!
Thanks once again from the entire WriteMovies team! And keep an eye out – we’ve got more great things coming your way soon, including new contests and a new award for a different genre…
Wanted to enter our Spring 2019 Screenwriting Contest but missed the deadline? You’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve extended the deadline by one week, giving you an extra chance to submit!
We know how easy it can be to miss a competition deadline. Maybe you were trying to make those last minute adjustments to your script that you felt would take it another level, only to find that it’s a bigger task than expected. Or maybe life just got in the way – as it tends to do!
We’ve really enjoyed reading the scripts that have been entered into our contest so far, and we’re eager to see what else you might have on offer. As a result we made the decision to extend the deadline and give you a bit of extra time to enter!
There are major advantages to entering one of our contests. The Grand Prize for the top placed script is $2000, and the top three scripts all receive:
- A year of free script development worth up to $3200
- Guaranteed pitching to industry
- Exclusive previews of WriteMovies Academy, our unique Virtual Film School
- Exclusive prizes from InkTip
And if you need even more info on what’s on the line, click here to take a look at an article from last week in which we discussed how we help our winners develop their scripts and make them even better!
Don’t miss your chance. This is your last opportunity to get involved in our Spring 2019 Screenwriting Contest and take your first steps towards screenwriting success with WriteMovies!