Still polishing your script for our Fall Contest one-week extension? Need some tips for this and our next contests? From the contest entries we’ve already seen over the last year, here’s what we believe the most writers need to hear right now: crafting character through actions…
We’ve been conducting a joint survey of writers with an international theatre company to establish what support writers need in their Career Development right now, and to help us plan new products and services to meet those needs. Here’s a first sight of what we’ve learned… (more…)
We work with several established directors, such as double Oscar-nominee and double BAFTA-winner Habib Zargarpour, both as producers and as analysts. We get to consider works for them to direct, or for us to produce with them attached as director, or just to recommend they consider. Sometimes we’re sent books or scripts by writers’ agents or publishers, other times we’re considering the submissions to WriteMovies, other times we put a call out for something specific we think we could sell right now. So while assessing recent submissions from publishers, I thought we’d share thoughts about how to select projects for directors, producers or actors as clients… (more…)
Single location movies are a great way for writers to adapt to the current situation in the world. While producers are still looking for scripts, it’s easier to shoot a contained, small-scale movie given the restrictions around the world and the risks from coronavirus. So, here are our tips for writing single location movies…
Last week we celebrated Valentine’s Day with a list of our favorite romance films that all writers should watch – and now, with our Rom-Com Award recently finished, we’re doing the same for comedy!
As with the last list, this isn’t comprehensive and we don’t necessarily think these are the best comedy films. They’re just our favorites, and we think that there’s lots to learn for writers by watching them…
1. MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL
A month ago today we lost a comedy legend with the death of Terry Jones. He and the other members of Monty Python may have produced the most outrage with LIFE OF BRIAN, but they produced the most laughs with their tale about King Arthur and his bumbling knights (both directed and co-written by Jones). MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL might not have a traditional structure – instead resembling a series of sketches – but it’s a great lesson in how to spin surreal situations into jokes. And, you know, how to just be really, really silly.
2. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Wes Anderson’s films might not be for everyone, but if there’s one we could recommend, it’s this one. The winner of four Oscars (and nominated for a further five including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay), this madcap story about murder and a missing painting is packed with a zany kind of energy. Funny but also poignant, it walks the difficult line between comedy and drama by offsetting its quirkiness with a big dose of charm.
3. SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Zombie-horror has often had a sense of humor (just take a look at THE EVIL DEAD), but this offering from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost takes it to another level. There are so many smart moments in here that it’s impossible to list them all out, but at the heart of all the comedy is the most fact that the protagonists have the worst possible response to a zombie apocalypse: to head down the local pub and wait for the whole thing to blow over.
First zombies, now ghosts – it turns out that a lot of things that are usually scary can often be funny too! Even 36 years later, GHOSTBUSTERS is still a treat for the eyes with its colorful special effects, and as one of the first films to blend comedy with science-fiction and horror elements, paved the way for other genre-bending films to follow. Plus, who can resist the charm of a film where the final battle is against a giant man made of marshmallow?
Who needs a plot when the jokes are this good? AIRPLANE! doesn’t have much in the way of a story, but for anyone looking to learn how to make people laugh, this is the absolute paragon. With nonstop jokes from start to finish, some of them were bound to land – even if we’re not sure if the plane will do the same. Rarely have words been used so effectively in the pursuit of humor!
SPECIAL MENTION: ANYTHING SO BAD IT’S GOOD
Some films are funny for all the right reasons… and some are funny for all the wrong ones. Here’s a shoutout to all the films that went wrong somewhere and made us laugh without meaning to.
To give a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at WriteMovies and TalentScout International Management, our Director of World Wide Development Ian Kennedy is sharing a week of his Hollywood/LA Diary with us at the start of March.
Expect news of meetings at major studios and with Elite producers, screenwriters and other adventures in Hollywood, plus a string of fresh images of iconic Hollywood locations.
In the meantime, we’ve brought together two of our Elite Mentors and a former WriteMovies winner living in LA to share their L.A. industry pitching tips. Here are our Elite Mentor Bobby Lee Darby’s tips about meeting preparations and pitching tips… (more…)
Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate all things romantic – including movies! And with our first ever Romance and Comedy Award closing just last week, this seemed like the perfect time for us to put together a small list of our favorite romantic films that we think all writers should watch.
The list isn’t intended to be comprehensive, and these aren’t categorically the best the genre has to offer! But they are our favorites, and there are important lessons for writers to learn from all of them this Valentine’s Day…
1. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO
David Lean was on a roll by the time he came to make DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, having just made BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – and it shows. The bleak wastes of Russia make for a beautiful backdrop, but center stage is a sweeping love story that carries us through the brutality of the country’s political turmoil of the early 20th century. This film is the very definition of the term “epic”. At over three hours long, it shows that if you make the human elements of your story strong enough, it’s still enough to keep an audience engaged for however long.
2. ROMEO + JULIET
There was no way we could compile this list without mentioning the original pair of star-crossed lovers – it was just a question of which version! Special mention goes to the 1968 version, but it’s Baz Luhrmann’s modern re-imagining which gets our vote. The beginning of the film is too hectic, but once the lovers meet it becomes a sumptuous, tragic tale full of stolen moments and forbidden love.The original script was written by some guy called Shakespeare, who seems to have been pretty good at his job: he fills the story with passion, jokes, despair, tragedy and revenge all in one go.
3. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
Memories of a failed romance can be painful – and that’s why Joel and Clementine choose to have theirs erased in Charlie Kaufman’s Oscar-winning script. Like much of Kaufman’s work, it’s a mind-bending concept (literally, in this case), but it’s also a touching exploration of love, loss, and the nature of heartache. Jim Carrey turns in a surprisingly subtle and understated performance that suits him, while Kate Winslet picked up her fourth Oscar nomination for hers, but ultimately it’s the script that powers this beautifully poignant film.
4. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
The first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is either a film about Stockholm Syndrome or how true love looks beyond mere appearances – but we choose to believe the latter. With fantastic animation, catchy songs, and a tale as old as time, this is the perfect example of how to tell a fairytale romance. Just don’t get us started on the live-action remake, which turned the Beast into a jerk and featured a bit too much auto-tune.
Okay, so here’s a bit of a strange one: a man falls in love with the operating system on his computer – and it falls in love with him in return. Another winner of the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, writer-director Spike Jonze takes his unique premise and weaves a touching story about the nature of human relationships… despite one half of the central relationship not being human. But then, that’s part of the reason why it works. It’s an insightful look into the psychology and emotion of love, demonstrating both its vulnerability and its boundlessness.
SPECIAL MENTION: TITANIC
James Cameron’s epic is the gold standard for a lot of people, even if it’s a bit overwrought in our opinion. Its impact and technical achievements can’t be ignored, though.
SPECIAL MENTION: 4 minutes of UP
The “Married Life” segment of Pixar’s UP brings all but the hardiest to tears, charting the entire marriage of Carl and Ellie without a single word being said. Frankly, we’d have included it in our list if it were a film in its own right, but since it’s just a small part of one, it’ll have to make do with a special mention instead.
So there you have it – our favorite romance films. We don’t claim that they’re the best, but they’re the ones that have touched us the most and we think that all writers can learn something from them!