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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Write Better Movies

Last week I reviewed Phil South’s ebook Let’s Write A Story. His second ebook, Write Better Movies, is focused purely on filmmakers.

Phil’s been teaching writing for many years and he spent most of the last decade teaching film students. He’s distilled the essence of his writing course into this very short, accessible any easy book. Phil starts with a premise from one of his favorite directors, Alfred Hitchcock. A movie needs three things, a good script, a good script, and a good script. Without those, you’ve got zip.

Drawing on the thousands of films he’s watched, Phil analyses what makes a film good or bad. Yes, there is the concept of “so bad it’s good,” but even then, you need to understand what it is that actually makes it good, rather than “so bad it’s unwatchable”.  He boils this down to a simple set of rules and the mnemonic CHIME: characters, humor, intellect, meaning, emotion.

The last part of the book gives you ten simple tips for making better movies. They’re all mostly common sense, but it’s useful to be reminded of them. For example, dialogue is a conversation. It’s as important to listen as it is to speak, and you need to show this in your movies. Visually, that means reaction shots, but more importantly, it needs to come across in your writing. People need to be affected by what the other is saying, and the conversation needs to flow naturally. Watch bad movies, and you’ll soon learn to spot writing where the characters are just talking and not listening.  Of course, sometimes this is what you want - in the classic Jack Lemmon comedy How To Murder Your Wife, there’s a great scene where he’s trying to get a divorce, but his lawyer, his doctor, his lawyer’s wife, his secretary, and his own wife are all ignoring him and trying to get him to make a new will, get insurance, organise a shopping trip and so on. That’s fine for screwball comedy, but the rest of the time, it simply doesn’t work.

Write Better Movies is available on Kindle for just $1.99 from Amazon, but if that’s too much for you, you can get it free for a limited time directly from Phil. Subscribe to his free Creative Genius newsletter, then drop him a line, ask for the book, and he’ll let you have a copy.

 

(2) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/30 at 01:39 AM

Grand movie depend on script of this movie. Please share with us effective tips about making script. Thanks smile

(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/23 at 09:15 PM

Impressive films depend on writing of this film. Please allocate with us useful tips about making script. Thanks smile



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