In a world of Game of Thrones, Big Little Lies & endless choices on Netflix, TV offers far more to the sophisticated audience who in turn EXPECT a certain quality and standard of writers nowadays.

Here’s where screenwriter Julian Unthank comes in to help us at Bang2Write. Julian has worked on shows such as ITV’s Doc Martin, The Bill, New Tricks and Robin Hood, plus his short film Love at First Sight starring John Hurt shortlisted for an Oscar in 2011.

I was lucky enough to speak with Julian and have him share his top 5 tips on how YOU can create a powerful drama script too. You ready? Let’s get started!

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1) The 3 Things You NEED in a Drama Script

  • Swagger – ‘To Land Loudly’. Be BOLD in your pilot script, think about the most powerful way you can hook the viewer/reader into your world within the first few scenes. Analyse opening sequences like Lost or Blind Spot. Remember, you only get one chance at a first impression.
  • Unique VoiceThis is YOUR writing style. Look to be hired because only YOU can write ‘that script’. Look at language or a unique twist/take on something familiar. There will be those who may pass on your idea, but it only takes one YES!

2) Create an ENGAGING Cast of Characters

THEME can be a great starting point if you find writing characters and their character arcs tricky.

  • Choose a theme that ties your characters together and drives your central lead.
  • Show how those characters relate to that theme from different aspects/viewpoints.
  • Watch the genre you want to write and analyse your favourite characters from these shows.

3) Pitch, and then Pitch Again…

The pitching process never gets any easier, but the more prepared you are increases the chance of you getting another meeting.

  • Don’t panic and NEVER say more than two ideas – Everybody wants to sell their idea, but don’t grasp at straws when you’re in ‘pitch mode’. Find a connection and research, find that mutual link that can hook them into your pitch.
  • Be open to suggestions– think about it, even if you don’t agree it doesn’t mean you have to ACT on their suggestions but consider what they have to say. They’re in the know and usually saying it for a reason.
  • Small Goals & Building Relationships – take small steps, aim to secure another meeting it’s not always about the pitch. Sometimes it’s more important to build a relationship with an executive or producer than selling the script then and there.

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4) With or Without an Agent?

It’s not essential to have one, but it can certainly open more doors.

  • Independent Agents – Actively seek out independent agents to represent you, they are more likely to take on emerging writers.
  • Competitions & Film festivals – These options are great calling cards to get agents interested in your writing, especially if it’s shortlisted or wins awards.
  • Look for the narrative – Networking should be second nature to a writer and use it to your advantage. Present your narrative and creative style and use those differences to your benefit.

5) How to get started

There’s no ONE route in this industry, but it should be a multi-pronged approach because you never know where your big break will come from.

  • Keep writing those Specs – Every screenwriter at every level writes specs. Even if it’s only one spec you write, make it a movie script because TV AND Movie people will read that.
  • Short Films ARE The Way Forward – People will always have time to watch a 10-minute short over a 60 page pilot. Consider how you can film a teaser that represents your pilot.

Good luck!

IMG_8071BIO: Hello, my name is Olivia Brennan, a 27 year old who was first inspired by the power of film when I cowered behind a cushion watching JAWS, aged 6. I work as a Freelance Writer, Blogger & Assistant Script Editor. Check out my blog HERE or Facebook Page The Final Frontier. Follow me on twitter as @LivSFB and say hi!

For B2W offers and free stuff first, join my EMAIL LIST

I get a lot of messages from people asking if I have ‘any writing tips’ for them – my answer is always, ‘YES! LOADS!’ 

But I was in a silly mood today so I thought I would flip this notion on its head and offer up some HORRIBLE writing tips, that are absolutely GUARANTEED to make you fall flat on your arse as a writer. (You’re welcome!)

So avoid these epic clangers, plus JOIN US this November at Ealing Studios on The Screenwriter’s Craft Crash Course … If you want a two day shot in the arm that will take your writing to the next level, BOOK NOW! See you there!

B2W_Kapow

1) Don’t both studying craft

Intuition alone is enough to guide you through the components of a brilliant script and story! You know it.

2) Research is for losers

Your imagination is rich and varied, just fill in the gaps yourself. You’re a writer, right??

3) Hah suckers!

Don’t be concerned about whether your ending pays off adequately – you got the bums on seats, they HAVE to watch it!

4) Don’t sweat the small stuff

Nobody’s perfect, so don’t worry about typos, punctuation and grammatical errors. No one notices anyway.

5) NEVER rewrite!

You’ll only spoil the magic of that first draft and dilute your writer’s voice. Do it first time OR ELSE.

6) Forget about networking

People will realise your genius and come to you, obvs.

7) ONLY pound out those pages

Ignore your friends and family until they hate your guts; sleep as little as possible and do not enjoy yourself. You are a tortured artist.

8) Quit your day job immediately

Work gets in the way of your writing. Living in poverty is character building.

9) Forget about genre

Various genres and subgenres are just lazy writers’ signposts for equally lazy audiences.

10) Ignore structure

It’s a stupid formula for stupid people, writers and audiences alike.

11) NEVER pander to what audiences

How cares what audiences want! They can like what you give them or lump it!

12) Be as obnoxious as possible

This is what true creatives are REALLY like.

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13) Be high fallutin’

Be as mysterious and ambiguous as possible in your plotting and characterisation. Make the reader work hard!

14) You don’t need to make sense

Don’t worry about narrative logic or consistency, keep your readers on their toes by changing things up whenever you feel like it. If the script reader can’t keep up, that’s his/her problem!!

15) The first 10 pages can kiss my …

The first 10 pages are simply for introducing characters. Make sure you tell us their entire backstory up front, then we can relate to them. Make the audience wait for the story to start, tell them it’s worth it!

16) Don’t bother finding out what has gone before

NEVER read or watch movies or TV shows that are like yours. You might get influenced by it!

17) Images, schmages

Don’t worry too much about your opening image or writing visually. Great screenwriting is SOLELY about the dialogue!

18) Do not ever read for other writers

Critiquing won’t help you, only them – and you don’t want more competition, do you???

19) Always be RIGHT

If you receive constructive critique, be as adversarial as possible and make sure you ‘win’ by pointing out what they have ‘missed’.

20) Do not use screenplay software

It’s good discipline to constantly have to move format elements around the page in MS Word.

21) Make life difficult

Do not use apps or Dropbox or anything that makes the writer’s life easier. You are a tortured artiste, remember!

22) Reject the rejections

Write back harshly worded emails and letters to people who have rejected you. Remind them of your genius whenever possible and tell them they will regret it.

23) Be  paranoid

Never take the advice of produced or published writers. They’re trying to ensure you don’t come up through the ranks and nick their spot in the industry.

24) Be paranoid # 2

Accuse everyone of trying to nick your ideas, your scripts or exploit you.

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25) Rely on FATE

Don’t bother setting goals or evaluating your progress. Just throw spaghetti at the wall randomly, as and when the mood takes you.

26) Don’t do your foundation work

Don’t bother road-testing your concept. Just keep writing, it’ll work out in the end.

27) Pour your efforts into ONE thing

You don’t need a portfolio. Keep writing the same screenplay, non stop and tinker with it for years.

28) Ignore EVERYONE

Don’t listen to any of the ‘gurus'; never go to screenwriting events like London Screenwriters’ Festival; don’t read blogs; watch videos or listen to podcasts; and don’t check out free writing advice on social media. What the hell do these people know!

29) Never show your writing to anyone

It’s the only way to make sure the beauty of your writing prevails.

30) Get angry and bitter

This will fuel your genius and you’ll SHOW THEM GODDAMMIT! To prove this, write your complaints and rage all over the internet, so people can see how right you are. Yeah!

Want GOOD writing tips?

https---cdn.evbuc.com-images-29888419-3773478736-1-originalThen come to my new course this November (11-12th 2017) at Ealing Studios, The Screenwriter’s Craft Crash Course!Over two days, we will put writing craft under the microscope & you will learn tricks to elevate your writing to the NEXT LEVEL. Don’t miss out!

CLICK HERE for full details of the course (or on the pic above). We expect it to sell out , so act now to avoid disappointment. See you there!!!

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Following the previous post in this vein, 10 Commandments For Successful Writers by the lovely Emma Pullar, Derin Attwood decided to throw her hat in the ring and lay down the law for Write Club, too! I totally agree with numbers 2, 7 and the last one … Well, all of them to be honest.

Over to you, Derin — And enjoy, everyone!

WRITE CLUB_want to be a writer? WRITE

1) Write!

Otherwise you are not part of the Write Club. You can join the thinkers’, or dreamers’ or wannabes’ clubs, but the writers’ club is exclusive.

2) Set goals

Write regularly and set goals. Keep to a schedule and make sure you have a strategy, which you evaluate at various intervals.

3) Sweat the small stuff

Learn the difference between ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and ‘there’. And while you are at it, ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ are not interchangeable! And ‘irregardless’ is not a word! I don’t care if a lot of people use it. They shouldn’t!

4) Be gracious

Accept mistakes when they are pointed out, but don’t beat yourself up over them. Even the best make them, even with the support of publishers, editors, agents and filmmakers. Likewise, don’t berate other writers when you spot their mistakes. They’ve probably been told a thousand times.

5) Take “No” for an answer

Don’t expect another writer to read/edit/critique your work in progress. You can ask – with an offer of a large amount of money – but don’t be miffed if they say “No.” MORE: Top 5 Feedback Mistakes Writers Make

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6) Accept constructive criticism

If you are lucky enough to have someone kindly read your work, accept that they may be brutal. They will tell you your baby is ugly, but you must smile nicely and accept it. You don’t have to agree, but they are probably right. So, after you have crawled into bed and cried for three days, drag yourself out, and rewrite the whole thing, taking the advice seriously. You will thank them eventually. They’ve done you a favour.

7) Listen to your instincts

If it feels wrong, it is wrong! Even if it is your favourite scene in the whole thing. Every writer has those amazing pieces that lie sadly – although not forgotten – in a reject document of your computer. As well as it is written, it should NEVER see the light of day if it doesn’t take your story forwards.

8) Be consistent

Be sure of your facts before you spout off to everyone. If you create a rule in your written piece, DON’T break it. Don’t make anything unbelievable.

9) Write fast

If you think someone has stolen your plot, they probably haven’t. However, even if they start at the same place you did, the ends will be markedly different. Write fast, finish yours first and publish. Then if someone points out the similarity, you can point to your publishing date as proof of your innocence.

10) Be consistent # 2

Keep the promises you make to your readers. If, near the beginning of your story, you mention something special or relevant, make sure you follow through and pay it off. For this reason, you should read everything you’ve written through.

BONUS!

11) Buy books and watch movies/TV!

Not just those written by famous authors and screenwriters, but also your peers. If you know a writer to talk to, buy their stuff. They may just buy yours too — and that could be the beginning of something beautiful!

BIO: Derin Attwood is a novelist with dyslexia, but she doesn’t let that stop her. She runs a small critiquing group for other writers.
Twice nominated for the SJV Award, short-listed once, and five fantasy novels published, you can read about Kirym’s adventures in the Token Bearer series HERE.

For B2W offers and free stuff first, join my EMAIL LIST

hands on hips

Let me tell you something

Sometimes writers say to me, ‘Yeah, but you’re Bang2write. It’s EASIER for you.’

I’m not gonna lie. I love what I do. I love writing, but I also I love that writers and filmmakers trust me with their own work. I love my platform and all the brilliant writers within it. I like that when I talk, people will listen. Who wouldn’t?

BUT it was not ‘easier’ for me. All writers have to start somewhere. Back in the day, I wasn’t B2W. This blog didn’t exist. No one knew me. I had no money. I’d written nothing of ‘worth’ (whatever that means). Put bluntly, I was a single Mum, living in the arse-end of nowhere, where there were literally more sheep than people. Odds were against me getting noticed.

But I did …

… And you can too!

It comes down to this – Decide what you want to do. And then do it.

‘WTAF?’ I hear you say … ‘She’s talking crap. I’ve been TRYING to do this writing lark for X amount of years and got feck all for my trouble!’

Look, I get it. It can be annoying as all hell when someone comes along and says words to the effect of, ‘Change your mindset and get it done!’ I remember hearing the same and wanting to nuke the writer in question from orbit, just to be sure he didn’t say something so stupid again.

But then I got thinking …

If you DON’T want to blast me right now, you should know I explain more, in this video interview I did with Inside The Writer’s Bubble. In it, I explain the simple breakthrough I had with my writing … and where it lead me! What’s more, you can do the same. Honest guv!

Sophie Gardiner is the lady behind Inside The Writer’s Bubble – Sophie took my script reading course just a year ago. She’s already made significant strides in establishing herself in hher new career as a script reader! I’m so delighted to be part of her journey and see her optimism and enthusiasm as she grabs her opportunities with both hands, as well create her new platform online too. She is going places, so watch out for her!

Sophie’s done a fab job of these interviews, so do give them both a watch and go say hello to her on Youtube, Facebook and beyond!

Part 1

Part 2

Good luck!

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JOHN YORKE_1

If you haven’t heard the name John Yorke or his book Into the Woods, then you NEED to listen up because you’re missing out! Not only is he an author of an Amazon bestseller (a FANTASTIC read, you can buy your copy HERE), but he’s worked as a script editor, story consultant and producer on shows such as EastEnders, Casualty, Shameless, Skins, The Archers, Life on Mars and Robin Hood to name a few.

John has made a career out of writing great drama and creating interesting characters. He’s the man who created the iconic Kat Slater, and has been kind enough to share with me how WE can create compelling TV drama and characters too.

So Bang2writers, here are the 5 Things I Learned from John Yorke, rounded up for you! You’re welcome 😉

1) You NEED a strong concept

  • Keep it SIMPLE – boil it down to the core, what is it REALLY about?
  • Believe in your concept – WHY should people want to watch this? How can you hook their interest?
  • Make it STAND OUT – Offer a FRESH take/idea/ twist on something familiar

TOP TIP: If you can’t sum up your concept easily in a sentence, then you have some work to do before you even think about pitching or your concept won’t sell. MORE: 4 Reasons Your Concept Counts Above All Else

2) Create characters we CARE about

  • Embody the characteristics/desire the audience wish to have.
  • Internal conflict/human flaws create believable characters even in a fantasy world.
  • Not all characters need to be liked, but need a human element that hooks the audience in.

TOP TIP: The heart of your story is with your central character. Make the audience want to experience the journey this character goes on, if they don’t care your script won’t sell. MORE: Top 7 Writing Tips For Great Characterisation

3) It’s all about STRUCTURE

  • Structure needs to frame your script – How can you produce it with the BEST emotional impact.
  • Don’t stress over the 3-Act structure vs 5-Act structure debate – the 5 Act structure is just a more refined version. Write in whichever way is natural to you as a writer.

TOP TIP: With structure, it’s all about what works for you. You write a script twice, the first time is getting it on the paper and the second is when you should start editing. MORE: 5 Visual Representations of Storytelling Structure

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4) The first 10 pages can MAKE or BREAK

  • Drive the narrative, make the reader care about what happens next
  • Every line should make you want to continue to the next
  • Watch the openings of your favourite TV shows (and movies!), find the scripts and use them as a masterclass. How and WHAT do they do to hook the audience from the first scene?

TOP TIP: The end of the first page is the most crucial. You need to make the reader want to turn the page, it’s that simple but is no easy feat. MORE: 10 Tips For The Perfect 10 (Pages)

5) Be PRO-ACTIVE

  • Networking is key – build relationships, talk to people, be bold.
  • Rejection is guaranteed but it takes one person to say yes so keep pushing on. Enter competitions, apply for internships, do anything that gets your name out there.
  • Practice makes perfect – write every single day and learn from your mistakes. Get your work out there and read. Read scripts from your favourite shows or films and learn from them.

TOP TIPS: There is no one way to make it in this industry, and don’t listen to the scaremongers – there is no conspiracy to keep great writers away from creating great content! MORE: Connecting With Writers, Filmmakers And Agents Online

For more like this

So, if you want to know more about John and his advice then you know what to do! His book, Into the Woods is just a GOLDMINE of information and in-depth advice on screenwriting and story structure, and as a writer if you haven’t got this book on your bookshelf, then you’re cheating yourself out of some great knowledge and insights. BUY IT NOW.

IMG_8071BIO: Hello, my name is Olivia Brennan, a 27 year old who was first inspired by the power of film when I cowered behind a cushion watching JAWS, aged 6. I work as a Freelance Writer, Blogger & Assistant Script Editor. Check out my blog HERE or Facebook Page The Final Frontier. Follow me on twitter as @LivSFB and say hi!

For B2W offers and free stuff first, join my EMAIL LIST

blog post_b2w branding

Writing blogs have become THE place to learn about writing and it’s not difficult to see why. They’re free, up-to-the-minute and an easy way to connect with industry insiders and our writer peers alike.

So, whether you’re writing a screenplay, novel or short story, it’s always a GREAT idea to keep an eye on current writing ideas and schools of thought. Not only will this stop your writing from becoming stale, but new techniques can inspire you into exploring some pretty surprising ideas, themes and concepts!

So, how (and why) can blogs improve our own writing efforts? Chew on these for size:

1) Blogs offer industry insights

Working screenwriters like Eric Bork have used blogs to share their experiences from working on hits like Band of Brothers with a wider audience. Not only do blogs like these help us avoid some screenwriting cliches, but they also help us realise that writing is an on-going process that is rarely perfected!

2) Blogs offer writing freedom

Perhaps it’s because blogs are free to produce and can be tinkered with after they are published, but there’s something about the humble blog that has helped many aspiring writers find their feet.

Many modern bestselling authors like Heather B. Armstrong used blogs as a way to express themselves in a funny and uninhibited way. And rather than serving a specific purpose of entertaining a core demographic, these personal blogs allow a degree of freedom that you rarely find in other fields of writing.

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3) Blogs remind writers about Purpose and Audience

Just like every line of a movie screenplay or novel manuscript should have a sense of purpose, it’s clear that blog posts must also have to work hard to justify their existence. So that whether it’s a screenwriter like John August offering thoughts on a title page, or even a gaming site like LadyLucks detailing their latest entertainment offerings, it’s incredibly important to make sure that things are kept focused.

 4) Blogs connect writers

Yeah, I get it. Sometimes it feels like we are screaming into the void, whether we’re writing a blog or sending out those all-important submissions! Nevertheless, blogs have become writers’ ‘water coolers’, whether in the comments sections or via social media. So make sure that every word, sentence and even punctuation mark plays its part in telling YOUR story.

5) Blogs can help you BUILD your career!

B2W is always very vocal about the importance of blogs – that’s because the whole B2W community EXISTS because of blogging! In real terms, everything I have created – including my own books and course workshops – comes from this blog. I’m not even kidding! This was not luck, but built via strategical thinking, goal-setting and dogged persistence.

What’s more, you can do the same. What’s stopping you? I’m serious!

Remember:

We need to know what has gone before, so by reading other people’s works, we can further our own writing skills. So that whether that’s reading how Martin Scorsese made movies Goodfellas and Casino so good, or even just catching up on a fun comedy blog on your mobile, it’ll ALL go some way in taking your own writing to the next level, and/or even building your career as a writer.

Good luck!

For B2W offers and free stuff first, join my EMAIL LIST

No Real Spoilers

Wonder-Woman-Movie-Artwork

So the news and reviews and first weekend figures are in: Wonder Woman is an epic box office SMASH!

This is great news not only for female lead characters, but female directors as well. Patty Jenkins has done a HUGE turn to female filmmakers everywhere. Whilst it’s obviously completely and utterly wrong that ONE film had so much to prove like this, that’s a conversation for another time. For now, I for one am delighted that Jenkins et al has pulled this off, against the odds. BRAVO!

So now I’m going to take a look at the film, in the style of a script report. As ever, this is the movie as a whole, NOT the screenplay. Ready? Then let’s go …

What’s Working

Gal Gadot is electric as Diana, warrior princess. I was impressed with her performance in Batman Versus SupermanI thought she was the best thing about it, in fact – but she brings something new to the role in this movie. Perhaps it’s the influence of director Patty Jenkins, or a vastly superior screenplay; perhaps both. I’ve seen some criticism online of Gadot’s ’emotional range’ but those people must have been watching a different movie to the one I was … Unlike so many warrior women in cinema, Diana is NOT just another ‘kickass hottie’ and Gadot’s performance reflects this. Also, her overdue entrance in full costume for the first time has to be one of the most thrilling things I’ve seen in a loooooong time.

Chris Pine’s is another great performance. His character Steve Trevor is unlike most previous secondary heroes I’ve seen in blockbuster movies. He is not simply a ‘cheeky chappy’ comic relief, nor is he the epitome of typical Hollywood masculinity. Like Mad Max Fury Road before it, this movie knows it’s no longer the 1990s and Steve is neither threatened or emasculated by playing ‘back up’ to Diana (like Max is to Furiosa).

The music is great and the stunts and fight choreography are fantastic, but that really goes without saying. It looks awesome too, bar a few shoddy elements of CGI (mostly falling, plus the ‘bullet time’ looks a bit dated). But I saw nothing that really stuck out as horrendous and the number of women on screen, especially in the Amazon sequences, more than made up for this.

Most surprisingly – for me, at least – Wonder Woman is funny and emotional. I really liked that we see very little gore or after-effects of violence; the tone is suitable for children and this simplicity feeds into the story’s outlook. I’d read that this was yet another poe-faced superhero epic that takes itself far too seriously, but I have to disagree. There is nothing ‘profound’ here, but that’s okay: bad guys get what they deserve and good guys have to do what it takes.  This is not fantasy, but a deep down truth we have to nurture or hope is lost.

Overall, I was thrilled and moved by Wonder Woman. Whilst I obviously wish we hadn’t had to wait forty years for her, this one does live up to the hype and I was delighted to take my beloved WGs to see her. As my 11 year old yelled in the cinema, ‘LEGEND!’

What Needs Further Development

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I’ve seen a fair amount of talk online about the script not being great, or the movie being ‘incredibly flawed’ in general. Interestingly, I’ve seen a complete lack of evidence to support this, with commentators relying mainly on ‘feelings’ to back their assertions up, rather than actual craft. It hasn’t escaped my notice that the majority of these commentators are male – arguably, they’re not going to feel as *automatically* thrilled by Wonder Woman as us wimminz – but still, I do wonder (arf) if some of the grumbling is really about the fact this is not a ‘typical’ superhero movie … Because it literally isn’t.

But okay, there ARE flaws. There’s no such thing as the ‘perfect’ movie, after all. Here’s what I identified as being in need of further development:

The villains are very poor. Both Ludendorff and Dr. Poison are not great bad guys: they are two dimensional and – dare I say it – comic book villains. We see nothing of their motivations, beyond wanting power. I think Ludendorff is supposed to indicative of male violence, but he lacks the gravitas or believability of another power-hungry juggernaut like Ajax from Deadpool.

Some might argue Dr. Poison is a ‘diverse villain’ on the basis she is female, but we’ve seen plenty of literally poisonous antagonist women in the comic book world, especially via the X Men, such as Viper in The Wolverine, only four years ago. Dr. Poison even has a disfigured face, which is strikingly ‘classic bad guy’ in contrast to the great diversity of the rest of the cast.

It’s far too long. Like most DC movies – and probably Marvel’s too – you could comfortably shave off approximately 10-15 minutes. The set up takes ages and as thrilling as it is to see all the Amazon women, the ‘exposition as bedtime story’ cliche raises its head, which I didn’t think was necessary. I felt it could have hit the ground running a lot quicker, especially considering the movie has a framing story and voiceover from Diana herself. Did we really need to see her grow up as well? I was unconvinced.

I also would have cut from the middle as well, where it sags a little bit to accommodate some getting-to-know-you campfire chat; plus I wasn’t convinced by the need for the German party, which seemed manufactured just so Wonder Woman and Ludendorff could meet, plus Steve and ‘Dr. Poison’.

The ending lacks *some* impact. This is the one element I really struggle to describe, a) because I don’t want to spoil it for you and b) because there are elements of it I truly loved.  The thematic element of it is gorgeous, plus its message is especially potent after the recent London and Manchester terror attacks here in the UK. I literally cried like a baby.

But perhaps because the villains are not very good, plus the end sequence is unjustifiably long generally, this wonderful message of hope and love *does* get sapped a little. This is a real shame. That said though, the HEART of the story still shone through for me.

What Writers Can Learn

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Wonder Woman demonstrates superbly how powerful untold stories can be.  Wonder Woman literally hasn’t had her own story on the big screen before, but  we also haven’t seen a female hero *quite* like her. In a typical Hollywood telling, Wonder Woman would be an ice maiden who needs thawing. But here,  she is brave and fierce, but also compassionate and merciful. She is also child-like, without being naive; one of my favourite moments in the film is when Steve buys her an ice cream. She appreciates the small things and I loved this. She is more like the real, strong women I know instead of the classic Hollywood fantasy woman … whilst still be epic and kickass.

What’s more, Steve is not the ‘typical’ male secondary either.  He is not pathetic, taking them into danger through bad decisions either. But most impressively, Steve is neither creepy or gross, leering over or trying to steal kisses off Diana. He lacks the typical angst or irascibility of a Hollywood leading man too; instead he has a quiet dignity throughout, but also the flair and emotional literacy of a ‘real man’ – something clearly seeded from the offset when he and Diana meet: ‘You’re a man!’ / ‘Yes. Do I not look like one??’

The variety of the secondary cast too is astounding for blockbuster fare. Etta (a large English woman); Charlie (a Scottish marksman); Sami (a Moroccan actor turned grifter) and Chief (a First Nations drifter) provide their own back up to Steve, but these secondary characters’ own stories and heritage inform their own role functions. Etta is educated and spirited, hinting strongly she has been a suffragette; Charlie’s drinking is fuelled by PTSD; Chief is a fearless warrior, but also a spiritual man (without the irksome ‘magical’ qualities of being a BAME character); plus Sami is both a holistic character who nevertheless shrewdly uses stereotypes to get his own way, such as when he poses as Steve’s subservient driver.

But the diversity of the characters does not stop there. Wonder Woman is essentially a period drama, set in World War One, yet there is not a sea of white faces beyond the main cast. If you look in the crowd scenes, you will see BAME faces as standard. Colonialism and The Empire would have meant Black and Indian people in particular would have been both moved across Europe and back to England as slaves and/or soldiers before WW1. They would have also settled in England as free men and women; plus as merchants and seamen. There are also stranded people in the trenches at No Man’s Land, not just soldiers. If you watch carefully, you will see the arena reflecting all of this.

Concluding

‘Diversity’ may be the watchword of 2017, but it really can capture audience’s imaginations and deliver considerable commercial success. Whilst most of us can only dream of budgets akin to Wonder Woman‘s, the savvy writer will nevertheless look for NEW ways to deliver stories we’ve seen before – like the hero’s journey – and deliver it in a way that’s the same, but different. We can do this by utilising the stories and role functions of characters we’ve not seen before, not just the same-old, same-old.

Need your own script feedback?

BangB2W is taking clients on now – but hurry, spots go fast and there’s only a few weeks turnaround before summer break! If you would like written feedback or a Skype consultation of your screenplay or novel – or perhaps a more in-depth edit – then CLICK HERE for all the details, or on the pic on the left.

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How Would Your Writing Change If You Were Fearless?

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Imagine if we could step into the mind of a writer not held back by fear in any way and observe the kind of beliefs that may exist there …

As you read this, ask yourself what could happen if you adopted more elements of this mind-set and how it may impact what you do, how you feel, and your contribution to the world through your writing.

1) Rejection is Not a ‘Thing’

A fearless writer is not seeking approval or acknowledgement from others. He is not writing to please a publisher, producer, editor or perceived audience. He writes purely what he feels inspired to write. He knows that the right people will be drawn to his work. He accepts that ‘some will and some won’t.’ His focus and energy is firmly on creating his best work, he devotes no attention to those who don’t connect with it.

BELIEF 1: ‘I know that the right people will embrace my work at the right time.’ MORE: 5 Ways To Stop Being A Tortured Artist

 2) Vulnerability is Power

A fearless writer is OK with getting vulnerable; in fact she doesn’t even consider what she does to be ‘getting vulnerable’ at all. She has a transparent powerful sense of self that is plain to see and is comfortable with expressing all aspects of herself in her work…the good, the bad, the light and the dark. What may be perceived as raw and vulnerable to others, is simply her normal. There is no fear, she has nothing to hide and knows that she is giving her audience the opportunity to form the deepest connection with her work.

BELIEF 2: ‘It is OK for people to see the true me; the essence that helps others connect to my message, my story, my characters’.

3) Doubt is a Positive Guide

If he ever feels doubt, he channels this into his work as a prompt to make it even better. He is present with all his feelings and sees doubt purely as an element of his emotional guidance system to keep him on track and steer him towards his best work. It gives him an opportunity to reflect upon and reassess his focus or vision.

BELIEF 3: ‘I love and accept all aspects of myself’. MORE: The Truth About Success: 30 Creatives Who Broke In Late

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4) No Competition

She doesn’t judge or idolise others. She knows that someone else’s credentials, writing successes, quantity of published or produced works, or the exemplary way they deliver their message has zero impact on her feelings of self-worth and in no way diminishes the value of what she has to share.

Her attention is devoted to expressing her uniqueness. She knows she has something to offer and knows that ‘no one else has ever written this story in this unique way.’

BELIEF 4: ‘I choose to be the best possible version of me in all that I do and know that I have something of value to share’

 5) Failure Doesn’t Exist

A fearless writer knows that writing from the heart cannot feel anything other than successful. He writes and shares because it feels good and is part of who he is, an outlet to express whatever he needs to express. When he does this he is fully present and energised, and failure ceases to exist. It is a feeling that comes from within him, not something that needs to be validated by an external source.

BELIEF 5: ‘Success is who I am’. MORE: How To Make It As A Writer (This Shit Ain’t Accidental).

This is not about acting from ego

A fearless writer is present and focussed on being the best version of herself. She stands firmly in her truth and is therefore in the best position to deliver something of the highest value.

What we say to ourselves matters …

… We believe our own stories! This is why each belief has been written as an affirmation that you could choose to embrace as your own?! Whilst affirmations are effective, they are also just the tip of the iceberg. The real key to transforming our results involves getting to the root of our fears and unlocking the limiting beliefs that created them. When the fear ceases to exist the power of affirmations multiplies.

BIO: Trina J. Stacey is a life coach with more than 10 years’ experience and also happens to be a poet and author. She knows the rollercoaster of emotions that writers pass through. Trina has created a ‘Breakthrough for Writers’ Program for writers who are no longer willing to let their fears get in the way of the success they know they deserve. Contact Trina to find out more or to book a 30 minute complimentary (no obligation) introductory Skype call. Follow her on Twitter as @trinajstacey and get in touch via her WEBSITE or on trinajstaceyATgmailDOTcom.

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Self publishing has given a large group of writers a new opportunity to market themselves, reach a large audience and even make some funds in the process. Aren’t we all looking for such opportunities? To make the most of them, however, you need to have a good idea about what self publishing entails.

Being a successful self published author is all about strategy. Even if you don’t have a lot of money to dedicate to the process, it’s still important to do a bit of preliminary planning. Here’s everything you need to know about publishing a book on a tight budget.

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1) You Still Need A Budget

Why self-publishing is free of charge, you’ll still need to set a budget in order to ensure the professional launch of your creation.

Publishing an eBook or opting for on-demand printing (Amazon offers such a service that some find attractive despite the royalties) is free of charge. You will, however, spend some money on other aspects of putting the final “product” together.

If you’re not a graphic designer, you’ll have to splurge on the creation of a cover. An eBook cover is the most powerful marketing tool you can rely on. People are visual creatures. If you put an amateur cover together in a text processing program, chances are that you’ll miss on numerous opportunities to generate a sale. The lack of professionalism is simply sloppy and today’s buyer is picky.

Lesson 1: Do financial planning BEFORE getting started. This way, you’ll know whether the project is achievable right from the start.

2) Do as Much as You can on Your Own

The process of publishing a book itself is not expensive. Some of the additional services that authors rely on, however, can be costly.

These services include editing, proofreading, distribution, PR, getting your ISBN and even professional book formatting.

If you’re diligent enough, you can handle editing and proofreading on your own. Here are some online proofing tools that might help.

When it comes to formatting, layout and cover design, there are free of charge tools you can use for the purpose. Big retailers like Amazon, for example, allow you to upload just about any format and they handle the formatting for you.

The services you can’t handle on your own can be committed to a freelancer.

Lesson 2: Learn the necessary skills to minimise the involvement of other professionals.

3) Come up with a Strong Promotional Strategy (You can do it Free of Charge!)

You should know how you’re going to advertise your book before you’ve even launched it.

Launching a free book promotion or a discount in the first days is a good idea. This way, you can get customers who’ll read the text and leave honest reviews. In today’s world, it’s all about reader reviews. People rely on those to determine whether to buy one book or another. Thus, it makes sense to offer the book for free in exchange for some online popularity.

Think about offering the book for free to bloggers and GoodReads influencers in exchange for their honest opinion. Don’t try to influence them and push for positive testimonials. Quite often, these will sound fake. They may also provoke dissatisfied readers to leave extra-harsh reviews because they were tricked into buying your book.

Lesson 3: In order to make money, you have to advertise. The self-published competition is pretty intense and you can’t rely just on luck in order to sell.

4) Choose the Right Publishing Platform on the Basis of Royalties

Having a well-written text isn’t the only essential. You’ll also have to put your business hat on and determine how you’re going to distribute the book and which stores you’re going to rely on. There are many free of charge publishing options but some of them come with hidden costs in the form of high royalties.

Most self-published authors start with Amazon. Kindle Direct Publishing offers powerful opportunities and a chance to reach millions of readers across the world.

Various other popular online stores give self-published authors a chance to sell. The conditions and the formatting requirements will vary from one to the other. The downside is that you’ll have to format the book individually each time and submit it store by store.

If you don’t want to go through all of this work, opt for an eBook distribution service. In this case, you’ll be paying somebody else to handle the formatting and distribution for you. There may be a single charge or the service provider may take a percentage of each sale that you generate. Once again, make the calculation in advance to figure out how much money you’ll be dedicating to it in the long-run.

Lesson 4: Plan distribution accordingly to minimize losses from high royalties. Remember that the platform that’s worked for another author may not necessarily be the right one for you.

5) Consider Crowdfunding for pre-orders

If you’re attempting to self-publish a book on a budget but you’d still like to present a high-quality product, you may want to consider a crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdfunding platforms allow you to collect funds for a project or a cause that you’re passionate about. A good presentation and telling your audience to know why you need the money will be essential for successful crowdfunding. Think of it as a ‘pre-orders’ service.

Lesson 5: If you can’t cut the costs, look for additional sources of funding. A crowdfunding campaign may be just what you need to get started.

BIO: This article was written by Alice Honeycutt, a content marketer and a writer. She is always looking for new audiences to share her work with. Connect with Alice online HERE.

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No Real Spoilers

Following the run away success of my previous article, The Powerful Lesson ALIEN COVENANT Teaches Writers, I thought I’d have a go at dissecting another recent release. This time, it’s the turn of Guy Ritchie’s KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD.

Living in the South West most of my life, I’m heavily into the King Arthur legend. I’ve watched countless adaptation: some good, some poor, most of them middle. So I was always going to want to see this one and see what Guy Ritchie of all people had done with it!

As before, I’ll break the movie down in the style of a script report, though it should be noted these thoughts come from the movie, NOT the screenplay in isolation. Ready? Then let’s go!

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What’s Working?

As with so many epic fantasy films, it LOOKS fantastic. It starts in the midst of a war with the mage Mordred and with its mythical, nightmarish feel, borrows more than a little heavily from the work of Zak Snyder throughout, especially 300. There are all kinds of colossal monsters and beasts from Hell and really encapsulates the medieval magical horror show that is befitting of Arthurian legend, imho.

Because of this, the general fighting, action and set pieces are also top notch: I found them exciting and fun (and who doesn’t like men with super-abs fighting? Well maybe *you*, but I EFFING LOVE IT!). Charlie Hunnam is perfect in the role as far as I’m concerned; he looks like I imagine (a super-fit and gorgeous) King Arthur.

The music is fantastic, plus I also enjoyed the fact this movie is an essentially KING ARTHUR: ORIGINS story. Jude Law is formidable and electric as Vertigern, the evil mage uncle, gives the piece a Hamlet-esque style feel (if Shakespeare was on crack!), plus I liked the message regarding Arthur’s ‘drive’ and how adversity makes us who we are.

Another thing I liked a great deal is its diversity. BAME characters exist as standard in this storyworld. In crowd scenes, there are  BAME faces, male and female; adult and child.  There is no explanation as to why the likes of main secondaries Bedivere, Wet Stick and George are black, mixed heritage or even Chinese respectively in medieval England. Why should there be? This is fantasy and not a historical drama by any stretch of the imagination … But even if it was, immigrants have ALWAYS been here. This white-washed version of history the Brits have is literally out-of-date!

Lastly, I also loved its devil-may-care attitude and ‘up yours’ to the so-called ‘rules’ of screenwriting, such as:

– No to expositional inserts at the beginning? Got one.

– No to Rocky-like montages? Got more than one!

– No to ‘dream waking’? Got what feels like half a dozen!

Also, this is problem the only version of KING ARTHUR that’s crossed with a gangster movie. It’s classic Guy Ritchie: unapologetically masculine, more than a little bit bonkers … So this goes to show that if you break the so-called writing ‘rules’, go in there and SMASH them unapologetically and do it YOUR way.

What needs more development?

I could talk about how tonally it’s screwy as hell: this is way too scary for kids, but probably not quite right for adults either. But really, let’s put those all-important two words under the microscope:

Female characters. Sigh. 

As with so many epic blockbusters, it’s all about the menz. Female characters are totally sidelined in this narrative. In fact, there are two female characters killed within the first three minutes, to motivate both Arthur AND Vertigern. It’s like, seriously? It ain’t 1992 anymore, guys! 

From there, we have The Mage, who had many great things about her. I liked the fact she’s never once attracted to Arthur (or her to him) and  gender-flipping Merlin is a GREAT idea. But really, she’s what I call an ‘Expositional Jo’, facilitating Arthur’s journey throughout. In short, Ritchie et al have a great idea and don’t follow it through to a fully developed, realised and authentic female lead. Le Yawn.

Even Maggie, the inevitable double agent within Vertigern’s court, is criminally under-used. Sure, we know this secondary character’s arc of old: she will be found out and made an example of, except she isn’t and just spirited away. WTAF? We could have had some excruciating tension around this character – will they/won’t they find her out? – but she just dances around the periphery. Again: yawn.

If you follow what’s happening in Hollywood-land, you’ll know this movie resolutely tanked at the box office. Whilst this may not mean much in the long term – Guy Ritchie has a huge, young male following who love DVD – this nevertheless  probably means no more King Arthur franchise and that’s a shame, when so much of it was such fun.

What Writers Can Learn

Diverse characters are a HUGE deal in 2017 and beyond. With King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, word got out very quickly: this is a fun popcorn movie that has yet again sidelined female characters.

On this basis, I would bet real money on this as the reason as why it tanked. Women in my generation, plus their male allies and those coming up behind us are extremely vocal nowadays and have started voting with their wallets. Where there are excellent female characters – AS WELL AS male ones – there is $$$$ to be made. Hell, the movies don’t even have to be that great; they just need to be inclusive!

So, audiences have spoken: they want fully-realised female characters, just as much as they want fully-realised BAME (male) characters. We’re tired of white women standing for ‘all women’ and we’re bored of female characters dying simply to motivate male characters.

It doesn’t have to be either/or on diversity, female characterisation versus BAME characterisation. IT CAN BE BOTH. It’s not rocket science: stop making it all about the blokes as standard.

Good luck!

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