Walking Tree

A Screenwriter's Journey

The three best books for beginning screenwriting

Years ago, when I was starting to write screenplays, I was recommended The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler. This is a great book. Yes, I would recommend it… but perhaps not as a starting point. I struggled with it as a beginner – barely understanding. Reading it again, years later, was far more beneficial.

So, knowing what I know now, what books would I recommend to my newbie self? Probably these three…


Save the Cat – Blake Snyder

Okay, so Save the Cat has its fair share of detractors. The biggest complaint seems to be that it is simplistic and formulaic. However, I feel that this is its strength. It reinforces the need for strong basic structure. Something I feel every screenwriter should instinctively know. Do you have to follow it strictly? No. Should you be aware when you deviate from the basics, and be able to justify why? Yes.

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My top 5 albums/EPs from 2023

#5 – Solace by Iress

Genre: Doomgaze

Best answer to the question, “What is doomgaze?”

Some people have a resting bitch face. I feel I have a resting doomgaze soul.

If I had to describe what it sounds like in my head, being introverted and melancholic, Iress would come pretty close.

If you’re like me and can be at peace with feeling low, if slow and pensive moods often feel like home, then maybe the slow beauty of Solace may also resonate with you. This EP is haunting yet familiar, sad but beautiful and honest.

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November = NaNoWriMo

This November, I am taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Have I thrown away all hopes and dreams of screenwriting? No, it just feels healthy to mix it up a bit.

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, she states that “What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.” In other words, I should take my writing very seriously. But also, don’t take it seriously at all.

Of late, my screenwriting has been focused on revising, polishing and preparing for contests and other opportunities – all pretty “serious” work. So, doing NaNoWriMo is a chance to write with no real seriousness. There is no major agenda or important result sought. For me, it’s just about getting back to the fun of storytelling.

Also, the story I hope to amateurishly novelise is based on an interaction I had way back when I worked as a driveway attendant. It’s a story I’ve attempted to write up as a screenplay treatment for a few times, and it has never quite come together right. So, maybe a roughly written novel will tease out the story instead.

Whatever happens, it should be kind of fun, and maybe there’s a screenplay still waiting to be developed from this idea.

I am king of TV?

I’m only an emerging writer – but it’s still nice that somebody left me this message in a workplace bathroom.

Original message: You are looking at the person responsible for safety.
And no. I didn’t do the alterations.

Growth.

There once was a man who had sticks for bones. They worked fine. He had to be a little cautious around fire. And yes, they weren’t quite as robust as bones, but they did their purpose well enough.

The only real problem was when his “bones” started to sprout. I mean, having leaves and buds growing inside one’s flesh. Yeah, a little awkward, to say the least.

“The best moments (of life) usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi : Flow.

Three Guys

Part one: Shooting the short film.

Earlier this year, I met director Shaun Hume and we got talking. As we each passionately discussed our own projects we became excited by the idea of doing a project together. I would be the writer, he would be the director, and we would both produce it.

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Ninety-nine ‘no’s

To be a screenwriter, you need a tough skin and a tough mind.

Every time you get a ‘no’; it hurts. Even when it is given in the nicest possible way, it’s still a kick in the guts. Any little doubt you have about yourself will come to the surface of your mind and jab at you relentlessly; you’re worthless. Everything you do is a waste. You’re an idiot for ever thinking you could ‘make it’. Nothing you ever do, no matter how hard you try, will ever amount to anything, ever.

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“Truth be told, as I get older, I am more interested in being true to my own strengths and values. Less and less do I care what others are, or are not doing. I think there’s a secret to success here, after all, to be successful you need to be something unique. I feel this is something one can’t create, but rather has to discover within themselves.”

– Kryz Woodhouse

Look around…

Is the world a shitty place?

Judging by Facebook, the local news, or by the conversations we hear at a cafe or on a bus, things aren’t good. Jenny feels screwed over by her phone company. That ‘other’ government is a threat to our national security. The crooked-toothed woman who smells of cat piss can’t understand why the city council hasn’t done anything about that pedestrian crossing down near the shops and if it was up to her she’d put in lights there so that the cars had to stop because it’s only a matter of time before… blah… blah… blah… Continue reading

Don’t bleed onto the page.

If you don’t enjoy your writing, then don’t write.

Seriously.

If you’re one of those people who likes to moan about what your writing is costing you, if you count every sacrifice you make for your craft like the universe owes you for the debt, if you believe your work is not worthwhile unless it is a great burden, causing you relentless personal and spiritual pain…

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A statement

If I had a chance to say one thing to this world, it would be this:

Hang on.

Hang on and keep hangin’ on. No matter what happens, or what is going on in your life, there is always – ALWAYS – a glimmer of hope. Continue reading

You Will Do Better

So, you’ve written something wonderful, but now you’re scared that someone else will ruin it?

We’ve all heard horror stories of projects that were destroyed by a scam, turned into a disaster by an incompetent production team, or got bogged down in pedantic red-tape until they drowned. Could that happen to you? Could your beloved, wonderful project end up being ruined, cheated, abused or squashed?

Well, yes. Yes, it could. Continue reading

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