So we made it to 300 tips. Wow.
After 300 of these things I feel a short break is in order. There will be a small hiatus over the weekend before we pick up again on Monday with a brand new Guest Post Week.
I’ve got a few guest tips saved up, but if you have a tip you’ve been dying to share with the world, now’s your chance. Post it in the comments or email it to the address in the sidebar, and your tip will get the star treatment.
Please note that Hack Notes is still active as ever. Like Batman, it’s always there, watching from the shadows. If you’re a citizen in need of script help, just send out the Hack Signal… er, visit this site: http://hacknotes.net/
Interestingly, the one-year anniversary of this blog is coming up in a few weeks. What do you think Year Two of Screenwriting Tips should look like? Got an idea for new features you want to see? Or perhaps you’d like me to just stop already? Have your say in the comments below.
Remember why you’re doing this.
I recommend writing screenplays because it’s fun and you can’t imagine doing anything else. That way you can’t lose.
Say it with me: You are allowed to deviate from your outline. Just make sure it’s rock-solid before you start moving away from it — that way you can see exactly how those changes affect the whole.
If there’s no good reason to set your script in the recent past (the 90s, say), don’t do it. Not just because of the inevitable anachronisms, but also because you’re putting us at a slight remove from the characters and their emotions.
Go easy on the caps-lock in those action scenes. There’s a fine line between capitalization-for-emphasis and sounding like the Unabomber.
Yeah, if you change the country that your script is set in? You do have to change the dialogue to suit.
Fewer metaphors and similes, please. They gum up the action lines, and they make the prose flowery in a way that’s ill-suited to most genres.
You have to show us why we should love these characters. Sometimes that will involve hurting them badly. Call it the ‘Whedon Gambit’.
Don’t do that thing where one character makes a lame joke and another character points out that it was lame. It reads like an apology. Hey, here’s an alternative: make the first joke funny.
It’s ‘sleight of hand’, not ‘slight’. Not unless your character’s hands are really, really small.