The superhero genre isn’t just about being tough and stoic, winning fights and defeating bad guys — that’s every action movie. Superheroes are about transcendant morality and the idea of acting for the greater good rather than personal gain. That’s what makes them “super”.
Big news, readers: Screenwriting Tips, You Hack is joining the Black List. Starting next week, this blog will continue at its new home over at the Black List website.
You’ve heard of the Black List. You know why it’s cool (not to mention ubiquitous, influential and extremely important to the cause of broader recognition for screenwriters in Hollywood). But in case you’ve forgotten, Scott Myers has an excellent roundup in his post today.
That’s right — Scott’s blog, Go Into The Story, is also joining the Black List site. Hopefully Go Into The Story is your other favorite screenwriting blog. It’s certainly mine. I stop by there every day for inspiring tips, news and ruminations on screenwriting.
Here’s what you need to know about the move:
- The content of this blog is not changing. My new mandate at the Black List is “keep doing exactly what you’re doing”. You’ll still get your daily screenwriting tip exactly as before. In order to make the transition as seamless as possible, the entire archive and comments will also be ported over. Even the numbering of tips will remain untouched.
- New content will start appearing. The new site will give me the opportunity to add new features to this blog, over and above the daily tips. I’m thinking long-form posts similar to the chapters in the STYH book, discussion of Black List scripts, and some other ideas that are still top secret. Stay tuned!
- The URL is changing. The new URL will be screenwritingtips.blcklst.com. It’s not active yet, but it will be some time next week.
- You’ll have time to make the switch. I haven’t forgotten you, my loyal Tumblr followers. I would love for all of you to follow me over to the new site, or at least as many of you as possible. That’s why I’m going to be cross-posting at this site for at least a month after the move — I want to give you a generous amount of time in which to check out the new site and update your RSS or bookmarks.
I’m incredibly excited about this new partnership, and I hope you are too. If you have ideas for the future of Screenwriting Tips, You Hack — any new content or site features you’d particularly like to see — head over to the comment section and let me know.
Meet and work with interesting people who you suspect are much smarter than you. It’s one of the quickest ways to improve your work.
Your teen characters all sound like disaffected twenty-somethings (probably because you’re a screenwriter, and therefore likely to be a disaffected twenty-something). Remember the reality of teenage years — all that ambition, angst and sexual anxiety — and tap into it.
In reality, people don’t always have perfect back-and-forth conversations. They’re often just waiting for the right moment to say something they really want to say. Use this fact to create turning points that flip your scenes around.
When writing about a place you’ve actually been to, resist the urge to show off. We don’t need a sight-seeing tour. What we need is to know how the place feels.
Ask yourself “logic questions” — after all, they’re one of the first things pitchees and potential buyers ask. Logic questions are about internal consistency and world cohesion, e.g. “Why is the monster attacking this specific town?”, or “Why does she agree to marry him when she’s shown to be terrified of commitment?”, etc.
Writers are vultures. And there’s no shame in that. In fact, taking several old ideas and combining them into one new idea is something to be proud of.
It’s hard to spontaneously generate witty phrases and neologisms; great lines arise from the clash of conversation. So when you hear someone say something clever or interesting, write it down. You might get to use it in a script some day.
If your spec script’s title has a colon or parentheses in it — e.g. JOHNNY CLAW (THE LAST WEREWOLF), or LAST CLAW: THE WOLFENING — it’s time to go back to the drawing board.