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Screenwriting Tips

Expert screenwriting tips by working screenwriters

Set Pieces: Make Them Spectacular

If your screenplay has set pieces think long and hard about them.

Think out-of-the-box. You need to try your best to make them original, engrossing, nail-bitingly good.

Most James Cameron movies contain multiple great set pieces - Ripley battling the Queen alien at the end of Aliens being one of the standouts, so too Arnold (piloting a Harrier jump jet!) fighting terrorists for his daughter in True Lies.

The fighter jet versus Bruce Willis scene in Live Free or Die Hard had some similar elements to the aforementioned True Lies scene but the detail was different and pretty damn thrilling to read and watch at the movie house.

James Bond, Bourne, Matrix, Transformers, virtually every action or Sci-Fi movie has expensive (and hopefully asses on edge-of-seats good) set pieces. They all start with the screenwriter.

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

How about drama, family or comedy scripts?

Instead of using the words ‘set pieces' use ‘drama/conflict' and ‘climax'.

Again, work your damnedest to make your scripts a great read - make the reader emote to your pages, feel for your characters - want them to overcome whatever obstacles they face.

Make the obstacles original and immensely challenging - give your characters flaws so we emote to them better and doubt whether they really can pull through.

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