The horror of a half-baked screenplay

As the programmer of Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival, a freelance film writer and a judge for various other festivals, I’ve watched many indie shorts and features in recent years.

image from The Horror of Party Beach (Del Tenney, 1964)
image from The Horror of Party Beach (Del Tenney, 1964)

They’ve come from all over the world, although predominately from Australia and North America. They’ve been made by filmmakers from all levels of experience, from absolute beginners with iPhones to award-winning “auteurs”. Most have been horror, but also lots of intense dramas, dark fantasies, sci-fi, thrillers and black comedies. Which is great, because I love all of these types of films. I love seeing filmmakers unleash their darkest, weirdest impulses into an unsuspecting world.

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New 6-week course, The Smarter First Draft

The 10-week screenwriting course at Flash Factory Writers Studio is about giving participants a structured framework and support to undertake a major project (generally a feature, although some have worked on one or more short scripts).

I’ve decided to try this as a more intensive, 6-week course so that the writers have less time to over-think, get distracted and generally lose momentum!

Conventional wisdom has it that the first version of a screenplay is often a “vomit” or “idiot draft”. This is a useful notion, allowing the writer to get the heavy-lifting out of the way uninhibited by over-thinking or perfectionism…. but it’s not the whole story. Careful and focused preparation before starting a draft can mean that ending up with a Not-So-Stupid-Idiot Draft. Or, if you prefer, Top Quality Vomit!

Continue reading “New 6-week course, The Smarter First Draft”

The Writing Cave

The Writing Cave is a new idea, an experiment if you will….

I’ve organised informal write-ins before, but this is about putting some structure in place so that the participants can have it blocked out in their diary as a commitment. Sacrosanct. Unmoveable. There’s also a (small) charge to be part of it, which I speculate will help in that regard.

The Cave runs for three hours but you don’t have to come for the whole time. The idea is that you work out how long you can come – one hour, two hours, three – and arrive quietly and get to work as soon as you can. If you need to leave before 10, you’ll endeavour not disrupt anyone who’s still working. There is a separate room where people who want to chat can go for a break.

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New intensive 2-day screenwriting workshop

I’ve been been running a 10-week screenwriting course for a while now, which is about giving writers a structured framework and support to undertake a major project (generally a feature, although some have worked on one or more short scripts).

Now I’m also offering a 2-day intensive version based around the idea of kickstarting a project. Over two days you will be asked to interrogate, investigate and define your concept in a variety of ways…. And you’ll start writing it.

Ideal if you’re an ambitious screenwriter who struggles with motivation…Or maybe you’re just time poor and need to cram a lot of progress into a short time. Continue reading “New intensive 2-day screenwriting workshop”

This is what you love….

Elvis Mitchell hosts a interview show called The Treatment, which is must-listen for anyone involved in creative pursuits, particularly filmmaking.


A recent episode sees Elvis chatting to Franklin Leonard, creator of something that’s endeared him to screenwriters the world over, The Black List. What began as his personal means of tracking great scripts became a phenomenon and highlighted a key flaw in the Hollywood development model: chronic risk aversion. Continue reading “This is what you love….”

Taking a screenwriting holiday?

Sometimes a chance to focus on creative projects can be just as refreshing as taking a complete break. If you’re using your time off over Easter to make some significant progress on a screenwriting project, here’s a special offer to give you an extra kick up the pants!

Flash Factory is offering 20 % off the popular feature film script notes + consultation offer usually priced at $130.

From 18 April until 12 midnight on Friday 25 April (Australian EST) book this package by credit card here and you’ll only be charged $100. You’re welcome to purchase now to use the assessment at a later stage, just indicate this once you receive your confirmation email.

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