Automatic screenplay query letter generator for screenwriters

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Charles Harris

Forget all your troubles pitching to film and TV producers, here’s your automatic screenplay query letter generator. Developed by my secret army of specialist software designers, it guarantees you’ll never have to struggle over your query letter again. Simply copy and form below and delete as applicable.

Nicholas Cage contemplates his newly generated query letter in Adaptation

Nicholas Cage contemplates his newly generated query letter in Adaptation

Generate your own query letter

Dear Wonderful Producer/Astute Agent/Friendly PA/Person I Just Met at a Networking Event

I am an enormous admirer of your body of work/body of clients/body/bank account/capacity for absorbing alcohol – and am currently looking for a producer/agent/friendly face/therapist/sex life/large cheque for my original screenplay titled Wolf of Fifty Shades of Gravity as a Slave.

This is a noir/comedy/sports biopic about three unemployed actors/bankers/bridesmaids/revived dinosaurs who stumble across a hoard of gold bars/scheme for destroying the world economy/stash of hand-cuffs and whips/White House butler – only to find that themselves trapped in outer space/a phone box/a cotton plantation/a low-budget movie without hope of reprieve.

I believe I am absolutely the right person to have written this script as I have spent three years researching bridesmaids/worked as a fluffer on porn movies/never lifted a finger to earn  money in my life/once read a book on screenwriting and almost finished it.

My screenplay is polished and ready to go/almost polished/almost written/a dream I have every night before taking my medication.

I look forward greatly to working with you and making us both rich/famous/stoned/members of a new cult I have founded/all the above.

Yours sincerely
Charles Harris, BA Cantab (dropped out)

How do writers come up with character names for their scripts?

Tags

, , , , , ,

"DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL" Can you find character names for your script as good as Scrooge?

Don’t be a Scrooge when naming characters for your scripts

I came across a fascinating article in the Guardian last week about how writers come up with names for their characters in scripts, plays, novels, even for themselves.

It’s worth a careful read. Many scripts I see are far too lazy when it comes to character names. Top of my list of faults are names that are bland, cliché, too similar, or just plain wrong.

Lazy script charaCTer names

Don’t automaticaly go for characters named David, Jane, John, Susan… Last week’s TV drama 7:39 by David Nicholls wasn’t helped by the dull names, names I can hardly remember now.

Find surprising names to avoid the clichés. Not all pensioners are called Bill and Edith. Would Mary Poppins have worked so well as Mary Smith? Or Scrooge as George Jones?

Check that you haven’t given every character in your script a similar kind of name. Vary the types, lengths, categories. Instead of Sam, Steve, Samantha and Serena, what about Sam, Osman, Ginger and Bo?

Get your script names right

Lazy name writing also means names that simply don’t add anything to the character or sabotage it. A hard-nosed detective can’t really be called Detective Sergeant Small. Unless you really want to play for laughs.

It’s worth spending the time to find names that have resonance – that special spark. A good name can make a character come to life.

Have a look at the Guardian article – Nailed It! and then try some new names out for your script… or even yourself.

Can porn be art? How do you write sex and do it well?

Tags

, , , , ,

Went the other day to the British Museum to see the Shunga exhibition – high-class Japanese porn, to you – and you know what? I found it rather boring. Very stylish, beautifully drawn, but are all those enlarged private parts actually Blue is the warmest colourart?

It made me think. Because I’ve seen many sex scenes in my time, but few of them actually worked as cinema or TV. What is it that otherwise good writers do wrong?

Sex scenes grind to a halt

Most sex scenes are boring. As the actors grind together, the film grinds to a halt…

Then I went home to write the next section of the screenwriting book, on subtext. And it  hit me. I had the answer in front of me on the screen.

Subtext

All art is about something different. Hamlet isn’t really about a Danish prince. It’s about  a thousand more profound questions of human existence. Psycho isn’t, deep down, really just about a serial killer.

The problem with most porn on screen is that it’s only about sex. There is no subtext to a sex scene.

The most erotic scenes I’ve seen have always been about something else, often with very little overt flesh. A hint of leg. A flash of a skirt…

The hidden meanings of seduction

Some of the best seduction scenes are about what we don’t see. As in The Postman Always Rings Twice, when Cora seduces the man who will ultimately help her kill her husband. It’s about hidden meanings and things left unsaid. Even the sex was about something else: power, perhaps, or fear of intimacy.

The writer has to seduce the audience with subtext.

So the answer might be: write a scene that is sexy, but has subtext… a sex scene that is really about something else.

What do you think?

How to write a script report, and why it’s good for your writing

Tags

, ,

Check out this excellent article by the always excellent Lucy V. Hay. Right on the money. I’d add three things, if you’re writing the report for your own benefit, to improve your writing.

http://www.londonscreenwritersfestival.com/how-to-write-a-script-report-and-why-its-good-for-your-writing/

1 – Genre – did the script do anything for you emotionally (which is what genre is all about)? Did it make you laugh, shudder, etc?

2 – How did the writer get away with it? All scripts have to get over crucial issues, whether it’s a potential plot hole or a challenging theme. How did he/she do it?

3. (And this is the big-headed one) How would you have done it differently? Might have been better, might have been worse. Maybe you’d have ducked a big challenge (and can learn from that) or maybe you’d have tried to stick out for a darker ending…

Oh, one last thing, don’t just read good scripts, read bad ones too!! Most producers read too many bad scripts and don’t realise how good a screenplay can be, but most writers (if they read scripts at all) read only the good ones.

They don’t realise just how bad most scripts are. If they did, they’d work much harder at getting their own work sold and made. Go do some reading.