Screenwriting Tips, you hack by Xander Bennett
Confused at the outline stage? Stuck in the swamp of Act Two? Don't know who your protagonist is or where she's going? You might feel like a hack. But don't worry-you're not alone. Even the most experienced writers feel like this at times. Sometimes we just need a few short pointers and reminders to set us on the path again. Xander Bennett worked as a script reader in the trenches of Hollywood, reading and covering hundreds of mediocre screenplays.After months of reading about heroic Sea World trainers, transgendered circus detectives and crime-fighting chupacabras, he couldn't take it any more. Xander started a blog called 'Screenwriting Tips, You Hack', a place designed to provide short, witty tips on screenwriting for amateur writers all the way up to journeymen scribes. This book is the evolution of that blog. Dozens of the best scripts (along with many brand-new ones) have been expanded into bite-sized chapters full of funny, insightful, highly usable advice. Let Xander's pain be your gain as you learn about the differences between film and television structure, how to force yourself to write when you really don't want to, and why you probably shouldn't base your first spec script around an alien invasion.
Get tips from a script reader from the trenches who can clue you into how to keep your first audience interested
Easily digest chunks of wisdom sugar-coated with humor in short tips
Expanded tips offer examples of what works and what doesn't, and walk you through the process of writing a screenplay
There's something fundamentally Promethean about this book. Xander has delivered fire from the mount in dangerously usable form. It will light the way safely for screenwriting newbies and seasoned veterans alike. -Franklin Leonard, Founder and CEO, the Black List
More than just hundreds of practical tips to improve your screenwriting, Screenwriting Tips, You Hack gives you priceless insight into the mind of Hollywood's gatekeeper: the script reader. You would be wise to heed these words! -Scott Myers,Writer (K-9), host of GoIntoTheStory.com
Xander Bennett-a guy who clearly knows his way around the trenches of Hollywood-explains screenwriting in an incredibly helpful way. A masterful work, his book makes me want to dive back into the script I'm working on because I now have powerful new arrows in my writing quiver. -William M. Akers, author of Your Screenplay Sucks!
Xander Bennett provides the kind of writing advice that tickles my black, ugly heart: it is equal parts hilarious and practical, punching you in the throat with a fistful of poignant screenwriting advice. This is one to keep next to your computer as you write. -Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds, dispenser of writing advice at Terribleminds.com
Xander Bennett has succeeded where many before him have failed (looking at you, Aristotle), managing to condense centuries of storytelling wisdom into clear, insightful, tweet-sized chunks of brilliance. A great primer for hacks of all stripes, and anyone in the business of telling better stories. -Matt Mason, author of The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism
This is one of the best books on screenwriting I've ever read, and I wouldn't change a thing. It's well-written, easy to read, brimming with insightful advice, conversational and very funny. -Eve Honthaner, author of The Complete Film Production Handbook and Hollywood Drive: What it Takes to Break in, Hang in & Make it in the
I'm in love with this format-bite-sized tips for our bite-sized culture. Each tip had me frothing at the mouth to open up a current project and put it into practice. -Jeffrey P. Nesker, filmmaker, www.ocularnutrition.ca
Introduction; The Basics: Before You Put Digits to Keyboard; Structure: Learn the Rules or Get Off the Field; Grammar and Word Choice: Saying What You Mean; Your Protagonist: The Most Interesting Girl in the Room; Other Characters: Sidekicks, Sock Puppets and Straw Men; Rewriting: Why You Shouldn't Number Your Drafts; Common Mistakes: Don't Be That Guy; Productivity: Writing Equals Ass On Chair (So Buy a Decent Chair); Personalization: Write In Your Unique Voice, Unless Your Unique Voice Is Creepy; Extremely Specific Mistakes: Hey You! Yes, You; And The Rest: Loglines, Queries and Managers; Afterword: Why We Write
Screenwriting Tip #99
Voice-over usually feels like scaffolding. You know-something you left in there when you were constructing the first draft, but really should have torn out after it served its purpose.
Screenwriting Tip #120
Always remember that funny trumps everything. Your script could be written in crayon with your name spelled wrong on the cover, but if it's genuinely funny, none of that matters.
Screenwriting Tip #156
The easiest way to write kick-ass protagonists is to make them incredibly good at what they do.