Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two Free Events in April to Sign up to Now

I wanted to give you a heads-up today about a couple of free events running next month you might like to sign up for.

The first is ScriptFrenzy. This is an annual event run along similar lines to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), though a bit less well-known.

As the name indicates, ScriptFrenzy is aimed at scriptwriters. Participants commit to writing 100 pages of scripted material for any dramatic medium in the month of April.

As with NaNoWriMo, there is no fee to participate, and no prizes are awarded for the 'best' scripts. Every writer who achieves the goal of completing 100 pages gets a ScriptFrenzy Winner's Certificate and web icon proclaiming this fact. But really, the main aim is to challenge yourself to get a substantial script-writing project completed in 30 days, and have fun while doing so.

You can visit the ScriptFrenzy website by clicking on any of the links in this blog post. Here you can register for this year's event and check out the wide range of writers' resources on offer. You can also join the ScriptFrenzy Forum and get help and advice from fellow ScriptFrenzy participants.

Incidentally, don't forget that my sponsors, WCCL, produce a CD called called Movie in a Month, which could be an ideal resource if you want to complete a movie-writing project for ScriptFrenzy.

The other event running in April is aimed squarely at bloggers. It's called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, and is being run by Darren Rowse of the hugely popular Problogger blog.

Each day from 1 April to 1 May Darren will be posting an assignment for participants with two aspects to it:
  • a teaching component (theory)
  • a practical component (a task/homework)
Darren says the tasks are designed for beginner and newer bloggers, but many will be relevant to intermediate and more advanced bloggers also.

If you want to participate in this event, click on 31 Days to Build a Better Blog to go to the relevant post on Darren's blog, where you will be asked to register your email address. You will then receive one email per day over the 31 days from 1 April to 1 May, notifying you that a new post is up and giving you the link to it, as well as providing some extra information for registered participants.

You don't have to register to take part in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog - you could just read and follow the instructions in Darren's daily blog posts - but registering will give you access to more information and (apparently) a couple of special bonuses.

Good luck if you decide to sign up for either of these events. I've registered for 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, so hopefully you may see a few improvements around here in the weeks ahead!

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Contests Week: Friday Challenge

All this week has been CONTESTS WEEK on

Every day we've posted a quick-fire 24-hour writing challenge, with great prizes of software for writers donated by our sponsors (and my publishers) WCCL.

The final, Friday Challenge is now open - and as it's 'lucky' Friday 13th, it's a humdinger! This time, we're asking you to write a short scene set in a restaurant, in any dramatic medium of your choice!

The prize for the winner of this challenge will be a copy of WCCL's flagship product (well, one of them) Movie in a Month. This is a complete guide to film screenwriting on CD-ROM.

Movie in a Month was written by three successful screenwriters, two in the US and one in the UK. As well as a set of informative manuals, it also includes over 850 actual TV and movie scripts and treatments, and a complete, fully-featured screenplay writing and formatting program. The full normal price of Movie in a Month is $97.

As always you have just 24 hours to complete this challenge, with a final deadline of 9 am GMT on Saturday 14 March. For full details of this exciting contest, see Contests Week: Friday Challenge.

Just to remind you, the results of all the Contests Week challenges will be announced next week, with Monday's winner announced on Monday 16 March, and the winner of today's contest on Friday 20 March.

Good luck in today's challenge. Whether or not you are one of our winners, I do hope you have enjoyed Contests Week, and that you will continue to return regularly to!

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Friday, February 27, 2009

WCCL Week: Movie in a Month

All this week I'm spotlighting a range of great products for writers from my sponsors (and publishers) The WCCL Network. Today I'm featuring Movie in a Month.

Movie in a Month is written by three successful screenwriters, two based in the US and one in the UK. It is provided on CD-ROM in the universal PDF format.

At the heart of Movie in a Month is a 156-page manual on screenwriting by Los Angeles-based James Lamberg, who has written (and ghost-written) over fifty screenplays.

James has a highly readable and motivational style. His system for writing a 'movie in a month' is based on his unique and powerful five-part W.R.I.T.E. formula.

Along with James's manual, you get a wide range of other items. These include a 30-page guide to movie plotting, a Little Black Book of movie industry contacts, a guide to screenplay formatting, and over 850 sample movie and TV screenplays and treatments. And more besides. Perhaps you can see now why it's supplied on CD-ROM rather than as an instant download!

To see my full review of Movie in a Month, please click on Movie in a Month Review. By the way, if you scroll down the review, you will see that I am (still) offering a very special deal for people buying via my blog. Not only can you get $20 off the usual price, you also get three extra free bonuses from me that are unavailable anywhere else. Read the instructions carefully to discover how to claim these.

With Movie in a Month, it really is possible to break into this exciting and lucrative field and become a successful movie or TV screenwriter!

Watch for my next blog post tomorrow spotlighting another great WCCL product for writers. Alternatively, visit today to see the whole range!
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Opportunity for a UK Scriptwriter

If you're a young, aspiring scriptwriter in the UK, or you happen to know one, you might be interested in this contest - launched today - to join the writing team for the E4 youth drama series Skins. And yes, the successful writer will get paid!

My contact at E4 says:

We are looking for some of the country's finest young talent to help us with a very special project.

E4 and Company pictures are about to go into production on an online mini episode of Skins that will coincide with the launch of Series 3 on E4. The episode will be produced by the Skins crew and will feature some of the main cast - but we've got four very important roles that still need to be filled. This role is part of a bigger team - it is just 1 of 4 roles available - with everything at

In order to produce this webisode we're looking for a writer to join the team. This role will be selected and mentored by Company pictures and the person will get to play a vital role in the production of the film.

We're looking for people aged 18 to 23 who have got the drive, ambition and most of all, talent to get involved with the UK's biggest youth show. Maybe they've got similar work experience, maybe they're studying something creative at college or uni, or maybe they just have a talent that's clamouring to get out - these are the kinds of people we are looking for!

To apply, you have to submit a short (max. 1600 words) comedy-drama script. Your script should NOT use any existing Skins characters. It should contain a minimum of three characters, and use a maximum of five locations. Here's a video from a Skins scriptwriter offering some advice for anyone thinking of entering...

And here's the current TV ad...

For further information on this opportunity, click here to visit the contest website. The opportunity is also being discussed on this topic on my forum. The deadline for entries is 6 pm on 9 December 2008, so don't delay too long!

P.S. There are also competitions to recruit a director, costume designer and production designer - see the Skins website for more details.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale

I heard about this new book by Doctor Who writer/producer Russell T. Davies and journalist Benjamin Cook on the BBC Breakfast Show this morning. I've immediately added it to my list of 'must-read' books when it is published on 25 September.

I am just about old enough to have watched Doctor Who from the very beginning, and it's a show I will always have a great deal of affection for. It gave me a life-long interest in science fiction, and undoubtedly inspired some of my own writing.

Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale covers, I gather, a year in the life of the series, as told by the show's Head Writer and Executive Producer. Here's an extract from the description at

...the book explores in detail Russell's work on Series Four, revealing how he plans the series and works with the show's writers; where he gets his ideas for plot, character and scenes; how actors are cast and other creative decisions are made; and how he juggles the demands of Doctor Who with the increasingly successful Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures spin-offs.

Russell's scripts are discussed as they develop, and Russell and Benjamin's wide-ranging discussions bring in experiences from previous series of Doctor Who as well as other shows Russell has written and created, including Queer as Folk, Bob & Rose, and The Second Coming. The reader is given total access to the show as it's created, and the writing is everything you would expect from Russell T Davies: warm, witty, insightful, and honest.

Fully illustrated with never-before-seen photos and artwork including original drawings by Russell himself The Writer's Tale is a not only the ultimate Doctor Who book, but a celebration of great writing and great television.

Even allowing for the hype, this book sounds like essential reading for anyone interested in TV scriptwriting (and Doctor Who fans, of course!). Anyway, I've added image links below to the title on and for those who would like to find out more.

As ever, if you are receiving this post by email, you will need to visit my blog to see the images.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Christmas Gift to You!

It's nearly Christmas, and I'm in a generous mood. So I've decided to offer a free gift to every reader of my blog. It's a copy of my unique mini-report "How to Make Big Bucks Selling Your Movie Idea to Hollywood".

This report is based on the module about selling ideas for films and TV shows in my course Quick Cash Writing. It explains how, if you have a great idea for a movie, you may be able to get a Hollywood "insider" to pitch it to the studios on your behalf. If your idea is optioned you will pick up a fee of at least $5,000, and much more if the movie is put into production. And no, you don't have to write the screenplay yourself!

There are no strings attached. The report is available for you to download now, free, gratis and for nothing. It's in the universal RT Just click on this link [SORRY, LINK DELETED!] and it should open in a separate window in your word processing software. You can then read it, print it out, or save it to your own PC by selecting "Save As" and saving to a folder of your choice.

But please, if you want to do this, don't leave it too long. I can only leave this offer up until Christmas, after which you will again only be able to obtain the report if you buy WCCL's blockbusting Write a Movie in a Month course via my blog review (or, in a slightly different form, if you buy my Quick Cash Writing course).

And speaking of Write a Movie in a Month, if you're interested in screenwriting you can still take advantage of my special offer on this amazing CD-ROM. Just click on this link to read my blog review, and scroll down to see the offer details (which include both a $20 discount and further bonus items).

Happy Christmas, and happy screenwriting!

SORRY, this offer has now closed. Hope you got to download the report in time! If not, you can still get it, but only if you buy WCCL's blockbusting Write a Movie in a Month course via my blog review (or, in a slightly different form, if you buy my Quick Cash Writing course).

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Online Sitcom Seeks Writers

If you're a budding scriptwriter, here's an opportunity that might interest you.

Where are the Joneses? is made by Baby Cow, the TV and film production company founded by Steve Coogan. It's described as the world's first interactive daily online sitcom.

The show follows the adventures of Dawn Jones (pictured below), a young woman who finds out that her father was a sperm donor. She sets off on a trip around Europe to find her 27 siblings, but what happens in each episode is decided by contributions from the public.

The project uses the latest Wikidot technology, which allows online communities to add, remove and edit content. Suggestions for storylines or complete scripts can be uploaded to the Where are the Joneses? wiki. You can also suggest ideas for new characters, volunteer to appear in an episode yourself, or offer your house as a location. And, of course, you can help to develop ideas submitted by other people. As it says on the Baby Cow website, the possibilities are endless.

The best ideas are turned into scripts by the Baby Cow team and filmed as episodes of the comedy; a new episode appears online every day. Where are the Joneses? stars Emma Fryer and Neil Edmond.

Unfortunately there's no money on offer, but this is a good opportunity to get some scriptwriting credits for your CV/resumee. It's also an interesting chance to work collaboratively on a writing project using cutting-edge methods and technology.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Syd Field Interview on WritersFM

As previewed recently in this blog, Hollywood screenwriting guru Syd Field has just been interviewed on WritersFM.

As usual on WritersFM, the interviewer is Karl Moore. He asks Syd a range of questions, some of which were sent in by members of my forum. I was pleased that I also got two of my own questions answered!

Syd comes up with with some great advice for would-be screenwriters. One thing that particularly interested me is where (quite early on in the interview) he talks about the most common mistake made by aspiring screenwriters. This may not be what you think, and it really is essential knowledge for screenwriters.

Listeners also get to hear some very interesting information about trends in the movie-writing business - in particular, how these days several writers are often engaged to produce their own versions of a movie script before yet another writer is engaged to cobble the best bits together to create the final 'Frankenstein script'. I'm not sure if the latter is an official term or not, but it might explain the variable quality of some recent Hollywood releases!

The whole interview is about half an hour long. The sound quality isn't quite as good as some other recent WritersFM interviews, but as Syd himself points out, he and Karl were about 5,000 miles apart at the time. It's still perfectly listenable, and you can either wait for it to be broadcast on the station's normal rotation, download it as a podcast, or (probably the easiest option) stream it from the Podcasts page.

If you would like to find out more about Syd, the best place is his web page at Finally, if you're interested in screenwriting, don't forget that WCCL produce the unique 'Write a Movie in a Month' course. More info about this, including how you can get a $20 discount and three extra bonus items from me, can be obtained from this post on my blog.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Two Essential Blogs for Screenwriters

If you're interested in screenwriting for TV or film, here are two blogs you really ought to have on your Favorites list...

As you might guess, is the blog of Hollywood scriptwriter John August. In it John answers questions about working as a movie scriptwriter (and occasionally covers other topics as well). In a recent post, he talked about how to introduce a character. Here's a brief extract to illustrate the quality of advice on offer:

Just how early can you tell a script isn't going to work? To me, it's as the first few characters are introduced. If character introductions are not done artfully, the odds of anything else in the script being great are slim.

The visitor sits beside the bed and Ripley finally notices him. He is thirtyish and handsome, in a suit that looks executive or legal, the tie loosened with studied casualness. A smile referred to as 'winning.'


Nice room. I'm Burke. Carter Burke.
I work for the company, but other
than that I'm an okay guy.
Glad to see you're feeling better.

That's James Cameron's terrific script for Aliens, page 3, the introduction of Paul Reiser's character. Even before Burke speaks, let's look at what Mr. Cameron told us:

Burke's rough age.
That he's decent-looking.
He's a "suit," but trying not to look like a suit.
He seems friendly - but there's something possibly false about it.

Burke's first lines of dialogue reinforce our expectation from the character description. "Yes, I work for the company, but I want you to think I'm on your side."

Apologies that the script sample I've reproduced above isn't as neatly formatted as on Mr August's blog, but I'm sure you get the idea. Please see the post in question for the full, properly set out version!

If TV scriptwriting is more your thing, Jane Espenson's blog should be high on your list. Jane has written episodes for many top-rated US TV series, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Gilmore Girls, Ellen, The O.C., Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dinosaurs, Andy Barker PI, and so on.

Jane says that her blog is intended 'to help new writers tackle the job of writing those all-important spec scripts - from picking the right show to spec, to developing an idea, to getting that dialogue exactly right, to giving the script that professional look.'

Here she is talking about writing specimen scripts:

Your spec script, even if it is for a show that is predominately arc-driven, will need to have at least some stand-alone elements. In fact, it should probably have as many stand-alone elements as you can get away with. So when you're looking at produced scripts, using them to try to put together a template for the structure of your spec, try to use stand-alone episodes as your examples as much as possible. If you're purchasing your scripts and can only afford a few, make them the most highly regarded episodes plus the stand-alone episodes.
As with John August's blog, Jane Espenson's is packed with helpful advice for aspiring screenwriters. Not only that, you even get to find out what she had for lunch each day!

Finally, just a quick reminder that if you're interested in screenwriting, my special offer on WCCL's Write a Movie in a Month course is still open. Not only do you get 20 dollars off the normal price, you also get three unique bonus items from me that are unavailable elsewhere. Just click on this link for full details.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Coming Soon on WritersFM

Two of the biggest-name writers yet are about to be interviewed on WritersFM - and YOU can help choose the questions they are asked!

First up is Syd Field, an American writer who has become one of the most popular screenwriting gurus in the movie industry. Syd has written several books on the art of screenwriting (see, for example, the link below), and holds workshops that help aspiring screenwriters to produce the kinds of screenplays that will sell in Hollywood. Syd's ideas about what makes a good script have become highly influential on Hollywood producers, who have increasingly used his ideas on structure as a guide to a proposed screenplay's potential.

If your interests include screenwriting, you MUST listen out for this interview. And if you have any suggestions for questions that WritersFM host Karl Moore should put to Syd, you can raise them via this topic on my forum.

The other forthcoming interviewee is Bernard Cornwell, the prolific and popular British historical novelist. Bernard's best known books feature the adventures of Richard Sharpe, an English soldier, and are set in the Napoleonic era. Many of the books were filmed for a television series starring Sean Bean as Sharpe, produced by Central Independent Television for the ITV network. Other series written by Bernard Cornwell include 'The Starbuck Chronicles', set during the American Civil War, and his latest series 'The Saxon Stories', set in 9th century England.

This interview should be essential listening for any aspiring novelists, and historical novelists in particular. Again, if there are any questions you would like Karl to put to Bernard, you can suggest them via this topic on my forum.

Finally, just a reminder that you can listen online to the most recent WritersFM interviews (including my own!) via the new LivePlay feature on the WritersFM Podcasts page. You can also download podcasts of all past interviews from this page.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Write a Movie in a Month - Secret Discount!

Write a Movie in a Month is WCCL's blockbusting new course for would-be movie screenwriters. You can read my original review by clicking on any of the links in this post.

Write a Movie in a Month is a massive course. It was written by three professional screenwriters, two in the US and one in the UK. As well as the course material, you also receive over 850 (count 'em!) screenplays, teleplays, treatments, and so on. Along with full advice on how to set out your screenplay, a list of agents, free screenplay writing software, and much more, it really is a complete kit for breaking into this lucrative field.

I'm a big fan of this course, but I do appreciate that at $97 it costs a little more than some folk feel comfortable spending. So I was delighted to discover recently a way that I can offer readers of this blog a twenty dollar discount on the full price. That reduces the cost to just $77, or around 41 UK pounds.

I won't explain the exact method here, as it's all set out at the end of my original review. However, I would say two things. First, it's fully legal and above board. But second, it uses a "back door" method and I'm not sure how keen WCCL will be for me to be publicising it here. That means I may have to withdraw this offer at any time - so please, if you're interested in buying Write a Movie in a Month and want to take advantage of this extra discount, do it sooner rather than later!

And finally, I'm still giving away three extra bonus items of my own to anyone buying Write a Movie in a Month via this blog, even at the discounted price. Check out my review for more information.

That's it. See you in Hollywood!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

How Long Should It Take to Write a Movie Script?

I've mentioned WCCL's new Movie in a Month course a few times on my blog recently (mainly because I'm a big fan of it). Someone ('Anonymous') left the following comment the other day: 'What kind of film can you write in a month? This has got to be a con. You couldn't even write Scream 7 in a month. What can you write - How to Boil an Egg - the 28 day way?'

Well, everyone's entitled to their opinion, of course, even if they're not prepared to put their name to it. But a recent article by Joe Eszterhas, the world's highest paid scriptwriter, takes a different view. Writing in UK newspaper The Independent, he offers the following advice:
Write six pages of script a day

Stick to this schedule no matter what. You'll have a finished first draft in roughly twenty days. Then go back and edit what you've written. Spend no more than five days on this edit.

Then rewrite your script from page one - with your edits. Spend no more than one week on this rewrite - that means putting out 20 pages a day.

Put the script away for a week; don't even look at it. Then edit it once again. Spend no more than four days on the edit this time. Then rewrite it again from scratch with your edits - taking another week. This will be your third draft. Now begin the process of trying to sell it - this, your official first draft.

So Joe recommends writing your first draft script in twenty days - eight days LESS than the title of WCCL's movie-writing guide! OK, you'll have to go back and polish it before sending it out, but the same would apply with a book or any other literary work. You certainly can, and according to Joe Eszterhas you should, write a movie in a month!

To see my full review of WCCL's CD course by that title, just click here.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

New Website for Comedy Writers and Performers

Aspiring comedy writers and performers might like to check out a brand new website from the BBC. Comedy Soup lets users create a portfolio on the site to which they can link their own comedy material, including videos, animations, audio and images.

You can also include information about yourself on your profile page. This could include links to sample comedy scripts you have written, though as far as I can tell you will have to arrange hosting for these elsewhere on the web. Comedy Soup isn't really set up as a scripts archive.

Comedy Soup is probably going to be of most interest to comedy writers who also perform their own work, and to writers who have the skills to create videos, animations and so on. Even if that doesn't apply to you, however, don't be put off. If all else fails you could simply read out your work and record it as an audio file, then upload it to your portfolio page (full instructions are on the site). Once it's there, your work will be viewed (or heard) by talent-spotters, comedy professionals and fans. If comedy is your thing, Comedy Soup could provide a world-wide shop window for your talents.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Last Chance Today!

It's the end of January, so I thought I'd just remind you that the opportunity to take advantage of my two great special offers on writing software ends today.

My first offer is on WCCL's brand new "Write a Movie in a Month" course. This is the top-selling CD course that has been making waves across the whole screenwriting community.

Regular readers will know I'm a big fan of this course, which has inspired me to write my first ever full-length screenplay. And to encourage you to buy via one of my links, I'm giving away the following as extra special bonuses: (1) my original report on how to make big money selling movie ideas, (2) my mini-report on how to write a movie treatment, and (3) my recommendation for a program you can try out for FREE which will help you outline your script and "automatically" produce a treatment for you. Not only that, I'm also throwing in a free, downloadable copy of my Short Story Acumen tutorial. Here's a link to my review of Write a Movie in a Month, along with details of my special offer and how to claim your free bonuses from me. Please remember - this offer MUST end today!

Secondly, my unique 25% discount on WhiteSmoke's writing software also ends today. As I've noted before, this is the biggest discount WhiteSmoke have ever given and there is no knowing when (or if) it will be repeated. So again, if you want to buy this popular software, which corrects errors in your writing and suggests ways in which it can be improved, see my review of WhiteSmoke for further details.

Happy writing!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Deadline 31 January...

A number of writing-related deadlines are coming up at the end of this month. It's only a week away, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to review them.

Firstly, if you want to take up my special offer for buyers of WCCL's new "Write a Movie in a Month" course, this will be closing at the end of January. In particular, I have been told I MUST stop giving away my Short Story Acumen tutorial to people buying the Movie course via one of my links.

So if you want to get your hands on this ground-breaking CD course, plus my two free reports, plus my software recommendation, plus a copy of my Short Story Acumen tutorial, you have just a week to place your order. Here's a link to my review of Write a Movie in a Month, along with details of my special offer and how to claim your free bonuses. If your ambition is to write for the movies, I guarantee it's the best offer you'll see all year!

Secondly, WhiteSmoke have told me that the 25% special discount on all their writing software must also end this month. This is the biggest discount WhiteSmoke have ever given and there is no knowing when (or if) it will be repeated. So again, if you want to buy this popular software, which corrects errors in your writing and suggests ways in which it can be improved, see my review of WhiteSmoke for further details.

There are also a few anthologies and other opportunities that are closing their doors at the end of January. Here are some details, along with links to the relevant items on my forum:

Erotic Short Stories
This e-publishing company is seeking erotic short stories of 12,000 to 15,000 words for publication in electronic and print form. Payment is by royalties on sales.

Literary Appraisers Wanted
Experienced writers and writing teachers are required to provide professional appraisals of work by new writers. You probably need to be UK-based for this.

Short Story Anthology
This new publishing house is seeking contributions of short stories in any genre.

As mentioned above, the deadline for all of these is 31 January 2007. Good luck!

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Review: Write A Movie in a Month

Write a Movie in a Month is the title of the latest writing CD from my publishers, WCCL. I was lucky enough to get an early review copy, and I've become addicted to it. It's even inspired me to start work on a screenplay myself - and while I've written over 50 published books, that's something I've never tried before...

So here's my review of what I confidently predict will become one of WCCL's top-selling products for writers. Apologies in advance for the length of this post, but it is a BIG product, and I really do want to do it justice. Plus, as you'll see later, I'm throwing in a few extra bonus items for anyone who orders Write a Movie in a Month via one of my links.

Write a Movie in a Month is written by three people who have enjoyed considerable success in the screenwriting field: James Lamberg, Steven Wanamaker, and Mark Lewin. The main, 156-page manual is by the Los Angeles-based James Lamberg, who has written (and ghost-written) over fifty screenplays that have been produced both in the US and the UK.

James has a highly readable and motivational style that really does make you feel that writing a screenplay is something you CAN do in a month or less. At the heart of his method is the five-part W.R.I.T.E. formula. I won't give too much away about this, but it sets out five essential tasks that (in James's view) every aspiring screenwriter must complete.

The manual puts particular emphasis on getting to know the characters in your screenplay. James is a development executive with Movie Works (a literary development and production company), and he has developed a special framework to assist writers in creating rich and complex characters. The manual explains this framework in detail, and I found it a fascinating process. In my view this technique could be of great assistance to novelists and short story writers as well as screenwriters.

James's manual also covers formatting your screenplay and marketing it to agents and producers. He is not afraid to point out that this is a very competitive field, and new screenwriters are likely to experience their fair share of rejection. However, as an insider in the industry, he reveals a range of techniques and tactics you can use to greatly boost your chances of success. I especially enjoyed his advice about creating "the elevator pitch". For those who don't know, this is a pitch that is short enough to make to a top producer as you travel betweeen floors with them in an elevator, yet compelling enough to make them want to sign a contract with you there and then!

James's manual is just part of this course, however. Top US screenwriter Steven Wanamaker has contributed a 30-page guide to plotting your movie that again is packed with useful advice. The main manual includes advice on plotting as well, but Steven's guide gives you a slightly different perspective on this crucial task. His approach is a bit more structural, a bit less character-focused.

UK screenwriter Mark Lewin has contributed two items. The first is a guide to movie jargon - this is useful but perhaps not essential. However, his other item, Formatting Your Screenplay Like a Pro, definitely is! There is a particular way in which movie screenplays have to be written and presented, and this is one of the best explanations I have seen of it. Mark reveals how scenes are set out, when to use lower case and when to use block capitals, what size indents to use, how (and when) to write instructions to actors, and so on. I've printed out this guide and keep it beside me while I'm working on my own screenplay. Needless to say, as I'm a newcomer to this field, I refer to it often!

Another invaluable bonus item is "The Screenwriter's Little Black Book of Movie Industry Contacts". I'm not exactly sure who wrote this, but again it's crammed with essential information. You'll find lists here of agents in California, New York, other US states and the UK, along with producers and production companies. But it's much more than just a directory. You'll also find in-depth advice on submitting your screenplay, along with a model query letter you can adapt. There is also a list of reputable screenplay contests you can enter - these can be a great way for a new writer to break into the movie industry.

Finally, there are two other bonus items. One of them is a fully featured screenplay-writing program that will take much of the hard work out of formatting your script. Just to emphasise, this is the full program, not merely a demo or shareware version. And finally, they have managed to squeeze over 850 sample screenplays on to the CD - everything from Ace Ventura to Young Frankenstein (nothing beginning with Z, though!). As well as movie scripts, you will find over 200 TV scripts and treatments as well. Reading these scripts and comparing them with the actual movies is an eye-opening experience in itself.

Write a Movie in a Month is supplied on CD-ROM rather than as an instant download. There is a very good reason for this: so much has been packed into it, even with a fast DSL/broadband connection, it would take hours to download. That means you will have to wait to receive it in the mail, but WCCL say they will deliver anywhere in the world. The CD will run on any computer, including Macs and Linux.

Overall, if you want to break into the big-money world of screenplay writing, this CD would be hard to beat. It combines inspirational and motivational advice with all the practical tips, strategies and information you need to get your first screenplay "in the can" a month after buying the course.

As you can tell, Write a Movie in a Month gets my highest recommendation. OK, even at the discount launch price of $97 (around 50 UK pounds) it's a bit more expensive than my courses Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Quick Cash Writing. But - as WCCL say in their advertising - that's no more than the price of a couple of nights in a flea-ridden motel. And even if your script only gets optioned by a studio, you can expect to earn that sum back a hundred times over. If it gets made, of course, the sky really is the limit...

But still, I appreciate that 97 bucks isn't exactly a tiny sum of money. So if you order via one of the links in this review, I'm going to throw in a few extra bonus items of my own for you...

1. I'll send you my unique report "How to Make Big Bucks Selling Your Movie Idea to Hollywood". The truth is that you don't HAVE to write a complete screenplay to make money in this field. In my report I'll show you how you could earn up to $20,000 USD or more just by selling a movie IDEA of maybe two or three sentences.

2. One thing that surprised me slightly is that the main manual doesn't say a great deal about writing a treatment. This is an intermediate stage which sets out your movie storyline in prose form. It's not essential to produce a treatment, but some writers find it useful as a blueprint to work from, and some movie-writing contests require them. So I'll also send you my original mini-report on writing a treatment.

3. And finally, you'll get download details for a little-known program that will help you outline your movie and produce a treatment "automatically" for you. This isn't free, but it's shareware, so you can download it and try it out free of charge before deciding if it's right for you.

If you'd like to get your hands on Write a Movie in a Month PLUS all my special bonuses, all you have to do is click on any of the links to Write a Movie in a Month in this review and place your order at the sales site on that visit. Once you've ordered, just forward a copy of the e-mail receipt showing your purchase to me at (change the -at- in this address to the usual @ symbol). Please title your email BONUS CLAIM. I will then send you instructions on how you can claim your free bonuses from me.

NEW FOR 2007! Hey, guess what? I've just discovered a "back door" way you can get a full twenty dollars off Write a Movie in a Month, cutting the price at a stroke to just $77 (about 41 UK pounds). Don't worry, it's legal and above board - it's just not widely publicised!

You can still read all the info about Write a Movie in a Month by clicking on any of the links in my review above, but DON'T buy via those links. Instead, when you're ready to order, click here if you want to pay by credit card, or click here if you prefer to use Paypal. You will then be taken directly to the order page with the discounted price showing!

And yes, you'll still qualify for all my free bonus items as well. Just send a copy of your email receipt to me according to the instructions above, and I'll send you the download links, normally within 24 hours.

But, please, if you want to take advantage of this extra discount, don't wait too long. I've no idea how long this "back door" will remain open, and it's quite possible I'll be told that I'm not allowed to publicise it. If the special links don't work when you try them that's the likeliest explanation, in which case please accept my apologies. Even at $97, Write a Movie in a Month is still exceptional value!

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