10 Writing Career Lessons from Disney’s Frozen

Frozen, as the highest grossing animated film of all time, has commanded the attention of filmmakers everywhere. There have been in-depth analyses of what makes a successful animated film and how Frozen hits those buttons. This is not that kind of post. Instead, let's imagine the characters of Frozen have turned writing coach - what words of writing advice can they share? What do their life anecdotes teach us about how to be better writers? How can we learn from their mistakes? Here are 10 writing career lessons out of the mouths of Frozen characters: Don't let them in, don't let them see - be the good girl you always have to be. Most writers start out writing for themselves, for the joy of it. Because they can't not write. However, there will come a point when someone will ask why you spend all your time with a computer screen and may ask to see the finished product... I have always been something of an exhibitionist,...
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50 Kisses: Quaking and Breaking Hearts in 2 Minutes

So, I made the 50 Kisses longlist along with 507 talented folks! Thought I'd take a few words to talk about my script... Firstly, two-page scripts are a bugger to write. With Virgin Media Shorts and the generation with too many distractions to watch five minutes of anything on the internet, the two-minute short is gaining in popularity. At any given time, I have two or three of the things in a drawer, waiting to answer a script call. The problem with them is that you still have to fit a whole story into two minutes. Writing for Persona, with its 90-second appisodes, honed my skills with brevity but it's so tempting to write a vignette or a scene from a much larger story. Or, with Persona, to take an appisode off where they just go for coffee and talk about books (I wish my life had more appisodes where that happened...). Secondly, every script you write - every damn one - has...
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The Importance of Relaxation to the Writer

I've done well this week. I'm on 48K of my 80K target for NaNoWriMo, which puts me bang on track. I caught up while working night shifts, despite the upheaval of being abruptly pulled off nights yesterday and thrust back into a day shift today. The neurones don't fire too good on four hours sleep mid-afternoon. I've also heard back from one of my Speed Pitching contacts from LSF, so I know my script has safely reached the hands of a reputable production company. This gives me butterflies, but We'll See. So, tonight, I'm going to kick back and watch Children in Need with an extortionate pizza. Sure, I could eek out another two thousand words of novel, but I have the whole weekend to write and I've earned my pizza and my Doctor Who trailer. When you work a day job, it's easy to feel pressured to spend all your free time writing. I firmly believe you should write every day, or you...
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Why the London Screenwriters Festival is necessary for London and Screenwriters

It's been one week since I journeyed from deepest, darkest Wales to attend the London Screenwriters Festival. I was nervous, I was anxious - what if I forget my loglines? What if I meet proper writers and clam up? What if nobody likes me? Thankfully, while I did ramble at one poor producer, I did meet proper writers without mishap (they had been drinking) and some people seemed to like me okay, or well enough to chuck their business cards at me. So, why the grandiose title, London and Screenwriters? Am I being absurd to call LSF vital to the hearbeat of the city and the screenwriting community? No, and I'll tell you why. I can honestly say LSF consisted of the three most valuable and positive days of my writing life. I gained practical, insightful advice from writers, producers, agents and readers - from those who attended as speakers and from those who were attendees. I honed my pitch in the sunshine...
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Pitching In Sixty Seconds (without bunnies)

If you're attending the London Screenwriters Festival Speed Pitching and you're not flailing in panic, it's either because you have nerves of steel or are, in fact, an alien robot. Condensing your beloved work of art into one or two pithy sentences and then selling it in five minutes sounds impossible and terrifying (moreso because, until about thirty seconds ago, I thought it was ten minutes. ARGH!). Thankfully, people have done this before and SURVIVED! Some have even SOLD THINGS! The mind boggles. How does one conquer this hill of terror? I asked this same question before the London Comedy Writers Festival earlier this year, and Phill Barron and Laurence Timms provided excellent tips here (also in PDF). But what about Speed Pitching specifically? How does one not die in a five minute conversation with A Really Important Person? Jared Kelly's blog about Speed Pitching at LSWF is a Survival Handbook - and the most important (and scary) thing I gleaned from it is this:...
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RED

You may recall my disgusted review of 'The Expendables'. When I went to see that film, it was preceded by the trailer for RED, which excited me more than the whole of the nonsense feature that followed it. On Wednesday, I went to see RED. Half my friends mutinied in Nando's and decided they wanted to see The Social Network instead. My other friends had already seen that film, and so we decided to continue with the plan. It was a really good film. An all-star cast that really worked together with believable characterisation and sharp dialogue. It had a classic three act structure, and the turning points were hit well. My one grumble is that while MLP got a lot of screen time, she didn't do much in the way of awesome. But that's okay - she doesn't know how to hold a gun! Give her time (and a sequel?) and I'm sure she'll be kicking ass and taking names. And I...
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LSF missed connection

Sometimes, things just aren't meant to be. I had to stay an hour late at work on Thursday night, so I didn't get back until twenty to eleven. After eating dinner, I check my e-mail and remind my reader to text me when he's read the final draft of my short for the LSF competition. Friday morning, I oversleep by half an hour, woken by a text from my reader questioning my plot. I think up a new ending and text back the idea, which he agrees. I then open up the submission page on the LSF site and enter my details and basic script info, so everything's ready to upload. I get ready for the day job and head to work. I leave work early because I'm heading to a birthday party for the weekend. I have time to make birthday cards or submit my script, so I make the cards, thinking that I'll just submit the script on the train. Cards made,...
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Competition short shorts

I was a hyperactive child. This should surprise absolute no one who's seen the list of projects I've been "working on" this year. When it comes right down to it, I don't have a single finished, polished script. This is a Very Bad Thing. However, I am determined that Steampunk Assassins looks good by Christmas. Preferably, the Military Monster pilot should also be screen-ready. But...these little short-short competitions keep distracting me! First, there was London Screenwriters Festival Short. That one is a day away from readiness and the deadline is Friday. Then, Kulvinder Gill's post about October Opportunities drew my attention to Crash Pad - take a news story, write five pages with two characters, submit by Monday 18th October. And now Kid In The Front Row Screenwriting Competition 2010. Which, on the surface, looks amazing but the limitations on the thing are crazy! There are named characters, named locations and a line of dialogue to include. And the deadline is Thursday 21st October. Meanwhile, my other...
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Dialogue is drama?

I've previously waxed lyrical about Aaron Sorkin's dialogue and why I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Scott of 'Go Into The Story' quoted Mr Sorkin earlier: “I’m really weak when it comes to plot," he says bluntly—a startling self-assessment from the creator of three television series. “With nothing to stop me, I’ll write pages and pages of snappy dialogue that don’t add up to anything. So I need big things to help my characters—a really strong intention and a really strong obstacle. Once I have those, I feel I can write.” Oops? I do love a good bit of dialogue. The overwhelming criticism on the early drafts of Steampunk Assassins was 'omgwtfbbq, why so much talking?!'. And that is my weakness - probably in part due to my love of the work of the aforementioned Aaron. My director told me to cut out every second line of dialogue. And, amazingly, I found myself plucking out reams of pointless conversation, ditching conversations...
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