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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The Writing Blog Tour

Writing is not a mystical process involving tea leaves and libraries of how-to books. At least, not in my (somewhat limited) experience. However, the choices individual writers make about what they write and how they write it can often seem inscrutable. I've always been interested in how other writers go about their business, mostly in the hope that their words of wisdom will somehow improve my own attempts. So, thank you, Mysterious Person Who Began "The Blog Tour". You are the reason why I am writing this post today. Because I am a glutton for punishment, I agreed to be tagged by Phill Barron, screenwriter extraordinary, and become part of The Blog Tour before passing the dubious honour of baring their writing souls to two more unfortunates - I mean highly-privileged writers. But first, let's talk about Phill. Phillip Barron is a UK scriptwriter who's had nine feature films produced. In addition to movies he's written for BBC3's BAFTA and Rose d'Or nominated sketch show,...
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Going Pro

April is an exciting month for me! Persona Season 4 airs on Monday and rehearsals are starting for Small Chances. I also signed a contract for my first paid feature. While I'll admit to being a little nervous, I'm mostly excited. The project is currently under wraps, but I hope to get more information out in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I'm getting my teeth into this treatment and seeing where the ride takes me. Of course, unless I'm suddenly inundated with requests for specs and the BBC banging down my door (dream on), I still have the day job and this is just one more step on a very long journey. Still feels awesome, though....
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Take note

I was very flattered to read that I'm both ace and adept at taking notes. I blushed a bit and felt the warm fuzzies of a job well done. The giving and receiving of notes is the process by which a script grows into a film. I've enjoyed that experience with a fair few folk now and it's completely different every time. I don't think there's necessarily a right way to do it. With my friends I've know for over a decade, I know I can be brutally honest. And they have the same freedom with me. With a director I'm working with for the first time, we have to learn how to talk with each other - particularly when a lot of our correspondence is by e-mail. However, I think there are some general "good practice" rules: 1) Thank the note giver before you read the notes. Your thanks should be genuine. 2) Read the notes through once and allow yourself to react. Be...
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My Persona

[to the tune of "My Sharona"] I've been relatively quiet of late about what I'm working on, but that's because I've been consumed with a couple of exciting projects. You may recall me waxing lyrical about Persona last year, the app-based drama that tells four snappy stories in a month via your smartphone. At the time, I was hoping to write one of the arcs but due to various happenings in the process, that all got swept to one side. But Phill Barron, awesome guy that he is, kept all us wannabe writers in the loop about what was happening with the drama. So when he sent out an e-mail looking for a writer, I leapt at the chance. I've been working with Cameron King, director extraordinary (you can see for yourself here) on a story that pushes all my buttons and about which, of course, my lips are zipped. Suffice to say, your knuckles will be white as you clutch your phone, aghast....
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Waiting for Go

I hate waiting. I am an extremely impatient person. The acquiring of a smartphone was such a blessing because I finally had something to do while waiting for appointments, friends to show, trains to arrive. Right now, I'm waiting to hear back from six different writing opportunities. Two - Laughing Stock and Phill Barron - have graciously kept me updated at regular intervals. Another is one of my friends, who I know has started a new job. One month of waiting down, probably another one to go. There's a competition I submitted for that I haven't heard a whisper from, so I'm assuming a silent rejection on that front. And then someone I hit up for a short collaboration and an answer to a Mandy.com ad, which left my inbox barely two days ago. Obviously, I'm not expecting a response to those just yet, but they're adding to my pile. Surely, someone wants to e-mail me! Then I remember that it's Saturday and normal people have lives. Time...
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Be My Valentine, Persona

So, for those living in a cave, Persona launched yesterday! A two-minute soap opera? Downloaded daily to your phone of choice? For an incredible £1.50 A YEAR - and only £1.19 on the iPhone? Dude, why are you not watching this? The Story Boss is Phill Barron and I know Season 2 features the work of Laurence Timms. Which means this thing is hot on screenwriting talent. Also, I know how one of the Season 1 storylines plays out - and really, it's gonna be good. Tell your friends. As an aside, having tried both, I prefer the iPhone app, but it doesn't matter as long as you get your daily Persona fix. And why am I so excited about this? One - I think it's an awesome, crazy idea. And two - I might get to write some it. How does one get Persona? - Text PERSONA to 87474 - Download 'Persona Drama' from the App Store Simples!...
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The slow steps of a journey

I'm working evenings this week. Basically, this means I get to do mundane things during normal working hours - like go to the bank and pick up my prescription - and then work an eight-hour day at the end. Disruptions to my schedule tend to go badly for my writing routine. I know that I write in the evening after work. I now need to get used to writing mid-afternoon with a cup of tea - but only for five days. Shift work drives me crazy. However, the first draft of The Greenwich Problem is finished. A lot of work to go and a month to do, but I'm letting it rest a couple of days. I've pitched another plot to Persona, so we'll see how that fits in. And my friends at Realm Pictures have a sexy new website and a sexier showreel. Watch out for the sneak peak at their upcoming underwater feature: ...
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Tis the season

A belated Merry Christmas and an anticipatory Happy New Year! Well, Steampunk Assassins isn't yet at its final draft, but let's extend the deadline to New Year and see how it goes. I'm thinking through my entry to Laughing Stock 2011, which we will call The Greenwich Problem. My current dilemma is sub-genre: do I go for Science Fiction or Science Fact? That will determine the content of the comedy and the overall series direction, though the characters and setting are fairly fixed in my mind. And I'm waiting to hear where I could slot into this year's Persona schedule. While we wait, here's a teaser for us all: ...
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I Heart Persona

When Phill Barron described his new project Persona on Wednesday, I wanted to be part of it. It sounds like a crazy format that could be incredibly powerful: daily two-minute continuing drama centred around a dating website - www.i-heart-u.co.uk - that is accessed via an app on your smartphone. Today, he released more details and invited writers to enquire. Obviously, that e-mail is already sent. Other things I like today include Less IMDB - John August's solution to IMDB's redesign to bring cast and credits to the top and screw gossip and trivia - which now has releases for Chrome and Firefox. And Vampires v Zombies, which reminds me of an action/interaction-based prompt table I made for my editor friend - including the prompt Zombies v Unicorns. (Personally, I'd take Undead Unicorns) ...
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