Favorite Writing Books – For Screen

These sit on my bookshelf next to the reference books. They are all good, but reading them won’t reveal the biggest secret to completing a play or screenplay. The number one secret is “bum in chair,” and the runner-up is “having a deadline.”

To get a very sane and practical program for applying your seat to the chair seat without gimmicks, false guilt or schedules, my recommendation is Heather Seller’s new book: Page After Page: Discover the Confidence & Passion You Need to Start Writing & Keep Writing! I took it out from the library and speed-read it but if I ever get blocked I will buy it and try the exercises as well.

In 1999 I made one short film as part of the DAWC (Directing, Acting and Writing for Camera program) which was run by the late Maruska Stankova. It was a fantastic experience working with a professional story editor (Jill Golick), producer (Laura James), actors (Stormm Bradshaw, Rochelle Wilson and Deborah Woffenden) and director (Glenn Forbes). I also did kraft services (catering) during shooting which was more fun than I expected! Cramming all that writing and rewriting into a full-time teaching schedule was tough, but so much fun. In 2000 I had my son and decided that novel-writing was an easier fit with my new lifestyle.

Independently, I’ve written one feature length script but I haven’t sent it anywhere. I have a terrible habit of writing stuff and not sending it out. Instead, I’ve concentrated on writing kid’s musicals and plays (three to date) because they give me a chance to direct what I’ve written and get immediate feedback from a real audience. 300+ bored kid’s sitting cross-legged on a gym floor waiting for the show to start find ways of announcing their impatience! I can tell which parts of the show work by when they laugh and when they start to shift around.

I’ve written a couple of novels, without sending them out, and I’m currently working on a third. I hope my live-audience experience will help make it readable. On that note, why ramble on? It’s time to take my own advice and get to work.

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