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Published on July 5th, 2012 | by Chris Blundell

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Write On: Writing Tips for Rad Kids

So, since our last post on writing The Hit Squad script, we had a few requests for advice on writing so we thought we’d share a little bit more on the writing process with how we do things.

We thought of a few little tips that we found valuable when writing The Hit Squad.

Write, like, all the time

You can’t get better at something by not doing it. Yes you can sit and know all the theory in the world, but until you sit down for an hour and try. You’re not going to do it.

KISS – Keep It Simple and Sincere

Don’t overcomplicate things. Do you need that extra character? Does the lead character being called to a abbatoire move the plot forward? People will forgive many flaws if you do what you do sincerely. Write from the heart and go with your gut. (further reading here)

If it doesn’t move the plot forward, reveal character backstory or make people laugh, cut it

For everything, if it doesn’t have a point in the story. Get rid of it. Do we really need to know that the character was World Knitting Champion 1985? If later on in the film he uses his knitting skills to kill a cyborg Ninja, then yes. If it shows how dedicated he is to a cause, then yes. If it’s a superfluous piece of info, then no. Its a little more flexible with comedy because you’re aiming for laughs. However, we prioritise a good story over a laugh. (further reading here)

Don’t get precious

There were jokes and scenes in The Hit Squad that were over 5 years old and I love them with all my heart. But if you can’t fit them in, don’t force them. Cut them. If you leave something in just for the sake of it ‘always being there’, it can mess up a script. If it doesn’t fit, don’t cram it in. Regardless of how bad you want to (no innuendos, this is a family site).

Get to the point

The Hit Squad felt too lengthy. One plot point happening in a scene at one time, unneeded dialogue, scenes that could be merged. Do you need to spend 2 pages setting the scene of a romantic restaurant? Or could you show some twinkling candles and a white table cloth? Pacing is important, the audience aren’t stupid and will get bored if you spend too long trying to explain one thing. Show it, move on.

Show, don’t tell

DAVID: ‘I really like this flower, it reminds me of the poppy fields I lived next to when I was a child’ or DAVID strokes the flower fondly “reminds me of where I grew up”? Its much better to show what is happening than having a character explain it. Unless, of course, you want your characters to sound like seven year olds. (further reading here)

If it niggles you, it will niggle an audience

Simple, if you put out a piece of writing with something that doesn’t quite make sense. The audience will pick up on it too x 1000. Your characters and plots have to make sense, or for comedy, some amount of sense. If an audience or reader walk about thinking ‘I don’t understand why that happened’ they will feel annoyed.

Learn to say ‘finished’

Probably one of the hardest things to do. I’ve never met a single writer that has said ‘I couldn’t make that better’. But you have to learn to know when Set yourself a deadline, try and stick to it. If you can’t stick to it. Come up with a second one. Stick to that. Regardless. If you really feel like you need lots more time, then it really isn’t ready. Put it on the backburner, work on something new and then come back to it with fresh eyes/ears/popcorn. (further reading here)

Enjoy it

Work hard at it, but if it starts to become too much and you’re stressing too much… take a break. You work better when you enjoy something. Don’t kill that joy!

Just do it

Whatever you’re doing… writing, making a movie, fishing… just go out there and do it. Read books about how to do it, then sit down and do it. You’ll make a million mistakes. Your first work will probably never see the light of day. But the more you do it, the better you’ll get.

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About the Author

Chris Blundell AKA superpixelchris is a guy that makes things. At the moment it’s a pixel comedy movie called The Hit Squad, but he also makes music and other nonsense.



  • sc_167607716d6dbfb4d9ac30da4c35fa0c

    First off, awesome title. We like to be reminded we’re rad. (Then I tried to write something funny here and it just wouldn’t cooperate. My mind that is.)

    Anyway, these tips are all good to keep in mind, and the additional links you provided are good for more information.

    I think my most troubled spot is show don’t tell. I just get over wordy!

    When you started getting deeper into The Hit Squad, what gave you more problems than anything? Saying finished doesn’t count :p

    • sc_167607716d6dbfb4d9ac30da4c35fa0c

      Wow o.O what is up with my name?

      • I dont know whats happened to your name, there seems to be two profiles for you. I think the facebook registration plugin may be broken a little, I’ll check it out…

    • Thanks for the awesome comment. 🙂 You are all rad! For sure!

      Showing and not telling is a point that we all make, and probably one of the points that the first drafts for The Hit Squad suffered most with. I think that a few key points are all that are needed to show anything. If a character is a rebel, maybe show him throwing a cigarette butt into a trash can rather than some overblown situation where they say “I don’t care about societies rules!”.
      The audience are intelligent and can work out what characters and situations are like without having it spelled out to them. Most bad movies are bad because the writer/director spend lots of time reinforcing the characters or the plot, having several things to show that a character is badass, repeating over and over that the bus will leave precisely at 9pm, having a character saying ‘I really want to win the basketball match’ or something similar. It just bores people because they know it already and want the plot to move on.

      Going through the script with Jordan helped things hugely because we were able to cut all those bits out and get to the core of the movie. We shaved about 30 unneeded pages off!

  • panditty

    Hey, man, this is really great advice! I might have it bookmarked with in my “writing” folder.
     
    This blog post, I like it! *smashes cup* Another!

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