Archives for screenwriting

Writing romantic comedy: Nancy Meyers

Do the same writing rules apply to films as to novels? Film director Nancy Meyers – What Women Want, and It’s Complicated – told Grazia magazine [January 18, 2010] the top six things she thinks women want at the movies. Do they apply to romantic novels too? One. Cast a lead man who looks like a nice person. “Most women’s husbands and boyfriends don’t look like movie stars. That’s why I cast Jack Black as Kate Winslet’s love interest in The Holiday.” Two. Romance doesn’t always mean boy meets girl. “Women want films with substance humour, which also reflect their own lives.” She cites The Devil Wears Prada, where the romance is between the woman and her work, her relationship with her boyfriend didn’t really matter. Three. Don’t sideline the women. She is disappointed with some romcom films. “A couple of years ago, all the romantic comedies were guys with guys, films like Wedding Crashers or Knocked Up”. Four. Less can be more. Movies don’t need to be big productions with massive budgets. She cites the classic 1960 comedy-drama The Apartment which was filmed in 30 days. “These days, audiences are used to getting something new and more dazzling every second,
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Film/Book: ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach

The Book by Deborah Moggach This is another book which successfully translated from the page to the cinema, perhaps because the screenplay was written by the author? In this case the original novel, These Foolish Things [see the original paperback cover above, which I bought in 2005] was re-named for the film. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a long title to fit onto a book cover or spine, but that is not a problem for the film. Moggach is the sort of author who, once discovered, is always loved. The first paragraph is so visual, it’s easy to see why it was made into a film: “Muriel Donnelly, an old girl in her seventies, was left in a hospital cubicle for forty-eight hours. She had taken a tumble in Peckham High Street and was admitted with cuts, bruises and suspected concussion. Two days she lay in A&E, untended, the blood stiffening on her clothes.” If you have watched the film, you know Muriel is played by Maggie Smith. The Film: In 2011, the first of what was to become a pair of films based on Deborah Moggach’s novel, was released. The pedigree was impressive: Moggach wrote the screenplay, the
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Categories: Book Love.

Film/Book: ‘Last Orders’ by Graham Swift

Last Orders – The Book Won the 1996 Booker Prize.  Left, is the cover of my much-thumbed paperback bought in 1996. See the current cover below. Why is this book so special? The characters are so real, the situation so real. We are used to reading great American novels about family. Well this is a great British novel about family and friends, their lives, the inter-connections, the squabbles and the love. And it takes place over the course of one day. Brief summary: butcher Jack Dodds has died and he requested his ashes be scattered at Margate. So his three best friends and his son drive to the Kent seaside town and along the way we see Jack’s life story, his war service, hop picking and meeting Amy, and finally struggling with the finances of his butcher’s shop. From the first line, the voice of Jack’s friend, Ray, is so clear: “It ain’t your regular sort of day. Bernie pulls me a pint and puts it in front of me. He looks at me, puzzled, with the loose, doggy face but he can tell I don’t want to chit-chat. That’s why I’m here, five minutes after opening, for a little
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Categories: Book Love.