Practical help for screenwriters

A Night at the Opera - networking

Want to write a gripping thriller? See below.

Meanwhile, I’m conducting masterclasses and Meet The Author events around the UK for Complete Screenwriting Course – continuing at London Screenwriters’ Festival this week.

Come and say Hi!

Sales of the book have been better than I dared expect, and the book is already recommended reading on at least one MA course.

Latest post: Writing a Gripping Thriller

Guest post for ScriptAngel. 

Let me keep you in suspense for a little while. In my view, a thriller is a film in any genre but with added fear. Fear and suspense dominate the thriller – an almost constant sense that something frightening is about to happen – or is happening right now. This is contrasts with a classic action-adventure, where the dominant emotion is fast-moving excitement.

See more

The tough art of screenwriting

Writing good screenplays for cinema and TV is tough, but immensely rewarding. Selling and making them is even tougher (but much more rewarding!). Luckily there are practical ways to make things at least a little easier.

I’m an award-winning writer director and experienced script consultant – and on this site I’ve put a host of articles, tricks of the tradebooks and other resources to help you with all aspects of writing, wherever you are now.

And I’m regularly adding more.

Free Resources

Script

You’ll find masses of useful resources on writing and related issues here. Check out the blog - free screenplay format guides and templates to download with information on screenwriting software – and an FAQ on how to use the Internet for Research.

Screenwriting-courseBooks to Read

There are now thousands of books on screenwriting for beginner writers and advanced, but some are more useful than others. I’ve lists of the books I’ve found useful, a shorter list of my all-time favourites, and of course my own books – Police Slang, short stories in anthologies, and A Complete Screenwriting Course – coming out in October.

Film lightEvents, Courses and Questions

If you want to catch me in person, I can be found running events and courses, through Euroscript and festivals here and abroad. Some are free and some are charged for. I am available, when time permits, to give feedback by email or in personal meetings.

You can also ask me questions, especially if you have topics you’d like me to answer in the blog.

Join my mailing list for information on all of the above and extra free tips and bonus articles.

6 Comments

  1. Tim Symonds said:

    June 19, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Charles, after 50 years as a freelance journalist I turned my hand to publishing two Sherlock Holmes’ pastiches, the latest being Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Bulgarian Codex. Recently I embarked on an ‘Argo 2′ movie script and have pretty well sketched out the action. At this stage, should I simply turn out a treatment (and if so, how long should a treatment be – 10 pages, 70 pages?) and does a treatment form the principal task of selling the script to an agent or producer? Your advice much welcomed!

    Tim

    • Charles Harris said:

      July 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Tim, your ideas sound interesting. That’s important. If you don’t already have a track record in cinema, you’ll need to have a polished completed script to send. That’s the first essential. Then you’ll need a good one-line pitch to use either face-to-face or in the body of a query letter.

      Many (though not all) agents and producers will ask to see a treatment first – I recommend that this should be as short and readable as you can make it – 1-2 pages max. Your journalistic experience should be invaluable in keeping it brief. (Longer treatments may also be required – if someone asks you for a treatment, simply ask them how long they’d like!) And ensure the treatments include the ending. No cheating here.

      I have some articles on treatment writing, if you want more info.

      Best, Charles

  2. Tim Symonds said:

    January 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Charles, I’ve followed up ‘the Bulgarian Codex’ with a new Sherlock Holmes novel. All advice on bringing it to a movie-maker’s attention very welcome!

    • Charles Harris said:

      January 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Tim

      Well done on the new book. To get the attention of a movie-maker, I advise you first a write short (one sentence) pitch and synopsis specifically for the screen, showing how your novel could work as a movie. You should then research producers, directors and development executives to find who would be best to approach.

      Organisations such as the one I work with, Euroscript, would be a good starting point. We run workshops on exactly what you need.

  3. Mark Cremona said:

    October 17, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Good Day Mr Harris
    I dropped by to thank you for your book, which dropped on my door mat this morning, ‘Complete Screenwriting Course’ I have had it in my hands a mere two hours but have already devoured half of it!
    I feel like Im ready to tear Michael Bay a new one ( as they say in Hollywood)
    thank you for an amazing piece of inspirational work, If I knew as much about screenwriting as you do I wouldn’t share it with my Mother let alone the world. You are an amazing individual and I promise to give you a deal in on my first commissioned Scrips :-)
    kindly
    Mark.

    • Charles Harris said:

      October 17, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Mark, thank you very much. A great review to receive on publication day!

      If you want to help spread the word, please feel free to leave a review on Amazon, as that does help others decide whether the book’s right for them. And I look forward to that commission!

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