Practical help for screenwritersCharles Harris - writer director writing on writing


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.

website disaster averted - 20000 days on earthLatest post: Website disaster overcome!

As some of you already know, I had a website disaster last week, when a very nice man in the web host customer support told me to do something which turned out to delete the entire account, and thus every file on the site.

“OK, now you upload the saved files,” he said. Long pause… See more

Free ResourcesScript

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.


  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!


    • 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.

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