Thursday, 12 December 2013

Review: Writing and Selling Thriller Screenplays by Lucy V Hay

Unlike a lot of ‘how-to’ books, this is refreshingly unpompous and free of jargon. Lucy once put out a fire on her husband by repeatedly hitting the flames with a copy of a very large, jargon-filled screenwriting book. Do ask her about it at the next LSWF… But if you follow Lucy on Facebook and Twitter or have benefited from her insights professionally then this book is an invaluable extension of her online presence.
I am about to embark on a thriller screenplay (not my first by any means) and will be keeping this volume close by, paying particular attention to the construction of a good treatment/outline. The section on sorting out the structure in the outline really chimed with me.
I also enjoyed the positive ‘can-do’ feel of the book; I have a real aversion to writers who moan and complain that they can’t get a break. Lucy clarifies the whole process from a business perspective and she’s right; there really is no excuse for not doing your research on who to pitch to and how. She’s been there and done that, and much like her online presence, is unstinting with common sense and good-humoured strategies for helping the writer achieve his/her goals.
I was reminded of the advice given by Adrian Mead at a workshop that we both attended in Edinburgh, namely ‘keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll keep getting what you’re getting’. I may be paraphrasing a bit here but this links nicely to my aversion to moaning writers. If you want to achieve your goal of selling a screenplay then change your strategy, don’t sit there whining. It won’t be easy but it’s much better to buckle down to the serious business of writing a cracking screenplay. She also gives huge support to the British film business, giving the lie to the notion that you absolutely ‘have’ to do it the Hollywood way.

Available now from Kamera Books and Amazon.

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