Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I had a pleasant surprise when I opened up Facebook this morning. Right at the top of the most recent stories was a post from my good friend Arne Reidar Mortensen with the simple words... 'Remember this one?'
And there it was the link to the You Tube video of my very first short film - you can watch it here - shot by Arne and his friends and broadcast on TV Vest in Norway way back in 2008. It also made the local Norwegian papers. It brought back some great memories, specifically the excitement of production and the anticipation of seeing my words translated to the screen for the very first time. A lot has happened with my career since then, but I'll always look back at AGN with a great deal of fondness and pride.

Short films are a great way of showcasing your writing talent and they're easy to make. Have you got a smart phone with a camera? Then you can go and film something. Rope some friends in to help you make it. Upload it to You Tube. Get yourself and your writing out there. Proactive people get noticed. There's simply no excuse for sitting on your backside and doing nothing.

It doesn't matter if the first one you make is rubbish, you'll learn from it. The next will be better. And the one after that will be even better still.

Go make a short film. What do you have to lose?

Happy Writing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


This blog was originally posted on Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Writing subtext in dialogue should come automatically to writers, but I still see a lot of on the nose dialogue in the scripts I'm sent to read. So how can you prevent obvious dialogue creeping in and make sure your screenplay is layered with rich subtext?

The way I do it may not work for everyone but at least it will give you an idea of how easy it is to weave subtext in. For me it's like building blocks, you start at the bottom and build up. When I write a first draft I always write the dialogue in plain English so I know exactly what is happening in any particular scene. I don't try and hide what is being thought by the characters, I just write it plain and on the nose.

I was just wondering how are you and Sam getting along, have you patched up your differences yet?

No, I hate him... in fact I wish he was dead.

When I sit down and do another pass on the first draft I will look at the dialogue in every scene and decide how I'm going to get rid of the obvious dialogue and replace it with subtext.

I saw Sam the other day.

I fancy a tea. Want one?

This is why subtext is important. It's not what the characters say, it's what they don't say and what they imply. The first example is too obvious while the second shows how reluctant George is to mention Sam and equally how much Ruth is determined not to talk about him. Ruth's reaction illustrates just how she feels about Sam without stating the obvious.

So if you're stuck on how to write subtext then just write it plain English to start with, then go back and try to hint at what you want to say, without actually saying it in an obvious way. Your screenplays will be richer for it.