Tony Gilroy in The New Yorker

The New Yorker has a terrific piece about screenwriter-director Tony Gilroy.

Pride and Predator

Traditional period costume drama + alien crash landing = the definition of high concept.

Are animated specs worth the time?

Short answer: yes. But be realistic about the chance of it getting made.

Scripting a short film

A short film, like a short story, can’t waste any time. Here’s what to include, and what to leave out.

The History Boys

A writer can get away with quite a few things on stage that are tough to pull off in movies.

Her least favorite mistake

An episode of Grey’s Anatomy might have the same title as your spec. That’s not even close to being plagiarism.

Should I write a novel or a script?

If you’re looking to put your story out into the world, paper beats film, hands down.

The perils of coincidence

The big villain in Spider-Man 3 was a plague of coincidence. Here’s how they could have avoided it.

The great big list of fictional diseases

The Motaba virus sounds bad, but the cure — heavy doses of Dustin Hoffman — is arguably worse.

Is the Slamdance script competition a bad idea?

No. But getting a movie made is worth a lot more than any award.

Chicago: The Musical. No, not that one.

I spent a few days in Chicago to see the workshop of my friends’ new musical, Asphalt Beach. And then I wrote a play.

Depression on film

You rarely see clinical depression in movies and TV, despite being much more common in real life than, say, retrograde amnesia.

What if my movie is too much like another?

In all likelihood, it’s not — you just think it is.

Can Dracula’s son get a book deal?

The vast majority of memoirs are written by vain, delusional nutjobs, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be entitled to your six-figure advance.

Vampires are the imaginary numbers of modern literature

You’ve never met an undead blood-sucker, and neither have I. Yet we can both agree on quite a few characteristics of these non-existent beings.

Making the geek movie

There is definitely room in the film universe for a uber-geek movie, be it a thriller, a drama, a comedy or whatever.

How many drafts does it take?

This “knowing when it’s done” sense only develops with experience.

Inciting Incident: Koo Koo Roo edition

I want to know that no one’s hurt, but even more, I want to know what the hell I saw.

No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!

A useful guide to super-villainy.

To Do: Destroy the world

It’s surprisingly difficult for any villain — even a powerful alien race — to actually destroy the planet.

Blind man’s point of view

Welcome to the world of experimental film, where you invite mocking simply based on hubris.

Western’s out?

Yes. So write one.

Getting stuck in a genre

The right genre is the one that will actually get you to fire up your word processor, rather than surf the internet.

Genres and structures

Nail down characters, tone and action come before plot and structure.