Student writing
25 June 2014

How to be successful as a feature film screenwriter

By Cassio | Categorised in News
Moira Buffini is a powerful new voice in British cinema, having been described by the film industry as “fearless in her ideas and approach to her work.”  Having started out writing for the stage, Moira made a seamless transition to screen with her acclaimed vampire film Byzantium (starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan) and period drama Jane Eyre (starring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska.)  
Famous for her ability to distil human emotion, and a self-diagnosed “compulsive-writer,” Moira told us her top tips for screenwriting during this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival.
Learn how to negotiate feedback.
I have had good notes on my work, and bad notes.  Learn how to take knocks and take advice from others but don’t let it knock your confidence.  When I get rejection, it physically hurts, and you have to learn that it’s part of the job.  A writer without confidence is not good,  you have to cherish your confidence.
Find a Project with teeth!
All of my feature film projects are very different, but they all have something about them that is interesting to me- they all have “teeth!”  I always believe that when you put your character’s through hardship or an extreme situation in the story, that’s when they are tested and they have to adapt to survive.  Jane Eyre is a perfect example; her character has to experience the whole scale of human emotion before she can be happy, and she survives by believing in herself totally, which is what I love about her character.
Ask yourself “where will this story take me?”
It’s important that every screenplay you start takes you somewhere different. For me, the story needs to be interesting to explore, otherwise the passion isn’t there when writing.
Write practically
This is something that I’ve learnt as I’ve experience life on-set.  Writing practically and pragmatically is helpful for the entire crew- think about the action, how it will play out (and where!) and if it’s feasible for shooting.
Met FIlm School offers a variety of screenwriting courses. Our MA in Screenwriting leads you to working for a professional client as part of a team of filmmakers, and our short courses aim to help you to develop your screenplay in whichever stage you are in. Request a free prospectus for more information.


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