ten things i learned reading for nicholl


old typewriterIf a joke is not funny the first time —

Repeating it ten times will for sure make it funnier.

Comedy leads’ dialogue should be totally flat and upstaged by secondary character dialogue because flat dialogue is what makes stars sign contracts.

Cat evisceration scenes are fun for the whole family.

Formatting programs turn people into overnight successes.

Characters quoting Shakespeare will always improve a script.

No one gets tired of Elvis jokes — ever.

“Embarrassingly” is one frisky adverb forget those whacky Webster boys.

Weird aberrant script covers are more attractive than no script covers.

“She is a natural beauty” just never gets old.

Greg Beal totally loves pale gray text and will visit your website for squinting fun if you just use enough of it.




29 Responses to ten things i learned reading for nicholl

  1. This made me think Max…and by God I have learned something from writing the stuff I write and here it is

    10 things I’ve learned from writing horror

    1 Dead bodies are NOT sexy- not even the evil ones. They’re just gross.

    2 Goth Kids, Wiccans and Republicans all think alike. I can prove it: I’ve gotten hate mail from people that come from all three of these groups and they’re saying the SAME thing.
    “ Fry in Hell you mean spirited Bitch”

    3 If you make fun of Vampires you get kicked out of the horror writing community

    4 Standing in your local Barnes and Noble and laughing as you read Anne Rice is not a way to make friends with fans of the dark fantasy realm.

    5 Clive Barker hands down writes the best female villains in the genre and I’m willing to fight that one with all who oppose me.

    6 I’m not sure but I think I was banned from joining the HWA for comparing them to the DAR- or maybe it was the other way around.

    7 If you want to see the spit fly tell a horror writer giant snakes, bugs and sharks aren’t scary so why write about them at all? I mean you’ve never seen a man eating shark or fire ants with human DNA molest a kid or rob a bank or poison Tylenol or cat food…right?

    8 Fans of Zombie films don’t want to explain why the zombies don’t fall apart when they run…they won’t even try… the wussies.

    9 Cemeteries are NOT in a billion years the type of place where you should write about anybody seducing anything.I learned that on the day I was supervising a service looked over at some very lovely flowering shrubs and saw a bunch of used condoms hanging from the branches. Oh and littering the ground were syringes. Yuck.

    10 I know now that I call myself a horror writer to make ‘real’ horror writers angry. It’s true: she who laughs lasts.

  2. max: the cat thing worries me….

    I’ve had real life experience with that and it’s not something I’d ever want to see on film. A true horror story.

    You must want to poke your eye out with a stick at times…

    Anita: I’ve always wondered that about zombies, too. I also wonder how they ever manage to catch anyone.

    I dunno, I reckon man-eating sharks are pretty scary. Then again, I do live in Australia…

  3. “I’ve always wondered that about zombies, too. I also wonder how they ever manage to catch anyone.

    Persistance and excellent knowladge of local shortcuts.

  4. Persistance and excellent knowladge of local shortcuts.


    I suppose that would go quite a long way to compensate for the general lack of urgency in their gait.

    I mean, I could run faster than a zombie, and that’s really saying something.

  5. Max, I would have pulled my hair out, started fires and injested toxic amounts of caffeine in various forms and that would have been after the first bad script. OK, after the first bad joke or adverb…….
    Yay for you!

  6. You crack me up, Max. I especially like the natural beauty one.

  7. Max
    A natural beauty

  8. max

    Oh jeez, not that sentence, Jen, please, not that one. I have seen it so many times I cringe when I see it.

  9. Natural born beauty?

  10. Mentally making note to never use natural born beauty.

    Is enhanced beauty acceptable?

  11. max

    The phrase is real distinct. Born is not in there. It has variations though. She’s a beauty. She’s a natural beauty. She’s a red headed beauty. She’s a brunette beauty. It is always the same phrase essentially though, sounds like some guy appreciating a horse, and it is always a character introduction, and it shows up over and over and over again.


  12. Perhaps the problem is using it as a character introduction?

    It is sort of…blah but one thing I’ll never forget is that joke you made when I first encountered your blog…

    “It was a dark and stormy night,” or something like that lol and then you poked fun at how unoriginal it was! That always got stuck in my head. That’s what I love about you…you can laugh!

  13. Wow, I’m so envious. I wish I had the grueling task and honor of reading and figuring out/deciphering/judging other people’s work.

    Damn, it seems that everything I say these days is coming off sarcastic but I truly mean it.

  14. max

    I think I have jinxed myself here. Right after I typed that I picked up a script and page one, “She is a natural beauty.”

    [slamming hand in door]


    Oh Max Oh Max…

  16. Please don’t hit your hand too hard! Don’t want you to break a freshly manicured nail!

    Anyway, if that’s on page one…well, is that a quote? “She is a natural beauty.” That is sort of humdrum. I suppose it depends within what context it’s used, right? Is he being campy?

    Gee, why do I suppose it’s a he? Good question. Is this a male offense?

  17. max

    Well we do not have names, scripts are anonymous, so I could not say for sure it is a male offense.

  18. Are there any characteristic tell tale signs if a script is written by a male or female?

  19. max

    Usually scripts that introduce the female lead with, She looks hot in a tight skirt and low cut top — usually it is a safe bet that was written by a guy.


    All guys do not write that way. But, when someone does write that way? Usually, it’s a guy.

  20. Define “weird aberrant script covers.”

  21. max

    Nope. Jokes are not funny if you have to explain them and I have done enough explaining here already.

  22. Katherine

    She’s a natural beauty, long and dark with legs up to here and big dark soulfull eyes, with a big dark mane of black hair and a long silky tail. Her shoes clatter on the drive.

    (*g,d, & r*)

  23. clever stuff…do you ever get tired of being wry?

  24. you can be yes, there was another word i was looking for, but my brain is still on full bake from work. that one sufficed.

    Random blonde, i have to say is sometimes something one should approach with caution. you’re incredible at making a point ocncisely, and visually. Some of it hurts. just to read.

  25. max

    I should rename it “russian roullette blonde” probably.

  26. hey, that’s catchy, but you should leave it as is. It’s a generally pleasant experience.

  27. kkbird

    i think you read my script. natural beauy on first page, cat evisceration scene. yep, sounds like it. thank god my next script is about a 6 year old. anything to avoid?

  28. max

    Six year olds usually do not make Nixon jokes.

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