Ed Vassie

Hi! I'm Ed Vassie. I'm a screenwriter and a recovering zombie. Check out some of my scripts and my screenwriting blog here.

All things screenwriting.

Graduated AFTRS!

Howdy all. It's been a massive year studying at the Australian Film Television and Radio School while working full time. But a couple of weeks ago, I did it!  

 Teacher and me!  Please note the brown envelope is not a bribe. 

Teacher and me!  Please note the brown envelope is not a bribe. 

I completed my Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting: Feature Film.  

I learnt so much and I can't wait to apply it to all my story ideas. I think I'm going to spend the holiday break strapped to my laptop with a drip of coffee hooked into my veins. 

 My pezzas

My pezzas

So, I'm gonna go away for a bit, work my butt off writing and share some hopefully useful tips and tricks here as well as any problems that I confront during the process.  

Peace out all and a special thanks to my crew and AFTRS class. Can't wait to see your work and hopefully get the opportunity to continue working with you all!  

 Photo credit: Emily's Dad.

Photo credit: Emily's Dad.

Happy writing all y'all!

Inside Out should be used to test for sociopathy

I've now watched Inside Out five times in the last two weeks and I have, at some point in the movie, cried on every occasion. 

I don't mean to be snag-bragging (sensitive new age guy bragging - keep an eye out for it), but I cannot get over how much emotion the movie generates through its perfect story. 

It's so effective that I think it should be used as a tool by psychologists to test people for signs of sociopathy. If you (a) don't respond emotionally to Inside Out; or (b) don't well up with tears at some point during the movie, you are a fucking pyschopath!

I hope I can one day write a screenplay that harmoniously blends the outer journey of the characters with their inner journey in the same way that this fucking masterpiece did. 

 WATCH IT! Take the test! 

WATCH IT! Take the test! 

Happy writing! 

Learning from Inside Out #amwriting #scriptchat #screenwriting

Last night I watched Inside Out for the first time. Bit late, I know. I was amazed at the clarity of the inner and outer journey for Joy and how they perfectly related to each other.  

Outer journey: Joy and Sadness are taken from headquarters and are forced to work together to get back.  Throughout the journey Joy finds that Sadness is surprisingly more useful than she had initially imagined.  

This lesson mirrors Joy's inner journey, that is realising that their girl can't have joy without experiencing and FEELING sadness. 

I guess the lesson I learned from Inside Out was make the inner and outer journeys related in one way or another and it will help make your script tight and compelling.  

I also learnt the trick to not crying in front of people is to just not watch Pixar movies. 

Happy writing! 

Learning from Hitchcock

In anticipation for the Hitchcock Film Festival, I've started reading Hitchcock Truffaut.  

 Interviews with the Master.  

Interviews with the Master.  

I've only read Truffaut's introduction and I can already tell that the book is going to be filled with nuggets of wisdom about film making that apply specifically to screenwriting. For example: 

 Show, don't tell! 

Show, don't tell! 

While this bit of advice is in every screenwriting textbook, I've never considered it from the point of view of the audience. I then realised that every movie that I've found confusing in the past had most of its exposition in dialogue... Boom! 

Anyway, that's the nugget of learning I picked up today. Hope it helps you. 

Happy writing.  

Crafting Characters #scriptchat #amwriting #screenwriting

I'm creating characters for my AFTRS script project, specifically the protagonist and antagonist.  

When I started with my antagonist I was getting a bit frustrated, a little sweary even, because I was having trouble coming up with their habitual actions. 

So, after a couple of hours of procrastination, I brought up the habitual actions for my protagonist and just started writing ones that were the complete opposite of theirs. While the habitual actions I came up with might not make it into the final antagonist bio, they did get my brain working and helped me come up with some alternatives that I think will work.  

Hope this helps anyone who's having the same problem.  

Happy writing.  

 Sorry keyboard, I didn't mean to call you those names. It won't happen again.  

Sorry keyboard, I didn't mean to call you those names. It won't happen again.  

Learning Lots! #screenwriting #scriptchat #amwriting

I've made it to the end of my first semester of the Advanced Diploma in Screenwriting: Feature Film at AFTRS and there's one important lesson that's sticking in my brain: 

it's all about emotion. 

 Obnoxious writing set-up

Obnoxious writing set-up

Fill your scripts with something that's deeply personal to you. Fill it with your lessons, your traumas, your heartaches and all those things that you'd never actually talk about.  

With that you'll fill your script with an emotional authenticity that will leap off the page.  

Happy writing! 

Favourite writing places

We've all got them. Here's one of mine.  

 Back verandah at my childhood home. Greek coffee as fuel.  

Back verandah at my childhood home. Greek coffee as fuel.  

Currently writing a synopsis assignment for my Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting: Feature Film at AFTRS.  

Hope you're having fun in your favourite writing place.  

Happy writing! 

Learning to Start with Character

I've been quiet for a while cause I'm busy with work and two part-time screenwriting courses. One of the courses is an advanced diploma, so my inner nerd has been focused on getting good grades.  

One of the best lessons I've learnt over the last six months is learning to start with character.

Start the writing process by brainstorming cinematic characters, e.g. characters that are driven, wounded and full of funny contradictions. Get their habitual actions down!

Give them an emotional journey. 

And THEN come up with a plot around that character. Put them in the story they least want to be in. 

Happy writing! 

 

How It Starts - Fresh Voices Quarter finalist #scriptchat #amwriting #screenwriting

Exciting news for me this morning. My short script "How It Starts" was named a quarter finalist in the Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition

 How It Starts...

How It Starts...

Here is a reading of How It Starts, performed by the awesome people at the WILDsound Film Festival.

Happy writing! 

Hateful Eight - 70mm

I've been waiting to read this script since it was leaked ages ago, but promised myself I wouldn't until I'd seen the movie. Well... 

 My H8Ful ticket! 

My H8Ful ticket! 

Tomorrow night I can start burning through that screenplay. 

There are sometimes where it can be a good exercise to read the script before watching the movie. It can highlight just how your words might one day translate to the screen. A new QT movie is not one of those times. His movies are meant to be seen first, not read. Screenwriting is the start of the process and by no means produces the final product. 

Happy watching and happy writing! 

Gone reading...

This is what I've been doing the last couple of weeks - reading scripts.  

 Haven't read 'em all, but I'm working my way through them.  

Haven't read 'em all, but I'm working my way through them.  

I've found reading scripts useful, not so much for the "fundamentals" of structure, bt mostly for helpful examples of economic description/action. 

A great script I'm currently reading is Animal Kingdom. Great script! Great movie!

Happy writing! 

On Three...

I've written a new short script called "On Three" and was recently told that it will be performed at the WILDsound Screenplay Festival before the end of the year.

When the filming of the reading is available, I'll upload it. Until then, I'll leave you with the logline:

An exhausted detective heads home for dinner with his family, only to discover that a surprise guest will be joining them, the serial killer he's currently hunting.
 Happy writing!

Happy writing!


Learning by watching

Last weekend I attended an intensive two-day screenwriting course by Allen Palmer called Cracking Story. It was great. So great and so intensive that I've had to let my brain catch up to all the information my eyes and ears took in.  

Now, I'm feeling refreshed. So I'm going to throw myself back into watching movies with the hero's inner and outer journeys at the front of my brain. 

 King's Speech, Whiplash, Re-animator and Killer Joe. 

King's Speech, Whiplash, Re-animator and Killer Joe. 

That's my immediate "to watch" list, which I'm sure will double when I get home and go through my library of unwatched movies.  

Happy writing, happy watching!