Author Archives: Ray Morton

Ray Morton

About Ray Morton

Ray Morton is a writer and script consultant. His new book A Quick Guide to Screenwriting is now available on line and in bookstores. Morton analyzes screenplays for production companies, producers, and individual writers. He is available for private consultation and can be reached at ray@raymorton.com.

script consultant

Meet the Reader: Should You Use a Script Consultant?

I’ve noticed that there’s been a spate of articles on the webnets lately asking the question “Should you use a script consultant?” Since I am a script consultant, I thought I would throw my two cents into the discussion. First of all, I don’t think you “should” do anything – an analysis by a...

writing biopics lincoln

Meet the Reader: ‘Bio Tricks’ for Writing Biopics

I’m reading for a screenwriting competition right now, which means I’m reading a lot of biopics – screenplays that tell the life stories of famous or significant people. Up-and-coming screenwriters love to pen biopics. It’s not hard to understand why – at first glance, the experiences of important or glamorous folks would seem to...

stage directions in your screenplay

Meet the Reader: Descriptive Prescriptives

The description; the action; the action line; the stage directions – these are all terms used to describe the narrative portion of a screenplay, the material that, along with the dialogue, makes up the physical writing in screenwriting. For clarity and consistency, I’m going to refer to the narrative portion of a screenplay as...

screenplay premises

Meet the Reader: Screenplay Premises – ‘It’s Complicated’

Screenplays are very good at being complex. Consider the scripts for such classic films as Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Godfather, Chinatown, and Dog Day Afternoon, as well as more recent works like Django Unchained and Her – all of these screenplays have many, many layers to them: they all contain engaging narratives; compelling themes;...

worst-script_pass

Meet the Reader: “Warning, Warning”

I’ve been reading scripts for a long time and at this point I am usually able to tell after reading just a few pages whether a script is going to be any good or not. “How is that possible?” I can hear all of you shocked and offended screenwriters out there saying, in horrified...

domino-effect

Meet the Reader: The Domino Effect

A few weeks back, I assessed a script for one of my consulting clients. The story was okay, but the protagonist was too cold and remote. I said that we needed to see a warmer side to the character and suggested that perhaps we could see him help an old lady across a street...

GRAVITY

Meet the Reader: The Promise of ‘Gravity’

by Ray Morton For better and for worse (and there’s a lot of both), we are living in the era of the tentpole: giant, high-concept movies costing hundreds of millions of dollars, usually with a sci-fi, supernatural, or superheroic theme and filled with non-stop spectacle, action, and visual effects. This is the type of...

writer mistakes

Meet the Reader: A Few Things We’d Really Like You to Stop Doing

by Ray Morton I was talking with some fellow script analysts recently and the conversation, as it often does when readers assemble, turned to those things that spec script writers do in their screenplays that sometimes make us a little nuts. These bugaboos tend to come in waves – certain problems that haven’t necessarily...