Screenwriting Tips, You Hack

Are you a screenwriter looking for a magic 8 ball of insider tips and tricks of the trade? Do you feel like a hack? Then you should check out Xander Bennett’s hilariously insightful, ‘Screenwriting Tips… You Hack: 150 Practical Pointers for Becoming a Better Screenwriter’. The book, an evolution of Bennett’s infamous screenwriting tips blog, offers tweet-sized tidbits of priceless writing advice for writers at any stage in their career or writing process. For more information or to purchase your copy, please visit:

Screenwriting Tips… You Hack, written by screenwriter and Hollywood script reader, Xander Bennett, is a book offering bite-sized chunks of screenwriting advice from the film industry trenches. Pulling from his arsenal professional experiences, Bennett utilizes his profound understanding of the writing process to arm today’s amateur writers at any stage – first draft to final polish – with tips to make their script better.

  • Screenwriting Tip #99  Voice-over usually feels like scaffolding. You know-something you left in there when you were constructing the first draft, but really should have torn out after it served its purpose.
  • Screenwriting Tip #120  Always remember that funny trumps everything. Your script could be written in crayon with your name spelled wrong on the cover, but if it’s genuinely funny, none of that matters.      
  • Screenwriting Tip #156  The easiest way to write a kick-ass protagonist is to make them incredibly good at what they do.      
  • Screenwriting Tip #580   Genuinely great ideas are like orgasms and migraines-when you have one, you know.

Confused at the outline stage? Stuck in the swamp of Act Two? Don’t know who your protagonist is or where she’s going? You might feel like a hack. But don’t worry-you’re not alone. Even the most experienced writers feel like this at times. Sometimes we just need a few short pointers and reminders to set us on the path again.

The idea began in 2009 when Bennett started a blog called ‘Screenwriting Tips, You Hack’, a place designed to provide short, witty, daily tips on screenwriting for amateur writers all the way up to industry heavy hitters. The blog has been integrated into The Black List site; this book is the evolution of the blog. Dozens of scripts have been broken down into bite-sized chapters full of humorous, insightful and highly usable advice. You’ll learn about the differences between film and television structure, how to force yourself to write when you really don’t want to, and why you probably shouldn’t base your first spec script around an alien invasion.

Xander Bennett provides the kind of writing advice that tickles my black, ugly heart: it is equal parts hilarious and practical, punching you in the throat with a fistful of poignant screenwriting advice. This is one to keep next to your computer as you write.  -Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds, and dispenser of writing advice at


Chris "MUG5" Maguire is a multimedia futurist that specializes in all things multimedia. From Record Production to Film Making Chris has worked with hi-end clients the world over. Chris is the Editor in Chief of both &