Richard Holmes Eight Rules for a ‘tightly resourced film’ screenplay

What makes a script that Richard Holmes could produce? Aside from being a great story well told of course…

Richard Holmes ‘Tightly Resourced’ Films Screenplay Rules

  1. Write a genre film, but give it some kind of original and fresh twist.
  2. Write parts that actors would kill to do.
  3. Keep it short, under 90 pages.
  4. Keep locations minimal, ideally cantered around one location.
  5. Keep characters minimal.
  6. Make it dialogue heavy-ish and character driven.
  7. Write for cinema not stage, keep the action, characters and dialogue cinematic.
  8. Allow yourself one production problem – babies, animals, sport, stunts, VFX, crowd scenes etc. Two problems, such as babies AND animals, would tip the balance out of your favour.

Given his last three films all followed his rules (all produced in excess of £1m budgets), it’s worth considering if your project adheres to these principles too.

You can see a video of Richard in action on yesterdays blog. And if you want to comer to his Advanced Producing workshop in May, get £30 off with discount code CHRISJONES and sign up here… (tickets cost £69 inc VAT)

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
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3 Responses to Richard Holmes Eight Rules for a ‘tightly resourced film’ screenplay

  1. Dane Jones April 12, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    Is that one production problem per movie in rule 8 or in any one scene?

    We’ve been a little ambitious with our script but they are in separate scenes at least..

  2. Chris Jones April 12, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    Hi Dane, yes Richard is remarking on ONE major problem per film. His last film called Jadoo was all about tow waring brothers who owned two curry houses. And so the food was incredible. That was the single big production issue he faced. Making sure that the food was awesome to look at. Had he also had babies in the film, as he does in Keeping Rosie, that may have tipped the balance.

  3. Dane Jones April 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    I see.

    We have the occasional bit of action and kids in the script. They’re only in it from time to time apart from the protagonist’s sister and then a new born at the very end but I can see why both of these may make thinks a little more difficult than just having one or the other.

    Both are integral to the story though :s

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