Sunset Boulevard is one of my favourite films. The writer, Billy Wilder is known as one of the greatest writers/directors in film history and he has famously given 10 screenwriting tips that don't sound like your regular advice you hear over and over. I find myself going back to some of the tips when I feel like my writing is becoming generic or slapstick and his advice always hits the spot.
Here's what he says:
The audience is fickle.
Grab 'em by the throat and never let 'em go.
Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.
Know where you're going.
The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.
If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.
A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They'll love you forever.
In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they're seeing.
The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.
The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then—that's it. Don't hang around.
Do any of the tips resonate? Tell me how, let's discuss.