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Read my User's Guide to Screenwriters

My father’s death Sunday, January 11, 2015

On Tuesday my sister called to tell me our father died that morning. He was 94, and his death has been expected. It seems he died peacefully, in the nursing home to which he’d only recently been moved when it became impossible for my step-mother, also 94, to continue to care for him. When I last saw him in hospital in Holyhead, near his Anglesey home, he told me that he was fully ready to die, and wasn’t afraid. He had become tired, the business of going on living was just too much. He was a man who made modest Read More

Recent Questions

Submitted by visitors to this website

Posted by Sarah Le

January 19th 2015

Would love your advice for aspiring filmmakers who want to write for their own films as well. Do you think film school is the best way to learn filmmaking and screenwriting? Or is it something that can be self-taught? Often times, film schools are unaffordable. In such case, what would you advise? How does one go about learning this craft best? Thanks. PS - Please do not listen to the critics on Firelight. It is one of the my all-time favorite movies. To me, it's romantic and unforgettable and is an inspiration in filmmaking. Thank you for giving us Firelight! I have the DVD (in Chinese since I couldn't find it in English anywhere). Would love it if there's a Director's Commentary also. Maybe one day, when the Criterion Collection is smart enough to add Firelight to their shelves, you will do a Director's Commentary on it. :)

William Nicholson responded:

Film school is undoubtedly a great way to learn (though it wasn't my way), but I do understand the cost is an issue. If you can't go to film school, you can make your own by watching films and learning from them, and by making your own no-budget films using your phone or whatever. I think there's no substitute for doing it, making mistakes, learning from them, and getting better. Great if you can do this in an organised environment, but it's not the only way. Just tell yourself: most films are very poor, and you can do better. Why not? And thank you for the kind words about Firelight.

Posted by Rolando Cordova

January 10th 2015

Dear Mr. Nicholson, I remember hearing a few years ago about a film being made on the life of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings. Is that movie still on? I recently read a book about 1066 and I remembered that a film had been in the works for some time. Also, I was hoping I could ask a quick question on screenwriting. I recall watching some of the extras for Gladiator (again this was many years ago now so forgive me if I'm not remembering exactly what was said) and one of things you mentioned is that you gave the character of Maximus more of a desire to "return to his family" rather than mere revenge against Commodus. If I recall correctly, you had said that you wouldn't want to see a film where a man is just seeking vengeance for the sake of vengeance. So with all that being said, can the focus of a script be a simple revenge story and still be compelling? Thanks for your time.

William Nicholson responded:

I don't think the film of 1066 is going to be made, I'm afraid. As for revenge movies, yes, it can definitely work. There are many gripping films that are only driven by revenge. It's just not what I personally want to write about. I'm interested in characters who are able to move beyond tit-for-tat rage to a place where we can discover what they love, as well as what they hate.

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Past and current works



Greetings cards hand-written by me that say the things you can't say, now available here.


  • The Lovers of Amerherst
  • The Society of Others
  • The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life
  • All the Hopeful Lovers
  • The Golden Hour
  • Motherland
  • Reckless


  • The Windsinger
  • Slaves of the Mastery
  • Firesong
  • Seeker
  • Jango
  • Noman
  • Rich and Mad


  • Shadowlands
  • Gladiator
  • Mandela
  • Les Miserables
  • Firelight
  • Nell
  • Sarafina
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age


  • The Retreat from Moscow
  • Shadowlands
  • Katherine Howard