Xander Bennett

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Xander Bennett
Born (1984-02-16) 16 February 1984 (age 30)
Perth, Western Australia
Other names Alexander Bennett
Occupation Screenwriter, author
Years active 2004–current
Website
http://screenwritingtips.blcklst.com/

Xander Bennett (born 16 February 1984)[1] is an Australian screenwriter and author. He is a former Hollywood script reader,[1] who divides his time between Los Angeles and Sydney. Bennett is best known for his laconic advice about the practice of screenwriting, shared daily in a blog called Screenwriting Tips... You Hack,[2] and for a book of the same name.[3]

Early life[edit]

Bennett was born and grew up in Perth, Western Australia.[1] He is the son of Martin and Rebecca Bennett, and the eldest of three boys.[1]

He earned a Bachelor of Film and Television[4] at Bond University in Queensland, Australia in 2004, then attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he completed a Professional Program in Producing[5] in 2009.

Career[edit]

Bennett has written for television, videogames, role-playing games, and comics, and is the author of a graphic novel. He has written a series of blogs, culminating in the one which made him famous, Screenwriting Tips... You Hack, on which he has published a screenwriting tip a day since June 2009.

He wrote educational comics for Pan Macmillan and worked on Ghostees, a small browser game for BakedOn Entertainment,[6] which hasn't been released yet. He has written tabletop RPG books for The Le Games (Unorthodox Pirates), Highmoon Media (The Song of Roland), and Dogsoul Publishing.[1]

He lived in Vancouver during 2008, where he did some freelance journalism and copywriting, and worked as a quality assurance tester for Electronic Arts Vancouver.[7]

In 2009 he moved to Los Angeles for a year to attend the UCLA Professional Program in Producing. While there he worked as a reader for a minor production company.

Bennett administers an online script reading service, Hack Notes.[8]

He is managed by Madhouse Entertainment,[9] Los Angeles.

Writing[edit]

Blogs[edit]

Bennett first published a blog called Chained to the Keyboard while he was living in Queensland, Australia. It ran from October 2005 to June 2006. That was followed by a blog called Childish Things, which ran from 2007 to early 2009. Neither blog is now available online.

In Los Angeles, while working as a reader for a minor production company, and frustrated by the quality of the screenplays he was reading, Bennett started tweeting[10] his complaints. Someone told him he should put them in a blog, so he moved to publishing Screenwriting Tips... You Hack [11] as "a snarky diatribe,"[12] posting tips once a day on how to make spec scripts better.[13] His first tip read:

Don't be boring. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T BE BORING. Tape it to your laptop. Tape it to your eyeballs. Don't. Be. Boring.

Franklin Leonard[14] invited Bennett to join The Black List in September 2011, and the entire Screenwriting Tips... You Hack blog migrated to that website.[2]

On 21 May 2012, Bennett published Tip #1000:

If you write from the heart, you’ll never run out of ideas. If you aim for masterpieces, at least you’ll learn from the failures. And if you never give up, there’s no way you can lose.
You’ve come this far. Now the future is up to you.
All you have to do is write it.

Television[edit]

Bennett's first job as a writer was on the Australian animated children's show FARMkids[1][15] in 2005.

During 2010-2011, he worked under contract for Australia's Shine Television Studios.[2] His work included post-production on Dating in the Dark, The Biggest Loser and Australia's Next Top Model.

Graphic novel[edit]

In 2009, Xander Bennett and Melanie Cook published a graphic novel called Cages.[16] The publisher, Insomnia Publications, ceased trading in 2010 and the status of the novel is now uncertain.

Screenplays[edit]

Bennett began writing screenplays in 2004, but has had none produced as yet.

In 2010 he developed The Colour of Fear,[17] a feature film, for Rising Swell Productions,[18] a Melbourne based production company.

Screenwriting book[edit]

In 2011, on the advice of William H. Akers,[19] Xander Bennett published a book that took the wisdom of his Screenwriting Tips... You Hack blog and expanded it into Screenwriting Tips, You Hack: 150 Practical Pointers for Becoming a Better Screenwriter. It contains "bite-sized chapters full of funny, insightful, usable advice". According to the publisher, it demonstrates "the differences between film and television structure, how to force yourself to write when youreallydon't want to, and why you probably shouldn't base your first spec script around an alien invasion."[3]

Awards and honors[edit]

Xander Bennett won The West Australian Young Writer of the Year award in 1999.[1]

He was awarded the Queensland New Filmmakers Award - Most Original Script in 2010.[1][20]

Publications[edit]

  • Bennett, Xander and Cook, Melanie. Cages. Edinburgh: Insomnia Publications, 2009. ISBN 1-905808-10-0
  • Bennett, Xander. Screenwriting tips, you hack: 150 practical pointers for becoming a better screenwriter. Oxford: Elsevier Inc, 2011. ISBN 978-0-240-81824-5

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Interview - Adelaide Screenwriter
  2. ^ a b c Xander Bennett joins The Black List
  3. ^ a b Screenwriting tips, you hack Focal Press
  4. ^ Bachelor of Film & Television Bond University
  5. ^ Professional Program in Producing UCLA
  6. ^ BakedOn Entertainment
  7. ^ Electronic Arts, Canada
  8. ^ Hack Notes
  9. ^ Madhouse Entertainment
  10. ^ Twitter Xander Bennett
  11. ^ Screenwriting Tips... You Hack Tumblr
  12. ^ Mastering Film.Com Xander Bennett
  13. ^ IndieWire Meet the Hack Behind "Screenwriting Tips... You Hack"
  14. ^ IMDb Franklin Leonard
  15. ^ IMDB FARMkids
  16. ^ Cages Insomnia Publications
  17. ^ The Colour of Fear Rising Swell Productions
  18. ^ Rising Swell Productions Website
  19. ^ IMDb William M. Akers
  20. ^ Linkedin

External links[edit]