16 February 1984 |
Perth, Western Australia
|Other names||Alexander Bennett|
Xander Bennett (born 16 February 1984) is an Australian screenwriter and author. He is a former Hollywood script reader, 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, and for a book of the same name.
He earned a Bachelor of Film and Television at Bond University in Queensland, Australia in 2004, then attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he completed a Professional Program in Producing in 2009.
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, 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.
Bennett administers an online script reading service, Hack Notes.
He is managed by Madhouse Entertainment, Los Angeles.
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 his complaints. Someone told him he should put them in a blog, so he moved to publishing Screenwriting Tips... You Hack  as "a snarky diatribe," posting tips once a day on how to make spec scripts better. 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.
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.
In 2009, Xander Bennett and Melanie Cook published a graphic novel called Cages. The publisher, Insomnia Publications, ceased trading in 2010 and the status of the novel is now uncertain.
Bennett began writing screenplays in 2004, but has had none produced as yet.
In 2011, on the advice of William H. Akers, 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."
Awards and honors
- 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
- Interview with Xander Bennett at Adelaide Screenwriter, 15 January 2012
- Interview with Xander Bennett at IndieWire, 24 October 2011.
- Interview with Xander Bennett at Whatever Comics, undated.
- Interview with Xander Bennett at Steal My Script, 13 October 2011.
- Xander Bennett at Film.Com
- Interview - Adelaide Screenwriter
- Xander Bennett joins The Black List
- Screenwriting tips, you hack Focal Press
- Bachelor of Film & Television Bond University
- Professional Program in Producing UCLA
- BakedOn Entertainment
- Electronic Arts, Canada
- Hack Notes
- Madhouse Entertainment
- Twitter Xander Bennett
- Screenwriting Tips... You Hack Tumblr
- Mastering Film.Com Xander Bennett
- IndieWire Meet the Hack Behind "Screenwriting Tips... You Hack"
- IMDb Franklin Leonard
- IMDB FARMkids
- Cages Insomnia Publications
- The Colour of Fear Rising Swell Productions
- Rising Swell Productions Website
- IMDb William M. Akers