Xander Bennett

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Xander Bennett
Born (1984-02-16) 16 February 1984 (age 35)
Other namesAlexander Bennett
OccupationScreenwriter, author
Years active2004–current
Spouse(s)Morgan Lee Moran

Xander Bennett (born 16 February 1984)[1] is an Australian screenwriter and author. He is a former Hollywood script reader,[1] and a resident of Los Angeles. 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[5] in Queensland, Australia in 2004, then attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he completed a Professional Program in Producing[6] 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,[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

He is managed by Madhouse Entertainment,[10] 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[11] his complaints. Someone told him he should put them in a blog, so he moved to publishing Screenwriting Tips... You Hack[12] as "a snarky diatribe,"[13] posting tips once a day on how to make spec scripts better.[14] 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[15] 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.


Bennett's first job as a writer was on the Australian animated children's show FARMkids[1][16] 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.[17] 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 2010 he developed The Colour of Fear,[18] a feature film, for Rising Swell Productions,[19] a Melbourne based production company.

Screenwriting book[edit]

In 2011, on the advice of William H. Akers,[20] 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][21]


  • 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


Personal life[edit]

Bennett is married to Megan Lee Moran (2014-).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Interview - Adelaide Screenwriter Archived 21 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c Xander Bennett joins The Black List Archived 1 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Screenwriting tips, you hack Archived 6 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine Focal Press
  4. ^ Bachelor of Film & Television Archived 6 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Bond University
  5. ^ Bond University, Xander Bennett
  6. ^ Professional Program in Producing Archived 10 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine UCLA
  7. ^ BakedOn Entertainment
  8. ^ Electronic Arts, Canada
  9. ^ Hack Notes Archived 4 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Madhouse Entertainment Archived 28 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Twitter Xander Bennett
  12. ^ Screenwriting Tips... You Hack Tumblr
  13. ^ Mastering Film.Com Xander Bennett
  14. ^ IndieWire Meet the Hack Behind "Screenwriting Tips... You Hack"
  15. ^ IMDb Franklin Leonard
  16. ^ IMDB FARMkids
  17. ^ Cages Insomnia Publications
  18. ^ The Colour of Fear Rising Swell Productions
  19. ^ Rising Swell Productions Website
  20. ^ IMDb William M. Akers
  21. ^ Linkedin

External links[edit]