David S. Goyer BAFTA screenwriting lecture


David Goyer, screenwriter of Blade, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, the hugely successful video game series Call of Duty: Black Ops and TV’s Davinci’s Demons, gave a fantastic lecture and interview for BAFTA.

He talks about how he broke in, the increasing importance of television in terms of craft and the corporate media landscape, changing the superhero movie genre, constructing the “Ten Commandments” of Batman and Superman, writing for games and juggling multiple scripts at once. Here’s the full lecture and interview…

Goyer on TV…

The industry as a whole, particularly the international market, is booming. Increasingly, the big conglomerates are divesting themselves of any branch that isn’t pure media. WB has dumped AOL and Time, Fox is spinning off news and book publishing. There’s even talk of Sony shedding its consumer products division. Why? Because over the last decade, the core media businesses have been the most profitable. Over the last four years, Time Warner stock has nearly tripled, same with Viacom, Fox and Disney. All of that growth has been driven by the newly emergent television industry, which is much more profitable than the film industry, which is, in turn, being built on the backs of writers.

Goyer on writing comic book movies…

BLADE worked because it broke the rules of an action movie. It was just completely gonzo. There was a convention in Hollywood at the time that you could only make a comic book film from the top tier comic book heroes, like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, etc., but there was no thought that you could make a film from a secondary or tertiary character…The BLADE movies went on to make over a billion dollars.

Goyer on games writing…

Writing for games is more like television than film. Each level is kind of like an episode. It’s not even linear…TOMB RAIDER is really the only video game movie that has been financially successful [removing RESIDENT EVIL, which is more horror]…the reason is actually pretty simple. Most good video games are about first-person, immersive environments [and] most games tend not to have strong characters. When you’re adapting an environment or milieu from a game…film will never do as good of a job. Once we see more games with more memorable characters we will see more successful movie adaptations.


Related: Trilogy Building: Star Wars and HALO



 Goyer on his favorite screenplay and toughest screenplay to write…

I’m really proud of BATMAN BEGINS. I feel like we changed comic book movies. And I’m proud of MAN OF STEEL. It’s really hard to adapt Superman. MAN OF STEEL was definitely the hardest script I’ve ever written. I wrote EXT. KRYPTON – DAY and I just said fuuuccckkkkkk…


Related: Batman Begins Story Maps Screenwriting Podcast


Related: Man of Steel Story Maps Screenwriting Podcast

Goyer ended his lecture with this uplifting message:

Write what you feel passionate about, not what you think the market is dictating. At the end of the day, good writing is passionate writing, and I believe it will always win out.

NOTE: I will be incorporating some of Goyer’s thoughts and my analysis of his work into my upcoming webinar with The Writers Store, WRITING THE SUPERHERO MOVIE!, live on May 15, 2014.  Reserve your spot in the webinar at the Early Bird price now.

Good luck and happy writing,


Story Maps of Christopher Nolan E-Book Free Sample


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