This is not a beginner’s book on screenplay writing, though a beginner could read it and learn. This is a writer’s consigliere. It’s a book of advice and reflection that will kick ass against just about any screenwriting problem. It’s a series of essays on film and television writing, a deep background on very specific craft issues ranging from punctuation to meaning in your screenplay. Chapters range from “The Antagonist as a Good Guy” to how to establish an emotional core in your script, to one on Katy Perry's use of story in her concerts (Yes, that Katy Perry) to “The Power of Story.” There’s even one called “What Film School Should I Go to?” You’ll want to carry it with you to the Starbucks and consult it like you would your best friend when you run into trouble. It will get you to think about your writing in new ways and to give you the tools to express those thoughts. It’s a writer’s secret weapon, and now you can have it, too.
This revised and updated edition is a complete resource for anyone who wants to write and produce for television drama series or create an original series, as well as for teachers in screenwriting classes and workshops. It leads the reader step-by-step through every stage of the development and writing process, offering practical industry information and artistic inspiration.
The Fourth Edition leads readers into the future and engages provocative issues about the interface between traditional TV and emerging technologies. It’s also the single most comprehensive source on what is happening in original television drama around the world, with surveys of 15 countries.
Working from a writer’s perspective, this book explores these Three Wells and helps you con-sciously draw from them to develop new scripts, or strengthen old ones. It includes 29 exercises and techniques that help you to write stories that contain fresh ideas, intriguing characters, original scenes, inventive dialogue, unique locations, and important themes.
Pilar Alessandra’s popular book, The Coffee Break Screenwriter, taught writers how to outline quickly, write efficiently, and rewrite creatively. It is the “go-to” book for getting one’s story on the page. But now that same writer may be doing a final pass on a project, working with a producer, or coming up with a new project only to be hit with . . . RULES! Should the writer respond to this random list of do’s and don’ts pertaining to structure, characters, dialogue, and formatting? Nope.
Who says you have to follow the screenwriting rules? In this book Pilar reviews the rules writers assume they should follow, discusses why they’re there in the first place, and then shows you ways to creatively break them!
Rules evaluated include those addressing:
storytelling devices like flashback and voiceover
character rules such as empathy and backstory
dialogue faux pas such as writing on the nose
structural issues such as nonlinear writing and act-break placement
formatting sticking points involving emotion and visuals
For every “rule” that’s discussed, Pilar covers:
1. Why the rule exists.
2. Why writers should break the rule.
3. How writers can break the rule.
4. How breaking the rule can break bad (so break with care).
Suspense with a Camera brings the secrets of suspense out of the shadows. Written for screenwriters and directors by a leading expert on Hitchcock techniques, you’ll have fresh insights on crafting suspense. These ideas have never been published before and share revelations that go far beyond the cliché knives, corpses, and blondes that many associate with Hitchcock.
A fun, insightful insider’s look at the nuts and bolts of writing action movies, from concept to completion, by a professional screenwriter and professor of screenwriting. Full of witty anecdotes from the front lines (and tricks of the trade from between the lines), Crash! Boom! Bang! promises an enjoyable and educational read for writers and students of all levels. Although bullets and bloodshed abound in cinema, the lessons within will benefit screenwriters of all kinds of movies.
“What lurks in the shadows, just below waking consciousness?”
Subtext can be the most important element in text and in a performance. It’s an unseen force that speaks directly to the reader’s unconscious, deepening meaning and understanding. Great subtext reveals more than simple dialogue and action and is at the heart of the best books and films. It is what glues us to the screen.
This book goes far beyond dialogue, action, gestures, genre, and images. Written by one of the foremost script consultants in the world and the most prolific writer on screenwriting, this new edition adds new examples with chapters on analogy and love, and provides deeper explanations of how subtext works beneath the text. This edition has been expanded to be relevant to all fiction writers.
For over six years, The Woman in the Story has been the go-to resource for writers who want to be gender-mindful when they figure how to create female characters. Inspired by female psychology and gender issues, this how-to book casts a refreshingly honest and empowering women-centric light on every stage of the screenwriting process.
This groundbreaking guide describes six seemingly different popular movies and genres (Skyfall, The Avengers, The Hangover, A Beautiful Mind, The Conjuring, Gone Girl) and shows screenwriters how they all follow the exact same 120 Universal Story Beats minute by minute. The book also reveals the top 10 archetypes they use, and where and why the Inciting Incident, Act 2 & 4 Quests, Midpoints, and the other five main Turning Points happen in all successful movies.
The writer receives guidance and tips at every stage of the often intimidating writing process with a relaxed, “ten minutes at a time” method that focuses the writer and pushes him or her forward. At each step, writers are encouraged to “Take Ten” and tackle an element of their script using the templates and tools provided. “What You’ve Accomplished” sections help writers review their progress. And “Ten-Minute Lectures” distill and demystify old school theory, allowing the writer to unblock and get writing.
The book’s journey into the future of television begins with “You Are Here,” delving into “The Great Convergence” of television and Internet and the vortex of change we all inhabit now. Then, glancing back, we explore “The Old World” of broadcast television to understand how we got to this moment of transition. Next, traveling “Between Worlds,” we visit cable television and see how the boundaries between network, cable, and Internet are mutating. After that, we enter “The New World” that ranges from empires like Netflix and Amazon down to Kickstarter-funded web series, and all the creative expressions that abound. Finally, we look ahead to the “Far Frontier” of interactivity and transmedia and a distant, fantastic future. All these experiences are focused on how a writer, producer, director, or entrepreneur can use the emerging possibilities to create original television now and in the coming decade.
Screen storytelling is an essentially collaborative process. Writers need feedback but too often the notes they receive stall them and even demoralize them. This book unpacks the whys and what-fors of all the most commonly given notes on scripts, stories, and writers themselves. Coming from the perspective of experienced Hollywood professionals, Notes to Screenwriters offers insightful and concise guidance on the entire storytelling process, as well as what comes before it in the life of the writer, and after it in the marketing of the screenplay. It is a unique blend of classical storytelling principles combined with practical knowledge of the contemporary marketplace. This book is destined to be a resource for every writer who gets past the initial stage of writing a first draft and needs sage counsel for what to do next.
Getting It Write: An Insider s Guide to a Screenwriting Career is a comprehensive, no-holds-barred guide packed with practical advice to help hard-working writers prepare themselves and their work for the industry, identify available paths, and make the leap from aspirant to working professional. There are plenty of books about the craft of screenwriting, and a handful about pitching your screenplay. However, little can be found on how to go from writing to pitching in the professional space. There is no formula, no three-step plan. Getting It Write: An Insider s Guide to a Screenwriting Career unlocks pragmatic guidance for constructing a screenwriting career, delivered by a sought-after industry authority who works with writers both novice and professional. Never pulling any punches, the book aims to decode Hollywood, prepare the writer for the road ahead, and offer tangible avenues for screenwriting success.
Legendary screenwriting instructor and award-winning writer Paul Chitlik presents an easy-to-read, step-by-step process to take your script from first draft to
submission draft. He reveals the hidden structure of screenplays, sequences, and scenes, as he guides you through the process of examining your draft, restructuring it, and populating it with believable, complex, and compelling characters. Along the way he outlines how to make your action leap off the page and your dialogue crackle. While the first edition was widely used in film school rewriting classes, it was also recommended as an introduction to screenwriting craft by a number of professors and professionals. Paul Chitlik has included, for the second edition, more examples, exercises, and applications for television, the web, and other media, using a wide range of citations in film, television, and the Internet to underline his approach.
SHOW ME THE FUNNY!
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Crime stories have always intrigued viewers and storytellers. Today, crime shows rule the airwaves and there is truly a procedural drama out there for every personality and every writer. Born out of the author s real-life experiences growing up around death investigation, Forensic Speak unlocks the secrets of forensic science for writers and fans alike. With a filmography of 100 film and TV examples and 80 additional resources, the book provides writers direct access to hundred of ways to make their crime writing more authentic. Forensics finally explained in lay people s terms. Takes readers behind the crime tape, lab doors, and into the morgue, to learn how things are really handled. Great resource for fact-checking scripts and stories. Glossary of 300+ forensic terms. Designed as a workbook for artists to enhance crime writing. Exercises to get writers and producers thinking like investigators. 100+ professional resources, including the author s secret picks. Hundreds of tips on how to use forensic science authentically in your writing. 80+ TV and film examples that show how forensic science can be applied across all genres.
FOREWORD BY ROGER CORMAN
Learn the secrets behind Alien, Total Recall, and Return of the Living Dead! This masterful collection shares, for the first time, the wisdom of the late, great Dan O’Bannon and the storytelling techniques he used in his mega-hit motion pictures.
Dying is easy, comedy is hard. So keep your comedy blockbuster alive and well and buy this book. Comedy has always been the backbone of the film business. In an age of sequels and brand-name movies based on established properties, the original comedy screenplay still delivers high profits. Writing the Comedy Blockbuster guides the writer as they learn what goes into writing the next comedy classic.
Eric Edson has developed a new tool for bringing depth and passion to any screenplay. It's an easy to understand paradigm that provides writers and filmmakers the interconnecting, powerful storytelling elements they need.