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.
Memo From the Story Department offers a battery of storygenerating engines and storyimproving tools, and reliable methods tested on hundreds of Hollywood productions. It goes far beyond the standard advice given in most screenwriting manuals. Drawn from sources as varied as vaudeville, classical Greek comedies, and Russian fairy tales, the book outlines a series of practical templates for creating believable characters and emotionally satisfying plots.
My Story Can Beat Up Your Story is the same powerful, easy-to-learn system that industry insiders have used to generate millions of dollars in script sales and assignments. In a clear, step-by-step fashion, this book is a fun, eye-opening, brain-expanding, and often irreverent guide to writing stories that sell. Covering everything from heroes to villains, from theme to plot points, from cooking up good ideas to a business plan for smart writers, this book forever eliminates that horrible feeling every writer goes through — staring at the blank page and wondering “what comes next?”
Story Line: Finding Gold in Your Life Story” is a practical and spiritual guide to drawing upon your own story and fictionalizing it into your writing. As a Story Consultant and former VP of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount, most of the author’s work with writers has focused on creating standout scripts by elevating story.
A bestseller that is the first artist-friendly screenwriting guide to success by an Oscar nominated Hollywood insider whose productions have grossed more than a billion dollars.
Riding the Alligator is different from other screenwriting books in that it takes a non-dogmatic approach to finding your own personal creative process, and shares Pen’s best kept secrets for selling your creations and yourself.
Pen is your own, warm, funny, personal mentor as you read this book. Actress Robin Wright says: “It is like getting a UC screenwriting course for under $30!!!”.
Pen draws from his own extremely simple breakthrough techniques, shares his inspiring philosophy of finding a personal well of creativity from your inner voice, to overcoming the many challenges in a unique business, managing stress, the real secrets to selling your work, finding the right agent and being true to one’s nature to create a lasting and passion filled career.
The book is hailed by Hollywood luminaries like Ron Howard, Paul Haggis, Jeff Bridges, Morgan Freeman, as well as heads of major motion picture studios and academics from top film schools including USC, UCLA, NYU and AFI.
Also included are short, personal essays by A-List Hollywood scripters such as Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), Robin Swicord (Memoirs of a Geisha), Ron Shelton (Bull Durham/White Men Can’t Jump), Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island/Avatar), Todd Robinson (White Squall/Phantom), Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center), Anthony Peckham (Sherlock Holmes) and more.
Additionally, Pen provides an ‘Instant Library’ summarizing 10 other popular books on Hollywood, as reviewed by his USC Film Students.
The Virgins Promise demystifies the complexities of archetypes and clearly outlines the steps of a virgin s journey to realize her dream. Audiences need to see more than brave, self-sacrificing heroes. They need to see virgins who bring their talents and self-fulfilling joys to life. The Virgin s Promise describes this journey with beats that feel incredibly familiar but that have not been illustrated in any other screenwriting book. It explores the yin and yang of the virgin and hero journeys to take up their power as individuals, and includes a practical guide to putting this new theory into action.
Here, readers can learn why horror works and how to write a solid horror screenplay well grounded in the tricks of the grave. The book is ideal for screenwriters, writers, university film students, and horror film aficionados that want to gain a deeper understanding of the genre.
All beginning writers make the same mistakes — and many “pros” do, too! Because nobody in Hollywood will give your script a second chance, it better be perfect the first time out. No longer will you worry that a producer or story executive will toss your script in the garbage at page fifteen because Your Screenplay Sucks! Akers’ checklist will eliminate all the flaws in your screenplay, guaranteeing a cover-to-cover read.
This book includes the most comprehensive checklist of fatal errors all writers make — and then provides the tools to fix them.
In today’s highly competitive story market, this is the only book that finds the flaws in your script — like a heat-seeking missile — and shows you how to eliminate them.