The Rules of Screenwriting and Why You Should Break Them

When I hear “Show, don't tell” in connection with screenwriting, one of the first
titles my mind goes to is 12 Angry Men (1957), Reginald Rose's big screen
adaptation of his live TV drama. 12 Angry Men not only depends on telling, it's
about ...

Author: Bill Mesce, Jr.

Publisher: McFarland

ISBN: 9781476627717

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 228

View: 369


A couple of generations ago, the movie industry ran on gut instinct—film schools, audience research departments and seminars on screenwriting were not yet de rigueur. Today the standard is the analytical approach, intended to demystify filmmaking and guarantee success (or at least minimize failure). The trouble with this method is that nobody knows how to do it—they just think they do—and films are made based on models of predictability rather than the merits of the script. This insider’s look at the craft and business of screenwriting explodes some of the popular myths, demonstrating how little relevance the rules have to actual filmmaking. With long experience in film and television, the author provides insightful how-not-to analyses, with commentary by such veterans as Josh Sapan (CEO of AMC Networks), bestselling author Adriana Trigiani and Oscar–nominated screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi (Goodfellas).

Break Into Screenwriting

However, you do need to know the 'rules' before you can start breaking them or
bending them to your own design. So I tried to take things from a writer's
perspective: this is what they tell you should be done, but don't be afraid if you
find your ...

Author: Ray Frensham

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 9781444155907

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 368

View: 778


This is a comprehensive, jargon-free guide for all budding screenwriters. Its aim is not just to guide you through the techniques and skills you need to write for the screen (film and television), but also to give you guidance on how to approach the industry as a whole. Focusing on every aspect of screenwriting, from how to set about the writing process to how to develop your characters, plot and structure, this book will give you all the guidance you need to break into this highly competitive industry and make a career for yourself as a screenwriter.

Basics Film Making 02 Screenwriting

These rules may appear restrictive at first, but they actually provide a framework
within which there is a lot of freedom. • Learning rules is often boring, and many
aspiring writers think that breaking them will immediately make their script
original ...

Author: Robert Edgar

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 9782940439263

Category: Photography

Page: 208

View: 866


Basics Film-Making: Screenwriting is the second in the Basics Film-Making series and is aimed both at students on film production courses, as well as those wishing to write a short film. The book teaches the key elements of screenwriting through examining areas such as dialogue, sound, setting, shots and structure. It also provides advice to new film-makers on how to market their productions. This is an essential guide to screenwriting and will teach you to write and produce artistically satisfying shorts.

Alternative Scriptwriting

Rules. There are many different schools of thought with regard to becoming a
better screenwriter. Some value convention, while others ... Consequently, we
illustrate the conventions of screenwriting so that you will be able to break from

Author: Ken Dancyger

Publisher: CRC Press

ISBN: 9781136053702

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 424

View: 758


Alternative Scriptwriting 4E is an insightful and inspiring book on screenwriting concerned with challenging you to take creative risks with genre, tone, character, and structure. Concerned with exploring alternative approaches beyond the traditional three-act structure, Alternative Scriptwriting first defines conventional approach, suggests alternatives, then provides case studies. These contemporary examples and case studies demonstrate what works, what doesn't, and why. Because the film industry as well as the public demand greater and greater creativity, one must go beyond the traditional three-act restorative and predictable plot to test your limits and break new creative ground. Rather than teaching writing in a tired formulaic manner, this book elevates the subject and provides inspiration to reach new creative heights.

Blueprint for Screenwriting

I coach writers on how to play the writing game, giving them techniques and
strategies on how to speak and act on interviews, at pitch meetings, and on the
telephone. These ... So after you know the rules, you sometimes need to break

Author: Rachel Ballon

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781135613853

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 184

View: 562


Blueprint for Screenwriting demystifies the writing process by developing a "blueprint" for writers to follow for each new screenplay--from original concept to completed script. Author and international script consultant Dr. Rachel Ballon explores the writing craft and emphasizes creativity in the writing process. She blends her expertise in script analysis and writing coaching with her personal experience as a screenwriter to help writers construct their stories and characters. Starting with the story's framework, Dr. Ballon helps readers to understand the key "building blocks" of story structure and character development, including characters' emotional and psychological states, story conflicts, and scene and act structure. She also covers the essential components in the script writing process, such as outlines, script treatments, synopses, and formats. Dr. Ballon devotes a chapter to overcoming writer's block--the writer's greatest obstacle--and offers guidance for taking the next steps once a script is completed. A practical tool for any writer, this distinctive resource: *offers a blueprint for writers to follow, breaking the writing process down into specific, easy-to-follow steps; *stresses the psychology of the characters as well as that of the writer; and *offers first-hand knowledge of the screenwriting process and gives practical advice for completing and marketing scripts. With its unique and insightful approach to the writing process, this book will be indispensable for scriptwriters, fiction writers, and professional writers, and it will serve as a useful text in screenwriting courses.

Raindance Writers Lab

There are the rules of screenwriting and the tools of screenwriting, and you
should remember the difference. Rules are made to ... But first you need to learn
the rules, so that you know what you are breaking. ... If not, discard it and find

Author: Elliot Grove

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISBN: 9781136055690

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 272

View: 877


If you're looking for a straightforward, practical, no-nonsense guide to scriptwriting that will hold your hand right the way through the process, read on! The Raindance Writers' Lab guides you through the tools that enable you to execute a strong treatment for a feature and be well on the way to the first draft of your script. Written by the creator of the Raindance Film Festival himself, Elliot Grove uses a hands-on approach to screenwriting based on his many years of experience teaching the subject for Raindance training. He uses step-by-step processes illustrated with diagrams and charts to lend a visual structure to the teaching. Techniques are related to real-life examples throughout, from low budget to blockbuster films. The Companion Website contains interviews with British writers and directors as well as a handy series of legal contracts, video clips and writing exercises. In this brand new 2nd edition, Grove expands on his story structure theory, as well as how to write for the internet and short films. The website also contains sample scripts and legal contracts, a writing exercise illustrated with a video clip, a folder full of useful hyperlinks for research, and a demo version of Final Draft screenwriting software.

Genre Screenwriting

As the writer, you must not only deliver on those expectations, but you must also
deliver the unexpected: the mysterious essentials of creativity and ... I'm a firm
believer in the simple axiom “You can't break the rules until you know them.

Author: Stephen V. Duncan

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9781501305924

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 224

View: 513


It's simple: films need to have commercial value for the studios to produce them, distributors to sell them, and theater chains to screen them. While talent definitely plays a part in the writing process, it can be the well-executed formulaic approaches to the popular genres that will first get you noticed in the industry. Genre Screenwriting: How to Write Popular Screenplays That Sell does not attempt to probe in the deepest psyche of screenwriters and directors of famous or seminal films, nor does it attempt to analyze the deep theoretic machinations of films. Duncan's simple goal is to give the reader, the screenwriter, a practical guide to writing each popular film genre. Employing methods as diverse as using fairy tales to illustrate the 'how to' process for each popular genre, and discussing these popular genres in modern television and its relation to its big screen counterpart, Duncan provides a one-stop shop for novices and professionals alike.

Screenwriting For Dummies

Part II: Breaking Down the Elements of a Story The first ten minutes of every
movie determine what an audience ... You may want to think of these rules as the
game plan upon which your audience forms expectations about the ensuing

Author: Laura Schellhardt

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 9781118052624

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 360

View: 702


Write a great script and get it into the hands of the Hollywood players! So you want to be a screenwriter? Whether you want to write a feature film or a TV script or adapt your favorite book, this friendly guide gives you expert advice in everything from creating your story and developing memorable characters to formatting your script and selling it to the studios. You get savvy industry tips and strategies for getting your screenplay noticed! The screenwriting process from A to Z -- from developing a concept and thinking visually to plotline, conflicts, pacing, and the conclusion Craft living, breathing characters -- from creating the backstory to letting your characters speak to balancing dialogue with action Turn your story into a script -- from developing an outline and getting over writer's block to formatting your screenplay and handling rewrites Prepare for Hollywood -- from understanding the players and setting your expectations to polishing your copy and protecting your work Sell your script to the industry -- from preparing your pitch and finding an agent to meeting with executives and making a deal Open the book and find: The latest on the biz, from entertainment blogs to top agents to box office jargon New story examples from recently released films Tips on character development, a story's time clock, dramatic structure, and dialogue New details on developing the nontraditional screenplay -- from musicals to animation to high dramatic style Expanded information on adaptation and collaboration, with examples from successful screenwriting duos

Scheduling and Budgeting Your Film

Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter are the screenwriting software industry
leaders, compatible with most scheduling and budgeting programs. ... If you can
obtain the screenplay in the original format, it may be quicker and easier to break
down those files. Rule of Thumb: If a script format is incorrect, and is the only
version available, it is a good investment of time to correct it before the
breakdown ...

Author: Paula Landry

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISBN: 9781136039775

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 307

View: 428


Scheduling and Budgeting Your Film: A Panic-Free Guide explains the fundamentals of line producing in an easy-to-understand style, and the tips and techniques apply no matter what kind of scheduling or budgeting software you use. Author Paula Landry includes full examples of breakdown forms, organizing resources, distribution expenses, and hidden costs, and discusses how to set priorities and find industry and state tax incentives.

The Coffee Break Screenwriter Breaks the Rules

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!

Author: Pilar Alessandra


ISBN: 1615932828

Category: Motion picture authorship

Page: 86

View: 626


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).

Secrets of the Screen Trade

The “ ruleswe apply to screenwriting were developed over time as a pragmatic
way to deliver the kinds of stories audiences traditionally demand . From the
plays ...

Author: Allen B. Ury

Publisher: Lone Eagle Publishing Company, LLC

ISBN: UOM:39015059580681

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 165

View: 700


Everyone in the industry -- from the 'D-girl' to the most powerful mogul -- is by now familiar with 'the three-act paradigm' and knows its rules. Ury has developed his own set of rules and guidelines that have been tested against hundreds of screenplays. These theories make up the core of this book. Ury covers everything from developing a marketable screenplay, to creating viable villains, to writing effective set pieces, to pleasing professionals readers and studio executives.


Ted Tally, the Academy Award–winning screenwriter of The Silence of the Lambs
and The Juror, says he “breaks down the book scene by scene. I try ... It's a
general rule that if you're adapting a book or an article to fit the needs of a
screenplay, you may have to shift, omit, or add ... Remember that when you're
deliberately breaking a book apart in order to make it into a screenplay, you're
going to have to ...

Author: Syd Field

Publisher: Delta

ISBN: 0307423263

Category: Reference

Page: 336

View: 304


Hollywood’s script guru teaches you how to write a screenplay in “the ‘bible’ of screenwriting” (The New York Times)—now celebrating forty years of screenwriting success! Syd Field’s books on the essential structure of emotionally satisfying screenplays have ignited lucrative careers in film and television since 1979. In this revised edition of his premiere guide, the underpinnings of successful onscreen narratives are revealed in clear and encouraging language that will remain wise and practical as long as audiences watch stories unfold visually—from hand-held devices to IMAX to virtual reality . . . and whatever comes next. As the first person to articulate common structural elements unique to successful movies, celebrated producer, lecturer, teacher and bestselling author Syd Field has gifted us a classic text. From concept to character, from opening scene to finished script, here are fundamental guidelines to help all screenwriters—novices and Oscar-winners—hone their craft and sell their work. In Screenplay, Syd Field can help you discover: • Why the first ten pages of every script are crucial to keeping professional readers’ interest • How to visually “grab” these influential readers from page one, word one • Why structure and character are the basic components of all narrative screenplays • How to adapt a novel, a play, or an article into a saleable script • Tips on protecting your work—three ways to establish legal ownership of screenplays • Vital insights on writing authentic dialogue, crafting memorable characters, building strong yet flexible storylines (form, not formula), overcoming writer's block, and much more Syd Field is revered as the original master of screenplay story structure, and this guide continues to be the industry’s gold standard for learning the foundations of screenwriting.

Writer s Guide to Hollywood Producers Directors and Screenwriter s Agents 2002 2003

In my seminars I examine the established rules and discuss how they can be
used to strengthen a film , and how sometimes you need to know how to break
them . We look at how films have broken the rules in the past and why they did it .

Author: Skip Press

Publisher: Prima Lifestyles

ISBN: 0761531874

Category: Reference

Page: 432

View: 250


Now You Have a Friend in the Industry! So you want to get into show business? In Hollywood, it's not what you know, but who you know that counts. Whether your dream is to become a Hollywood writer or find the perfect producer to buy your script, at your fingertips are the insider hints and secrets you need to get discovered and succeed in this ultracompetitive industry. Hollywood guru and screenwriter Skip Press introduces you to hundreds of producers, directors, and agents and tells you how to reach them--by mail, phone, fax, or e-mail. You'll learn how to: -Market screenplays, novels, or short stories to the right people -Tailor your proposal to the preferences of each producer, director, or agent -Understand the real Hollywood and everything show business -Find the best agent or manager "Thoughtfully written, clearly laid out, and of great value to beginners and old-timers alike. This book combines fearless opinions and invaluable hard facts--both of which are hard to find in Hollywood." --Gareth Wigan, co-vice chairman, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group "An entertaining and valuable tool for anyone interested in show business." --Paul Mason Sr., vice president of production, Viacom "An invaluable resource for breaking into the movie and television business." --Barbara Anne Hiser, Emmy-winning cable and network television producer "An insightful guide to the intricate Hollywood network." --Oliver Eberle, founder and CEO, "The bonus for readers of this book is that Skip Press is a good writer--accessible, clear, persuasive, motivating, and easy to understand." --Jerry B. Jenkins, coauthor, the Left Behind series

Writing Screenplays That Sell

Updates to this edition include a new, masterful analysis of Avatar's script, new scripts examples, a new chapter on breaking the rules - succussful scripts that don't follow the traditional Hollywood model and online marketing tools for ...

Author: Michael Hauge

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN: 9781408157008

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 384

View: 827


"No one is better than Michael Hauge at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story...." Will Smith, actor "In the field of teaching screenwriting, Michael Hauge is indeed a master." The Freelance Screenwriter's Forum A bestseller for 20 years, Hauge's unique 'six step' approach to screenwriting cuts through nonsense, striking the perfect balance between commercial advice, artistic encouragement and lucid examples from hundreds of great films. Never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of a script: emotional impact, Hauge's engaging and inspiring book takes you on a journey through story concept, character development, theme, structure and scenes. Screenwriting is an art, but Hague's book is unashamedly commercial with advice on how to submit a manuscript, select an agent and market yourself. Updates to this edition include a new, masterful analysis of Avatar's script, new scripts examples, a new chapter on breaking the rules - succussful scripts that don't follow the traditional Hollywood model and online marketing tools for screenwriters.

Teach Yourself Screenwriting

When seeing a movie - or reading a script – for the first time , it should be the
story and the characters that propel the audience through this journey - the
structural points ... no rules , but you've got to know them before you can break
them !

Author: Ray Frensham


ISBN: GENT:900071419665



View: 898


Writing Your Screenplay

Designed for screenwriters and film professionals looking for more than a formulaic approach to screenplays. it offers insights into the classic structures and themes which underlie good screenwriting, as well as contemporary story-telling ...

Author: Lisa Dethridge

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 174115099X

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 267

View: 444


Designed for screenwriters and film professionals looking for more than a formulaic approach to screenplays. it offers insights into the classic structures and themes which underlie good screenwriting, as well as contemporary story-telling techniques. it also provides detailed instructions on how to create cohesive plots and more.

How to Build a Great Screenplay

not to be boring too long , but you're still champing at the bit , ready to break all
the rules . ... It also isn't a drive that should be stifled , either by rules or timidity .

Author: David Howard

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1429994789

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 464

View: 677


How to Bulid a Great Screenplay is a definitive guide on the mechanics of screenwriting--filled with examples--from the author of The Tools of Screenwriting. Acclaimed USC screenwriting teacher David Howard has guided hundreds of students to careers in writing for film and television. Drawing on decades of practical experience and savvy, How to Build a Great Screenplay deconstructs the craft of screenwriting and carefully reveals how to build a good story from the ground up. Howard eschews the "system" offered by other books, emphasizing that a great screenplay requires dozens of unique decisions by the author. He offers in-depth considerations of: * characterization * story arc * plotting and subplotting * dealing with coincidence in story plotting * classical vs. revolutionary screenplay structure * tone, style, and atmosphere * the use of time on screen * the creation of drama and tension * crucial moments in storytelling Throughout the book, Howard clarifies his lessons through examples from some of the most successful Hollywood and international script-oriented films, including Pulp Fiction, American Beauty, Trainspotting, North by Northwest, Chinatown, and others. The end result is what could very well become the classic text in the field---a bible for the burgeoning screenwriter.

Film Studies

It should be clear by this point that film studies does not ask you to be a movie
reviewer. ... To analyze something means to break it down into its component
parts. ... THREE-ACT STRUCTURE Despite what you may have heard about
narrative screenwriting, particularly Hollywood screenwriting, there are no rules
governing ...

Author: Ed Sikov

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231142935

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 212

View: 558


Ed Sikov builds a step-by-step curriculum for the appreciation of all types of narrative cinema, detailing the essential elements of film form and systematically training the spectator to be an active reader and critic. Sikov primes the eye and mind in the special techniques of film analysis. His description of mise-en-scene helps readers grasp the significance of montage, which in turn reveals the importance of a director's use of camera movement. He treats a number of fundamental factors in filmmaking, including editing, composition, lighting, the use of color and sound, and narrative. Film Studies works with any screening list and can be used within courses on film history, film theory, or popular culture. Straightforward explanations of core critical concepts, practical advice, and suggested assignments on particular technical, visual, and aesthetic aspects further anchor the reader's understanding of the formal language and anatomy of film.

Hot Property

Can you write a screenplay without structure ? Yes . Will it turn out any good ?
Possibly . But probably not . Then why take the chance ? Like any other paradigm
, you should know the rules before you can break them . Rodat and other ...

Author: Christopher Keane

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

ISBN: IND:30000087937763

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 297

View: 906


The author of How to Write a Selling Screenplay presents a step-by-step tutorial in the art of screenwriting to meet the needs of an independent, technologically sophisticated Hollywood, covering such topics as trends in the film industry, changing screenwriting requirements, creating believable characters and situations, and selling one's work. Original.

The Pleasures of Structure

Similarly he doesn't just see his reflection in the barroom mirror, he glares at it. ...
Indeed, your next task after you finish your first draft might well be to take a pass
through the script just to cut down ... Lesson. Break: Modes. of. Expression. in.
Screenplay. Writing. We are taught that screenplays are more blueprint than ...
On the contrary, many of the most successful and influential screenwriters bend “
rules” and engage us dramatically with the individuality of their writing while they
pay ...

Author: Julian Hoxter

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9781441164261

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 312

View: 322


The Pleasures of Structure starts from the premise that the ability to develop a well understood and articulated story structure is the most important skill a screenwriter can develop. For example, good structure requires a great premise and rigorous character development. Without clear character motivations and goals--which are themselves indicative of key structural beats--your story is going exactly nowhere. Using the simple and flexible 'W' model of screenplay structure developed in the prequel Write What You Don't Know, Hoxter sets this out as its starting point. This model is tested against a range of examples which are chosen to explore the flexibility not only of that model but of movie storytelling more generally. Writers and students often worry that they are asked to work 'to formula'. This book will test that formula to breaking point. For example, the first case study will offer the example of a well written, professional, mainstream movie against which our later and more adventurous examples can be compared. So the lessons we learn examining the animated family adventure movie How To Train Your Dragon lead us directly to ask questions of our second case study, the acclaimed Swedish vampire movie Låt den Rätte Komma In (Let The Right One In). Both movies have protagonists with the same basic problem, the same goal, and they use the same basic structure to tell their stories. Of course they are very different films and they work on their audiences in very different ways. Our linked case studies will expose how simple choices, like reversing the order of elements of the protagonist's transformational arc and shifting ownership of key story beats, has an enormous impact on how we respond to a structural model that is otherwise functionally identical.