Screenwriting Updated New and Conventional Ways of Writing for the Screen

ISBN-10: 1879505592

ISBN-13: 9781879505599

Edition: 2001

Authors: Linda Aronson

List price: $19.95
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Book details

List price: $19.95
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: Silman-James Press
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 300
Size: 7.25" wide x 10.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.496
Language: English

Getting ideas
Creativity and general problem-solving
Understanding the writing process
De Bono's creativity theories and screenwriting
What causes weak writing
How to use vertical and lateral thinking
The Development Strategies method
Development Strategies 1 and 2: diagnosis and general problem-solving
Getting good ideas fast from screen models
Writing to a screen model
Getting ideas for a film (for example, a low-budget romance)
Genre and audience expectations
Pitfalls of genre
Combining genres
Inventing genres
Getting good ideas fast from fairytale, myth and fable
Getting story ideas from Cinderella
Fairytales as templates for thrillers
Myth, fable and literature
Getting good ideas fast from non-narrative triggers
The outside world
Social roles or behaviors
Photographs, music, art works and other sensory stimuli
Concepts and themes
Finding other triggers
Narrative structure
Overview of traditional narrative structure
Parallel storytelling is driven by the three-act structure
Structure = good timing
Visualizing the three-act structure
The importance of the protagonist
Assembling the fragments
Making a structure chart
Nine steps to a three-act structure
Subplot/background story/relationship line
Index cards
Development Strategies for a traditional three-act film
Parallel storytelling
Getting a good setup
Finding the action line
Conflict and the chain of events
Action line and relationship line
Three-act structure in the relationship line
Protagonist and antagonist
Relationship line antagonists and action line antagonists
Getting into character
Laying the foundations for suspense and surprise
Second-act complications
The second-act turning point
Finding the climax
Resolution and ending
Final steps before the first draft
Finding the story sentence (advanced form)
Checking that the relationship line is moving
Close planning
Opening scenes
Symbolism and myth
Specific plotting problems: adaptation
Specific plotting problems: comedy and satire
Specific plotting problems: the short film
Specific plotting problems: the journey film
Rewrites and problem-solving generally
Using criticism to best advantage
Structural analysis of The Piano
Alternative narrative structures: flashback
Varieties of parallel narrative
Narrative told in flashbacks
What is flashback narrative?
Other versions of flashback
Flashback as illustration
Flashback as life-changing incident
Autobiographical flashback narrative
Plot requirements in flashback narrative
Requirements of the story in the past and the story in the present
Three-act structure in flashback narrative
Full circle, chronologically
The hook/triggering crisis
Varieties of flashback narrative
Differences between thwarted dream and case history
Protagonist and antagonist
When to use flashback as case history
The investigator
Climax twist
When to use flashback as thwarted dream
Protagonist and antagonist
Pursuit of the dream
New understanding in the third act
Living the dream
The ticking clock
Restoring the balance
Thwarted dream becoming case history
Autobiographical flashback
Flashback as life-changing incident
Other flashback uses in Catch-22
Recurrent flashback as moment of calm
Quick reference guide to using flashback narrative
Plot material
The past
Detective element
The enigmatic outsider
Thwarted dream or case history
Protagonists and antagonists
Hunt, quest, or journey
Structure in flashback narrative
Three-act structure
Flashbacks appear chronologically
Placing and content
Protagonist and antagonist
The story in the present
The story in the past
Triggering crisis
Contents of triggering crisis
Full circle
Third-act quest
Stories in tandem
No pursuit of the dream
Method for constructing flashback narrative
Exercise in creating flashback narrative
Standard Cinderella story
Cinderella as thwarted dream
Cinderella as case history
Using other sorts of flashback
Turning Cinderella into flashback as life-changing incident
Turning Cinderella into autobiographical flashback
Incorporating flashback as memory into Cinderella
Incorporating alternative versions of events via flashback
Starting flashbacks at the disturbance and ending just after the first-act turning point
Structure charts of flashback narrative
The Remains of the Day
The Usual Suspects
Citizen Kane
The Sweet Hereafter
Tandem narrative and sequential narrative
Advantages and problems
Closure and meaning
Pace and jeopardy
Problems with closure, meaning, and pace: case studies
Short Cuts
Sliding Doors
Techniques to handle closure, pace, jeopardy, and length
Three films that solve the problems
City of Hope
Facilitating characters
Meaning, connection, pace, and closure
Close weave
Crimes and Misdemeanors and Pulp Fiction
Tandem narrative in Crimes and Misdemeanors
Pulp Fiction: closure by portmanteau plot
City of Hope, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Pulp Fiction as models
Actor improvisation and the macro
Multiple protagonists and antagonists
How all the narratives fit together
Group action line or survival macro
Responses by individuals to the common problem (macro plot)
Relationships between individuals
The dominant character
The outsider
The traitor within
Creating a strong multiple protagonist/antagonist structure
Group action line (survival macro)
The group as a family
The threat to the group
Steps in the action line
The disturbance and "whose film is it?"
Skeletal structure of the macro/action line
Relationship lines
Quest films
Relationship lines
Reunion films
A macro that leads to closure
The group on the cusp of change
Siege films
Siege structure in American Beauty
Lost in the telling: films with structural flaws
Prelude to a Kiss
Falling in Love
Jaws 3
Jack and Sarah
Guarding Tess
Mr. Saturday Night
Parallel Lives
Common script problems
Why a script might feel slow
Why a script might feel boring
Why a script might fizzle
Getting it onto paper
Different dialogue skills
Dialogue and structure
Writing dialogue
Visuals and sound
Real time
Getting information across (exposition)
Talking heads and poor exposition
Keeping to the point
Character and emotions behind the words (subtext)
To get into character for the scene
Productive conflict and redundant conflict
Acting and camera directions
Writing well for the camera
Examples of flawed dialogue writing
"Going on holiday" (Version 1)
"Going on holiday" (Version 2)
"The Breakup" (Version 1)
"The Breakup" (Version 2)
"The Breakup" (Version 3)
Treatment writing and the script as instruction manual
What is a treatment?
What distracts readers from the film in their heads?
What is the sequence about?
Emotional state of the characters
New details that will be important later
Going to cards before writing the treatment
Exercise in treatment technique
Poor treatment writing
Better treatment writing--alternative versions
Points to remember
Scene breakdowns and stage directions
Strategy for writing under pressure
About the Author
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