While plots most be original and compelling, characters are the key to every great movie. Your characters are the emotional core of your story. It is through them that your audience engages and experiences the world you have created. To write great characters you must know them and understand them. They must live in your … More 3 Steps to Introducing Characters
Continuing my countdown, here are the top five movies that I’ve seen so far this year. This is by no means a comprehensive survey. It’s merely a distillation of the movies I that I enjoyed the most. Maybe you have or will enjoy some of them as well. 5. Girls Trip This movie is a … More The Second Half of My Top Ten Movies for 2017 (So Far)
Beginning, Middles and Ends In a screenplay, just like your plot, a well-structured scene will have a beginning, middle and end. Beginnings You must establish who the protagonist of the scene is and what they want. Except for the first time we meet a character, this is done BEFORE the scene starts. This is what … More The Well Written Scene, Part 2
The end of punctuation: full stop. This will complete our examination of how to use punctuation to create vivid imagery in your narrative description and how to imply camera angles and pacing edits without revealing that’s what you are doing. If there’s anything I’ve missed, send me a note. I’ll be happy to answer your … More Directing Through Punctuation, Part 4.
Backwards and forwards. As we continue our exploration of how to use punctuation in the narrative description of a screenplay, don’t forget the example we’re looking using. It’s from the first page of Shane Black’s 2005 directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: The girl starts to SCREAM. SHRIEKING. Writhing in agony. Tears streaming. Harold stares … More Directing Through Punctuation, Part 3.
The power of punctuation. Each punctuation mark has its own meaning. It defines how we read a sentence, where we pause and what inflection we impose on the words. They also have informal corresponding implications when writing visual description in a screenplay. As we get into the dots, dashes, slants and curves, there’s a lot … More Directing Through Punctuation, Part 2.
One of the secrets that all great screenwriters understand is how to direct through punctuation. Direct without directing. Instead of camera angles and the royal “We,” force your reader to see the movie you want them to see by using the tools at your disposal: punctuation and grammar. Write your movie the way it should … More Directing through Punctuation, Part 1.
Like an MC Escher drawing, a good screenplay is an illusion. It uses words on a page to convince readers to see something very different in their minds’ eyes. The way language, grammar and punctuation are used in a script defines the reader’s experience of that script. When it’s done well, a script is said … More Creating a Narrative Style
How to Use Breakdowns. Now that I’ve given you some examples. Try to do a few for yourself. Watch some films and see if you can pick out the 20+ moments I’ve listed above. While you’re at it, note the elapsed time when these moments occur. General convention is that one page of a script … More Using Breakdowns In Your Work
Timing is Everything A common mistake among writers is the location of information. When they put information into the narrative is just as important as what they include. If you want to create a mystery or a question for the audience to ponder, then you want to place visual information — a location, an object … More Timing Counts (No Pun Intended)