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
Dialogue: No Words… When writing a screenplay, dialogue is the most fun to write. It’s also the most difficult thing to get right. If you’re struggling to improve your dialogue skills, here are a few potholes you should be sure to avoid. Make your audience work. The entire point of a screenplay is to cause … More 7 Tips for Writing Dialogue
It’s summer, let’s review! Screenwriting is hard work. Especially when sunshine and warm weather outside beckon. If you don’t love the writing process, it’s hard to stay focused. Applying your imagination, creativity and patience on a daily basis requires discipline and determination. It can be a lonely pursuit. Sometimes no more lonely then when you’re … More 4 Tips for Great Screenwriting
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
The Economics of Information The ability to use information and imagery economically and efficiently is a skill that comes with practice and revision. With careful attention, you can create a style of narrative that is effective as well as personal for you. As you hone this skill, you will create a unique way of telling … More The Economics of Information
Happy New Year! It’s a new year. Time to refocus our attention on our work and put to use the things we learned from our past endeavors. Continuing that theme, here are some things to remember when constructing the narrative for your screenplay. Stories happen in real places. Even when the worlds are fantasy, … More Screenplay Narrative: Things to Remember
Characters and Locations When describing characters and locations, you don’t want the narrative to break the flow of the action. You don’t want the reader to stop and ponder your words. You want your readers to be focused on what your characters are doing in the locations in which you have placed them. Characters When … More Screenplay Narrative (Part 2)
Images and Sound More than dialogue, a movie is about images created from sound and pictures. The narrative is how a writer describes what the reader would be seeing and hearing were s/he watching the filmed movie of his or her script. Like everything else in a script, narrative needs to show the reader not … More Screenplay Narrative (Part 1)