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Step 1: The Story Outline

Joseph McBride

Joseph McBride is a film historian and associate professor in the Cinema department at San Francisco State University. His many books include Searching for John Ford, Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success, Steven Spielberg: A Biography, Hawks on Hawks, Whatever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career, as well as the critical studies John Ford (1974, with Michael Wilmington) and Orson Welles. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Writing in Pictures : Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless

Faber & Faber, 2012

Book

...A Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This is your first step as a screenwriter.Write a two-page ( double-spaced) outline of the story you choose. The outline should be in narrative paragraph...

Essential Three Act Questions

Jack Epps

Jack Epps, Jr. is the co-author of the films, Top Gun, The Secret Of My Success, Dick Tracy, Anaconda, and Turner and Hooch. Epps is also a script doctor and has contributed to films such as Sister Act and Die Hard With a Vengeance. Epps is Associate Professor and Chair of the Writing for Screen and Television Program at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, USA. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Screenwriting is Rewriting : The Art and Craft of Professional Revision

Bloomsbury Academic, 2016

Book

...Act One The Set-Up State your premise in two or three sentences. Use one word to describe what your movie is about. Where does the movie take place? What new world are you examining or creating? Describe the current status quo...

Dialogue as Action

Joseph McBride

Joseph McBride is a film historian and associate professor in the Cinema department at San Francisco State University. His many books include Searching for John Ford, Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success, Steven Spielberg: A Biography, Hawks on Hawks, Whatever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career, as well as the critical studies John Ford (1974, with Michael Wilmington) and Orson Welles. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Writing in Pictures : Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless

Faber & Faber, 2012

Book

...After I went to the first Hollywood screening of John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King in 1975, I ran into a studio executive I knew and admired as someone with uncommonly intelligent taste in movies. When I praised the film...

Actors Are Your Medium

Joseph McBride

Joseph McBride is a film historian and associate professor in the Cinema department at San Francisco State University. His many books include Searching for John Ford, Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success, Steven Spielberg: A Biography, Hawks on Hawks, Whatever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career, as well as the critical studies John Ford (1974, with Michael Wilmington) and Orson Welles. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Writing in Pictures : Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless

Faber & Faber, 2012

Book

...Yes, actors are your medium. That statement may surprise some of you. But the actor is your primary means of expression as a screenwriter. Stanley Kubrick made this point in a 1960 article for Sight & Sound entitled “Words and Movies...

Lawrence of Arabia

Tom Stempel

Tom Stempel is the author of five books, two of which were published by Continuum–FrameWork: A History of Screenwriting in American Film and Storytellers to the Nation: A History of American Television Writing–the others being Screenwriter: The Life of Nunnally Johnson; Screenwriting; and American Audiences on Movies and Moviegoing. He is Professor of Cinema, Cinema-Television Department, Los Angeles City College. He has taught on these subjects for more than thirty years. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Understanding Screenwriting : Learning from Good, Not-Quite-So-Good, and Bad Screenplays

Continuum, 2008

Book

...Lawrence of Arabia (1962. Based on Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence. Screenplay by Michael Wilson and Robert Bolt. 216 minutes in the 1989 restoration) Thomas Edward Lawrence was a young British scholar of the Middle East serving...

Epilogue: Breaking into Professional Filmmaking

Joseph McBride

Joseph McBride is a film historian and associate professor in the Cinema department at San Francisco State University. His many books include Searching for John Ford, Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success, Steven Spielberg: A Biography, Hawks on Hawks, Whatever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career, as well as the critical studies John Ford (1974, with Michael Wilmington) and Orson Welles. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Writing in Pictures : Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless

Faber & Faber, 2012

Book

...Now you know how to write a professional-quality screenplay. What do you do next? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question. You may well succeed as a screenwriter, if you are sufficiently devoted to that task, but you should...

What is a Story Premise and Why Should You Care?

Jeff Lyons

Jeff Lyons is a working writer, story editor, script and book doctor, and has worked in the film, television, and publishing industries for more than two decades, helping thousands of screenwriters and novelists tell better stories. He is an instructor through Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio, and is a regular guest lecturer through the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Jeff’s writings on the craft of storytelling can be found in leading industry trade magazines such as Writer’s Digest Magazine, Script Magazine, and The Writer. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Anatomy of a Premise Line : How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success

Focal Press, 2016

Book

... WHAT IS A STORY PREMISE AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? If a story is going to fail, it will first do so at the premise level, i.e., at the level of the idea itself. The “7-Step Premise Development Process” is all about developing your story’s...

Introduction, or, Should I Save the Cat and Send the Hero on His Journey?

Paul Joseph Gulino

Paul Gulino is Associate Professor of Screenwriting at Chapman University, USA. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Connie Shears

Connie Shears is Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Chapman University, USA. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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The Science of Screenwriting : The Neuroscience Behind Storytelling Strategies

Bloomsbury Academic, 2018

Book

...Rich and seemingly boundless as the creative arts seem to be, each is filtered through the narrow biological channels of human cognition.Edward O. Wilson, The Social Conquest of Earth (New York: W. W. Norton, 2012), p. 268.Edward O. Wilson,...

Concept/Treatment/Pitch

Robert Edgar-Hunt

,

Robert Edgar is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts at York St John University, UK, where he teaches creative writing and film and television. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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John Marland

John Marland is a Senior Lecturer in Literature Studies at York St John University with twenty years of experience using adaptation as an educational tool across a range of the arts and humanities subjects including Literature, Creative Writing and Film & TV Production. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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and

James Richards

James Richards

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Basics Film-Making 02: Screenwriting

AVA Publishing SA, 2012

Book

... AV•BASICS FILM MAKING: SCREENWRITIING CONCEPT/TREATMENT/PITCH Jaws (dir: Steven Spielberg 1978) You now have your idea and no doubt at this stage it has been rushing around the inside of your head for a while. You have, most likely...

Dialogue Pass

Jack Epps

Jack Epps, Jr. is the co-author of the films, Top Gun, The Secret Of My Success, Dick Tracy, Anaconda, and Turner and Hooch. Epps is also a script doctor and has contributed to films such as Sister Act and Die Hard With a Vengeance. Epps is Associate Professor and Chair of the Writing for Screen and Television Program at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, USA. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

Search for publications

Screenwriting is Rewriting : The Art and Craft of Professional Revision

Bloomsbury Academic, 2016

Book

...A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue.Some writers have a natural ear for dialogue and it comes easy to them. Others struggle with dialogue and it sounds wooden, or the characters all sound the same. Writing...