Growing the Idea

So you want to write a screenplay. Where to begin?

One of the most common questions asked of writers is, “Where do you get your
ideas?”

When I hear that, my first impulse is to flippantly respond, “If you don’t have any ideas, why do you want to write?!” Eventually, … More

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Bits Bite Back

There’s a digital filmmaking revolution happening. Just not where you might think.

Early in December I attended a preview screening of The Last Samurai. As press, I get inside screenings before the rest of crowd. After I had sat down in the empty theater, I noticed that two security … More

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Submerged: The Story Beneath the Story

A Loaded Symbol: Departure of the Winged Ship, Vladimir KushWhen you watch a great movie, read a really good book, or are in some way exposed to a nice piece of storytelling, you may have often had a sense of shifting layers of meaning underneath the surface scenes and characters. Indeed, there are entire disciplines devoted to ferreting out … More

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Conflict in Genre: Not Just the Bad Guy

Beginning screenwriters truly seem to have trouble understanding that conflict is essential to drama. While they are usually aware of the necessity of an antagonist, what they typically forget is that conflict should be everywhere in a story, and not solely originate from the bad guy and his minions. This … More

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Recommended Screenplays

Following is a linked list of recommended screenplays; scripts I reference in the tutorial are marked with an asterisk (*). Whenever possible, I have found these works in PDF format, as correct page count is an essential measure of structure, thus important to an understanding of screenplay format. For this … More

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Recommended Books

Texts on Screenwriting, Storytelling, and Film
All purchases from these links will help support my site. I have read every book on this page, and have not received promotional consideration from any of these authors.

THE ART OF DRAMATIC WRITING: Lajos Egri’s book is one of the essential, foundational books

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Screenplay Style

Screenplay style is a little-understood, seldom discussed topic. Possibly this is due to the fact that screenplay writing is often dismissed as not having literary merit, and thus stylistic considerations are seen as unimportant. Yet this is clearly untrue, as script style is inexorably bound with script format, and thus … More

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To Be a Screenwriter

If you’ve ever wanted to write a screenplay, it might seem at first to be either a completely daunting task, given the complexities of story and character, or it might seem like a snap, especially when looking at many of the poorly-written films that are produced every year. It’s neither … More

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A Man, a Blade, an Empty Road

Sword of Doom (1966)
Known in Japan as chanbara eiga (“sword fighting film”), a subset of the jidai-geki (“period theatre”) genre, samurai film and its development lies at the core of Japanese cinema and its long history. Chanbara became one of the central vehicles by which Japan would reexamine its culture and values in light of its new postwar, post-imperial role. Read more
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