Screenplay: Writing the Picture

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-03-01
  • Publisher: Silman-James Pr

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Screenplay is a complete screenwriting course-from initial idea through final script sale-providing in-depth discussions of theme development; story research; script plotting and structuring; character development; dialogue; writing arid rewriting methods; formatting; the ins and outs of marketing and pitching scripts; writing for TV, the Web and video games... and much more.

Author Biography

Robin U. Russin is a Professor of Screenwriting at the University of California, Riverside, where he serves as director of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts. He has written, produced and directed film, TV, theater and transmedia projects. Russin is coauthor of Naked Play writing. A Rhodes Scholar, he holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford, Rhode Island School of Design and UCLA, where he earned an MFA in screenwriting. William Missouri Downs is an award-winning playwright who has written for film and several NBC sitcoms. His plays have been produced throughout the world and published by Samuel French and Playscripts. He is coauthor of The Art of Theatre and Naked Playwriting. Downs holds an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. x
Fade Inp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
The Basicsp. 1
How to Impress a Readerp. 3
Who Are Those Guys?p. 4
What Are They Looking For?p. 5
Writing in Stylep. 14
Final Thoughtsp. 15
Exercisesp. 15
Formatp. 16
Formatting and Formatting Softwarep. 17
Setting Up Your Scriptp. 17
Exercisesp. 36
Theme, Meaning and Emotionp. 37
Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing (Yet)p. 37
Themes All Right to Mep. 39
Write from the Heartp. 41
Papa, Don't Preachp. 41
How to Reveal the Themep. 42
Some Consequence Yet Hanging in the Starsp. 43
Final Thoughtsp. 44
Exercisesp. 44
The World of the Storyp. 45
Through the Looking Glass (Story and World)p. 46
The Right (Wo)man at the Right Time in the Right Place (Character and World)p. 47
Laughing past the Graveyard (Contrast and Irony)p. 49
Show and Tell (World and Exposition)p. 55
Been There, Done That (Research and Consistency)p. 58
Final Thoughtsp. 59
Exercisesp. 59
Characterp. 60
Which Came First, the Honey or the Bee?p. 60
Geez, You Act like You're in a Moviep. 61
What on Earth Is He Doing Here? (Character Functions)p. 62
What's the Situation? (Character and Context)p. 68
Turn On the Spotlight (Character Elements)p. 72
The Arc or the Covenant (Character Arc vs. Catalytic Character)p. 81
Write You Are (Building Characters)p. 83
A Piece of Sugar (The Shorthand of Dogs, Cats, Children and Tucking in Blankets)p. 88
Final Thoughtsp. 89
Exercisep. 90
Story Structurep. 91
Historical Approaches to Structurep. 93
Structure Stricturesp. 93
Aristotle and Poeticsp. 94
Plotto and Thirty-Six Dramatic Situationsp. 97
Lajos Egri and The Art of Dramatic Writingp. 97
Joseph Campbell and the Hero's Journeyp. 98
The Three-Act Structurep. 100
Automated Story Developmentp. 108
Final Thoughtsp. 109
Exercisesp. 110
Power and Conflictp. 111
May the Force Be With You (Power and Conflict)p. 112
The Orchestration of Power and Conflictp. 117
Types of Story Conflictp. 119
Final Thoughtsp. 134
Exercisesp. 134
Beats, Scenes and Sequencesp. 135
Follow the Beatp. 135
Making a Scenep. 138
Sequencesp. 149
That's Another Story (Subplot Sequences)p. 156
Final Thoughtsp. 157
Exercisesp. 158
Scene Cardsp. 163
It's in the Cardsp. 164
Final Thoughtsp. 182
Exercisesp. 182
Entering the Storyp. 183
The Terminator: Man vs. Machinep. 184
Big Night: Soul vs. Successp. 187
Exercisesp. 192
The Structure of Genresp. 194
A Moving (Picture) Experiencep. 195
Couragep. 197
Fear and Loathingp. 206
The Need to Knowp. 214
Laughterp. 220
Love and Longingp. 229
Final Thoughtsp. 234
Exercisesp. 234
Writingp. 235
Narrativep. 237
Keep It Moving!p. 237
Write Only What We Can See or Hearp. 242
Describing Charactersp. 243
Describing Locationsp. 244
Final Thoughtsp. 250
Exercisesp. 251
Dialoguep. 253
The Role of Dialoguep. 254
How Can I Say This? (Dialogue Techniques)p. 260
I Was Born in a Log Cabin I Built with My Own Hands… (Exposition)p. 276
Technical Do's and Don't'sp. 280
For Crying Out Loud!p. 283
Final Thoughtsp. 284
Exercisesp. 284
Rewritingp. 291
It's Great! Now Let Me Fix Itp. 292
Taking It Apart and Putting It Back Togetherp. 297
Final Thoughtsp. 301
Exercisesp. 302
Marketingp. 303
Marketing the Scriptp. 305
The Writers Guild of Americap. 305
Representationp. 311
Production Companiesp. 320
Networkingp. 323
Film Schoolsp. 326
Final Thoughtsp. 327
Exercisep. 327
The Pitchp. 328
To Pitch or Not to Pitchp. 328
Getting in the Doorp. 331
Final Thoughtsp. 342
Exercisesp. 342
Alternativesp. 343
Writing for Televisionp. 345
Writing a Specp. 346
Sitcom Format Guidep. 352
Writing Comedyp. 354
You Need an Agentp. 357
L.A. Is Where You Want to Bep. 358
Pitching for Televisionp. 359
A Life in Televisionp. 361
Final Thoughtsp. 362
Writing Webisodesp. 363
Webi-Premisep. 364
Webi-Structurep. 365
Webi-Charactersp. 367
Webi-Pilotp. 368
Webi-Cheapp. 370
Webi-Formatp. 370
Webi-Talentp. 371
Webi-Scriptsp. 371
Writing for Video Gainesp. 380
You Are Therep. 380
First Things Firstp. 381
The Real World: Breaking and Enteringp. 386
Final Thoughtsp. 386
Fade Outp. 389
Final Thoughts on Becominga Screenwriterp. 391
Templatesp. 393
Suggested Readingp. 400
A Few Clichés to Avoid like the Plaguep. 402
Graduate (MFA) Screenwriting Programsp. 404
Glossaryp. 405
Indexp. 409
About the Authorsp. 424
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