The Craft, Business and Software of Screenwriting


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Ulitzer Screenwriting Authors: Matthew Marturano

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Ulitzer Screenwriting: Book Review

Creative Screenwriting: A Practical Guide

Creative Screenwriting: A Practical Guide

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A logline has come to mean a two-sentence description of a film, written in no more than twenty-eight words.


A step outline is a document that deconstructs a film or screenplay by laying out the action in sequential narrative steps.


The protagonists are the people whose actions drive the story…How a charac ter is first seen, what kind of an entrance he makes in the drama, is crucial to fixing him first in the minds of the reader and then in the minds of the audience.


Dialog can often be improved simply by cutting out every other sentence…Conversation is not dialog. To be dialog , conversation has to be crafted and directed to the service of action and plot.


The most common fault in dialog is when all the characters speak with the same voice – that of the writer.


To live is to act, and to act, in fiction as in life is to create conflict…It is hardly surprising then, that conflict is the essence of story.


The narrative line created by the protagonists’ pursuit of their objectives is called the ‘throughline’. It is the engine of plot.


Our protagonist’s moral and emotional journey through the story is known as the ‘arc of character’. If the character has changed, matured or learned through the experience, that journey is known as the ‘transformational arc’.


I see it as my professional task then, to crate my own, distinctive flow of time… (Andrey Tarkovsky)


The voice-over illustrates something very important, which is that a voice-over can get you out of a hole…(p66) A good voice-over…leads you by the hand or shocks you out of the moment into the character’s thoughts or into the past.


‘Story point of view’ is a way to describe who owns the story, whose clock we are in.


A coda can be useful in underlining the feeling you want your audience to take away – a bridge into the real world outside the movie theatre.


A definition of a satisfactory ending is that the audience feels there was a reason for the film.


The source of comedy is not joy but pain.


More Stories By Stewart McKie

Stewart McKie has 25 years of IT industry experience. His education includes a MSc in Organization Consulting and a MA in Screenwriting. I was the Technology Editor of Business Finance magazine during 1995-2000 and also wrote regular features for Intelligent Enterprise magazine. I am the author of six books on accounting software and over 50 technology white papers. My current focus is my screenwriting 2.0 app called Scenepad and my supply-chain auditing app. I have managed many ERP selections and implementations of SunSystems all over the world. Currently I am engaged as the Implementation Oversight consultant for a global AX2009 rollout for a manufacturing client and as the selection consultant for pan-European ERP solution.