Emotional Dialogue

Put emotional intensity into your exposition while you relate the pertinent information. Give information during times of crisis, for example, when a teenager is arrested, a woman is revealed as a thief, or a man loses his job. Whatever you do, don't have your exposition sound like a lecture. Make it so dramatic and interesting your audience won't even be aware they are receiving information. Examples of films with fabulous dialogue are American Beauty, Kissingjessica Stein, and Sylvia. The...

Blueprint For Screenwrtting

Write a synopsis first before you do a step outline. Remember it is written in prose and it's the broad strokes of your outline. 2. Develop a step outline and state the purpose of each scene in a couple sentences. 3. Does each scene relate to your story-line If yes, how can you be sure 4. Develop your blueprint for screen writing by creating an extensive outline for your work. 5. Turn your step outline into a treatment. Does it read well Could your treatment be translated into film

Stumbling Blocks To Writing

Psychological and creative blocks These culprits are responsible for most of the problems you experience when you sit down to write and become immobilized. They are responsible for preventing you from getting started, from finishing projects, keeping you stuck in the middle of your work. These stumbling blocks create resistance to writing itself. They diminish belief in ones' talent and ability, preventing you from getting your work into the marketplace. They also can cause low self-esteem and...

Subtext What You Dont

Every good film is loaded with subtext. It is subtle, and more than sarcasm or small talk. When you write subtext there is always much more going on in a scene than meets the eye. Subtext is the emotional feeling beneath the words. It is the truth beneath what is being said and heard. Subtext is what the scene really is about. The sample scene in the chapter on screenplay format is filled with subtext. The man and his wife never once mention the fact that she is dying. They talk around it, and...

Scene Connections and Progression

When you start a scene it must go somewhere. By the end of the scene the character is at a higher point of drama then before. All scenes must have a climax or ending, that leads the character to the next scene, otherwise your writing is episodic and without a direction or a structure. Now you know that all scenes have a beginning, a middle and an end, and they also must have a definite direction. A scene can be as short as half a page or as long as five or more pages. Whatever the length, the...

The Essed Syndrome

The more desperately your main character wants to reach his goal the more suspenseful and exciting your story. I always tell my students to make their characters have the ESSED syndrome distressed, obsessed, suppressed, dispossessed, oppressed, stressed, depressed, repressed, messed, or possessed. These are just a few adjectives that help describe the state of mind of a desperate, complex character. Your main character's desperation creates the momentum that moves your story forward at an...

Writing Causal Scenes

Between the opening scene that sets off your story and the climactic scene that ends your story, you may have as many as 50 to 80 scenes. Each of the scenes must connect to the other in a cause-and-effect manner. Although each scene must stand alone, as a complete unit of drama, it must also evolve from the scene that preceded it and lead to the scene that follows it. Screenwriting is known as causal writing, because one scene causes the next scene and so until the end. All the scenes in a...

Structuring Scenes and Acts

If I didn't know the ending of a story I wouldn't begin. I always write my last line, my last paragraphs, my last page first. Screenwriting is a craft onto itself, having a special format, specific margins, a definite number of pages, and a highly developed structure. Starting a new screenplay is often like beginning a new relationship. When you first meet the love of your life, aren't you enthusiastic and excited, putting all your energy into it After months or years of dating or getting...

Types of Conflict

Examples using this type of conflict are 28 Days, a story about an alcoholic Traffic, about drug traffic and a politician's young teen-aged addicted daughter, and Leaving Las Vegas, where an alcoholic vows to drink himself to death. In each of these films the characters are trying to overcome some flaw or addiction within. Most tragedies of William Shakespeare involve this type of conflict. Some of his most famous heroes who suffered from a tragic character flaw are...

Example of Character Motivation A Case Study

In my writing workshops, I always have the class develop a character biography for the protagonist and the antagonist. Here's an example of creating character motivation and back story for them. In this example, I gave the entire class a husband and wife who are living in a bad relationship and they were to create a story for this couple, including their backstory. At first they tried to develop a story, but they kept getting stuck. They finally realized it's impossible to create a story until...

The Psychology of Characters

Just as you can't Judge a book by its cover, you can't judge a person by the way he looks or behaves. You probably know from your own experience that the way you portray yourself to others may be entirely different from the way you are feeling inside. Perhaps you feel insecure when you first meet people, but do you tell them how frightened you're feeling inside No. You smile, try to be pleasant and make conversation. Little do they know your palms are sweaty and...

Visualization and Free Writing

To enable you to reach your inner depths, and a well-spring of new ideas, I will lead you in a writing exercise. You will begin the journey to travel beneath your mask and mine your childhood stories, memories, intention, and emotions, through using visualization and free writing. Visualization is the technique of imagining visual pictures. It closes off the left hemisphere of your brain and lets the right hemisphere express insights and inspirations without criticisms. Visualization also...

The Emotional Line

The emotional line of your story is the emotional relationship between the main character and another major character. Although your main character interacts with many other characters, there is really only one other major character with whom he experiences the primary emotional relationship or connection. In Ordinary People, the main character, Conrad, has relationships with many other characters his mother, father, friends, coach, psy chiatrist, girlfriend, friend from the hospital. However,...

The External False And Internal Real Goals

The goal you choose for your main character in the opening of your screenplay is really the action or the story structure for your screenplay. Does the character want to be a prize fighter, play soccer, climb a mountain, overcome a disease The main character's goal is what sets off your story in the opening of your screenplay as you can see from all of the above examples. The goal gives your script movement, provides your protagoist with an objective to strive for throughout the story and...

The Protagonist And The Antagonist

The hero and the villain are known as the Protagonist the hero and the Antagonist the villain . The protagonist has a goal that he desperately wants to reach and the opposing force that stands in his way is known as the antagonist. In action movies, this conflict is basically the good guys VS the bad guys. Audiences love this type of conflict because it gives them someone to root for and someone to fear. If this is the type of conflict you want to write in your script, there are some important...

Expressing Your Feelings Through Subtext

I've coached thousands of writers who didn't know what they were feeling, because they were so used to hiding their real emotions be hind their masks. Many writers aren't able to find their true voice when they want to create scripts with emotional depth. I've helped these writers discover their authentic voice by giving them permission to make their writing truthful and unique. Most of them were never allowed to express their feelings when they were small children. They hid the real little...

The Three Act Structure

To structure your scenes in the correct order you need to know the three act format and what elements must go into each act. Breaking your screenplay into acts will allow you to have a blueprint to follow. This permits writing the screenplay to be more manageable and broken down into sections. It is much more easy to construct than it would be by trying to write 120 pages straight through. Breaking your screenplay into a three act structure gives you a guide to follow on your writing journey.

Your Inner Cast Of Characters

CRITICAL PARENT UNSUPPORTIVE, UNLOVING, JUDGMENTAL, RESTRICTIVE PARENT DISTANT, COLD. LITTLE PROFESSOR CHILD WHO MAKES PARENTS PROUD BY BEING MATURE AND BRIGHT. THE PERFECT CHILD DOES EVERYTHING RIGHT GOOD LITTLE GIRL, GOOD LITTLE BOY, OBEDIENT, DUTIFUL. THE FEMME FATALE SEXPOT SIREN, FLIRT. THE LADIES MAN HUNK, MACHO, STUD, DON JUAN, BEAU BRUMMEL. AMAZON WO MAN CAPABLE, INDEPENDENT, AGGRESSIVE, SELF-SUFFICIENT, INVINCIBLE. WITCH BITCH AGGRESSIVE, COLD, BITCHY, MANIPULATIVE. WALLFLOWER SHY,...

Emotional Arc The Heart of the Story

When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away. The most important building block for your blueprint to develop your characters with an emotional arc to prevent them from being flat and stereotypical. Your characters' internal world needs to have desires, regrets, hopes, dreams, fears, failures, love, resentments and many other emotions which reveal who they are under pressure and make your characters more emotionally complex....

Upping the Stakes

You can always make your main character's goal more desperate by upping the stakes. Still using the above example if the character who needs a job is a lawyer or a doctor she probably won't have a difficult time finding one. But what if she is an unskilled worker Chances are she would have to struggle to find work, since she has no marketable skills. This situation would certainly be more dramatic than if she were a highly qualified worker. Her lack of skills would cause her to have less chance...

When to Use Subtext

Viewers watching this scene are able to bring their own life experiences into it and identify with the characters. Haven't we all felt the pain of being rejected Haven't we all felt the uneasiness of trying to end a relationship and not knowing how Of course we have In fact, in most of our daily contacts we use subtext, especially when emotions and feelings are involved. If you think about your daily life, you'll realize what an important part subtext plays in it. Do you tell your boss to go to...

Beginning Relates to the Ending

Now that you've determined where and when you'll open your story you have to know that in a well-structured screenplay the beginning should always relate to the end. What do I mean by that statement Let's suppose you want to write a murder mystery. Before you start your story you must know how it is going to end. You need to decide in advance if you'll have the murderer caught or if you'll have him escape in the end. Will he be arrested, convicted, sent to prison, flee to another country or be...