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Screenwriting

Raymond Chandler tells Alfred Hitchcock “Strangers on a Train” is a flabby mass of clichés

Alfred Hitchcock hired Oscar-nominated screenwriter Raymond Chandler to adapt Patricia Highsmith’s novel Strangers on a Train in 1950. From the start Hitchcock and Chandler didn’t get along and fought over the direction of the script. Chandler seemed to have gone out of his way to behave disagreeably to Hitchcock. When Hitch arrived at Chandler’s home Read MoreRead More

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Lolita?

Documentary following writer and broadcaster Stephen Smith on the trail of Vladimir Nabokov, the elusive man behind the controversial novel and 1962 film, Lolita. The journey takes him from the shores of Lake Geneva to Nabokov’s childhood haunts in the Russian countryside south of St Petersburg to the streets of New York City and a Read MoreRead More

A Rewriting How-To

Julie Gray offers some tips about how to approach the rewrite of your script. Whether you are writing a script, novel, essay, short fiction or non-fiction book, you know that really, there are four parts of writing: 1) Thinking about writing, jotting down notes, getting inspired. 2) Actually writing. 3) Procrastinating about writing. 4) Editing and rewriting. Read MoreRead More

So… Apparent M. Night Shyamalan Ghost-Wrote “She’s All That”

So… apparently the name most commonly associated with third act plot twists was also responsible for 1999 teen rom-com She’s All That. After cinematic atrocities like The Village, The Happening, and The Last Airbender, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan became such a joke to the degree that his name on the trailer for Devil–for which he earned a story credit—got laughs Read MoreRead More

Comparing the Opening Scene of “Saving Private Ryan” to the Original Script

Scott Myers compares  Robert Rodat’s first few pages of script to Steven Spielberg’s finished film version: * Rodat uses some of the secondary slugs simply to identify a location (e.g., OFFSHORE, THE CLIFFS) or a character (e.g., A FIGURE, MILLER), but other times he conveys action within the slug itself: A DIRECT HIT ON A NEARBY LANDING Read MoreRead More

Story Structure: The Art of the Dilemma

Using the Showtime series, Ray Donovan, explore how dilemma is essential to a series plot structure. Having strong dilemmas is the key to a successful TV pilot. A dilemma is when your lead character is forced into a choice where neither choice is a good one; in other words, there is not a clear choice. They are Read MoreRead More

Post-Water-Cooler TV: How to Make a TV Drama in the Twitter Age

There’s no denying it, the world of television consumption is not what it was a mere 5 or 10 years ago. The New York Times gathered the folks that steer six of the best dramas on television for their take on creating TV for the Twitter Age. Q. With seismic shifts in viewing habits, audiences Read MoreRead More

Billy Wilder’s Ten Rules of Filmmaking

In Conversations with Wilder, Cameron Crowe lays out Billy Wilder’s ten rules of Filmmaking: The audience is fickle. Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character. Know where you’re going. The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better Read MoreRead More

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