Advice — expert series

The Compelling Question

Posted by Julie Gray on

You've slaved away for months. Your script's structure is great, the character arcs are satisfying, the premise is original, the dialogue is snappy and organic and your story has a theme. Or so you think. But what is the compelling question in your script? The compelling question is tangentially related to the theme. In fact, in some ways one might say that it's a specific expression of theme, posed as a question. A significant part of the screenwriting learning curve is figuring out what theme really means. Many new writers say that the theme of their script is something like...

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The Virgin's Promise - A New Archetypal Structure

Posted by Kim Hudson on

The title The Virgin's Promise has two meanings and in a nutshell, it describes the journey of the Virgin. The first meaning is the community's belief that the Virgin has agreed to live up to their expectations. She has made a promise to them. The second speaks to the Virgin's unproven potential that lies dormant within her, longing to come to life. The Virgin begins by conforming to the wishes of others and eventually learns to hear her inner voice and bring it to life. It is the journey to creative, spiritual and sexual awakening. Movies such as Bend It...

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Subtext Speaks

Posted by Penny Penniston on

The dialogue scene you're struggling with? Take the page, crumple it into a paper ball and throw it into the trash can across the room. If you can make the shot, then you instinctively understand everything you need to know in order to write subtext. Making the shot requires an unconscious set of calculations. You can't just throw the paper ball in a straight line. You must take into account all of the other forces that will be acting on the ball as it flies across the room: the pull of gravity, the friction of the air, the breeze from...

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Tales From the Script: 5 Things I Learned Interviewing Screenwriters

Posted by Peter Hanson on

Sitting down for intimate conversations with dozens of Hollywood's best writers was a transformative experience. Although I've been a professional screenwriter for many years, most of my work has been in the independent realm, so collecting material for Tales from the Script gave me a crash course in the realities of writing movies at the film industry's top levels.1. Good things come to those who wait ... and wait ... and wait. A recurring theme throughout the interviews in this project is the long (and painful) gap of time that stretches from the moment someone sets out to become a...

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Character Emotion Makes the Plot

Posted by Martha Alderson, M.A. on

Some writers excel at pithy banter. Others create dramatic action. The writers I most admire are the ones who in their own natural style convey a character's emotional personality in scene through active, non-verbal communication with just the right frequency and intensity. I have written extensively about how moviegoers and readers identify with stories through the characters' emotions. When we connect with the characters on an emotional level, the interaction become deep and meaningful. Well-written scenes that include characters' emotions allow the audience to viscerally take part in the story and bond with the characters. In my work as a...

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