How to Build a Great Screenplay: A Master Class in Storytelling for Film

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St. Martin's Press, Apr 1, 2010 - Performing Arts - 464 pages
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Acclaimed USC screenwriting teacher David Howard has guided hundreds of students to careers in writing for film and television. Drawing on decades of practical experience and savvy, How to Build a Great Screenplay deconstructs the craft of screenwriting and carefully reveals how to build a good story from the ground up. Howard eschews the "system" offered by other books, emphasizing that a great screenplay requires dozens of unique decisions by the author. He offers in-depth considerations of:

* characterization
* story arc
* plotting and subplotting
* dealing with coincidence in story plotting
* classical vs. revolutionary screenplay structure
* tone, style, and atmosphere
* the use of time on screen
* the creation of drama and tension
* crucial moments in storytelling

Throughout the book, Howard clarifies his lessons through examples from some of the most successful Hollywood and international script-oriented films, including Pulp Fiction, American Beauty, Trainspotting, North by Northwest, Chinatown, and others. The end result is what could very well become the classic text in the field---a bible for the burgeoning screenwriter.

 

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How to build a great screenplay: a master class in storytelling for film

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In this companion to The Tools of Screenwriting , Howard, founding director of the graduate screenwriting program at the University of Southern California, deals specifically with story structure ... Read full review

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This collection of essays on story structure, character, etc. is absolutely invaluable, and the writing comes with a nicely engaging tone and style. I strongly recommend anyone looking for truly in-depth information on how to form a good screenplay to crack open this book and read it thoroughly. 

Contents

The Story
3
The Telling of the Story
33
The Creation of Drama
69
Foundations
117
Carpentry and Craftsmanship
151
Time and Storytelling
217
What Is Drama?
251
Sequences
267
BEYOND CLASSICAL DRAMATIC STRUCTURE
341
Anything But Classical Screenplay Structure
347
The Limits of Classical the Beginnings
357
How to Shake Up Classical
375
WRITING AND WORK STRATEGIES
399
The First Draft
407
After the First Draft
419
A Final Note
429

Crucial Moments
285
Subplots
297
The Classical Screenplay Structure
317
About the Author
445
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About the author (2010)

David Howard is the founding director of the graduate screenwriting program at USC, where he teaches various courses in screenwriting. His students have scripted such successful films as The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Air Force One, Permanent Midnight, and Natural Born Killers. The coauthor (with Edward Mabley) of The Tools of Screenwriting, he lives in Los Angeles, California.

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