The Tools of Screenwriting: A Writer's Guide to the Craft and Elements of a Screenplay

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Macmillan, Jan 15, 1995 - Performing Arts - 298 pages
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Screenwriting is the art of telling stories dramatically - and it can be learned. Although there is no standard formula for writing a screenplay, there are central principles that all good screenplays share. In The Tools of screenwriting, the authors illuminate the essential elements of cinematic storytelling. These elements are guideposts for the aspiring screenwriter, and they can be used in different ways to accomplish a variety of ends. Questions of dramatic structure, plot, dialogue, character development, setting, imagery, and other crucial topics are discussed as they apply to the special art of filmmaking. The authors demonstrate how the tools of screenwriting work in sixteen notable films, including Citizen Kane, E.T., One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Rashomon, The Godfather, North by Northwest, Chinatown, and sex, lies, and videotape. in the analyses of these films, the reader will discover the common elements of compelling screen stories. The Tools of Screen writing is an essential book for anyone who wants to write a script that will be filmed.
 

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User Review  - regularguy5mb - LibraryThing

I have read through this book several times now. It is a good, concise guide to the elements of screenplay writing. Apparently the book was adapted from an older text on the craft and elements of ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

THE SCREENWRITERS TASK
3
STAGE VERSUS SCREEN
6
ADAPTATION
9
THE AUTEUR OF A FILM
12
THE SCREENWRITERS RELATIONSHIPS
14
A CAUTIONARY NOTE
16
BASIC STORYTELLING
19
WHAT MAKES A GOOD STORY WELL TOLD
21
THE OUTLINE AND THE STEP OUTLINE
76
PLAUSIBILITY
78
ACTIVITY AND ACTION
81
DIALOGUE
84
VISUALS
88
THE DRAMATIC SCENE
91
REWRITING
95
THE ANALYSES
99

THE DIVISION INTO THREE ACTS
24
THE WORLD OF THE STORY
26
PROTAGONIST ANTAGONIST AND CONFLICT
28
EXTERNALIZING THE INTERNAL
30
OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE DRAMA
32
TIME AND THE STORYTELLER
33
THE POWER OF UNCERTAINTY
37
SCREENWRITING TOOLS
41
PROTAGONIST AND OBJECTIVE
43
CONFLICT
46
OBSTACLES
47
PREMISE AND OPENING
49
MAIN TENSION CULMINATION AND RESOLUTION
52
THEME
55
UNITY
58
EXPOSITION
60
CHARACTERIZATION
63
DEVELOPMENT OF THE STORY
66
DRAMATIC IRONY
68
PREPARATION AND AFTERMATH
70
PLANTING AND PAYOFF
72
ELEMENTS OF THE FUTURE AND ADVERTISING
74
ABOUT THE ANALYSES
101
ET
103
SOME LIKE IT HOW
114
NORTH BY NORTHWEST
126
THE 400 BLOWS
135
CITIZEN KANE
147
WITNESS
155
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
166
CHINATOWN
177
THE GODFATHER
189
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST
202
THELMA AND LOUISE
213
DINER
227
RASHOMON
240
SEX LIES AND VIDEOTAPE
252
ANNIE HALL
262
HAMELT
274
ADDITIONAL READINGS
289
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
290
INDEX
291
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

David Howard is an active screenwriter, "script doctor," and script consultant, both in Hollywood and in Europe. He is also the founding director of the Graduate Screenwriting Program at the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. In addition to his teaching duties at USC, he frequently lectures and teaches, often in conjunction with Frank Daniel, throughout Europe as well as around the United States. He lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, the painter Victoria McClay.


Edward Mabley, besides being the author of Dramatic Construction, wrote, among other works, the playGlad Tidings and the text of the grand opera The Plough and the Stars (after the play by Sean O'Casey). He wrote radio and television plays, directed in television, and taught at the New School for Social Research in New York. He died in 1984.


Frank Daniel has been head of many of the world's most renowned film schools. He was Dean of FAMU, the Czech film school, during the 1960s "Prague Spring." He was the first dean of the Center for Advanced Film Studies at the American Film Institute, then he became co-chairman of Columbia University's Film Division with his former student, Milos Forman. He went on to become the first dean of the newly expanded School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California. He was also the first artistic director of the Sundance Institute, and artistic director of the Flemish European Media Institute in Brussels. He is currently a professor in the Graduate Screenwriting Program, at USC and continues with his own extensive screenwriting schedule as well as teaching regularly in Europe.

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