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SCREENWRITING FOR DUMMIES PDF

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Скачать бесплатно книгу Screenwriting For Dummies - Laura Schellhardt в форматах fb2, rtf, epub, pdf, txt или читать онлайн. Отзывы на. So you want to be a screenwriter? Whether you want to write a feature film or a TV script or adapt your favorite book, this friendly guide gives you expert advice in. a screenwriter's workbook by j.t. velikovsky musicmarkup.info This work is intended as a critical review of theory in the field of feature film screenwriting.


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Doug Lowe has written a whole bunch of computer books, including more than 35 For Dummies books Networking for Programming for Dummies. Screenwriting FOR DUMmIES ‰ 2ND EDITION by Laura Schellhardt Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University Foreword by John Logan Screenwriting For. Screenwriting For Dummies, 2nd Edition () cover image. Larger Image Chapter (PDF) · Table of Contents (PDF) · Index (PDF) · Download Acrobat.

Charlotte Worthington Basics Film-Making: Producing Basics Film-Making: Producing, the first in the new film-making series from AVA, helps emerging producers understand and manage the production process from development to post-production and distribution. What is the role of the producer? What are the relationships between the producer and the other members of the production team? Basics Film-Making: Producing explores these questions and many more as well as presenting case studies of producers from the UK television industry, who reveal the day-to-day realities of their jobs and the responsibilities they hold. Copyright, production management, and multiplatform delivery are also covered, making this the complete introduction to an exciting and challenging field. The book teaches the key elements of screenwriting through examining areas such as dialogue, sound, setting, shots and structure.

Of course, which exact details a writer cherishes and which he forgets will vary according to personality. By a compelling image, I mean one that is full — full of tension, full of emotion, full of movement, full of life. Remember what catches your eye in this way. Questions are the key to strong writing. Any detail that forces a question is worth remembering.

Hopefully, every script you write will serve some purpose — to inspire, to spark debate, to inquire, to entertain, and so on. In order to communicate clearly, a writer needs to know what she stands for and why. Any details that refute or support your own views may come in handy later. Many films rely on ongoing arguments to bolster the momentum. Whether the argument exists between characters or audience members, if your script sparks a debate, it successfully engaged someone. Watch for the moments in real life that elicit arguments of various kinds.

Most art strives to understand life and its injustice, its irony, its savage nature, and its glory. Once in awhile, you encounter a moment that provides a piece of the human puzzle. Remember those moments above all. They strengthen the tension of the moment. The fabric of her purse, the size of the table, the number of brownies she takes — these details are unimportant.

This process also becomes second nature as you orchestrate your own scenes. Eventually, the story will become so clear that it demands the necessary information and refuses the rest for you. Journaling your environment This project may help jumpstart your newfound artistic sensibility. Carry a notebook with you for the next few days, a small one not likely to attract attention. After you find a comfortable place to observe your surroundings, begin composing two lists.

In the first list, include any visual details or images that you see.

Just record whatever your eye lands on as it moves across the space. In the second list, keep track of any and all sounds you hear around you.

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Depending on your location, you may be able to close your eyes. See how specific you can be, from the conversation behind you to the fans buzzing overhead. Eventually, a pattern may emerge. Want to take the project a step further?

Select two details from each list and combine them in a new scenario. How may the images be connected? How can the sounds help set that relationship off? A small tape recorder can be useful for this project as well. Sometimes, you may feel as though the more events you discover, the more ideas you have to investigate.

Yet only a few of those ideas will become stories that become scripts, and many will slip away. Why is this the case? It may only interest you for a few days, you may not have the experience to truly understand it, or it may generate an opening image and little else. Chasing every idea that comes your way is exhausting and often futile. Knowing how to recognize a story when it appears saves you time and ensures you a greater chance at cinematic success. Identifying the call to write Take a second and think about the stories you remember from your childhood.

Recall the events that happened to you as well as those moments that someone else relayed. What is it about these moments that remains with you? Can you pinpoint why they may have lasted in your memory? The call to write generally emerges after some stories have suggested themselves to you.

Simply phrased, that means that if you dedicate the time and energy to it, your story will get told. Take a second to look at the reasons you may be called to write: The items on the list are purposefully grandiose in scale. These reasons will. Other stories may whisper to you and float away, but some will tug at your arm a while, growing stronger by the day. A screenplay takes form as you begin envisioning the four basic components of storytelling: Imagine everyone for now, from the waitress in the diner to the love interest; you can always trim the cast list down later.

Where does your story occur? Does it span a concentrated amount of time in one location, or do you envision jumping between numerous time frames and locales? What do you see when you think about the story? What images, colors, textures, movement, and so on?

What does your story look like? In its most basic sense, plot refers to what comes next. I speak about plot in greater detail in Chapters 6, 7, and 8. Sometimes, a story survives even if you only have one piece to the whole puzzle. But you need to see one piece fairly clearly for any type of script to evolve. Finding an opening image The beginning of any story is magical. You may feel as if, after stumbling around in the dark, you come across one image from which anything is possible.

If you start with a person, who is it, and what is he or she doing? It begins by following a father and son who hate each other, but who hate black people more.

If you start with a location, where is it, and how does an audience discover it? Many movies that take place in a major city fly over the ocean before finally landing on the skyline in question.

Screenwriting For Dummies (For Dummies (Career/Education)) by Schellhardt, Laura. - PDF Drive

This technique keeps the audience guessing for a few moments before landing somewhere concrete. Perhaps another type of image begins your piece.

If your story centers around a few major events, beginning the story in the middle of one of them may be a good idea. The movie Rookie begins with a ball game in a run-down field decades earlier. That field later becomes an important baseball diamond for the entire town. The more active, the better with this technique.

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Tossing your audience into an action sequence is a great way to grab their attention. The Great What If refers to a set of hypothetical situations that you layer on top of your chosen image that spur it into action. The What If could alter or enhance any portion of the image itself. The trick is to pay close attention to what happens after you pose the hypothetical.

Screenwriting For Dummies, 2nd Edition

For example, suppose that I settle on the image of a child playing jacks on his front porch. Here are some what-if scenarios that I may layer on: Each one of these hypothetical situations forces a change, thereby nudging the image into action. The possibilities for change are endless. You may come up with several opening moments for your script by utilizing this technique. Write them all down. Eventually, one moment will emerge victorious.

One theory, floating around for years, implies that artists are born, not made; and many people fear that they lack the natural abilities of a writer. This fear is often so great that it prevents them from putting pen to paper at all. You may come into the world with these qualities or discover them later in life.

Most new writers possess the desire and some experience, but few possess the endurance necessary to finish a work. Without that sense, their stories remain ideas forever or meander around on the page until the writers give up. This chapter takes a closer look at natural talent and offers advice on how to further your own. It then outlines techniques designed to funnel that talent onto a page.

In a way, this chapter is about elusive words — words like talent, imagination, and craft. The essential ingredients for an artist all elude concrete definition. It seems only appropriate then that I begin with the most maddeningly intangible word of them all — creativity. In a way, the fact that creativity has no concrete definition is rather fitting. As soon as you concoct one, some 38 Part I: So You Want to Write for Pictures creative individual will no doubt arrive to question its validity and suggest an alternative.

So rather than try to define the indefinable, I just concentrate on what seems to be involved. A Look at the Creative Process At first glance, creativity involves problem solving — or, in other words, questioning validity and suggesting alternatives. Creative people are inherently curious. They pose questions that no one else has thought or dared to ask. In this way, creative people seek out problems and attempt solutions.

Writers are no different. The most common problems that a writer faces are Which story do I tell? In recent years, scientists and sociologists from all over the world have taken an interest in the process of creative problem solving.

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They believe that many people encounter the same five phenomena on the journey toward a solution. The stage in which an idea or a question suggests itself. This is the moment that a writer discovers a story or the seeds of one.

The period of study or investigation that ensues. Any research a writer does — interviews, people-watching, reading, studying other films, daydreaming, and so on — falls under the category of saturation.

A period of reflection to process the new information. For a writer, this time generally involves working through the idea on a page, sharing the idea with friends, and good old-fashioned waiting for inspiration. A moment of inspiration when a possible solution suggests itself. When writers talk about the muse, they really mean the moment of illumination. The testing period, during which the individual, in this case the writer, determines whether his solution really works.

None of these stages has any set length of time, although most writers experience illumination as a brief, often unexpected flash. Some writers spend years researching a story; some only a few days.

Some find inspiration right away, but for others, the incubation time is endless. In any case, though no two writers arrive at a story in the same way, they tend to share these five stages. Chapter 4: Approaching Screenwriting as a Craft Imagination: Your Creative Arsenal Aspiring and established artists alike often spend years fretting over the notion of talent. Chiefly, what is it, and do they possess it? Tell me a story.

Talent allows certain blessed individuals to channel words onto the page while others nearly go crazy waiting for inspiration. All these statements are true. Yet, substitute the word imagination for talent, and the question of whether you possess it may become clear. You probably do. Writing talent is generally a mixture of life experience and the ability to imagine beyond it.

Screenwriting For Dummies

You have, in however many years, constructed a creative arsenal comprised of the following: When flexed on a regular basis — through artistic exercise and constant writing practice — the imagination will generate material for you. Your best bet is to prepare that muscle now. Flexing the imagination Separating talent from craft is important. Talent is something you have, and craft is something you garner.

Each element is controlled by a different mode 39 40 Part I: So You Want to Write for Pictures of thought. For a better explanation, take a look at Table It illustrates how each mode looks at the world. Table Talent versus Craft Talent Notices Craft Records Interesting conversations Specific words and phrases that make the conversations unique Dynamic stories Potential beginnings, middles, and ends Compelling people Details of personality and appearance that make that person stand out Inspirational environments The color, scope, light, and textural components of those environments Grand emotions Situations leading to and away from those emotions; words and actions that reveal them Eye-catching images The physical construction of images, possible scenarios surrounding them, and metaphors associated with them Notice a pattern?

Talent, or imagination, selects the material while craft searches for ways to translate it onto the page. Your first job as a writer, then, is to surround the imagination with as many options as possible. The more you learn and the more you see and hear, the more ideas you have to choose from later on. Here are a few simple, inexpensive ways to begin flexing the imagination: Your goals when flexing the imagination are simple: Stimulate the senses, learn as much as you can, and document what you find.

This part of the writing process should be fun. If nothing on this list interests you, find something equally stimulating that does. This means having a hand in as many pockets of knowledge as possible. You never know where a story resides. First off, make a list — mental or actual — of areas you know little about.

Try to record at least three people or events from any or all of the following categories that you want to investigate: Its purpose is to challenge you to search beyond what you already know. Researching any one of these fields grants a writer unending possibilities, it broadens his talent pool, and it forces the imagination to question, What if?

What if you wrote about the Berlin wall? What if you set your story in England after the plague? Which angle would you take? Which story would you choose? Remember that everything you learn informs your work. If an idea still eludes you, consider the following four arenas. Most stories spring from one of these sources: Glance through the paper, listen to public radio, or watch the evening news.

You find yourself besieged with story possibilities. Seek out unlikely sources as well. The obituaries and the classified ads suggest both quirky characters and lives worth celebrating. The controversial film Munich was clearly based on the Munich Massacre. The Pursuit of Happyness is based on the real life story of Chris Gardner, who went from being homeless to running his own brokerage firm. In this type of film, the characters and structures in place may be loosely based on the human experience, but details of location and culture remain unique.

History provides some of the most compelling stories. The events are generally documented in some form and may suggest characters and pivotal events right away. A quick glance through articles, criticism, personal letters, journal entries, literature, and art of the time may also suggest language and images that will be crucial to your piece.

Such movies as Gone with the Wind, Braveheart, Apollo 13, Gladiator, and many others capitalize on historical sources.

The characters, usually based on people you have an intimate knowledge of, tend to emerge quickly as well. Neil Simon and Woody Allen are also notorious for writing comedies based on their lives. Fictional stories require a writer to concoct the details from scratch and, therefore, require a slightly different approach. I refer to original plot development in Chapters 6, 7, and 8. The other three sources, though — historical accounts, current events, and personal experience — involve actual happenings, so your approach to those stories may be similar.

Start by asking the following questions: Record as many details as you can recall. Where did it take place, and during what period of time?

How did it start and end? What is your sense of the account — was it funny, tragic, foreboding, awe-inspiring, intimate, or epic? Historical documentation is often recorded from a point of view. Family stories are similar in this regard. Most people only remember events as they were personally affected by them. Finally, these days the media often choose sensation over strict fact when composing a report.

Check your sources and check their particular bias. If you can only locate one side to the story, imagine another. Even after extensive research, your story will undoubtedly have holes.

Consider this dilemma to your advantage as you can dream up some action to fill those gaps. The most compelling scripts often emerge from events you know little about.

Because unanswered questions are the heart of drama. They create mystery, and they demand that the writer dream up some answers. The answer to this question will keep you writing long after the novelty of the idea has worn off.

Often, the most intriguing portions of an idea are those that you know the least about or those that elicit some strong emotion — fear, confusion, anger, awe, and so on. This question will help you edit or pare down your script. Taking on an entire event is difficult, and doing so often weakens the effect of any one storyline. It does not tackle her childhood, her early years or much after the funeral; that would be an impossible film to sit through.

After you know what details interest you least, imagine how the story shifts without them. Creating a script based on real events is a common but nonetheless challenging process. A precarious balance exists between preserving the essence of a situation and crafting an original version of the story.

You want to maintain the integrity of a historical moment while raising it above the facts and into the heightened realm of drama. When tackling real events, you should consider the following at all times: Can you imagine changing key elements of these people — their opinions, their fates, their genders — if necessary? You should be able to see the people in your script as characters that you can alter to fit your ultimate design.

Let audiences judge for themselves. Identifying your writing voice The term writing voice is often used interchangeably with the word style, yet they differ in one small regard. Your writing voice determines what catches your attention and what you want to communicate.

Style refers to the techniques and language you choose to communicate with. Your voice stems from imagination; style stems from knowledge of craft. You already possess an artistic voice. Unsure of what that voice sounds like? Try answering the following questions. The answers may suggest your unique way of viewing the world. Comic or tragic?

Realistic or surreal? Intimate, epic, familial? Through character, dialogue, image, or an equal mixture of the three? Poetic, terse, lengthy, mysterious? Chronologically or out of sequence? Quickly or in slow motion? Do images blend together or cut back and forth? Every writer experiences and expresses a subject in a unique way. The result? Many different films about roughly the same subject. Consider this scenario: A woman is sitting at a window table in a coffee shop. Approaching Screenwriting as a Craft drinking espresso.

She twirls a pen in her right hand between sips and occasionally glances up to scan the street before retreating back to her book.

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One writer begins with the image of the hand twirling the pen and then slowly moves up the arm to the eyes staring out at the street. The third writer reveals the whole scene at once, allowing the audience to guess the situation. All approaches stem from one image, yet they differ in several distinct ways: How would you have revealed this image? A note of caution, though: Voice and style are not something to lose sleep over. The imagination project I find newspaper headlines useful in many ways — from story suggestions, to plot twists, to revision work.

Choose the one that catches your attention first. Who or what is in the image, where are they, and what might be going on? Created an image? Now imagine an audience in a darkened theater. How will you do it? Concoct at least three versions of this moment, bearing in mind the elements of style: Record each version and compare. Which one do you like best? Though predominantly a project for your imagination, you may also discover something about your writing voice in the process.

That difference is known as craft. The same is true of writing. Ideas do not a screenplay make. You need a sense of craft. So what is craft exactly? Or rather, what does it involve? On a general level, it can be broken down into three elements: The three parts of the story still exist in this film; they just exist in a different order.

Novels exist in chapters or lengthy portions separated by jumps in time or narrator. Plays exist in scenes or vignettes arranged in a particular way on the page. Screenplays are generally divided into three acts with particular attention to font type, page layout, and length. Having a concrete knowledge of both dramatic structure and screenwriting format is important. While your formatting should remain consistent, you may eventually stray from traditional story structure.

However, learn the basics first. They tend to work. I talk more about both parts of form in Part II. Technique Even without a definition for craft, you probably know a well-crafted film when you see one.

In such scripts, the writer demonstrates an ease with any or all of the following elements: There are as many ways to reveal any one of them as there are types of films.

Will you use it to generate the comic mockumentary style of a film like Waiting for Guffman? Or will you write another Illusionist and spend your time discovering how magic will help your protagonist and his love escape the Empire that entraps them? In the hands of a less skilled writer, the quiet family drama You Can Count On Me would hold little impact.

I detail each of the listed story elements individually in Chapters 6 through However, I should detail three elements of technique now. They are the foundations of clear writing — dramatic and otherwise — and they affect all elements of a story. Strive to master each, if for no other reason than that they help you control your stories. Have a clear idea but no clear thought on how to express it? A knowledge of these three items can help. Vocabulary As a writer, a limited vocabulary thwarts your ability to travel.

Think about it. Want to travel to Britain for your film about the bourgeoisie? How will you craft the characters without a sense of language?

Look at verbal masters like Spike Lee. He realistically conveys multiple ethnicities and educational backgrounds through the vocabularies of his main characters alone. So You Want to Write for Pictures It never hurts to have a running list of writers and the words they brandish.

I encourage you to sift through writers of all types when compiling your own collection. Want your language terse and intense? Looking for socially minded vulgarity? Read David Mamet. And for one- and two-syllable words that resound together with ten times their individual worth, read Robert Frost. This list acts as a reference guide should you need a quick lesson in one vocabulary or another.

Learn to love words — words like baggage, scrumptious, contrivance, wicked, daft, okey-doke, crackers, keen, wily, and winsome, to name a few of my favorites. Each one packs a different wallop another great word.

Respect their differences, respect what they do, and accrue as many as you can. You should always have a dictionary and a thesaurus nearby, either in book or Internet form. The more you know, the more places you can go. Grammar Ah, the dreaded grammar. For many people, it conjures up visions of high school, pop quizzes, and extended hours in front of a chalkboard.

Does it help to have a comprehensive understanding of our language and its structure? Should you bolster your grammatical skill? Can you write scripts even if you scraped through high school English?

You just need to know the basics. Because books on grammar abound, I offer you a few beginning tips: Your characters will speak in different ways, with different grammatical structures. You are, however, also responsible for description — of location, of character, and of action. You want that portion of your script to be clear, efficient, and effective. Description is where the grammar lessons come in handy. Do you need to write in complete sentences?

You should, however, at least know how to construct a complete sentence, which requires a knowledge of nouns and verbs, and you should be consistent with whatever sentence structure you choose. If your description begins in phrases, stick with phrases: Goes to door. Checks outside.

Closes it again and hurries upstairs. He goes to the door and checks outside. Drawing attention to the reader distances him or her from the story; your Chapter 4: Approaching Screenwriting as a Craft screenplay suddenly becomes a script with an audience and not a world of its own. Also, if you simply write what happens as it happens, the reader will see it. He is concealing something under his jacket. The resounding rule here is when in doubt, cut them out.

However, the addition of a few lines of dialogue often alleviates the need for adjectives. Discovering a detail is much more effective than being handed one. You can exchange most adverbs for a strategically chosen verb. Verbs are powerful words. Trust them. Let them work for you. Your high school teacher and I may share one thing in common — our opinion of passive voice.

It probably irritated her, and it irritates me. The first sentences are accessible; they have energy and life. Passive voice tempers that energy, making the sentences safe. Screenplays are about action, so write them with active strokes.

The preceding rules are intended as guides toward more effective writing. What you do after you absorb them is up to you. Organization asks two questions: If so, your first line of description may read: The reader turns a page, and the book tilts for a second, revealing a brunette of startling beauty.

Want an example of organization at its best? The opening sequence of The Big Chill jumps between various people receiving bad news and clips of one man getting dressed. Both his wrists have been cut and stitched over. In this way, the writer waits until the last moment to reveal that the man being dressed is dead.

Your organization is important. It tells a reader, a director, the camera, and, therefore, an audience how to watch your film. Chrissy Guthrie Editorial Program Coordinator: Erin Calligan Mooney General Reviewer: Carmen Krikorian Editorial Assistants: Grant Faint Cartoons: Rich Tennant www. Katie Key Layout and Graphics: Reuben W. Davis, Alissa D. Ellet, Melissa K. Caitie Kelly, Toni Settle Indexer: So You Want to Write for Pictures Introducing the Art of Screenwriting Preparing to Think Visually Approaching Screenwriting as a Craft Breaking Down the Elements of a Story Unpacking Your Idea Plot Part I: Plot Part II: Plot Part III: Character Building Say What?

Constructing Dynamic Dialogue The Nontraditional Film Turning Your Story into a Script Mapping Out Your Screenplay Table of contents Foreword. Part I: So You Want to Write for Pictures. Chapter 1: Introducing the Art of Screenwriting. Chapter 2: Preparing to Think Visually.

Chapter 3: Diving In to the Screenwriter? Chapter 4: Approaching Screenwriting as a Craft. Part II: Breaking Down the Elements of a Story.

Chapter 5: Unpacking Your Idea. Chapter 6: Plot Part I: Chapter 7: Plot Part II: Chapter 8: Plot Part III: Chapter 9: