Posts tagged ‘Go Into the Story’

October 19, 2011

Script Analysis: Blade Runner Script

Scott Myers of Go Into the Story has continued his popular series of script analyses with a five part analysis of the script for Blade Runner, considered by many to be one of the best scripts of all time. Don’t forget to read the comments on these posts — your fellow writers have some impressive insights.

Find the Blade Runner script here.

September 12, 2011

Script Analysis: Bridesmaids

Go Into the Story is doing a script analysis series this week on a draft of Bridesmaids. The script is the most popular post on my site, so I’m guessing many of you would be interested to read Scott Myer’s insightful breakdown. The first post can be found here and there will be more throughout this week. Here’s an excerpt:

Let’s use this post today for your general reactions to the script.

Did you enjoy it? Why? Why not?

What are the script’s strengths? Are there areas you felt were strengthened in the movie version?

Speaking of which, there are a lot of differences between this draft and the movie, so one thing we should do is aggregate a list of them. Have at it in comments.

That said, there are a bunch of tips to take away from this version of the script in terms of comedy writing. What did you learn?

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June 23, 2011

Screenwriting 101: Watch, Read, Write

Scott Myers offers this advice on how to become the best screenwriter you can be:

You can learn everything you need to know about screenwriting by doing these three things:

Watch movies.
Read screenplays.
Write pages.

Why watch movies?

Because  to be a good screenwriter, you need to have a broad exposure to the  world of film.  Every movie you see is a potential reference point for  your writing, everything from story concepts you generate to characters  you develop to scenes you construct.  Moreover people who work in the  movie business constantly reference existing movies when discussing  stories you write; it’s a shorthand way of getting across what they mean  or envision.

But most importantly, you need to watch movies in  order to ‘get’ how movie stories work.  If you immerse yourself in the  world of film, it’s like a Gestalt experience where you begin to grasp  intuitively scene composition, story structure, character functions,  dialogue and subtext, transitions and pacing, and so on.

Movies must be in your lifeblood – and the best way to do that is to watch them. If you haven’t seen all of AFI’s Top 100 Movies, now is the time to start.

Why read screenplays?

Because  every script you read is a learning experience.  If it’s a good script,  you can break it down scene-by-scene to determine why it works.  If  it’s a bad script, you can see aspects of writing you do not want  to emulate.  By reading screenplays of great movies, you can see how  the pages were translated onto the screen, thereby giving you insight  into how to write cinematically.

But most important, you need to  read screenplays because these are primary source material, the ‘stuff’  you traffic when you write.   Reading other writers’ screenplays is a  great way to expose you to different approaches, which will help you  inform and define your own unique style, your own distinct voice.

Screenplays  are the form through which you tell stories – and the best way to learn  that form is by reading scripts.  If you haven’t read the WGA Top 101 list of screenplays, now is the time to get started.  You can go to myPDFscripts.com, simplyscripts.com, or any of a dozen or more screenplay sites to access literally thousands of screenplays.

Why write pages?

I don’t really have to explain this, right?  You know that you have to write to get better as a writer, not just the words you manage to write, but how you approach writing from a psychological, emotional, and spiritual perspective.  Nobody is born a writer, we all become writers, it’s an active process that is ongoing throughout our lives.

But  most important, you need to write to feed your creativity.  Putting  words onto paper is an act of incarnation.  Rewriting and editing your  words are acts of shaping the material.  Screenwriting is a craft, but  you have to be able to tap into your world of ‘art’ in order to make  your pages come alive.

Writing is the process whereby you create  stories — and the best way to develop that process is to do it.  Every  day.  For this, I have no websites to which to point you.  No lists with  which to challenge you.  Just this fact: When you aren’t writing, someone else is.

Screenwriting  is an incredibly competitive business.  There are no short cuts to  success.  But there are three habits you can embrace that can teach you  everything you need to know about the craft, about creativity, and about  your writer’s self:

Watch movies.
Read screenplays.
Write pages. 

May 2, 2011

10 Writing Tips from the Great Billy Wilder

Scott Myers of GoIntotheStory.com recently posted this list of ten writing tips passed down by the amazing Billy Wilder. Wilder was the scribe behind such classics as Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, The Seven Year Itch, Sabrina, and Double Indemnity, to name a few. Wilder’s gravestone reads “I’m a writer, but then nobody’s perfect.”

1. Grab ’em by the throat and never let go.

2. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

3.The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

4. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.

5. Tip from Ernst Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.

6. The audience is fickle. Know where you’re going.

7. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they are seeing.

8. The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.

9. The 3rd act must build, build, build in tempo until the last event, and then…

10. …that’s it. Don’t hang around.

April 21, 2011

Script Writing Basics: The Middle

This blog post from the popular blog Go Into the Story discusses what the second act of your screenplay should achieve. Take a look:

Many writers have trouble with their script’s middle part. Either they get confused and lost to the point where they drop the project out of frustration, or if they do succeed in getting through, the pages come off as a string of episodic events with no coherency to them, no build-up to a big All Is Lost Act Two end.

This is a big reason why I’m such a proponent of the Protagonist metamorphosis arc (Disunity to Unity), a dynamic we see at work in movie after movie. I’ll speak more on that later, but in terms of the story’s middle, let’s consider Deconstruction and Reconstruction.

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