Posts tagged ‘how to write a screenplay’

July 18, 2013

Writing A Script with Good DNA

John August has a great article on his website about the idea of writing a script from theme. Some screenwriters like to start from a theme and then develop a story around it, but in a response to a reader question, John questions whether “theme” is actually an essential component of script writing at all:

“Theme” is a word screenwriters use without defining it clearly, so yes, it’s bound to be frustrating. But I’m not sure we should be using it at all.

In high school, we were taught that a theme is usually about opposing forces, e.g. “man vs. nature” or “the struggle for independence.” I don’t know that this kind of analysis is all that useful when you’re talking about a screenplay, however. It’s helpful for writing an essay about a movie, not for writing the movie itself.

I suspect what your pro-theme writer friends were talking about was some essence that permeates every moment of a good film. Something that’s in its DNA. You feel it when it’s there, and notice it when it’s missing — even when the script otherwise seems solid.

read more »

July 17, 2013

The Un-Rules of Screenwriting: Kirsten Smith’s List

(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a new series of articles here at LA Screenwriter. Let us know what you think!)

E.B. White wrote that there are “no inflexible rules by which the young writer may steer his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.”

We at LA Screenwriter have found that novice screenwriters often struggle with the problem of “the rules,” erring either on the side of formula or of complete disregard for structure. With that in mind, we’ve asked working writers what rules–either flexible or inflexible–guide their writing.

Our first list of “un-rules” comes from Kirsten Smith, screenwriter (along with her writing partner, Karen McCullah) of The Ugly Truth, Legally Blonde, and 10 Things I Hate About You, to name a few.

In no particular order, Kirsten’s rules are:

read more »