Posts tagged ‘screenplay structure’

October 3, 2013

Structuring Your Script with the Dan Harmon Story Circle

tumblr_me6eh0wcMR1rwq0obo1_500The Dan Harmon Story Circle may be the best thing since the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Harmon’s work, he’s the creator of the innovative comedy series Community and was the head writer on The Sarah Silverman Program.

Harmon has a theory of story that he built off of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. The basic idea is quite simple:

Storytelling comes naturally to humans, but since we live in an unnatural world, we sometimes need a little help doing what we’d naturally do.

read more »

April 24, 2012

7 Screenwriting Paradigms

Dave Herman has written a useful article about some of the most commonly used screenwriting paradigms (e.g. Blake Snyder’s 15 beats, three act structure) and how they can both help and hinder writers. Dave writes:

In a recent episode of the On The Page screenwriting podcast, screenwriter Irving Belateche related how he changed his attitude to what he calls ‘screenwriting paradigms’ and the dramatic improvement this had on his writing. The essence of his story seems to me to encapsulate everything that’s good and bad about screenwriting templates: He discovered that he could write much more freely and creatively if he only started checking for plot points, sequence breaks, act breaks and the like, afterhe’d finished writing the story. He found that too much ‘thinking about the writing’ too soon, detracted from his ability to create.

I don’t believe there are any rules about whether it’s better to check for plot points before, during or after writing an outline or even a first draft. But I think it’s wise to be aware of the essential difference between a creative and an analytical mindset.

read more »

November 1, 2011

Recommendation: Save the Cat! Story Structure Software 3.0

Blake Snyder Enterprises has announced the release of Save the Cat! Story Structure Software 3.0. I haven’t tried this software yet… but it looks really cool. As someone who struggles with structure (and a big fan of Snyder’s 15 beats) I’m thoroughly excited to download this product and plot out my next script.

The software has an innovative Board for visualizing your entire script in an easily viewable way right on your computer screen. It also has tools for beating out your script, developing your logline, and framing your structure according to one of Snyder’s 10 genres.

You can learn more about Save the Cat! Story Structure Software 3.0 here. It costs $99.95 and has Windows, Mac, iPhone and iPad versions.

And please — If you’ve tried previous versions of the software or have already purchased this release, let us know how you like it!

August 22, 2011

Because Robert McKee Said So: Notes from the Master

I recently participated in a free teleconference put on by the ISA with the legend himself, Robert McKee. Robert had a proliferation of valuable advice to dispense over the hour-long Q&A session, and I did my best to take notes on what I found to be his most interesting points. Here are some highlights:

  • Robert was repeatedly annoyed by questions about the “biggest” mistakes or the “best” way to do something because he doesn’t believe in pre-packaged writing tools. (However, he did indulge the group with some examples of “big” mistakes, “better” ways, etc.)
  • One major mistake that beginning writers tend to make is being impatient. Don’t put an explosion on the first page and then go back and explain what happened in subsequent pages. It’s sloppy storytelling and experienced readers won’t be impressed. Take the time to establish your characters and your world in a beautiful way.
  • On the topic of mixing genres, Robert said that mixing genres can help dimensionalize characters – if all they do is fall in love, they’re not going to be an interesting character. We also mix genres to try to create a film that hasn’t been seen before. Everything has been done – no one is going to invent an entirely new genre. Robert thinks that innovative films of the future will come from writers merging genres.
    read more »