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What makes a story compelling? What makes a book or screenplay one you can't put down? Or a DVD one you have to watch all the way through, as opposed to one you can easily stop at any point in the movie?

As I see it, storytelling, in whatever medium, is about raising questions, and good storytelling is about providing satisfactory answers. In a...
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The "objective correlative” is a concept I came across somewhere in my readings—don’t ask me where. Loosely, it’s the external manifestation of a particular emotion. Seeing as cinema is concerned largely with externals, that is, visuals, I thought the concept would have great applicability to film. Thinking I had hit upon an important and highly original insight, I performed an internet search...
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In “The Dramatist’s Toolkit,” Jeffrey Sweet discusses different ways to structure a play. One is to structure a play around a character. The character structured play tracks the protagonist as he or she achieves, or fails to achieve, an objective. Another method is to structure a play around an event. In a courtroom drama the event is a trial. The play tracks the course...
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cybele:
You've caught me towards the end of my time here (my membership expires in January), and I don't "blog" much, but thanks for the "request-to-follow" -- or whatever the hell we're calling it now -- all the same. :) (And as far as the types of stories that most interest ME, I am solidly in the character-structured camp.)
hecklongtree:
That's all right, Cybele. Not sure if I'm renewing my subscription, either, when it expires in February. 
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Observations on Starting a Script

You get the idea from screenwriting teachers like John Truby and Chris Soth that script writing is essentially a left-brain activity, one requiring extensive pre-planning. For Truby, it's a 22 step method. For Soth, it's eight. Even Syd Field's method requires the author to know, at the outset, the beginning, the end and two plot points.

All...
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vianca:
I agree, the way it was written really helps with the connection. I always find myself immediately re reading it; truly one of the most fantastic and fascinating tales!
hecklongtree:
I finally finished "Dracula." Bram Stoker's characters are so different from the way they've been portrayed in the movies, especially Van Helsing, though I could definitely understand why no one tried to replicate his way of speaking. The audience would probably need subtitles to understand him.
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Obama defeated Romney. I, for one, am relieved.
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suzika:
Thank you hun smile
allay:
So happy Birthday to you! <3
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Whenever I read or see a play or screenplay I like, I try to figure out what it is that makes the script work. Neil Simon is one of my favorites and, while his best plays all have their own special virtues, there is one feature that occurs over and over again. It's something I call the Sword of Damocles.

Swords of Damocles are...
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stmrllrkttnfrmr:
So basically what you're saying is, the protagonist has to dodge the Sword of Damocles a few times before they can get to the MacGuffin.

tongue


I think Jimmy Page said it well when describing his guitar solo from "Stairway to Heaven". The notes unfold like waves crashing against a wall, loosen as the tension releases, and build like an orgasm. So that when he kicks on his distortion pedal, it's an explosion of sound.

It can be tricky transferring high concept abstractions into writing, and then projecting them onto a screen.


What kind of stories are you working on?

hecklongtree:
I've written a comedy screenplay and thriller. The comedy didn't have enough plot and the thriller had too much. I hope that, with my next project, I'll be able to find a happy medium. 
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Top 10 Legendary Screenwriters

Craig Mazin, screenwriter and correspondent for AskMen.com, recently compiled his Top 10 list of "legendary" Hollywood screenwriters. His choices were:

1. Billy Wilder
2. Ernest Lehman
3. Oliver Stone
4. Woody Allen
5. Ben Hecht
6. Francis Ford Coppola
7. David Mamet
8. Paul Schrader
9. William Goldman
10. Robert Benton.

Here are a couple of my favorites who didn...
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livion:
Thanks for the post. Unfortunately I won't make anyone's top list. At the moment I'm a freelance whore biggrin I am writing for any website that will take my work. I am not complaining, it is constant.
chniki:
Thank you so much for the support love!
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Must a movie protagonist be likable?

The likable protagonist is one of the shibboleths of modern Hollywood. In "Save the Cat" ( a popular screenwriting primer) Blake Snyder actually advocated writing an introductory scene where the main character saves a cat or performs some other good deed.

Of course, Jack Nicholson does throw a dog down a laundry chute at the beginning of "As Good as...
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ritavonneurosis:
We are both fine right now!! thanks!!
ritavonneurosis:
Time has past, and I feel better now! But I'll try again to do some rolling tomorrow, so...