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Archive for the ‘Screenwriting’ Category

Link: How to Write Screenplays…Badly.

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Many of my friends are writers, and I think a few of them have even tried their hands at writing screenplays. I don’t believe any of them could have been all that successful with the screenwriting yet because I haven’t felt the envious urge to shank any of my “friends” in the neck. (Saundra, you’re exempt since you were already writing screenplays when I found out you existed; no neck-shanking for you.)

I don’t want to do anything that’s going to bring on said shankings, but I found a screenwriting resource I just couldn’t keep to myself. I thought it best to share this site slap full of screenwriting advice with all of my fellow wannabe Hollywood hacks. It’s filled with chunky nuggets of wisdom such as:

Substituting onomatopoeic words in place of these run-of-the-mill verbs is a quick and easy way to inject some metaphorical hot beef into your screenplay. Onomatopoeia, of course, is the process of creating words that phonetically resemble the sounds they’re supposed to represent, such as buzz or fart. Not only will onomatopoeic verbs keep your screenplay feeling fresh and minty, but they can also help to splush a more vivid and engaging cinematic vision. [Did you see what I did there? Splush is the onomatopoeic version of the word paint! In screenwriting terms, this is called a transition (or tranny). As in: "Did you hear that Mamet got caught doing a tranny?"]

I hope all of you can internalize all of the helpful info this site’s got of offer and apply it to your own work.

Your neck will thank me for it.

Written by Allen

May 16th, 2006 at 8:20 pm

Posted in Screenwriting,Writing

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TV versus Movies, Story versus Plot

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Lee Goldberg’s A Writer’s Life points us to a conveniently-timed follow-up to last night’s discussion about the differences between the storytelling modes of TV and movies, John Rogers has an in-depth dissection of story versus plot that hits on exactly that topic. John notes that on most TV shows, characters are trying to resume the status quo rather than truly growing and changing–but I’m happy to say he also points out that our hero Joss Whedon actually does incrementally change his characters over time such that the cumulative effect of those changes produces actual growth. And that cumulative effect is what I’m ultimately interested in as a writer and as a reader/viewer/consumer.

John’s post delves further into the crucial differences between story (what happens to your characters) versus plot (how it happens to your characters). I’d never heard that delineation before and I think it actually clarifies a couple of issues I’ve been working through in my head over the last week or so. Though he’s discussing screenwriting in particular, I think what he has to say about the three-act structure applies more or less universally across story formats.

(As a bonus, he uses Brad Bird’s brilliant screenplay for The Incredibles as his tool for demonstrating the difference.)

Written by Allen

May 31st, 2005 at 12:55 pm