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How to Write a Selling Screenplay Paperback – April 13, 1998
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From Library Journal
There are a lot of fine "how to write a screenplay" titles out and about, but what makes Keane's How To Write a Selling Screenplay unique is the examination on a step-by-step basis of a screenplay, The Crossing, that the author wrote. The teacher/pupil-type exchange, as you closely examine the screenplay, reads almost as if you were asking pertinent questions in class at just the right moments. Keane discusses each screenwriting point (opening sequence, inciting incident, plot point #1, etc.) as it occurs in his screenplay. This makes for twice the fun as you learn solid screenwriting tactics and get to read a thrilling story to boot! Wilson's Inside Hollywood is an eclectic sampling of Tinseltown, never too much information, never quite enough, but a perfect starting point for anyone interested in the motion picture industry. This survival guide to the biz also comes in a format unlike anything this reviewer has ever seen before. Where else will you find the history of Hollywood, an overview of the movie and television industries, and an examination of various film-related job titles, salaries, etc., while taking a quick look at the city of Los Angeles itself? Both books are well written and are essential for strengthening your movie-writing collection.?Marty D. Evensvold, Magnolia Branch Lib., TX
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
Christopher Keane has spent 20 years in the business, learning the truths--and the tricks--of writing a selling screenplay. In How to Write a Selling Screenplay, he takes writers through the entire process, from developing a story to finding the best agent. Using an annotated version of an often-optioned screenplay of his own, and citing examples from movies ranging from Casablanca and Lethal Weapon to Sling Blade and The English Patient, he discusses how to create three-dimensional characters, find a compelling story, build an airtight plot structure, fine-tune dialogue, and much more. Keane's tips on the difference between writing for film and television, as well as his advice on dealing with Hollywood movers and shakers, make this an essential companion for people writing their first--or their fortieth--screenplay.
Top customer reviews
1. Writing is a collaboration between the writer and the characters.
2. Everything is visual or visible, dialogue is at a minimum.
3. Pick a genre of film you like best.
4. The story is the key, then the characters.
5. The story should take place at the most crucial time in your main character's life. Put him/her in lots of trouble, in constant challenge, so will be forced to change.
6. Villains and demons move the story forward.
7. Newspapers and magazines are excellent places to find ideas for stories.
8. Good exercise: This story is about ________ who wants _____. Then, who is it about - hero/heroine, villain, buddy, and romantic interest.
9. Never make the main characters too good, they should be the cause of everything and the plot is the effect.
10. The main character always wants something and will do anything to get it.
11. Character with major flaw must face up to it by the end.Imperfections make him/her human. Stay away from cliches.
12. The villain drives the story to catastrophe develop villain as much as hero/heroine.
13. Most critical conflict - the villain within. Villain controls 2/3 of story. Imagine villain's point of view.
14. Nothing progresses except through conflict.
15. The buddy shares dreams, aspirations.
16. Names should fit the conception of the characters.
17. Photos/pictures of what characters might look like. Age, height, weight, education,, music they might listen to,, description of their "room to hide," job.
18. Every scene reinforces main character's need, plus or minus.
19. Create sympathy for main character.
20. Don't divulge secrets until necessary.
21. Underdog stories are good.
22. Start the story at the last possible moment.
23. How have characters changed, must establish need to change.
24. Log Line - punchy 1 or 2 sentence description of the story. Helps writer maintain focus.
25. Three most important aspects of screenwriting - structure, structure, structure. Basic elements of structure:
a. Basic idea, reduced to 1 or 2 sentences.
b. Backstory - so viewer will know what the main story is about, snippets of dialogue not a lot of flashbacks, sprinkled throughout the story.
c. Exposition - what the viewer needs to fully comprehend the , done dramatically not by dialogue unless by argument,conflict.
d. Pace - escalates in intensity as the story progresses, shorter scenes, greater obstacles, more intense the revelations.
e. Turning points, hurdles, climax/resolution is last scene.
26. 3 Act structure, 100-120 pages. Act 1 (1/4) 1-30 pages. Inciting incident (p. 10-15), Plot point 1 ( p. 20-25) - the deciding point, hook which yanks story in the opposite direction. Act 2. (1/2) p. 31-90. Midpoint (p. 60), Plot point 2 - point where main character says had enough, must resolve the problem. (p. 75-80) Act 3. (1/4) p. 90-120, climax/resolution - when main character's problems are resolved, doesn't have to be happy, but some kind of hope (p. 110-115). There is perpetual conflict.
27. Subplot - plot drives the action, subplot drives the theme/relationships. Must intersect the main plot. Sometimes at the beginning and plays out before main action. Must have beginning, middle and end. There can be a hero and villain's subplot.
28. Break story down, a) Mini treatment - 3-5 pp in prose, will become the outline. 3 acts. b) Scene breakdown, acts 1,2,3 - 15,30,15, details of scenes on 3x5 cards, white, yellow,pink - only salient details, location, characters, issues, c) Expand each scene, more detail.
29. Scene - a) 1 shot or 3pp of dialogue, b) Start each scene with a context - every scene must have something to do with main character's need/spine.
30. Simple plot, complex characters.
31. Begin each scene at last possible moment, each character has a goal in the scene, leave reader wondering at the end of each scene.
32. Sequence of scenes - connecting single idea -beginning, middle, end.
33. Dialogue - a function of the character, it develops gradually, don't worry if not perfect, 1/2 way through characters begin speaking to you. Screenplay isn't about good dialogue, it's about good characters and good story., dialogue will come, rewrite. Dialogue communicates info, moves story forward, reveals emotional stakes, reveals quirks, moods,, IQ, education, temperament, attitude, reveals conflicts between characters, creates tension.
34. Format the key a) No camera angles, you are the writer, b) Char into first time in Caps, full name, c) Don't number scenes until later drafts, d) Limit details e) Convey intention through essence and movement, f) Use strong nouns, active verbs, g) Music - if character can't hear it leave it out, h) No mention of where credits are, i) O.S. means off screen, V.O. means voice over, Fade Out on last page, script should be on 3 hole punched 81/2x11 paper, one-sided.,
Also, the author includes one of his scripts, with notes. Overall, the book is excellent, and that it is a little dated only really affects the type of software, etc to use and related stuff.
But this is not to take anything away from this great, useful, and entertaining book... and like I said, it is inspirational, and for any budding screenwriter that is probably what's most important. Recommended highly.
Excellent - Merchandise arrived as described, excellent condition, prompt and well packaged, great quality, value and dependable service - I'm a happy camper: Thanks, and may the Force be with you!
Most recent customer reviews
I know a lot of writers, and they also, recommend this book.