Tag Archives: screenwriting

How to Achieve Universality in our Writing

Whether we are writing fiction, nonfiction, a screenplay or even a poem, the only way to reach people, to create art that matters, is through universality. Many have claimed that there are only so many stories humanity has to tell, …

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Writing Real Life: Changing the Characters’ Names

The other day I found a hundred pages I’d forgotten I even wrote. It’s from a while ago, of course, but I’m looking at it now and thinking I might be able to do something with it. It still speaks …

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Let The Frame Find You

Finding the frame for your true story is essential, but not always easy. If you think of a frame as the story device that allows questions to be raised and gives your story shape, you can see how nebulous a …

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Real Life Makes Bad Drama

These words were hammered into us relentlessly by our first Dramatic Writing professor at NYU, and it’s as true today as it was then. Because the most important shift in consciousness a screenwriter adapting from real life needs to make …

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Flipping the Switch: A Method for True Story Screenwriters

There’s something I call “Flipping the Switch,” and I think it’s a really useful tool when adapting a true story into a screenplay. When you’re writing anything, there are always two different sides of your brain at work. There’s your …

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J. Edgar Doesn’t Quite Mesh

Saw Hollywood’s latest biopic the other day: J. Edgar. Hmmm. I guess aside from the obviousness of the makeup and the slightly melodramatic performances (sorry, Clint), it was pretty well done. The structure is classic Hollywood formula, but with a …

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Extreme Screenplay Scenes

Over the weekend, I had the chance to watch the illustrious documentary filmmaker Alexandre Philippe (THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS) deconstruct a scene from a classic must-see film THE PUMPKIN EATER. In the beauty parlor scene, Anne Bancroft’s character is …

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