Tag Archives: Adaptation of a true story

Guest Post: Thoughts on Long Day’s Journey into Night

A student in one of the courses I teach for Antioch University’s Individualized Master of Arts wrote a terrific, concise critique of O’Neill’s classic play, which is shaped from true story. This is her first foray into the world of …

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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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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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