An entertaining, practical how-to guide on the art of writing screenplays for television and movies.
Debut author and former adjunct professor Friedman (University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts) presents the fundamental principles of screenplay writing in a breezy, engaging primer that will appeal to students and experienced writers alike. Written in an easy-to-read, whimsical style with dozens of illustrations, useful quotations and references to movie scripts, Friedman’s guide takes delight in making the craft of writing fun. Insightful nuggets of wisdom pop from pages covering topics such as “The Structure of Screenplays,” “A Checklist Before You Choose a Story for a Movie,” “How to Create Great Characters,” “How to Write Good Dialogue” and “Plots.” Friedman’s years of experience in the movie industry and in teaching screenwriting are evident in succinct, often illustrated suggestions to compress time, add tension and “toss in something unexpected.” For instance, one illustrated example features an unaware man walking to his mailbox that houses a live snake. Friedman emphasizes that the core of drama is conflict, and he teaches the key elements of creating a good story by developing and resolving conflict through plotting, action and character development. Also, he explains the frameworks, such as the three-act structure, that typically produce successful screenplays. He goes on to addresses other, more complex topics like turning points, climaxes, flashbacks, subtext, camera directions and denouements. Several checklists will help writers get started, as will tips on how to format a screenplay. At the end, Friedman suggests which genres sell best and how to market a screenplay. Illustrations by artist Nelson Dewey are funny and incisive, functioning like a storyboard to help emphasize the author’s basic points and keep the text from being overly dry or academic.
A valuable guide presented in an entertaining, practical format and filled with the humor and insight of an industry veteran.