NonFiction ~~- The 10 Commandments Of ScreenWriting

Dramatic Writing Secrets

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Somebody wants something badly and is having difficulty getting it.

What screenwriting is all about: It's simple-
it's telling exciting stories about exciting people in an exciting form.
That's all there is to it.

I just happen to be one of those irrational persons who think that a film cannot be any good if it isn't well written.-ERNEST LEHMAN

Dilemma a rock and a hard place decision, Sophie's choice; two equally unacceptable choices. Frozen robot.
Crisis the dilemma gone critical, forced choice
Decision&Action the decision of which way to go in the dilemma
Resolution the resolution of the dilemma

everything must pass the "so what" test

A bad premise will not make a good movie/song

Be on the lookout for that great premise, the simple raw idea that a producer would kill you for

one good strong dilemma can carry the project
dilemma is the engine of the drama
dilemma gives horsepower to any story

You must keep the dilemma equally balanced, so that each decision always stays equally unacceptable.

Put yourself in the protagonist's position: are the two choices really equally horrible?

Make a two sided chart: what will happen in each case.

Connect average viewer to the protagonist's dilemma.
The deeper you go, the more universal you get.

Experiment with extremes, chaos.
key word is outrageousness

Put the screws on the head of the person you hate the most,
then take them off and put them on your protagonist, so you don't go too easy on him.
You tend to let your protagonist off too easy.

Mania is as priceless as genius.

anywhere people are being torn apart

originality and fresh writing is a plus.

Wild, not domesticated storytelling.

The crisis forces the emergency that makes the protagonist choose between both sides of the dilemma.
Crush depth.

Crisis is all of the worst possible things happening all at the same time.

Both happen at once.
Decision and action in the crisis reveals the true nature of the character.
You only know who your friends are when yo go through a crisis with them

Strip the mask off.
It's fascinating.

The only real currency in this world is what people do to each other when they're uncool and the chips are down.

Crisis brings out the best and worst in a person.

Resolution can be creative or tragic.

Some people can't be stopped from destroying their own lives.

Our protagonist should conclude his dilemma finally and irreversibly and completely.

Resolve the dilemma by choosing one of the two horns or going between the horns.
Choose one of two doors, or rip out a chainsaw and make a 3rd door.

The way i which the protagonist resolves the dilemma reveals the theme of the piece.
The philosophy and the message of the writer.

David Mamet says the theme can and should be expressed once at the end, not plodding through the piece over and over again.
Insecure writers tend to push the theme over and over again during the piece, when it only needs to be revealed through the final resolution.

The theme awakens something sleeping inside each audience member.

Molliere: William Thompson Price
Great story is all about theme, not situation.

Theme is felt, not lectured.

A character caught in a dilemma is riveting to an audience.

At the end of the day all our audience wants is a good story well told and without anything to come between that story and their suspension of disbelief in the storytelling process.
Let’s hear it for good scripts!

For script consultation, contact:
Jeff Kitchen
Jeff Kitchen
1112 Montana Ave. #66,
Santa Monica, CA 90403
contactjeff AT

Michael Hauge
Telephone: (818) 995-4209
Fax: (818) 986-1504
Skype ID: michaelfhauge