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screenwriting electricity in The Silence of the Lambs
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What is “electricity”, in screenwriting terms?

On the Special Edition DVD/Blu-Ray for THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Jodie Foster is interviewed as part of a retrospective. In the interview, Foster explains that a structurally insignificant scene (the one where “Multiple” Miggs can’t contain his excitement, after Clarice’s first meeting with Hannibal Lecter) is in fact very

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Alan Grant (Sam Neil) in Jurassic Park
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Dr. Alan Grant (JURASSIC PARK)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil), the palaeontologist hero of Steven Spielberg‘s dinosaur horror-adventure blockbuster JURASSIC PARK.

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Tomb Raider point of no return
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OPINION: Why Screenwriters Should Use A Point of No Return

What is a Point of No Return? The “point of no return” is essentially when the plot leaves the character with no choice but to go forwards. Perhaps the easiest way to imagine a point of no return is as an island from which a character can’t escape. The setting

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Danny Ocean (George Clooney), Ocean's Eleven
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Danny Ocean (OCEAN’S ELEVEN)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Danny Ocean (George Clooney), the mastermind of a complex casino heist in Steven Soderbergh‘s OCEAN’S ELEVEN.  

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Obsessing over one script reader
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Stop Obsessing About One Script Reader’s Notes

Obsessing About One Script Reader Here at Industrial Scripts, we get it all the time. You can almost hear the echoing footsteps of the query, before it arrives: “Can I have the same script reader as before?” It’s actually serendipitous this should be asked so frequently of late, because we’ve

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Se7en Seven and atmosphere in screenplays
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Why Screenwriters Should Understand Screenplay Atmosphere

Understanding Screenplay Atmosphere Screenplay atmosphere is difficult. At the bottom of the poster for THEY CAME TOGETHER, a spoof of rom-coms, there’s a disclaimer: Please note: New York City plays such a central role in this story, it is almost like another character in the movie. Although intended as a compliment,

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escalating stakes in Ready Player One
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OPINION: Why Your Second Act Must Have Escalating Stakes

The second act is all about escalating stakes. Absolute urgency. There’s a gap in the classic three act structure as extolled by many screenwriting books and teachers. The problem is the second act, which is usually the bulk of the story. Depending on your terminology of choice, you’ll likely find

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Elisa in The Shape of Water
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Elisa (THE SHAPE OF WATER)

2018 was a great and diverse year for cinema. Everything from BLACK PANTHER by Ryan Coogler to Disney’s long anticipated INCREDIBLES 2. In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount

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closure in La La Land
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OPINION: Finding The Perfect Closure

Finding the perfect ending is difficult, even for professional writers and big-budget films. The resolution after the climax provides closure for the audience and characters. Sometimes termed the “denouement,” this scene is just as important as the climax itself. It’s the part of the story that resolves any remaining subplots. The script

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Greta Gerwig quotes
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15 Greta Gerwig Quotes for Writers and Filmmakers

Already one of the key, iconic actresses of the American indie scene, appearing in the likes of FRANCES HA, MISTRESS AMERICA and 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, Greta Gerwig made her solo directing debut with LADY BIRD, a warm and moving story of a mother-daughter relationship in 2002 Sacramento. It was nominated

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Jordan Peele quotes
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10 Jordan Peele Quotes Writers and Directors Can Learn From

Jordan Peele, one half of the sketch comedy duo KEY & PEELE, burst onto the cinema scene with the highly acclaimed and successful “social thriller” GET OUT, which he wrote and directed. At the 90th Academy Awards, it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best

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Bill Tench Mindhunter
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Bill Tench (MINDHUNTER)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on FBI special agent Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) from MINDHUNTER.   Bill Tench and MINDHUNTER MINDHUNTER is a

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Shakespeare lessons for screenwriters
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OPINION: Lessons from Shakespeare For Screenwriters

An odd trend in cinema surfaced in the 1990s and continued into the 2000s. A spate of teen films relocated the plots of William Shakespeare plays to high schools. O updated Othello to make the main character a basketball player rather than a military general. 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU found

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Genre hybrid
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OPINION: The Key to a Great Genre Hybrid

A genre hybrid, a cross between two or more genres, can be a boon. It’s giving the audience something familiar, tapping into genre conventions, but also fresh. However, it can also confuse audiences (and marketers!). Genres tend to have their own audiences and trying to appeal across them can alienate

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Luke Skywalker
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Luke Skywalker (STAR WARS)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the hero of the original STAR WARS trilogy. Luke Skywalker and

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Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
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Genius Character Reveal: Rebecca Bunch (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), the title character from The CW musical dramedy show CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND.

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Dee Rees quotes
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15 Inspiring Dee Rees Quotes for Writers & Filmmakers

Screenwriter and director Dee Rees’ debut feature film PARIAH was met with positive critical acclaim and since then, her Emmy Award-winning HBO series BESSIE and her feature film MUDBOUND have impressed both audiences and critics alike.  Here are 15 of the best Dee Rees quotes to inspire all screenwriters and filmmakers….

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Theo Faron in Children of Men
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Theo Faron (CHILDREN OF MEN)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Theo Faron (Clive Owen), the weary and reluctant hero of Alfonso Cuarón’s prescient dystopian thriller CHILDREN

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great dialogue subtext
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OPINION: Great Dialogue is All in the Subtext

Writing great dialogue is difficult, but one way to get a step closer is through the use of subtext. Subtext, literally what is below the text, is the deeper implication behind the surface meaning. Dialogue is not the same as real speech. Dialogue is inevitably heightened, even if it’s simply a

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american beauty narrative momentum
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How To Generate Narrative Momentum in Screenplays

There’s a great quote from F. Hauser and R. Reich that states: “In all the best material, the outcome is inevitable and inherent in the opening moment and every moment inbetween”. Think how fated Daniel Plainview’s rise to power and fall into corruption feels throughout THERE WILL BE BLOOD or

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everyday heroes Sully
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Why Screenwriters Should Tell Stories about Everyday Heroes

With the dominance of superhero and tentpole films, sometimes it seems like there’s no place in cinema for everyday heroes. Most audiences don’t want their reality simply reflected back to them. However, there are still degrees between these extremes. It’s still possible to engage an audience by showing everyday heroes on screen. As

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Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Nightcrawler
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Lou Bloom (NIGHTCRAWLER)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), the thief-turned-cameraman in NIGHTCRAWLER. Lou Bloom and NIGHTCRAWLER NIGHTCRAWLER is a

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Mad Men - Mine History & the Real World for Your Next TV Script
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How to Mine History & the Real World for Your Next TV Script

History is, to gently mutilate a great quote, often stranger than fiction, which is what makes it such a great basis for fiction. Of course, mining history for a solid TV script isn’t as simple as shoving a good story into a period setting. So what makes for a good

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classic movies usual
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10 Inspired Ways Writers Came Up With Classic Movies

‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ It’s the question that gets a ripple of groans at any Q&A session, and an answer comprising a shrug and escorting the asker into a waiting van. ‘Where did you get that idea from?’ That’s a different story. Often the initial ideas that

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Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds)
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Hans Landa (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), the SS Colonel villain of Quentin Tarantino’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. Hans Landa

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dead man's shoes
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10 Screenwriting Lessons From DEAD MAN’S SHOES (2004)

DEAD MAN’S SHOES (2004) DEAD MAN’S SHOES follows Richard (Paddy Considine), a soldier who returns to his home town to get revenge on the men who abused his mentally-challenged brother Anthony (Toby Kebbell). The script was written by director Shane Meadows and Considine, with additional material by Paul Fraser. After

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matt orton screenwriter
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The Insider Interviews: Matt Orton

THE INSIDER INTERVIEWS: MATT ORTON The Insider Interviews series started in 2010 as a set of recorded interviews, featuring the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Gareth Unwin, who produced THE KING’S SPEECH, Ben Wheatley and Hossein Amini, the Oscar-nominated writer of DRIVE and THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. You can watch

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Planet of the Apes films send messages
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OPINION: Screenplays That Send Messages

There’s a famous piece of screenwriting advice that “if you want to send messages, use Western Union.” Now it might go, “if you want to send messages, Tweet about it.” The implication is that such idealised notions about art improving the world don’t belong in show business (emphasis on the

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Baby Driver
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Baby (BABY DRIVER)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Baby (Ansel Elgort), the eponymous protagonist of BABY DRIVER. Baby and BABY DRIVER With similarities

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room arguing laughing
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10 Cinematic Scenes of People, Arguing and/or Laughing

Cinematic Scenes of People, Arguing and/or Laughing It sounds like a dull writing exercise. Put your characters in a room and see what happens, arguing or laughing. But here are 10 great, cinematic scenes that prove being stuck in one room doesn’t have to mean being stuck in a boring

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Kurt Vonnegut
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31 Writing Lessons From Iconic Author Kurt Vonnegut

31 Writing Lessons From Iconic Author Kurt Vonnegut With his deceptively simple prose style, novelist, playwright and essayist Kurt Vonnegut, jr. (1922 – 2007) bridged sci-fi and literary fiction. Novels like Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle and Breakfast of Champions didn’t exactly open readers to new worlds as new ways of thinking. Perhaps this is why

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screenwriter species
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Which Species of Screenwriter are you?

The ‘building-block’ nature of screenwriting is such that any screenwriter needs a selection box of varying skills. As you’d expect then, different screenwriters tend to find themselves drawn to, and more skilled at, certain aspects of the process. Whether it’s creative story ideas, unique characters, or a structure so tight,

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Adam Driver, Paterson, low stakes
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OPINION: The Perks & Pitfalls of Low Stakes Screenplays

Is it possible to have a film that tells a story without conflict? Conventional wisdom would say no. However, this doesn’t mean that every film needs a world-ending threat. Not every film needs to have escalating stakes. It is possible, but difficult, to tell a great story with low stakes. The physical

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Cosmo Lawlor in Sing Street
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Cosmo Lawlor (SING STREET)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Conor, a.k.a. Cosmo Lawlor (newcomer Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), from SING STREET. Cosmo Lawlor and SING STREET From writer-director John Carney (ONCE), SING STREET

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character sacrifice in Wrath of Khan
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OPINION: Writing a character sacrifice that works

A character sacrifice is a difficult moment to get right. Audiences today are incredibly cine-literate. They’ve seen it all before, and can tell when a film or TV show has used storytelling shortcuts. When It Works Still, like any common trope handled well, a character choosing to die can still be very effective

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Dale Cooper thumbs up, Twin Peaks
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Dale Cooper (TWIN PEAKS)

In our Genius Character Reveals series we examine scenes and moments where a film or TV show reveals a tremendous amount of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. This month’s instalment focuses on FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan), the lead character from TWIN PEAKS. Dale Cooper and TWIN PEAKS TWIN PEAKS is the

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Screenwriter - Unsettle Audience
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OPINION: When Screenwriters Should Unsettle Audiences

There’s an old Hollywood saying to writers that if you want to send a message, use Western Union. The idea is that audiences want films to entertain them, not to make them think. Studio heads and producers didn’t want to unsettle the audience. This is depicted in the Coen brothers’

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Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) - The Diary of a Teenage Girl
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Character Reveal: Minnie Goetze The Diary of a Teenage Girl

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a short amount of screen time. This instalment focuses on Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) from the period coming of age film THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE

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create intrigue in screenplays - the ultimate guide
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Top 5 Story Questions That Pique Our Interest

Stirring Interest If a story doesn’t pose a dramatic question, you’re probably reading a shopping list. Story questions are the narrative equivalent of a sales pitch, the means by which we’re convinced to stick a story out instead of mowing the lawn or something. Story Questions Moment to moment, the

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3D audience, cinema experience
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OPINION: Screenwriters Should Consider the Cinema Experience

It’s a cliché, but the entertainment industry is an industry. Show business is a business. It behoves screenwriters to remember this and to consider why write films in the first place. What makes the cinema experience worthwhile? When deciding whether an idea is worth developing and writing, it’s worth asking first: Is this

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Tom Reagan in Miller's Crossing
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: Tom Reagan (MILLER’S CROSSING)

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a short amount of screen time. In this instalment, we focus on Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) from the 1990 crime film MILLER’S CROSSING.   MILLER’S CROSSING The

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Riverdale - teenage characters
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OPINION: Crafting Convincing Teenage Characters

A major problem with crafting convincing children and teenage characters is that as we grow up it’s too easy to forget what it’s like to be young. Whether a project is aimed at children, teens, adults, or a range of ages, badly written young people stand out. The result is that

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Manchester by the Sea, flashbacks
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OPINION: Flashbacks and the (Rare) Stories that Need Them

One of the major exceptions to the oft-repeated “show, don’t tell” screenwriting rule is the equally common received wisdom that screenplays should avoid using flashbacks. The criticisms are familiar from scores of screenwriting books. They weaken the dramatic tension, breaking up the momentum of the story to show the audience things

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Ricky Baker, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
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Character Reveal: Ricky Baker (Hunt For The Wilderpeople)

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a short amount of screen time. In this instalment, we focus on Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) from the coming of age film HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE.

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godfather part 2 featured
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The Genius, Multi-Conflict Opening of THE GODFATHER PART 2

There are, broadly speaking, two ways to convey conflict: implicitly and explicitly. The former involves illustrating some kind of dissonance through setting, silence, the way one character looks at another. The latter involves someone saying ‘I hate you’, punching, or a deliberate explosion. THE GODFATHER PART 2 is rich in

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John McClane Die Hard
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GENIUS CHARACTER REVEALS: John McClane

In this series we look at scenes and moments where a film or TV show has revealed a great deal of character information in a compressed amount of screen time. In this instalment we focus on John McClane (Bruce Willis) from DIE HARD. DIE HARD is the quintessential, archetypal modern action

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Boogie Nights
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10 Screenwriting Lessons We Can Learn from…BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)

Like much of Paul Thomas Anderson’s work, the BOOGIE NIGHTS screenplay has an odd structure, divergent POV and a hefty length, yet every page of it is full of worthwhile lessons for screenwriters. Here are ten: Conflict doesn’t need to be constant Conflict is often billed as screenwriting currency: you’re

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write omnisciently featured
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Should Screenwriters Write “Omnisciently”?

To write omnisciently as a screenwriter often entails, for better or worse, including elements that may never show up onscreen: jokes in descriptions or insights into characters’ thoughts and histories that only a reader will ever truly experience and appreciate. This statement is unlikely to surprise anyone sentient, but film

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screenwriting lessons featured
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10 Screenwriting Lessons From ANGEL HEART (1987)

ANGEL HEART Alan Parker’s ANGEL HEART is an odd blend of genres, taking noir, psychological thriller and horror to a three-way shotgun wedding. The screenwriting lessons it can teach us are similarly diverse. The basic plot is this: a private detective named Harry Angel is hired by the mysterious Louis

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thriller screenplays primer
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10 Thriller Screenplays You Should Read

Thriller Screenplay Power As a genre, ‘thriller’ tends to gently caress several others, namely horror, sci-fi, and drama. As such, thriller screenplays provide a goldmine of various narrative and structural techniques. These may well be films you’ve seen; it’s just that some of them might not have left you desperate

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