Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect

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9780240803784: Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect

The beauty and power of any story lies in its ability to connect to the reader, listener, or observer. Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect is the first screenwriting guide to introduce connection as an essential, although essentially overlooked, aspect of creating stories for the screen and of the screenwriting process itself. Written with clarity and humor, this book teaches the craft of writing short screenplays by guiding the student through carefully focused writing exercises of increasing length and complexity. Five award-winning student screenplays are included for illustration and inspiration.

The text is divided into three parts. Part one focuses on preparing to write by means of exercises designed to help students think more deeply about the screenwriter's purposes; their own unique vision, material and process; and finally about what screenplays are at their simplest and most profound level--a pattern of human change, created from specific moments of change--discoveries and decisions.

Part two teaches students how to craft an effective pattern of human change. It guides them through the writing and re-writing of "Five (Not So Easy) Pieces"--five short screenplays of increasing length and complexity--focusing on a specific principle of dramatic technique: The Discovery, The Decision, The Boxing Match, The Improbable Connection, and The Long Short Screenplay.

Part Three presents the five screenplays used throughout the book to illustrate the dramatic principles that have been discussed, and includes interviews with the screenwriters, a look at where they are now and what they are doing, and brief discussion of how each film evolved.

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From the Publisher:

The text is divided into three parts. Part One focuses on preparing to write by means of exercises designed to help students think more deeply about the screenwriter's purposes; their own unique vision, material and process; and finally about what screenplays are at their simplest and most profound level--a pattern of human change, created from specific moments of change--discoveries and decisions. Part two teaches students how to craft an effective pattern of human change. It guides them through the writing and re-writing of "Five (Not So Easy) Pieces"--five short screenplays of increasing length and complexity--focusing on a specific principle of dramatic technique: The Discovery, The Decision, The Boxing Match, The Improbable Connection, and The Long Short Screenplay. Part Three presents the five screenplays used throughout the book to illustrate the dramatic principles that have been discussed, and includes interviews with the screenwriters, a look at where they are now and what they are doing, and brief discussion of how each film evolved.

About the Author:

Florida State University Screenwriter in Residence Claudia Hunter Johnson, Ph.D. has written numerous screenplays for feature film and television productions, including two documentary specials commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts. Her last screenplay, Obscenity (co-written with Matt Stevens), was a finalist for the 1997 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. She has written several award-winning full-length and one-act plays. Her many awards include the Lorraine Hansberry Award, American National Theatre West Award, and Academy Award. In 1993, she won the inaugural PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her campaign to restore banned literary classics to high school classrooms in Florida. Her widely acclaimed book, Stifled Laughter: One Woman's Story About Fighting Censorship, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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