NOW WRITE! Screenwriting
Edited by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson
One of the best ways to improve your writing is to write a lot. Produce a volume of work and, over time, that way that you write and the way that you wish that you wrote will get closer together. Ira says it better:
NOW WRITE! includes 95 exercises, divided into the following categories:
- Choosing Your Story
- Get Writing
- Crafting Scenes
- Character Development
- Verbal/Nonverbal Communication
- Now What?
Below I noted writing exercises, questions to ask yourself, and things to think about that seemed useful or unusual.
I have another post of more exercises coming up next week.
The book gives a little autobiography of each contributor; I included their most notable accomplishment.
MARDIK MARTIN – The Last Waltz, Raging Bull
- People don’t identify with characters, they identify with conflict
- Write about conflict that you experience or observe
- Antagonist is the conflict-giver, key to starting point
HAL ACKERMAN – UCLA Faculty
- Write about your most cringe worthy memories
ALAN WATT – Author of Diamond Dogs
- List your fears
- Being conscious of our fears prevents them from ruling us
- Connect the root of your fear to your hero
- Ex: I’m afraid my script will suck = Fear of failure
BRAD RIDDELL – Teaches at USC and Spalding U
- Separate 15 notes cards in to 3 piles of 5
- Pick one from each pile and develop a treatment
CHRIS SOTH – Firestorm
- Good movies have dramatic tension
- A good film has a satisfying resolution
- Tension = Hope versus Fear
DAVID TROTTER – Author of The Screenwriter’s Bible
- Make a grid so you have an overview of your characters’ actions/arc
- Helps with pacing/plot
- For each scene, list the characters involved and their actions
MICHAEL HAUGE – Author of Writing Screenplays That Sell
- What is your hero’s wound? Think about how you will reveal this wound to the audience.
- What is the unconscious belief created by the wounding experience?
- As a result of that belief, what is my hero’s deepest emotional fear?
- The hero’s disguise their wound by adopting a protective persona.
- Think about the hero’s true identity, the one that they shield. Who are they really or who do they have the potential to become?
- What actions will the hero take to shed their false persona?
- The love interest is the one person who can see beyond the hero’s protective identity and love them for who they are.
- Your lovers are in conflict when the hero/both of them retreats into protective identity; they connect when act as their true selves.
KARL IGLESIAS – Author of The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters
- Think about the emotions that you want the audience to experience
- Ex: anticipation, tension, suspense, amusement, fear, worry, relief, empathy, enmity
- Look at your plot points in term of emotional response.
- Ex: Princess Leia is captured by Darth Vader – Audience feelings awe, empathy for Leia, enmity for Vader, worry