James Napoli

You Will Never Run Out Of Screenwriting Ideas If You Keep Killing Them

You Will Never Run Out Of Screenwriting Ideas If You Keep Killing Them

At some point early in the creation of their screenplays, students I work with need to share their loglines with their fellow screenwriters, and very often the air of unease about this process is palpable. Not so much because these authors are nervous about having written a poor logline, but because once the idea is […]

 James Napoli

When Flashbacks Attack – Your Guide To Correct Use In Your Screenplay

When Flashbacks Attack – Your Guide To Correct Use In Your Screenplay

I am a flashback apologist. As readers of one of my previous Creative Screenwriting columns know, I believe it is narrow-minded for screenwriters to reject flashbacks out of hand as a storytelling device. Provided they give the reader/viewer the proper emotional underpinning and do their jobs of advancing the story, screenplay flashbacks are not always […]

 James Napoli

On-the-Nose Dialogue

On-the-Nose Dialogue

James Napoli explains that sometimes it’s OK to use On-the-Nose dialogue.

By James Napoli. Near the end of Richard Wenk’s screenplay for 16 Blocks (which became a rather entertaining and underrated film in 2006), the protagonist’s sister, a nurse, unloads a little diatribe about her brother, a washed-up cop who is on the run protecting a witness being hunted by a corrupt police force:   DIANE […]

 James Napoli

Surprise or Suspense?

Surprise or Suspense?

James Napoli explores the difference between the use of surprise and suspense in screenwriting.

By James Napoli. I had an interesting experience while binge-watching the first two seasons of the beautifully acted and tonally flawless British television series Broadchurch. In an attempt to keep this article spoiler-free, I will simply say that the program, which concerns itself with the murder of a child in a small town, is exceedingly […]

 James Napoli

Honor Your Premise

Honor Your Premise

Through analysis of Nocturnal Animals, Groundhog Day and Black Mirror, James Napoli explores how to fulfill the promise of your script’s premise.

Through analysis of Nocturnal Animals, Groundhog Day and Black Mirror, James Napoli explores how to fulfill the promise of your script’s premise.