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.

 James Napoli

Going on a Hero’s Journey to Save Syd Field’s Cat: Exploring Story Structure Paradigms

Going on a Hero’s Journey to Save Syd Field’s Cat: Exploring Story Structure Paradigms

James Napoli takes a look at screenwriting structure guides, and asks should we be using them, and if so, when?

James Napoli takes a look at screenwriting structure guides, and asks the questions: should we be using them, and if so, when?

 James Napoli

Dissecting The Lobster

Dissecting The Lobster

James Napoli explores the Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Lobster, and reveals its surprisingly traditional elements.

James Napoli explores the Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Lobster, and reveals its surprisingly traditional elements.