Craft

the theory and practise of screenwriting

 Brianne Hogan

Navigating Your Story: Salva Rubio on Save the Cat Goes to the Indies

Navigating Your Story: Salva Rubio on Save the Cat Goes to the Indies

Author and screenwriter Salva Rubio discusses the ideas found in his latest book, the classical narrative structure behind most indie films, and why beat sheets are helpful to writers.

Author and screenwriter Salva Rubio discusses the ideas found in his latest book, the classical narrative structure behind most indie films, and why beat sheets are helpful to writers.

 Ashley Scott Meyers

How to Create the Perfect Antagonist

How to Create the Perfect Antagonist

Ashley Scott Meyers reveals the four essential criteria for creating a great antagonist!

Ashley Scott Meyers reveals the four essential criteria for creating a great antagonist!

 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?

 Ann Baldwin

Diane Drake on Screenwriting

Diane Drake on Screenwriting

Diane Drake offers advice on strengthening loglines, finding seed scenes, and approaching the challenges of act two.

Diane Drake offers advice on strengthening loglines, finding seed scenes, and approaching the challenges of act two.

 William Brower

Research and Historical Accuracy in Screenwriting

Research and Historical Accuracy in Screenwriting

William Brower explores the fact and fiction behind the characters of James Cameron’s Titanic, and offers a historian’s perspective on research and character development in fact-based drama.

William Brower explores the fact and fiction behind the characters of James Cameron’s Titanic, and offers a historian’s perspective on research and character development in fact-based drama.

 Brock Swinson

Art Holcomb on The Art of Preparation

Art Holcomb on The Art of Preparation

Art discusses his new book The Art of Preparation, exploring your premise, and the difference between plot line and emotional line.

Art discusses his new book The Art of Preparation, exploring your premise, and the difference between plot line and emotional line.

 Michael Welles Schock

The Hand of the Princess: Understanding the Romantic Subplot

The Hand of the Princess: Understanding the Romantic Subplot

Michael Welles Schock delves into the cultural origins of the romantic narrative archetype, before exploring its use in film, and its ethics and application in screenwriting.

Michael Welles Schock delves into the cultural origins of the romantic narrative archetype, before exploring its use in film, and its ethics and application in screenwriting.

 Brianne Hogan

Dos and Don’ts in Screenwriting: The Best of Meet the Reader

Dos and Don’ts in Screenwriting: The Best of Meet the Reader

Great screenwriting advice from the gatekeepers of Hollywood, as Brianne Hogan looks back over her "Meet the Reader" column.

Great screenwriting advice from the gatekeepers of Hollywood, as Brianne Hogan looks back over her “Meet the Reader” column.

 Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein

Your Questions Answered: Flashbacks, Foreshadowing and the Fourth Wall

Your Questions Answered: Flashbacks, Foreshadowing and the Fourth Wall

Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein answers your questions about flashbacks, narrative voice, the fourth wall, foreshadowing, and confrontation vs. resolution.

Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein answers your questions about flashbacks, narrative voice, the fourth wall, foreshadowing, and confrontation vs. resolution.

 Kelly Leow

Jeff Nichols on Screenwriting

Jeff Nichols on Screenwriting

Jeff Nichols reveals the source of his ideas, the benefit of leaping into the middle of the narrative, and the importance of making your audience play catch-up.

Jeff Nichols reveals the source of his ideas, the benefit of leaping into the middle of the narrative, and the importance of making your audience play catch-up.

 Matthew Wade Reynolds

Finish What You Started with Finishing School

Finish What You Started with Finishing School

Cary Tennis and Danelle Morton discuss their new screenwriting book Finishing School, why we have such a hard time finishing things, and the trouble with claiming that “Actually, it’s a trilogy.”

Cary Tennis and Danelle Morton discuss their new screenwriting book Finishing School, why we have such a hard time finishing things, and the trouble with claiming that “Actually, it’s a trilogy.”

 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.

 Alex Southey

How to write Action Description

How to write Action Description

Alex Southey explores five different kinds of action description, and how they dictate tone in a script.

Alex Southey explores five different kinds of action description, and how they dictate tone in a script.

 Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein and Marilyn R. Atlas

The Frankenstein Formula

The Frankenstein Formula

Marilyn R. Atlas & Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein explore the enduring influence of Shelley’s Frankenstein, and offer advice on bringing both the Creator and Created character types to life.

Marilyn R. Atlas & Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein explore the enduring influence of Shelley’s Frankenstein, and offer advice on bringing both the Creator and Created character types to life.

 Gary Goldstein

He Writes like a Girl

He Writes like a Girl

Gary Goldstein looks beyond the adage of writing what you know, and offers advice on writing for characters of the opposite sex.

Gary Goldstein looks beyond the adage of writing what you know, and offers advice on writing for characters of the opposite sex.

 Art Holcomb

The Umami of Story

The Umami of Story

Art Holcomb explores how to elevate your writing from the simply competent to the extraordinary with seven questions to ask of your script, and reveals why a script must be a work of art.

Art Holcomb explores how to elevate your writing from the simply competent to the extraordinary with seven questions to ask of your script, and reveals why a script must be a work of art.

 Ernest Garrett

Kaufman’s Folly: Considering the Viewer’s Perspective

Kaufman’s Folly: Considering the Viewer’s Perspective

Ernest Garrett explores the issue of Kaufman’s Folly: what is it, and what screenwriters can do to avoid it.

Ernest Garrett explores the issue of Kaufman’s Folly: what is it, and what screenwriters can do to avoid it.

 Scott McConnell

Developing Drama and Conflict: 10 Tips for New Screenwriters

Developing Drama and Conflict: 10 Tips for New Screenwriters

Scott McConnell offers “back to basics” advice for screenwriters new and old.

Scott McConnell offers “back to basics” advice for screenwriters new and old.

 Brianne Hogan

“Don’t draw the line at good enough.” Diane Drake on Screenwriting

“Don’t draw the line at good enough.” Diane Drake on Screenwriting

Diane Drake on giving yourself permission to be bad, the essentials of a first act, and what to do with your script when it is written.

Diane Drake on giving yourself permission to be bad, the essentials of a first act, and what to do with your script when it is written.

 Brian Herskowitz

Paths, Ripples & Choices: How character and story logic can make or break your script

Paths, Ripples & Choices: How character and story logic can make or break your script

Using examples from The Night Of, Unfaithful and Breaking Bad, Brian explores character and story logic, and reveals the importance of believability.

Using examples from The Night Of, Unfaithful and Breaking Bad, Brian explores character and story logic, and reveals the importance of believability.

 Ernest Garrett

Logarithmic Time in Screenwriting

Logarithmic Time in Screenwriting

Logarithmic Time, and how you can employ it to improve your script!

In the first of a brand new series of video articles brought to you in conjunction with StoryBrain, we explore the concept of Logarithmic Time!

 Lucy V. Hay

How to Handle Notes

How to Handle Notes

Lucy V. Hay explores what to do when you receive conflicting feedback on your script.

Lucy V. Hay explores what to do when you receive conflicting feedback on your script.

 John Davis

What Writers Can Learn From Musicians

What Writers Can Learn From Musicians

John Davis on practice, working on your flaws, and the importance of throwing it all away.

John Davis on practice, working on your flaws, and the importance of throwing it all away.

 David Albert Pierce

Fictionalization: How Not To Get Sued

Fictionalization: How Not To Get Sued

David Albert Pierce, Esq. explores how to use factual events in your screenwriting, and offers advice on best practice for fictionalization.

David Albert Pierce, Esq. explores how to use factual events in your screenwriting, and offers advice on best practice for fictionalization.

 Michael Hauge

Arenas and Finish Lines in Screenwriting

Arenas and Finish Lines in Screenwriting

Michael Hauge explores the concepts of Arenas and Finish Lines, as shown in Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

Michael Hauge explores the concepts of Arenas and Finish Lines, as shown in Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

 Michael Welles Schock

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: A Cinematic Prototype

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: A Cinematic Prototype

Michael Welles Schock reveals what A Christmas Carol can teach us about plot structure, and how it illustrates the relationship between narrative conflict and the character arc.

Michael Welles Schock reveals what A Christmas Carol can teach us about plot structure, and how it illustrates the relationship between narrative conflict and the character arc.

 Scott McConnell

Writing a Dramatic Script: Five Key Techniques

Writing a Dramatic Script: Five Key Techniques

Scott McConnell on plot and story, creating a layered central conflict, and the use of disguise, deception and complications.

Scott McConnell on plot and story, creating a layered central conflict, and the use of disguise, deception and ingenious complications.

 James Napoli

Fact vs. Truth in Screenwriting

Fact vs. Truth in Screenwriting

Taking Quiz Show as a case study, James Napoli explores the art of turning true stories into powerful drama.

Taking Quiz Show as a case study, James Napoli explores the art of turning true stories into powerful drama.

 Michael Hauge

12 Powerful Principles of Story Structure

12 Powerful Principles of Story Structure

Michael Hauge discusses superior position, foreshadowing, ticking clocks and other screenwriting techniques, as revealed in James Cameron’s Avatar.

Michael Hauge discusses superior position, foreshadowing, ticking clocks and other screenwriting techniques, as revealed in James Cameron’s Avatar.

 Lee Nordling

Create Your Pitch Part II: Sell, Don’t Tell

Create Your Pitch Part II: Sell, Don’t Tell

Lee Nordling on why all writing is selling, the danger of detail, evoking an emotional response, and conceiving your story in broad strokes.

Lee Nordling on why all writing is selling, the danger of detail, evoking an emotional response, and conceiving your story in broad strokes.

 Lee Nordling

Create Your Pitch Part I: Baiting the Hook

Create Your Pitch Part I: Baiting the Hook

Lee Nordling on giving away the good part, the problem with high concept pitches, and the importance of hitting the producer between the eyes.

Lee Nordling on giving away the good part, the problem with high concept pitches, and the importance of hitting the producer between the eyes.

 Brianne Hogan

Questioning Your Screenplay

Questioning Your Screenplay

Aaron Mendelsohn on richly-detailed secondary characters, common mistakes new screenwriters make, and the most important question to ask about your story.

Aaron Mendelsohn on richly-detailed secondary characters, common mistakes new screenwriters make, and the most important question to ask about your story.

 Michael Welles Schock

Plot Patterns in Screenwriting

Plot Patterns in Screenwriting

Michael Welles Schock explores plot patterns in films, and explains why the 3 act structure is so successful.

Star Wars, The Godfather and Groundhog Day: They’re all the same film! Michael Welles Schock explains why.

 Kieron Moore

Overpowered Antagonists: Writing for Supervillains

Overpowered Antagonists: Writing for Supervillains

Kieron Moore explores the problems of writing for supervillains, and offers advice for crafting a worthy antagonist.

Kieron Moore explores the problems of writing for supervillains, discusses what traits they should and should not possess, and offers advice for crafting a worthy antagonist.

 Michael Hauge

What Are Friends For? The Reflection Character

What Are Friends For? The Reflection Character

Michael Hauge explores the Reflection Character, as revealed in The King’s Speech.

Michael Hauge explores the Reflection Character, as revealed in The King’s Speech.

 Michael Hauge

Revealing Your Hero’s Wound

Revealing Your Hero’s Wound

Michael Hauge explores the concept of the hero’s wound and transformation, as revealed in Good Will Hunting.

Michael Hauge explores the concept of the hero’s wound and transformation, as revealed in Good Will Hunting.

 Alex Bloom

5 Simple Steps to Nailing Your Screenplay’s Theme

5 Simple Steps to Nailing Your Screenplay’s Theme

Alex Bloom explores the concept of theme, and offers advice on how to approach and apply theme in your screenplay.

Alex Bloom explores the concept of theme, and offers advice on how to approach and apply theme in your screenplay.

 Brianne Hogan

Michael Hauge on The Hero’s Two Journeys

Michael Hauge on The Hero’s Two Journeys

Michael Hauge discusses the hero’s internal and external journeys, the crucial elements of character, and the three things a protagonist must possess.

In their new video series The Hero’s Two Journeys, screenwriting teachers Michael Hauge and Christopher Vogler explore the external and internal journeys that a character goes through. Creative Screenwriting was fortunate enough to speak with Michael about the concept behind the series, the crucial elements of character, desire and conflict, and the three things a […]

 Brianne Hogan

Dating Your Character

Dating Your Character

How “dating” your character informs your screenplay, how to tell when your character is “the one,” and when you should actually dump your character.

How “dating” your character informs your screenplay, how to tell when your character is “the one,” and when you should actually dump your character.

 Christopher McKittrick

Robert McKee on Dialogue

Robert McKee on Dialogue

Robert McKee on his first new book in almost 20 years, the importance of learning to act, and why there’s no such thing as writing a screenplay without form.

Robert McKee on his first new book in almost 20 years, the importance of learning to act, and why there’s no such thing as writing a screenplay without form.

 Ramona Zacharias

“No Stories Are Plot Driven!”

“No Stories Are Plot Driven!”

Lisa Cron on the dangers of pretty language, foolish outlines and why no stories are plot driven.

Lisa Cron on the dangers of pretty language, foolish outlines and why no stories are plot driven.

 Ramona Zacharias

The Neuroscience of Storytelling

The Neuroscience of Storytelling

Lisa Cron on the neuroscience of storytelling, Breaking Bad's brilliant finale, and why pantsing is idiotic.

Lisa Cron on the neuroscience of storytelling, Breaking Bad’s brilliant finale, and why pantsing is idiotic.

 Alex Bloom

How Reading Screenplays Will Improve Your Writing

How Reading Screenplays Will Improve Your Writing

If you're not reading screenplays, you're missing out as a screenwriter! Alex Bloom explains why, and gives advice on how to read scripts.

If you’re not reading screenplays, you’re missing out as a screenwriter! Alex Bloom explains why, and gives advice on how to read scripts.

 Kieron Moore

Plotting Film Noir

Plotting Film Noir

With examples from The Nice Guys, The Big Sleep and The Big Lebowski, Keiron Moore explores how to write Film Noir.

With examples from The Nice Guys, The Big Sleep and The Big Lebowski, Keiron Moore explores how to write Film Noir.

 Brock Swinson

Aaron Sorkin on Screenwriting

Aaron Sorkin on Screenwriting

Aaron Sorkin discusses intentions and obstacles, his new screenwriting masterclass, and how to write great dialogue.

Aaron Sorkin has one of the most distinctive voices in the business. From A Few Good Men to The Social Network and The West Wing, he is best known for his intelligent and witty dialogue. His latest venture is an online screenwriting Masterclass, where he shares the secrets of his trade. Creative Screenwriting spoke with […]

 Brianne Hogan

How to Write Great Loglines

How to Write Great Loglines

Lane Shefter Bishop on selling your story in a single sentence, common logline blunders, and the importance of stakes.

Lane Shefter Bishop isn’t kidding when she laughs, “I have such an eclectic background.” Not only is she a multi-award winning producer and director (including an Emmy and six Telly Awards), but she’s also the CEO of Vast Entertainment, a production and development company that focuses exclusively on fostering book-to-screen adaptations. In 2008 when she founded […]

 Jennie E. Park

Writing for Television

Writing for Television

Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Breaking Bad: Daniel P. Calvisi discusses television pilots, defining character arcs, and mistakes new writers make.

Daniel P. Calvisi is a writing coach and former Story Analyst for Twentieth Century Fox and Miramax Films. His latest book, Story Maps: TV Drama: The Structure of the One-Hour Television Pilot, follows his earlier Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay, Story Maps: 12 Great Screenplays, and Story Maps: The Films of Christopher […]

 James Napoli

Plants and Payoffs in Screenwriting

Plants and Payoffs in Screenwriting

Using Sergio G. Sánchez's classic horror The Orphanage as a case study, James Napoli explores the concept of Plants and Payoffs.

“Bad for glass,” mutters private eye Jake Gittes in Robert Towne’s Chinatown. When the statement is first heard in the story, it is merely Jake’s culturally insensitive remark about the inability of Evelyn Mulwray’s gardener to pronounce the letter “r.” It has no meaning to Gittes, who is–by virtue of his being an investigator uncovering […]

 Brock Swinson

The Nutshell Technique

The Nutshell Technique

Jill Chamberlain on the difference between situation and story, the Nutshell Technique, and why writers should choose the banana!

As a practiced script consultant, Jill Chamberlain has read more scripts than most individuals have seen movies. In her research, she has discovered that 99 percent of first-time writers are missing the fundamental step in writing: to tell a story. While any basic class or beat book can encourage writers to format a script, jot […]

 Sean A. Mulvilhill

Surprise: The Key to a Great Script

Surprise: The Key to a Great Script

Most screenplays flop because they are too predictable. Sean A. Mulvihill explains how to spice up your story with surprises at every turn.

I love the film Die Hard. A New York cop’s visit to reconcile with his wife in L.A. is interrupted by a terrorist attack in her company’s building. John McClane, the cop, becomes a one-man wrecking crew in order to save his wife and stop the terrorists. When the film came out in theatres in […]


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Joss Whedon on Screenwriting

Richard Walters