Screenplaying

script analyst James Napoli reveals what films have to teach us about screenwriting

 Jeff York

The Five Best Narrative Surprises That Elevated “Avengers: Endgame”

The Five Best Narrative Surprises That Elevated “Avengers: Endgame”

It’s not surprising that Avengers: Endgame beat a half dozen box office records this past weekend including the biggest worldwide opening ever ($1.2 billion). What is startling is how well Marvel Studios managed to keep such a tight lid on the many narrative surprises in the concluding chapter to last year’s Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel […]

 Jeff York

The Hurdles of Writing ‘The King of Kings’ for the Big Screen

The Hurdles of Writing ‘The King of Kings’ for the Big Screen

It’s Easter week, and appropriately, a movie about the life of Jesus Christ is opening this weekend. This one stars Joaquin Phoenix in the role of ‘The King of Kings,’ even though the main emphasis, and title character, is Mary Magdalene (played by Rooney Mara). Among other strengths of the movie, this one rights the […]

 Jeff York

Filmmaker Daniel Farrands Tells a Moving, Yet Chilling Story About Sharon Tate

Filmmaker Daniel Farrands Tells a Moving, Yet Chilling Story About Sharon Tate

For the longest time, writer/director Daniel Farrands has found himself drawn to telling the story of Sharon Tate and her friends who were killed by members of the Charles Manson cult in 1969. He lives in LA, where of course, those infamous Bel Air murders are never too far from discussion whenever someone mentions the […]

 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 […]

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