Screenplaying

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

 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.

 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 […]

 James Napoli

Flashbacks and Monologues

Flashbacks and Monologues

James Napoli comes to the defense of two often misused screenwriting techniques.

By James Napoli. Flashbacks Nothing provokes a more knee-jerk “don’t do it” reaction from screenwriters than the decision to include one or more flashbacks in one’s screenplay. We can, of course, understand this compulsion to remain linear, and the gut instinct that to tell the story from beginning to end is the only pure way […]