Screenplaying

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

 James Napoli

Learning from the Master: Hitchcock’s Thematic Throughlines

Learning from the Master: Hitchcock’s Thematic Throughlines

James Napoli explores Hitchcock as a writer, examining his use of recurring motifs and themes in three of his classic films.

By James Napoli. One can accuse Alfred Hitchcock of being many things, but unintentional is not one of them. His films were constructions, designs of often epic thematic proportions that commented upon themselves even as they fooled us into being entertained. Donald Spoto, in his well-known text The Art of Alfred Hitchock: Fifty Years of […]

 James Napoli

Groundhog Day: Streamlining the Story

Groundhog Day: Streamlining the Story

James Napoli examines the differences between the screenplay and the final version of the film, and discusses why these changes were made.

There are many screenplays available online, but one in particular has some terrific lessons in it regarding the streamlining of a story, and what decisions are made between the page and the screen that can be particularly instructive to writers. That screenplay is Groundhog Day, the second revision by the late (and hugely lamented) Harold […]

 James Napoli

We Need to (Not) Talk

We Need to (Not) Talk

James Napoli discusses the use – and over-use – of dialogue.

By James Napoli. A funny thing happened when I decided to revisit the car chase from Bullitt. I found myself on edge in a way I could not quite define. I seemed to be experiencing more of a sense of tension and worry than I normally do in an action scene. Then, about three minutes […]

 James Napoli

Writers: Know Your Place

Writers: Know Your Place

James Napoli discusses what to do – and what not do to – when setting scenes in your screenplay.

By James Napoli. EXT. STREET – DAY A car is parked at the curb. Inside, a group of screenwriters wait at the corner of nothing and nowhere, failing to set the scene with any specificity and therefore failing to engage the reader into something resembling a cinematic experience. Every screenplay should be set somewhere. Forget […]

 James Napoli

From the Over Describer to the Compulsive Recapper: Eight Screenwriting Screw-ups to Avoid

From the Over Describer to the Compulsive Recapper: Eight Screenwriting Screw-ups to Avoid

Script Reader James Napoli gives us a run down of the most common mistakes he sees, and how to fix them.

By James Napoli. Many of the most common mistakes found in screenplays are also easy to rectify. So if you are working on a screenplay of your own, make sure that you do not fall into one of these types.         1. The Compulsive “We See-er” We see an eyeball staring directly […]