Scriptmonk

Michael Schock turns a critical eye on Hollywood and the craft of screenwriting

 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.

 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.

 Michael Welles Schock

What a Story Believes In: The Thematic Argument

What a Story Believes In: The Thematic Argument

Michael Welles Schock provides an introduction to the basic structure behind a story's communication of theme.

By Michael Welles Schock. Theme is an abstract concept by nature, and thus has always been difficult to define or comprehend. To put things most simply, the theme is what the story “believes in.” It contains the underlying values, principles, or beliefs the story intends to express. A clear and recognizable theme will guide the […]

 Michael Welles Schock

Heart, Mind and Gut: Visceral Storytelling Part II

Heart, Mind and Gut: Visceral Storytelling Part II

"Great films do not get by on the visceral alone." Michael Welles Schock concludes his two-part article on Visceral Storytelling.

By Michael Welles Schock. In my previous article Gut Reaction: Visceral Storytelling Part I, I established the cinematic audience’s three levels of psychological need: The Intellectual The Emotional The Visceral Though storytellers can create audience satisfaction by appealing to any one of these needs, the most exciting of stories rely heavily on the visceral. This […]

 Michael Welles Schock

Gut Reaction: Visceral Storytelling Part I

Gut Reaction: Visceral Storytelling Part I

How dramatic films appeal to the primal instincts within us.

By Michael Welles Schock. I know of writers who like to pen very intelligent scripts. These scripts can be clever and witty. They often contain skillful wordplay and philosophical premises. But often, no matter how well-written, these scripts fail draw in the reader. They are like museum pieces. They have aesthetic value, yet can only […]

 Michael Welles Schock

The Humility Arc

The Humility Arc

How fairy tale morality leads to a near-universal rule of screenwriting.

“I can’t beat him… I’ve been out there walking around, thinking. I mean, who am I kidding? I’m not even in the guy’s league.” – Rocky “I don’t want to know who I am anymore. I don’t care. Everything I’ve found out I want to forget.” – The Bourne Identity “I killed her, Red. I […]

 Michael Welles Schock

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints: Poor grammar, rich emotion.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints: Poor grammar, rich emotion.

With sympathetic characters and a dramatic premise, David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints packs a lot of heartbreak into a simple plot.

by Michael Welles Schock There is no better way to express an ideal than to contrast it with its harshest opposite. We can best know joy by first knowing anguish. We can fully understand compassion only when it stands side-by-side with cruelty. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, the second feature film of writer/director David Lowery and […]

 Michael Welles Schock

Scriptmonk on You’re Next

Scriptmonk on You’re Next

I'm afraid to laugh. With tonal elements going in two opposite directions, You’re Next is a splatter flick with identity issues

by Michael Welles Schock You’re Next baffled me. It wasn’t because I could not follow the plot. It wasn’t because its story did not make sense. I was baffled because, even as the end credits rolled, I was still completely unsure whether I was supposed to find the film terrifying or hilarious. If it is […]


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