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Screenwriting For Dummies, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-05262-4
360 pages
February 2011
Screenwriting For Dummies, 2nd Edition (1118052625) cover image
Write a great script and get it into the hands of the Hollywood players!

So you want to be a screenwriter? Whether you want to write a feature film or a TV script or adapt your favorite book, this friendly guide gives you expert advice in everything from creating your story and developing memorable characters to formatting your script and selling it to the studios. You get savvy industry tips and strategies for getting your screenplay noticed!

  • The screenwriting process from A to Z -- from developing a concept and thinking visually to plotline, conflicts, pacing, and the conclusion
  • Craft living, breathing characters -- from creating the backstory to letting your characters speak to balancing dialogue with action
  • Turn your story into a script -- from developing an outline and getting over writer's block to formatting your screenplay and handling rewrites
  • Prepare for Hollywood -- from understanding the players and setting your expectations to polishing your copy and protecting your work
  • Sell your script to the industry -- from preparing your pitch and finding an agent to meeting with executives and making a deal

Open the book and find:

  • The latest on the biz, from entertainment blogs to top agents to box office jargon
  • New story examples from recently released films
  • Tips on character development, a story's time clock, dramatic structure, and dialogue
  • New details on developing the nontraditional screenplay -- from musicals to animation to high dramatic style
  • Expanded information on adaptation and collaboration, with examples from successful screenwriting duos
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Foreword.

Introduction.

Part I: So You Want to Write for Pictures.

Chapter 1: Introducing the Art of Screenwriting.

Chapter 2: Preparing to Think Visually.

Chapter 3: Diving In to the Screenwriter?s Mind.

Chapter 4: Approaching Screenwriting as a Craft.

Part II: Breaking Down the Elements of a Story.

Chapter 5: Unpacking Your Idea.

Chapter 6: Plot Part I: Beginnings.

Chapter 7: Plot Part II: Middles.

Chapter 8: Plot Part III: Endings.

Chapter 9: Character Building.

Chapter 10: Say What? Constructing Dynamic Dialogue.

Chapter 11: The Nontraditional Film.

Chapter 12: Maintaining an Audience?s Trust.

Part III: Turning Your Story into a Script.

Chapter 13: Mapping Out Your Screenplay.

Chapter 14: Surviving Writer?s Block.

Chapter 15: Formatting Your Screenplay.

Chapter 16: Putting It Together: Structuring Your First Draft.

Chapter 17: Take Two: Rewriting Your Script.

Chapter 18: Adaptation and Collaboration: Two Alternate Ways to Work.

Part IV: Selling Your Script to Show Business.

Chapter 19: Before You Send It: Premarketing Considerations.

Chapter 20: Getting Your Screenplay Noticed.

Part V: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 21: Ten Screenwriters You Should Know.

Chapter 22: Ten Screenwriting Myths.

Index.

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Laura Schellhardt holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and degrees in Theatre and Creative Writing from Northwestern University in Chicago. Her scripts have been produced in New York (SPF, The Hangar, The Exchange Theatre), Seattle (Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT), Chicago (Northlight Theatre, Serendipity Theatre, New Leaf Theatre, Citadel Theatre), Washington DC (The Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth), Providence (Trinity Repertory Company, Brown University), Minneapolis (Theatre Limina), North Carolina (Center for Performing Arts), and Provincetown, Massachusetts (Provincetown Repertory Theatre, Provincetown Theatre Company).
Original works include The K of D, The Chair, Courting Vampires, Shapeshifter, The Apothecary’s Girl, Inheritance, and Je Ne Sais Quoi. Adaptations include The Phantom Tollbooth, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, The Outfit (Jeff Award Nominee), and Creole Folktales.
Laura is a recipient of the Theatre Communications Group 2007–8 Playwriting Residency, The Jerome Fellowship, the New Play Award from ACT in Seattle, and a Dramatist Guild Playwriting Fellowship. She has participated in the SoHo Rep. Writer/Director Lab and the O’Neill National Playwright’s Festival. Laura has assisted in the development of new work at The Goodman, Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, and Trinity Repertory Company. She has studied writing with the likes of Paula Vogel, Maria Irene Fornes, Erin Cressida Wilson and has taught alongside Oscar-nominated John Logan of Aviator and Sweeney Todd fame.
Laura currently heads the playwriting program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and teaches workshops across the country.
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