Number 4

There are 4 questions every screenplay should be able to answer. Yet 9 out of 10 scripts don’t. What are the 4 basic questions for dramatic storytelling?

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Tom Hanks in Big movie poster

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever had about dramatic writing came from Gary Ross. It involves dominoes.

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Schindler's List poster

Spielberg won Best Director Oscars for Schindler and Ryan but his Holocaust film won Best Film and Best Screenplay while his other WW2 film won neither. Why?

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Brendan Cowell and Gyton Grantley in Beneath Hill 60

Beneath Hill 60 is a decent film but it “didn’t connect” with David Stratton. We look at why and how a good basic story could have been tweaked to make a better film.

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Steve Carell and Tina Fey have a threesome with Alfred Hitchcock in Date Night

While the dearly departed Alfred Hitchcock didn’t perform one of his famous cameos in Shawn Levy’s Date Night, the master’s fingerprints were all over the Steve Carell-Tina Fey comedy.

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Liam Neeson and Ben Kingsley grapple with the challenge of summarising the plot of Schindler's List in just 27 words.

Before you write a single scene of your 120-page screenplay, try to express your film’s logline in 27 words or less. This simple early test can help focus your narrative and save years of wasted effort.

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Jeremy Renner as Blaster One in the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air and No Country for Old Men are all good films spoiled by the finales. Have screenwriters forgotten how to satisfy audiences or are they perversely choosing to frustrate us?

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Todd (Ethan Hawke) in Dead Poets Society

One of my students just asked me how his hero could gain courage. This question goes to heart of character arcs so I thought I’d share my response.

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Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in Baz Luhrman's Australia

There are some fairly obvious story flaws in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia. But the reason it didn’t work was far more fundamental.

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