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Posts tagged ‘screenwriting’

How to create memorable dialogue that becomes part of popular culture

A hallmark of a well-written script is a memorable line that could become part of popular culture.

Here are several examples:

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Gone with the Wind.

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” The Godfather

“You had me at hello.” Jerry Maguire

“I’ll be back.” Terminator

So how can you create memorable lines in your scripts?

Hal Croasmun, president of ScreenwriterU, explained this and other tips in “21 Steps to a Professional Rewrite,” a screenwriting teleconference on June 8. For more information about ScreenwriterU classes, visit the website.

First, go to the five most emotional moments in your script where most memorable dialogue happens. Read more

Hollywood story coach reveals essential elements of great storytelling, part 2

Every great story has 10 essential elements, says story coach Michael Hauge. In yesterday’s post, I revealed the first five. To recap, a great story must have:

  • A hero with a goal who will carry the story forward.
  • A setup that shows his life before everything changed.
  • Scenes that create empathy with the reader.
  • An event or opportunity that pushes the story forward and creates a desire to change the status quo, and
  • A new situation that pushes the hero to solve an immediate problem. In the midst of this problem, a new element must emerge:

6. Outer motivation – a visible goal or finish line that the hero wants to accomplish by the end of the story. This goal must be within the hero’s power to accomplish. As a story coach, Hauge focuses on this element. This is a fundamental element to know in order to answer the question, “What is your story about?” In the movie, Gravity, the heroine’s goal was, “I want to get home.” This outer motivation should be easily expressed in a single sentence. The clearer you can be about the visible goal of the hero, the better. The movie, Lincoln was built on one clear goal: End slavery. This goal must drive the story line all the way to the climax.

Along the way, the next element will come into play: Read more

Go beyond craft to find the heart…and art of your story

When I first decided to venture from writing poetry to prose, I read a lot of how-to craft books and took a few writing courses. Eventually, I decided I wanted a more focused approach so I enrolled in a low-residency MFA program through Goddard College.

You don’t need an MFA or any kind of degree, of course, to be a writer, but it was perfect for me. It allowed me the time I needed to focus on craft, and it forced me to read widely. This is what I’m thankful for most, I think, is the opportunity to read and learn how to analyze other writers’ work. I read works from authors whom I never would have otherwise read. Read more

Two ways to create characters your audience will care about

Quick. Think of several of your favorite characters in books or movies. What makes them stand out to you? Character traits are one thing but focus on those and you just have superficial characters, says screenwriting teacher John Truby.

What grabs viewers and readers most about your character?

1. The fundamental weakness of the character

2. The character’s goal in the story.

If you can create a goal for your hero which forces him or her to deal with their deep weakness, you have the makings of a great story, says Truby.

Learn more in this 3-minute clip.