The Art of Screenwriting


By craft I mean "the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement, to hold that involvement, and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience."
- As McKee writes in Story 

When writing a screenplay there a lot of different things to both consider and to think about. Many people would think that its just to sit down and start writing, and in some cases that might do. But usually there is a much more behind the process, like prep-work and idea development before you even think about touching the keys of your keyboard.

There is not any completely right or wrong way to do it. But there are certain guidelines and setups you should follow or use, if you want to achieve a good screenplay. Different books takes up several elements of interest about this topic and looking at a few of them shows how they all have information in common, as well as they are focusing or talking about totally different aspects of screenwriting. 

In Freddie Gaffney´s book "On Screenwriting" we are guided through all of the key and general elements of a screenplay. 

genre, style, themes, thinking visually, moving image, plot, location, pace, dialogue, characterisation mise-en-scene, cinematography etc.
Stereotype, archetype, age, social class, gender, sexual identity, physical characteristics, goals, fears, strengths, weaknesses, culture, general and personal history, motivation, action etc. 
the need to speak, character function, story function, phrasing, vocabulary, personalising, rhythm, motivation, new information, conflict, subtext, energy, perception of realism, reflection of character etc. 
Structure - from idea to format:
Story versus plot, complication, resolution, the three act structure, backstory, setbacks, actions and reactions, 
- Act one: Exposition (a set up and a complication)
- Act two: Development (obstacles, setbacks, and a crisis)
- Act three: Solution (a final confrontation and then, resolution)
Openings and endings
introducing the protagonist, setting the style and pace, introduce the theme of the story, resolving external conflict, resolving internal conflict.

After reading this book you are defiantly ready to start your process with screenwriting, and its a key manual to follow, where you get all questions answered as you go. I used this book during the writing periode of my script, it was a great way to make sure you include all the parts you need. And it is broad and takes up a lot of the different aspects of writing a script, so its a gold mine with inspiration and information. I also used the notes I had taken from our lectures with Steve Coombes and Simon Welsford, which combined helped me massively during the writing period. Especially because I haven't written scripts before, and was quite insecure on how, in which way, what style etc. 

“Most movies celebrate the ways we 
connect with each other.” 
— Jeremy Irons, at the 68th Annual Academy Awards  
Johnson, C.H. - Crafting Short Screenplays that connect

Claudia Hunter Johnson in her book "Crafting Short Screenplays that Connect" mentions how she brings up the art of screenwriting in a whole new light. Instead of having the main focus only on how to set up the screenplay, and the content of one. Her book is the first to explore connection, (and not just conflict) as a crucial part of a good screenplays and the screenwriting process. 

Writing a screenplay isn't just about how it actually turns out or looks on the final piece of paper, but it is also about the effort, thinking and emotion put in to it. Which Peter Goldie´s book makes clear already from the title "Narrative Thinking, Emotion, and Planning." What makes a truly good story? A lot of different elements. And the last bits, is just luck and coincidence. Goldie talks about how the aesthetics and emotion is important for the stories to reach through and to have meaningfulness and emotional import. He tells about how all kind of emotions, dramatic irony, and how ones perception or personal importance has an impact on the narrative story and the incidents that takes place. 

//Images shot by me
with iPhone 4s

//Sources of information
Gaffney, Freddie - On Screenwriting - The book

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