Robert McKee is a screenwriting guru whose book (and seminar series), [Story](http://www.amazon.com/dp/0060391685/?tag=johnaugustcom-20), is one of the most popular and polarizing how-to screenwriting books on the market. McKee, a Fulbright Scholar, developed his seminar while a professor at the University of Southern California, and began offering it to the public in 1984. It has been attended […]
Can you include emotion or other “unshootable” elements in your screenplay?
In general and if used judiciously, yes. If including something like emotion gives your screenplay flavor and helps paint a better picture of your character or scene, include it. But keep in mind that while it may help the reader, the viewer can’t see “happy;” you have to express that through the actions and dialogue […]
What tense are screenplays written in?
Unlike novels, which can be written in a variety of tenses, screenplays are always written in present tense. Some writers employ an objective 2nd person tense for point of view, where “we” stands in for the audience. Through the crowd of befuddled heads, we see a MAN IN HORNED-RIMMED GLASSES, staring with intent. The present […]
What is a McGuffin?
A McGuffin (sometimes MacGuffin or maguffin) is a device that drives the plot, but has no real relevance. A good example is the briefcase in Pulp Fiction: viewers can speculate on its contents, but the truth is it doesn’t matter what’s inside; it’s just something to drive the plot. The term is often attributed to […]
What constitutes a scene?
A scene is a unit of story that takes place at a specific location and time. If one of these changes, you have a new scene. This is two scenes: INT. PETE’S ROOM – NIGHT He turns off the lamp and quietly nestles himself under the covers... INT. PETE’S ROOM – DAY A SCREECHING alarm […]
What does it mean to “break story” on a screenplay?
Breaking story basically means figuring out the screenplay’s blueprint — mapping out a story and coming up with a logically and dramatically consistent beginning, middle, and end, and the major checkpoints therein. ROBIN I finally broke story on that period family-horror-comedy idea I’ve been wrestling with. BRAD Nice! It’s cause for a small celebration. ### […]