What’s The Difference Between A Premise And A Theme?


PREMISE This is a general term used to the describe the overall concept of a loosely formed story. It is the precursor to the genre, plot, tone and conflict of a film, without making any moral judgement on the underlying idea. There is no grand argument in a premise defining a premise as being either good or bad. A premise often…

What Is The Theme Of Your Screenplay?


Theme is a much lauded term in screenwriting which has rarely been clearly defined. In its simplest form theme really is the underlying topic screenwriters are exploring in their story. It also expresses various points of view of this topic. It is also the meaning and logic that resonates with your audiences. It is the moral fiber…

Nine Elements Of Great Films


According to John Truby: 1) They tend to have strong single through line – with one overriding problem or goal for the hero – to give the story drive, momentum, and a sense of priorities, or in the extreme, a sense of the first cause. 2) They occasionally digress from that strong line to allow…

Writing Documentaries


Here are excerpts from an article by Billy Marshall Stoneking. The documentary script is often the most underrated aspect of the documentary process. A school of thought suggests that the documentary-making process should be fluid and organic,whereby the filmmaker experiences the film as he makes it. Many filmmakers write a “paper-edit” their footage after shooting…

The Ego And The Shadow


According to Carl Jung, the psychological ‘types’ are part of a broader dynamics of psychic energy which shape our world view and value system. These types describe personality and can profoundly effect things like vocation or choice of life partner. They work together in pairs, one of which is conscious and compensated by its unconscious…

Create Stories by Fictionalizing Your Life Story


Understanding the internal side of your story conveys to your audience the depth that is felt emotionally and spiritually. Jennifer Grisanti offers insight into how to write the internal story into your screenplays and give them this compelling quality. In Story Line: Finding Gold in your Life Story, Jennifer describes the internal components of story…

Elements Of A Good Story


CHOOSING A THEME There must be a universal theme, or truth, that the audience can plug into. Know what subject you are exploring and pursue it in terms of a grand argument. ORGANIZE THE PLOT Write out your main plot points in terms of the main character deciding on courses of action to illustrate the…

The Protagonist/ Antagonist Relationship


I recently heard screenwriter Robin Brown discuss the roles of the protagonist and antagonist in Hollywood movies. The protagonist drives the action from within a flawed world. They are ready for a change and the antagonist is instrumental in forcing that change.  The antagonist serves a deeper dramatic function than simply blocking the protagonist’s goal….

The First Page


In the days of yore, the first ten pages are what enticed a reader to continue. Today, it boils down to the first page. The first page is like a title page that will bait the reader. It’s the next logical step from a logline which will initiate a sc ript request. It advertises your…

Key Elements Of Your Screenplay


Here are some nuggets of wisdom from Writers Boot Camp: FOUR KEY DEVELOPMENT COMPONENTS: Concept Structure Character Scene Crafting FIVE KEY STORY COMPONENTS: Main Character Dynamic Character (eg buddy) Opponent (antagonist) Adventure (events, plot) Genre (emotion, arena) TWO KEY REWRITE COMPONENTS: CONCEPT – This refers to the story. Try to add at least a third…

The Rewriting Process – Story


Here is the next post from Hal Croasmun’s Proseries classes on rewriting. Ensure the story works. Brilliant dialogue in a poorly structured script is a bad script. Story covers concept, structure, theme, character, dialogue and plot. Provide meaning beneath the surface (subtext). Are the following elements clearly defined: Opening, Inciting Incident, Act 1 turning point,…

The Rewriting Process – Overview


Here are extracts from Hal Croasmun’s Proseries classes on the purpose of a rewrite. I will break it up into eight consecutive daily posts to give you time to digest the information. For 95% of writers, rewriting is simply an editing process; correct a typo, change a word, shorten a line or remove a space….