Improv for screenwriters – a sketch exercise that’s useful for scene work.

This is the exercise: Pick a situation that would happen in life. Identify five typical things thats would ordinarily happen in that situation. Pick an unusual thing. Apply that unusual thing to the list you generated in step 2. Example: A lady goes to a gym to see a trainer. Unusual thing: the trainer is... Continue Reading →


Genre 101

Update 10/23/14: This is an earlier version of this post, which I like a little better. Video game genres: First Person Shooter, Real Time Strategy, Rail Shooter Movie genres: Comedy, Drama, Horror, Fantasy, War Genres in video games are named for how we influence the medium. Genres in movies are named for how the medium... Continue Reading →

Project: Wraithmore/40 beats (first draft)

This is supplemental material for an ongoing project. You can see how it developed here: PART ONE: Stating a premise. PART TWO: Reacting to feedback. PART THREE: World Building PART FOUR: Applying three act structure PART FIVE: Breaking it into 40 beats. ACT ONE It's 1933 and the world has fallen into darkness. 4 years... Continue Reading →

World Building 101

ME: Specs with a lot of world building have a built in problem... SOMEONE ELSE: Screw the rules! I'm not a hack like you! I'm creative! Enjoy riding your formula train to mediocrityville! Okay, look, there's no script god, and even if there was, he's not going to strike you down for setting a story... Continue Reading →

Premise Test Examples

Reader question: You talk about your premise test a lot. How would you apply this to a more character driven piece like Five Easy Pieces or Dog Day Afternoon? Or even Reservoir Dogs. How about the Shining or Taxi Driver. What theme do the protagonists of those stories learn? My premise test:  An <ADJECTIVE> <PROTAGONIST TYPE>... Continue Reading →

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