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A-story, action, antagonist, efficient storytelling, MAD MAX, narrative construction, protagonist, THE ROAD WARRIOR -

I recently had the pleasure of seeing The Road Warrior (aka Mad Max 2) on the big screen for the first time. This film is wonderful for a variety of reason, not least of which is it’s a set-up that’s so high concept it established its own sub-genre. The other thing that stands out is the ruthless efficiency of its storytelling. We open with a voiceover telling us about the world. This is essentially a car chase movie, so we cut to a car chase in media res; we’re immediately delivering the goods. At the end of the chase, Max...

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Every once in a while we’ll see a film in which the protagonist dies at the end. It’s a tricky maneuver to pull off, but by looking at movies that make this bold move, we can see some patterns in what works, and in which types of stories this kind of thing tends to occur. We most often see dead protagonists in period action-adventure, typically in the key of “epic.” In this very specific genre we find several examples: BRAVEHEART, SPARTACUS, GLADIATOR, 300. There is a certain high, bloody drama to seeing the protagonists of films of this nature die...

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Aaron Sorkin, goal, hurdles, obstacle, pay-off, protagonist, set-up, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION -

Today I want to talk about structure. If you are a writer, you will inevitably talk or be asked about the structure of your film. When I first started writing, I remember thinking, “What does it mean for a story to have good or bad structure?”. You can’t Google, “story-structure”, and learn how to write your story in the right way, so how do you crack the code? This article will hopefully offer some insight into what it means to have a well-structured script, but I want to do it from a birds-eye view instead of analyzing every “beat” a...

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inspiration, Producers, protagonist, screenwriting, The Producer’s Guide to Saying No -

Why do producers pass on screenplays? There is no magic or absolute answer to that question, but there are plenty of practical guidelines to be gleaned from producers. Here at ScriptArsenal, we know a good deal of producers, and have learned a thing or two about why they might pass on a piece of material. Improper presentation. If your script does not adhere to basics of formatting and presentation, chances are any legitimate producer will toss the script on page 1. Because any legitimate producer has much more pressing demands on their time than reading an amateurish script. With the...

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protagonist, Script basics -

Too many times, in my work as a development executive, contest judge, and script analyst, I come across scripts with great scenes or visuals or dialogue, that simply miss the 4 basic building blocks of a story.


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