Screenwriting Behind Enemy Lines: Lessons from Inside the Studio Gates

Screenwriting Behind Enemy Lines: Lessons from Inside the Studio Gates

by John Schimmel

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Overview

A very pragmatic look at what “they” are looking for combined with techniques for delivering that. Includes “Tales from the Trenches,” lessons from various sets and development situations to illustrate the points being made, from one of the legendary production and development executives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781615931934
Publisher: Wiese, Michael Productions
Publication date: 10/30/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 232
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

John Schimmel has more than 20 years’ experience as a Hollywood studio development and production executive and producer with Warner Bros., with Michael Douglas and Steve Reuther’s company Douglas-Reuther at Paramount Studios, and as President of Production at Ascendant Pictures. He has worked
on such films as The Fugitive, Batman, Interview with the Vampire, Outbreak, Face/Off, Lucky Number Slevin, and Lord of War. Among other credits, he was a co-creator and co-star of the Broadway musical Pump Boys and Dinettes, nominated for both Tony and Laurence Olivier awards. John currently teaches screenwriting at the University of California at riverside’s Low residency MFA Program in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
How to Use this Book
A Brief Introduction

CHAPTER ONE - STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU START

The current state of development, your screenplay’s journey from submission to green light, The
only question that matters, Criteria for answering the only question that matters, What draws people
into the theater?, Analyzing the success of Transformers, The Avengers versus Green Lantern,
What The Avengers, Transformers, and Little Miss Sunshine have in common, Take it to the wall:
Monster’s Ball, What it all means to you,

Exercises – Getting started

CHAPTER TWO - WHAT DRIVES A FILM: A PREPATORY LOOK UNDER THE HOOD

What is a scene?, The rhythm of reverses, Character creation – a quick primer, A process for
moving forward,

Exercises – nailing down the basics

CHAPTER THREE - THE FIRST ACT – STRUCTURE - LESSONS FROM THE NEAR-DEATH OF THE FUGITIVE

First act story points, Analysis: The Fugitive, A tale from the trenches: What the studio didn’t
understand about The Fugitive and how it almost killed the film,

Exercises – First act structure/begin your outline

CHAPTER FOUR - A DEEPER DIVE INTO THE FIRST ACT - CREATING GREAT CHARACTERS

Setting Up your Protagonist/Creating Castable Roles, Character contradiction, Do audiences need
to love protagonists?, Tools of Characterization, The relationship Between Structure and Character,
other important character issues for the first act: Entrances,

Exercises –your character bible

CHAPTER FIVE - THE SECOND ACT - HOW  OUTBREAK BECAME A FILM

Other components of the second act, The rhythm of the second act, Tips from the pits of development hell – creating second acts that don’t unravel, Analysis – the second act of The Fugitive, Another tale from the trenches: Outbreak - How a key second act decision won a war between studios, An additional lesson from Outbreak,

Exercises – Construct your second act

CHAPTER SIX - ACT THREE - FACE/OFF: A TERRIFYING PREVIEW AND WHAT IT HAS TO TEACH

The Fugitive’s third act, A third tale from the trenches – The first preview for Face/Off, A brief digression about trailer moments,

Exercises – Design a third act worth the wait

CHAPTER SEVEN - REWRITING AND REVISING - FIRST DRAFTS ARE NEVER AS GREAT AS YOU THINK

The eight rules of the rewrite process, The clearest clues that you have a ways to go, Be your own script whisperer: Discovering your screenplay’s hidden truth, Making peace with ceding control to your own subconscious, How to sabotage your own rewrite - Self-destructive writers I have known,

Exercises – Getting ready for your rewrite

CHAPTER EIGHT - THE POLISH – WORDSMITHING YOUR SCREENPLAY

When are you ready to polish?, Word choice – the poetry of screenwriting, Shaping your paragraphs, The dialog polish, Description and Action, Scenes, Length, Title, Proofreading - The final step of the polish,

Exercises – The final step/polishing your screenplay

CHAPTER NINE - A CLOSE READ OF LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, THE KING’S SPEECH, AND LINCOLN

The ensemble film: Little Miss Sunshine, The King’s Speech: no, the flawed hero is not his own antagonist, rules are made to be broken – The screenplay for Lincoln,

Exercises – Do what I just did

CHAPTER TEN - FINAL THOUGHTS - LESSONS FROM BOB DYLAN AND THE INTERNET.

Exercises – Examine what you’ve learned

About the Author

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