The Other Drive

The American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has eliminated the category of “Neurosis”, reflecting a decision by the editors to provide descriptions of behavior as opposed to hidden psychological mechanisms as diagnostic criteria.,[3] and, according to The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, it is “no longer used in psychiatric diagnosis”.[4] These changes to […]

The Hero’s Journey Meets the Screenwriter’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey Meets the Screenwriter’s Journey Why the F*%K do we do it? Money? Fame? Love of the process? What is it? Why do we continue to write screenplays when aside from the outrageously arduous task of getting it even remotely right, the odds of then getting it sold and then made and then […]

The Emotional Engine

“After writing movies for thirty-five years I am more convinced than ever it is only about story. Want to read a good story? Pick up The Little Engine That Could. Sappy and primitive, sure, but…let me tell you, you are rooting with all your heart for that crummy two-bit nothing of a train to get […]

Process and Structure

I teach (and I am a super strong proponent for) getting the entire story down in what I call a basic “beat-sheet” before launching into the actual writing of the script. Think of this beat-sheet as an outline-roadmap, ultimately scene by scene, of your entire filmscript. Working with cards can function the same way as […]

Joss Whedon’s Top 10 Writing Tips

Here’s Joss Whedon’s Top 10 Writing Tips, which was initially published in Channel 4′s talent magazine by Catherine Bray, who has kindly given me permission to reproduce the article in full here. Thanks, Catherine! “Joss Whedon is most famous for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its spin-off Angel and the short-lived but much-loved Firefly series. […]

Dramatic Situation

DRAMATIC SITUATION: Often multi-leveled situation(s) that will inevitably lead to future conflict. who is your main character? what does the main character want? what’s stopping the main character from reaching his/her goal? Characters are what they DO. If drama is conflict, character is action: Doing things to achieve that goal—even if they are psychological actions […]


JEFF KATZENBERG’S CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING A STORY FOR A MUSICAL FILM: A great theme, allegorical, not only does it have to be a good story, but it has to tell you something about humanity.  You need a great villain and you need great music that moves you from one place in the story to the […]