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Alternative Scriptwriting, 4th Edition by Jeff Rush, Ken Dancyger

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Subtext, Action, and Character

The presentation of subtext, often associated with the interior dilemma of the character, is more often associated with theater than with film. However, subtext is an important dimension of good screen stories. Subtext always relates to character. In order to present a model of screenplay subtext, it is necessary to look at the structure of the screen story.

The structured screen story presents characters at a particular point in their lives, facing a particular problem. This problem is given dimension by the secondary characters, who articulate two options for the main character. The dilemma and character are ...

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