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Beyond the Rules

There are many different schools of thought with regard to becoming a better screenwriter. Some value convention, while others stress experimentation. Some focus on character, while others rely on plot. Because there are so many different opinions, we feel it’s best to state our biases at the outset.

First, we think of the screenwriter as a storyteller who happens to write for film. Many screenwriters write for more than one medium. Steve Tesich ( Breaking Away ) and Harold Pinter (The Handmaid’s Tale ) write for both theater and film. David Hare ( Strapless ), William Goldman ( Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ), and John Sayles ( Baby It’s You ) write both fiction and screenplays, as have many others throughout the short ...

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