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Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting

Book Description

Since we first arrived on the planet, we’ve been telling each other stories, whether of that morning’s great saber-tooth tiger hunt or the latest installment of the Star Wars saga. And throughout our history, despite differences of geography or culture, we’ve been telling those stories in essentially the same way. Why?

Because there is a RIGHT way to tell a story, one built into our very DNA.

In his seminal work Poetics, Aristotle identified the patterns and recurring elements that existed in the successful dramas of his time as he explored precisely why we tell stories, what makes a good one, and how to best tell them.

In Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting, Brian Price examines Aristotle’s conclusions in an entertaining and accessible way and then applies those guiding principles to the most modern of storytelling mediums, going from idea to story to structure to outline to final pages and beyond, covering every relevant screenwriting topic along the way.

The result is a fresh new approach to the craft of screenwriting—one that’s only been around a scant 2,500 years or so—ideal for students and aspiring screenwriters who want a comprehensive step-by-step guide to writing a successful screenplay the way the pros do it.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  7. PREFACE: SOME OBLIGATORY BACKSTORY
  8. SECTION I A Prologue
    1. Chapter 1 Introduction: What You Hold in Your Hand
    2. Chapter 2 Aristotle’s Poetics: It’s All Greek to Me
    3. Chapter 3 Motivating Factors: Why We Tell Stories
    4. Chapter 4 Starting the Journey: Defining the Road Ahead
  9. SECTION II A Beginning
    1. Chapter 5 Story: And I’m Sticking to It
    2. Chapter 6 Ideas: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
    3. Chapter 7 Conflict: People Who Write Should Throw Stones
    4. Chapter 8 Wholeness: We Need Some Closure
    5. Chapter 9 Magnitude: It All Boils Down to One Thing
    6. Chapter 10 Loglines: Putting It All Together (Part 1)
  10. SECTION III A Middle
    1. Chapter 11 Plot: Let’s Stay Connected
    2. Chapter 12 Reversals and Recognitions: Pieces of the Action
    3. Chapter 13 Change of Fortune: Covenant of the Arc
    4. Chapter 14 Fatal Flaw: And the Plot Thickens
    5. Chapter 15 Structure: The Shape of Things to Come
    6. Chapter 16 The Three Acts: Let’s Break It Down
    7. Chapter 17 Anchor Points: A Pattern of Design
    8. Chapter 18 Character: The Agents of the Action
    9. Chapter 19 Defining Traits: What’s Good and Appropriate
    10. Chapter 20 The 5 Ps: They Help Build Character
    11. Chapter 21 Motivating Behavior: Goooooaaal!!
    12. Chapter 22 Structure Revisited: Filling in the Gaps
    13. Chapter 23 Set-Up: Stepping Stones of Act One
    14. Chapter 24 Complications: Stepping Stones of Act Two
    15. Chapter 25 Resolution: Stepping Stones of Act Three
    16. Chapter 26 Stepping Stones: Building the Great Pyramids
    17. Chapter 27 Beat Sheets: Putting It All Together (Part 2)
  11. SECTION IV An End
    1. Chapter 28 Scenes: The Building Blocks
    2. Chapter 29 Description: What You See Is What You Get
    3. Chapter 30 Dialogue: What You Say Is What You Get
    4. Chapter 31 Dialogue Continued: Still More Left to Say
    5. Chapter 32 Formatting: Ah, the Lovely White Space
    6. Chapter 33 Pages: Putting It All Together (Part 3)
    7. Chapter 34 First Draft: And You’re Finally Done
  12. SECTION V A Resolution
    1. Chapter 35 Rewriting: Ha! You Thought You Were Done
    2. Chapter 36 Theme: What’s It All About, Ari?
    3. Chapter 37 Conclusion: Bringing It All Back Home
  13. APPENDICES
    1. Aristotle’s Guiding Precepts
    2. Assignments
    3. Recommended Reading
    4. Recommended Movies
    5. Attributions
  14. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  15. INDEX