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The Screenwriter’s Roadmap by Neil Landau

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18

WHAT'S THE MOVIE REALLY ABOUT?

Illuminate the Central Thematic Question

A theme is a universal truth about life. There's the movie, and then there's what the movie is really about. The legendary UCLA film professor, Howard Suber, posits that “themes must be expressed, not as platitudes but as actions” (The Power of Film, Michael Wiese Productions, 2006, p. 373).

Ideally, no character should speak the theme in dialogue—which tends to feel didactic and obvious. Instead, have the entire screenplay—every character, every plotline—represent the theme allegorically. While different audiences will extract different themes from the same script—you must have a point of view as the author. Know what you want to say, and infuse your scenes with the ...

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