Part I

The Form

In the first joy over the invention of moving pictures, it was believed that this unfettered form of storytelling was an art of limitless freedom. One could go everywhere with the camera. One could bring railroads to the screen; film battles, ships, coal mines. One could make long pictures and short pictures; adapt novels and plays and short stories, epics and dramas. Rarely was it acknowledged that the motion picture might have its own form, imposing its own artistic restraints upon the creator’s imagination.

As a book on playwriting tends to be a compilation of facts — facts which were assembled during hundreds of years of playwriting and play-analysis — so a book on screenwriting must concern itself with the “finding” of facts. ...

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