Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect / Edition 1

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2000 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 288 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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The beauty and power of any story lies in its ability to connect with its audience. Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect, Second Edition, is the first screenwriting guide to introduce connection as an essential aspect of creating stories for the screen and of the screenwriting process itself. Written with clarity and humor, this book teaches the craft of writing short screenplays by guiding beginning writers through carefully focused exercises.

Part One prepares you to write through exercises that will help you think more deeply about the screenwriter's purpose, about your own unique vision, and finally, about what screenplays are at their simplest and most profound level-a pattern of human change made up of specific moments in our lives, of discoveries and decisions-and how they transform us. Part Two shows how to craft an effective story of human change through a study of the writing and re-writing of five short screenplays of increasing length and complexity, each focusing on a specific principle of dramatic technique. Part Three presents seven screenplays that illustrate these dramatic principles, and includes interviews with the screenwriters discussing how each of these films evolved.

Audience: Students in screenwriting courses, primarily in film/video. Secondary market is aspiring screen writer.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* The only screenwriting book that includes a DVD that contains performances of the short films and screenplays that are featured in the book!

Praise for the first edition:
"In this beautifully written and inspiring book, Claudia Johnson leads the reader through the process of writing the short film, along the way illuminating something much bigger—how to write great drama in any form. A very accessible book, well-researched and full of original thinking, Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect adds an important part to the literature of screenwriting and filmmaking, and will undoubtedly lead to some great short films."
- Linda Seger, author, Making a Good Script Great

"Crafting Short Screenplays that Connect would make a good addition to any screenwriter's library...a very accessible book for aspiring screenwriters." - Videomaker

"Whether you want to write short screenplays because you want some practice before you go the distance, or because it's an assignment for your film class, 'Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect' is for you.It is explicit in its detail and direction. What is perhaps the most unique part of this guide is the fact that it contains five short screenplays that illustrate dramatic principles she teaches."
- Jason Antebi, Done Deal (

'My students respond well to her emphasis on connection being as important as conflict. They seem to be inspired to write more compelling work by the less academic/more personally explorative tone.' -Saul Fussiner, Hunter College Film & Media

Praise for the second edition:

"If you are interested in making short films, buy this book...This book is written with authority, the voice of experience and, more importantly, with love and humour, drawing in experiences from other screenwriters along the way." - Focus magazine

'I am pleased to see a screenplay book which finds an alternative to placing conventional conflict and structure at the center of the writing universe! The emphasis on first finding emotional connection between the author and screenplay and then the developing the connection between the screenplay and audience is very fresh and creativity-enhancing." - Mick Hurbis-Cherrier, Hunter College, City University of New York

'I chose this book because it reflects what I believe about scriptwriting—that the technical aspects can always be fixed, but that without a story that has heart and meaning, technical competency doesn't matter.' - Anne Orwin, School of Film and Animation, Rochester Institute of Technology

'Johnson's book is openly addresses the 'groove' that traditional Hollywood narrative has worn into our minds and imaginations and provides real ways to go beyond these cliches to write more emotionally impactful stories.' M. Heather Hartley, Pennsylvania State University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780240803784
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Florida State University Screenwriter in Residence Claudia Hunter Johnson, Ph.D. has written numerous screenplays for feature film and television productions, including two documentary specials commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts. Her last screenplay, Obscenity (co-written with Matt Stevens), was a finalist for the 1997 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. She has written several award-winning full-length and one-act plays. Her many awards include the Lorraine Hansberry Award, American National Theatre West Award, and Academy Award. In 1993, she won the inaugural PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her campaign to restore banned literary classics to high school classrooms in Florida. Her widely acclaimed book, Stifled Laughter: One Woman's Story About Fighting Censorship, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : the power and importance of human connection 1
Pt. I Preparing to write the short screenplay 7
Ch. 1 Connecting to purpose 9
Ch. 2 Connecting to self 15
Ch. 3 Connecting to process 23
Ch. 4 Connecting to screenplays 30
Ch. 5 Connecting to collaboration 50
Pt. II Five (not so) easy screenplays 61
Ch. 6 The discovery 63
Ch. 7 The decision 78
Ch. 8 The boxing match 87
Ch. 9 The improbable connection 102
Ch. 10 The long short screenplay 112
Pt. III Seven screenplays that make it look easy 127
Ch. 11 Kosher 129
Ch. 12 My Josephine 137
Ch. 13 A work in progress 149
Ch. 14 Lena's Spaghetti 159
Ch. 15 Cool breeze and buzz 188
Ch. 16 The making of "Killer kite" 209
Ch. 17 Slow dancin' down the aisles of the Quickcheck 239
Ch. 18 Conclusion 273
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