Creative Screenwriting: Understanding Emotional Structure

Overview

Christina Kallas argues for and sets out a genuinely original and creative approach to writing for the screen. This textbook aims to excite the imagination, inspiring and dramatizing stories with thematic richness, emotional depth and narrative rhythm. Structured like a screenplay, the book moves through the pre-credit sequence to the epilogue, interweaving theory, practice and case studies. Kallas combines an awareness of the history of dramatic writing with a very practical focus on how to find ideas and ...

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Overview

Christina Kallas argues for and sets out a genuinely original and creative approach to writing for the screen. This textbook aims to excite the imagination, inspiring and dramatizing stories with thematic richness, emotional depth and narrative rhythm. Structured like a screenplay, the book moves through the pre-credit sequence to the epilogue, interweaving theory, practice and case studies. Kallas combines an awareness of the history of dramatic writing with a very practical focus on how to find ideas and develop them. Supported by innovative and inspiring exercises that enable writers to create stories out of emotions and images, this book is challenging, motivating and essential reading for anyone interested in screenwriting.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book is long overdue - it finally exposes the emperor's new clothes of narrative screenwriting. The exaggerated emphasis on the narrative structure in screenwriting analysis is both misguided and tyrannical. It is the emotional journey that matters, not the narrative - as most moviegoers would tell you. The narrative is needed only as a skeleton to hang the real stuff upon, and Christina Kallas' insightful book provides a rare glimpse into the real stuff - the viewer's emotional journey and the way for the writer to provide for it." — Milcho Manchevski, writer-director of Golden Lion winner, Academy-Award-nominated Before the Rain
 
"Creative Screenwriting is at once practical and erudite.  Bringing the best of the art's greatest teachers together, both past and present, into one compelling 'dialogue,' Kallas delivers an excellent insight into our craft with the warmth and passion of a truly gifted writer and teacher. Of the many fine books on screenwriting one might have in their library... this is among the best." — David N. Weiss, co-writer, Shrek 2, Vice President, WGA, West

“A great screenplay is worth its weight in gold - not just to its author, but also its producer, director, actors and, most important of all, its ultimate audience. Creative Screenwriting is a great place for any screenwriter to mine for treasure. It's filled with insights, alternatives, stimulating exercises and springboards for your imagination.” — David Howard, Founding Director of the Graduate Screenwriting Program at USC and author of Tools of Screenwriting

"Smart. Thorough. Insightful. Kallas has an authoritative understanding of creative issues, historical issues, and the intellectual issues about screenwriting and covers them with a sense of the head and the heart of the subject. Filled with exercises, analysis, and thoughtful discussion, the book is an important addition for anyone wanting to learn more and write with more emotional depth." —Linda Seger, script consultant and author of Making A Good Script Great 

"A most erudite, encyclopedic and wise synthesis of the craft of screenwriting, which both novice and seasoned writer would do well to investigate. A fascinating overview of notions of drama and techniques, ancient and modern which should open writing horizons, and redefine the craft of screenwriting, inject it with the life, philosophy and emotional wisdom it increasingly lacks." —Jeff Gross, novelist, film director and writer of some forty screenplays

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230221413
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 632,324
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRISTINA KALLAS is a screenwriter and producer and President of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE). She is the artistic director of the Balkan Fund and teaches screenwriting at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin and at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Prologue 1

Why Creative Screenwriting? 1

The Art of Creative Writing 6

The Idiosyncrasies of Audiovisual Storytelling 8

The Methods of Creative Screenwriting: Technique and Rules of the Game 10

Pre-Credit Sequence: Theoretical Roots of Creative Screenwriting 17

Creative Screenwriting in the Context of Prevailing Theories of Drama and Screenwriting - a Little Review 17

The Old Struggle between Poetics and Philosophy: It all Goes Back to Aristotle or What we Owe Plato and Aristotle 24

The Beginning: The Trick of Creative Screenwriting 37

The Trick of the Commonplace and the Lack of Responsibility 39

The Structure of the Screenplay: First Sequence (the Character) 45

The Trick of the Status Perspective 55

The Structure of the Screenplay: Second Sequence (the Conflict) 58

The Trick of Failure: The Courage to Fail and the Law of Quantity 61

The Structure of the Screenplay: Third Sequence (the First Dramatic Question) 67

In Remembrance 72

The Middle: Techniques of Creative Screenwriting 75

Gathering Material and the Combination Technique 77

The Structure of the Screenplay: Fourth Sequence (the Second Dramatic Question) 79

The Technique of the Conditional Question 82

Working with both Hemispheres of the Brain 84

The Technique of Free Association and Automatic Writing 86

The Technique of Defining the Problem 88

The Structure of the Screenplay: Fifth Sequence (the Middle) 93

Working with Images 95

Working with Music and Sound 101

The Technique of Conflict 105

Working with Dreams 107

Working with Emotions 109

The Structure of the Screenplay: Sixth Sequence (the Theme) 124

Working with our Experiences 132

The Technique of the Reversal 134

Working with First Love 135

Working with Fairy Tales 138

Working with Themes 139

Working with Shadows 142

Working with the Look of a Film 143

Working with Subtext 144

The Structure of the Screenplay: Seventh Sequence (the Answer to the Second Dramatic Question) 145

Working with Rhythm 146

A Beat 149

The End: Application of Creative Screenwriting and Emotional Structure to the Complete Screenplay 151

Playing with Structure: Working with the Chronological Sequence 153

Every Ending Tells a Story 155

Working with the Psychology of the Audience 162

The Structure of the Screenplay, Eighth Sequence: (the Answer to the First Dramatic Question) 167

Working with Emotional Structure 169

The Technique of Rewriting 184

The Future of Screenwriting 185

In Place of an Epilogue: The Era of the Screenwriter 188

Bibliography 200

Notes 205

Index 231

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