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Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay

Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay

5.0 11
by Daniel Calvisi

Learn the secrets to writing a GREAT screenplay from a major movie studio Story Analyst who will show you how to BLOW AWAY THE READER! Master the structure and principles used by 95% of commercial movies by studying detailed breakdowns, or "Story Maps," of several recent hit movies in all different genres, including The Dark Knight, The Wrestler, How to Lose a Guy


Learn the secrets to writing a GREAT screenplay from a major movie studio Story Analyst who will show you how to BLOW AWAY THE READER! Master the structure and principles used by 95% of commercial movies by studying detailed breakdowns, or "Story Maps," of several recent hit movies in all different genres, including The Dark Knight, The Wrestler, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Drag Me To Hell and the classics As Good As It Gets and Sunset Boulevard.

The book cites examples from hundreds of films, several television series and includes samples from actual scripts to show you HOW TO DO IT. The author provides detailed lessons on format, capturing voice and tone on the script page and developing great characters with powerful dialogue.

Also includes exclusive insights from major industry professionals that interacted with the author at events in Los Angeles and New York City, including Robert Zemeckis, the screenwriters of Final Destination, Limitless and Blade Runner, Louis C.K. and the President of Production of Columbia Pictures.

Praised by SCRIPT magazine, "Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay" is NOT a formula or just another structure paradigm -- it is the view from behind the desk of the people evaluating your screenplay, what they want to read and what they will buy. With all the competition in the Hollywood marketplace, your script can't just be good, it must be GREAT.

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Daniel Calvisi
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Meet the Author

Daniel P. Calvisi is a writing coach, screenwriter and former Story Analyst for major studios like Twentieth Century Fox and Miramax Films. He is the author of the "Story Maps" series of screenwriting books, including the best-seller "Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay." He has taught writers for over 15 years, been published in Script magazine and is also a contributor to Now Write! Screenwriting. Contact Daniel at ActFourScreenplays.com.

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Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
digc16 More than 1 year ago
At first I was skeptical myself, but after reading the books I am convinced this is an exceptional explanation to the craft. With the keen insight, from his years as a studio reader, Dan Calvisi lays out a tight and dramatic blue print that every movie follows. His discoveries help you mine the drama right from your own storyline. This is a must read for the 21st century screenwriter.
GuyMcD More than 1 year ago
I'm an aspiring screenwriter and found Story Maps to be a very accessible and informative read. It offers practical advice and guidance in crafting a better screenplay and tools to help your plan and organize your ideas coherently. As I'm aspiring writer, not a successful professional, you may be wondering if my comments are really that valid. It's a fair call, I am in no way especially qualified to assess the quality of such a book. However, I do feel my opinion has some evidence to support it. Like many aspiring writers, I seek and swap feedback from other writers, usually through online screenwriting communities. My most recent screenplay has had an overwhelming positive response in terms of peer feedback. I really have been blown away by how well received my new script has been. It's the fourth feature I've written but the first thing I've written using Story Maps to guide me. My own assessment and that of others really makes me feel that I've taken a huge leap forward as a writer since my last screenplay. I like to think part of that improvement is from lessons learned from past efforts but I'm sure a lot of it is also due to employing the models and knowledge laid out in Story Maps.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shhh...The title should be changed to 'Story GPS' (as in Global Positioning System) to reflect its effectiveness. I don't like this book because as a struggling writer, I already have enough competition out there and equipped with Story Map, even a half-witted caveman could place more road blocks for me! Yukie Baba
Dang-Giao More than 1 year ago
As I read Story Maps, I was doubtful that writing a screenplay would be that easy. It took sometime before it hit me. Dan Calvisi made it easy for us. The labyrinth of screenwriting looks so easy since there's a road map. Story Maps is a compass to your stories.
Alex_Luprete More than 1 year ago
I've read pretty much every book, by every guru on the topic of screenwriting. I've read everything from Mythic Structure by C. Vogler to Sceenplay by Syd Field to even more recent books like Save the Cat, How to Write a Movie in 21 days and a 101 Reasons Why Your Screenplay Sucks. They're all informative in their own way, but Calvisi's Story Maps is the most powerful tool I've come across when it comes to outlining and identifying major story beats in your screenplay. A lot of the books on the market today don't include techniques that have adapted to suit the current state of the Hollywood film industry. That's where Story Maps is different. I've always been a fan of Blake Snyder's brevity in technique when in comes to beating out a screenplay, but I think Story Maps does Snyder one better. Story Maps is different because I really do think it's applicable to any genre. I feel Snyder's method (Save the Cat) is not really "genre universal." Yes, I agree structure overall is universal, but the methods utilized in Snyder's book is not conducive to the state of the industry post-recession. Calvisi is not only up-to-date, but just as no-nonsense as Snyder. Also, The Story Maps Calvisi includes are relevant. No, he's not mapping the classics like Tootsie or Chinatown, but things like Juno, As Good as it Gets and The Hangover. Yes, Chinatown is a kickass movie. But unfortunately, Robert Towne would be a hack if he were writing in the late 2000's. Screenplays just aren't written like they were in the 70s and 80s. I used Story Maps after hitting a wall in my fourth draft. It served me well. It helped identify key beats I was missing in my draft and trimmed down my overall screenplay by five pages. I highly recommend the methods in Story Maps. It's a cheap and effective tool to re-evaluate your screenplay through the lens of a professional reader and consultant.
Stanleykoz More than 1 year ago
Dan Calvisi does an excellent job boiling down the screenwriting process to the important parts. This book cuts to the chase and succinctly describes the elements of writing a screenplay. No BS. The book also does a great job of comparing template films in different genres which is an asset when writing a screenplay. This is a definite must for screenwriters looking for practical advice and who are serious about writing a quality screenplay.
landercello More than 1 year ago
Outlining can be a tricky process, but Story Maps really helped me wrap my mind around it. Now I apply it to both my feature and TV scripts. It had a great map for the Dark Knight which had an extended structure. I also found mapping some of my favorite films made them that more interesting.
theericthegreat More than 1 year ago
One of the hardest things for me to understand in screenwriting has been structure relating to the goals of my main character. I've done all the beat sheets (Save the Cat stuff) and the other structure paradigm worksheets, but always fell flat on my face. When I came across this book, I don't know, I guess it all made sense. The author uses examples from films that I actually like (The Dark Knight, As Good As It Gets, Sunset Blvd -- just to name a few) and I just saw the structure pop right off the page. His "story maps" method helps you see what drives the main character through the major beats (internal and external goals and theme). He nails it down to certain minute ranges. I've watched a few movies and so far he's been dead on. Now I'm looking for this stuff in everything I watch! It's got so much great stuff I don't know where to begin. Highly recommend!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a really helpful guide
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago