Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay, Updated and Expanded edition / Edition 1

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"We need good screenwriters who understand character." Everywhere Andrew Horton traveled in researching this book—from Hollywood to Hungary—he heard the same refrain. Yet most of the standard how-to books on screenwriting follow the film industry's earlier lead in focusing almost exclusively on plot and formulaic structures.

With this book, Horton, a film scholar and successful screenwriter, provides the definitive work on the character-based screenplay. Exceptionally wide-ranging—covering American, international, mainstream, and "off-Hollywood" films, as well as television—the book offers creative strategies and essential practical information.

Horton begins by placing screenwriting in the context of the storytelling tradition, arguing through literary and cultural analysis that all great stories revolve around a strong central character. He then suggests specific techniques and concepts to help any writer—whether new or experienced—build more vivid characters and screenplays. Centering his discussion around four film examples—including Thelma & Louise and The Silence of the Lambs—and the television series, Northern Exposure, he takes the reader step-by-step through the screenwriting process, starting with the development of multi-dimensional characters and continuing through to rewrite. Finally, he includes a wealth of information about contests, fellowships, and film festivals.

Espousing a new, character-based approach to screenwriting, this engaging, insightful work will prove an essential guide to all of those involved in the writing and development of film scripts.

Andrew Horton--Professor of Film and Literature at Loyola University and a successful screenwriter--presents a definitive work on the character-centered screenplay. Focusing on the screenplays of The Silence of The Lambs, Thelma and Louise, Northern Exposure and other works, he takes readers step-by-step through the entire writing process.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Tired of the hundreds of plot- and structure-oriented script books on the market? Tired of the "formula writing" espoused in an equal number of screen-writing seminars and weekend workshops? Horton (The Films of George Roy Hill, LJ 11/15/84) walks away with an Oscar in the "valuable tools for the prospective scripter" category with his latest rendering. He takes the reader step-by-step through the screen-writing process, with an emphasis on tried-and-true methods of developing stronger and more imaginative characters. Fully drawn characters are Horton's forte, and he pulls out every stop in his quest to educate the reader, even including a 14-week "character-building" exercise. Obstacles to writing the character-centered script are also discussed. Instructional books don't get much better than this. A great value; essential for all screen-writing collections.-Marty D. Evansvold, Magnolia P.L., Tex.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520221659
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 2/23/2000
  • Edition description: UPDATED & EXPANDED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 249
  • Sales rank: 1,467,369
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Ch. 1 The Feast of Becoming: Carnival and Character 25
Ch. 2 Varieties of Voices Within Character 45
Ch. 3 Five Not-So-Easy Pieces: Analysis of Character-Centered Scripts 63
Ch. 4 Beyond the Classical Hollywood Structure 91
Ch. 5 Developing a Character-Centered Narrative 101
Ch. 6 Pitching 113
Ch. 7 Prelude to a Screenplay 123
Ch. 8 The Fourteen-Week Character Developing Schedule 130
Ch. 9 The Fourteen-Week Feature Screenplay 154
Ch. 10 From Rewrite to Screen: An Overview of Options 179
Appendix A: Coverage 193
Appendix B: Self-Critiques 195
Appendix C: Your Personal Screenwriting and Video Library 199
Appendix D: At Long Last the Recipe for a Screenwriter's Gumbo with Character! 204
Index 207
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