Part I - THE EVOLUTION OF STORYTELLING
1. History Lessons Make Better Writers
Don't Miss the Myths: The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The Greeks Made the Rules. Aristotle and the Three-Act Structure. Romans, Christians, and Italians. Classic Stories Are Immortal. Story and the Mind. Hegel, Freud, Sex, and Stanislavski. Carl Jung and the Symbolic World. Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth.
2. That Fellow Shakespeare
Shakespeare in Love. Using Shakespeare. Shakespeare's Secret. Pages from History. The Screenplay's the Thing. Shakespeare's Continuing Influence. Stealing from Shakespeare. Shakespeare's Log Lines.
3. Birth of the Movies
The Worldwide Storytelling Tradition. Influences of the Great Playwrights. Authors from Centuries Past: The Great Storytellers. European Originals: The Brothers Lumiere and Other Lights. Thomas Edison and the Monopoly That Didn't Work. A Place Called Hollywood: How Tinseltown Was Born.
4. From Scenario to Screenplay
The Scenarists: How Screenwriting Began. Women Writers Ruled: Frances Marion and the Scenario Queens. What the Transition to Sound. Hollywood, the World, and Migrating Writers. How Genres Evolved: What's a Screwball Comedy, Anyway? The Impact of 1939, Possibly Hollywood's Greatest Year.
5. From the Big Screen to the Computer Screen
Movies after World War II; the Whole World Changed. How Television Transformed Hollywood. I Love Lucy: The Power Shifter. The Birth of the Antihero and the Death of Feel Good. Hollywood Genres Don't Change, but the Outlet Does. A Hollywood World in the Digital.
Part II - WHAT TO WRITE
6. Sources for Movie Ideas That Will Sell.
Reading the Newspaper Like a Screenwriter. Recycling Old Movies. True Stories: How to Secure the Rights and Where to Sell Them. How to Know If You're Original Idea Is Truly Original. Movies to TV and Back Again to Movies. Anything Males Eighteen to Thirty-Four Like.
7. Movies Are Not Books or Plays
Why You Don't Write a Screenplay Like a Stage Play. What a Book Can Do That a Movie Cannot. The Differences in Television and Movie Scripts. Elements to Remember When Writing a Movie.
8. What Your Audience Really Wants
Sex and Violence Sell: What That Really Means. Helping Your Viewer Escape from Reality. Pick a Genre and Pick Success. Writing for the Worldwide Audience. The Kids Have It: Write with Children in Mind.
9. Defining Your Movie
First, a Premise. If You Want to Send a Message, Use E-Mail. Outlines, Synopses, and Treatments. High Concepts and Mixed Ideas. The Log Line: The All-Important Twenty-Five Words or Less.
10. What's Hot, What's Not, and What's in Your Heart
Tastes Change with Generations. What Goes Around Comes Back Around. Different Strokes for Different Blokes: What They Like, Around the World Predicting the Future by Demographics. Write What You Want to See on the Screen.
11. Your Screenwriting Schedule and Why It Is Essential
Getting It Done by Three-Page Scenes. Setting Up a Schedule That Works. Taking Your Schedule Seriously. The Day You Become a Screenwriter.
Part III - HOW TO WRITE YOUR SCREENPLAY
12. Preparing Your Outline and Reordering Scenes
Sorting Out Your Premise. Comparing Your Log Line to Other Movies. The "Master Mind"; Method. The Beauty of the 3 x 5 Card. Outlining by Three-Minute Scenes. One-Sheets, Synopses, and Treatments. Building the Perfect Blueprint.
13. The All-Important First Ten Pages
Back Story Is for the Writer, Not the Viewer. The Life of a Script Reader and What It Means to You. Opening Scenes We Don't Forget. How the Digital Age Affects Screenplay Openings. See If You Can Beat the Best.
14. The Structure of Hollywood Movies
Three Acts and Thousands of Years Later. The Influence of the Myth Structure. Syd Field's Paradigm. New Approaches and Other Ideas. The Ultimate Screenplay Design.
15. Writing the Feature Film
Making the Beginning, Middle, and End Work. First Acts Don't Last Forever. The Second Act Is the Movie. Usually, the Second Act Most Needs Fixing. Steven Spielberg's Second Acts. The Midpoint and the Hero's Orientation. The Short but Crucial Third Act. Tag, You're a Denouement.
16. The Screenplay, Step by Step
The All-Important Initial Concept. Giving Yourself the Proper Treatment. Drafting Beats Dreaming. The Importance of Being Formatted. Winning the Daily Battle with the Hemingway Trick.
17. The Rewrite Is the Secret
Why First Drafts Are Drafty. Scene Length and Readability. Collaborators and Craft. Who Should Read Your Script and Why. The Difference Between a Rewrite and a Polish. Resources for Better Rewriting.
18. Polish Makes Perfect
Why Studio Movies Have So Many Writers. How Screen Credits Are Determined by the Writers Guild of America. Dialogue Specialists, Purchased Scripts, and Other Tools. How You Know When It's Ready.
Part IV - POST-SCRIPT POSSIBILITIES
19. What a Reading Can Show You
The Theatrical Tradition in Hollywood. How to Find Actors for a Reading. Organizing a Reading That Works. Writers Conferences and Other Irregularities.
20. Why the Screenplay Is Merely a Blueprint
What You Should Know About Movie Budgets. How Your Cowboy Villain Became an English Terrorist. Star Power Changes Screenplays. How a Purchased Script Gets Read. Script Resources That You Should Explore.
21. The Real Role of the Screenwriter
Writing for the Cineplex Patron. Are Auteurs Dying in a Screenwriter Uprising? What Happens after a Script Is Bought. How Hollywood Is Changing and What You Can Do to Help.
22. Writing for Television
The TV Movie and the Seven-Act Structure. The TV Queue That Supposedly Doesn't Exist. Plotting by Network. A Long Form Is Not What You Fill Out to Sell a Miniseries. If the Idea's That Good, Write a Book.
23. Short Films and the Digital Age
Blame It on MTV: How Short Films Affect Screenwriting. Downloads and Debuts. Short Film Format. Everything You Need to Film Your Own Scripts.
Part V - IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS
24. Sweating the Small Stuff
Two Brads, Not Three. Simple Is Elegant. The Funky Font Don't Fly. Shane Black and Other Quirky Perqs. Hollywood and Ageism. Persistence Makes Perfect.
25. Fixing Amateur Technical Mistakes
Flashbacks and Fools. Don't You Just Love Watching People Talk on the Phone While They're. Eating? Voiceovers as Sleep Aids. Cute Is for Babies. Who Needs Actors and Directors, Anyway?
26. The Mentor Merry-Go-Round
The Galloping Gurus. Book Writers and Real-Life Experience. Sherwood Oaks Experimental College and Other Legitimate Resources. "Words into Pictures"; and the Writers Guild of America. Film Festivals and Panels of Pundits. Online Oracles and Internet Interpreters. Schools and Other Institutions.
27. The Truth About Selling Scripts
How to Keep Your Query Letter out of the Round File and Your Project on Their Mind. The Telephone as Weapon of Choice. E-Mails and Other Specious Species. The Gatekeepers Know All the Tricks: The Usual Channels Are There for a Reason. How the Internet Is Changing the Access Codes. Flesh-and-Blood Contacts Are Still the Most Sexy.
28. Plotting Your Screenwriting Career
When to Start Your Next Script. Do You Need to Live in L.A.? The Big Picture Is Not Just a Movie. The WGA Agent List and Agent Myths. Somebody Who Knows Somebody—How It Usually Works. Writer's Guide to Hollywood and Other Effective Post-Screenplay. Resources.