Over a year ago, I was working on a screenplay and found myself stuck. I was trying to write a scene I could clearly see in my head but couldn’t put into words so I picked up a recently popular spec script for inspiration. Without failing, I found the tools I needed to move forward with my scene. I started taking notes with the idea of building myself a library, some sort of catalogue reference of screenplays to look back on to better my own work.
I realized such notes could also help others, and that’s when I decided to create “How Did They Write It” (HDTWI). I made a selection of 25 scripts I had access to online (at least when I was working on HDTWI), that represented different genres and budgets, and that had been completed and distributed.
The goal with this eBook is to give you examples of how to write a phone conversation, a montage, a scene where characters change scene, a car chase etc. That is not to say that this is how to write it but rather this is one way to do it. Hopefully it will inspire you to find your own words, and help you get unlock when description gets tricky in a scene. You will still need a good story, but the smoother your screenplay reads, the higher your chances of keeping your reader’s attention.
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Screenplays featured in HDTWI:
About Schmidt, Anna Karenina, An Education, Annie Hall, Back to the Future, Butter, Good Will Hunting, Fight Club, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Django Unchained, Children of Men, Hitchcock, In Bruges, Into the Wild, L.A. Confidential, Little Miss Sunshine, Magnolia, Looper, Moon, Mother and Child, Please Give, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Runaways, Tootsie, Twelve Monkeys.
I sincerely hope you will enjoy it and find it useful. I made this because I found it useful for myself and thus assumed it would be useful for others. I have to thank fab graphic designer Christine Sejean for making it a very pretty eBook instead of a black & white world document. Cheers to the power of Internet.
Last but not least: if you do enjoy HDTWI and think others might too, please send them this link instead of the PDF within an email, this will help me determine how many people are interested about it and if I should share a “sequel”!