In it, he savaged the industry that had given him a living. They both have to toe the same mark. Half of all the movie writers argue in this fashion. Neither of them had written the great books they believed possible. Hollywood screenwriting was, in its early years, a profession populated by unhappy Eastern writers searching for a big paycheck out West and finding California deprived of intellect—a folly and a punch line. But things have changed. Screenwriting has become a desirable outlet for artists, detached from the gruelling contract work of the big studios.
Instead, many dream of doing it, and that dream has become an entire industry. Whereas Hecht paid his fortunes to leave, many pay theirs to learn how to stay. The office, which he shares with a partner, is on the top floor of a brownstone, above a private bridge club that seems like a remnant of the Gilded Age, with its own dining room and white-napkin service.
To get to Koppelman, one must take a rickety elevator with a cage door to the top floor, and climb one more flight of stairs, which open onto a decidedly modern space that could be anywhere in Los Angeles—a big oak conference-room table, framed movie posters, chunky scripts stacked at casual angles. And, yet, Koppelman does not disdain the act of screenwriting, or feel that it has caused his brain to atrophy. But I think that, somehow, screenwriting became this golden cash cow that everyone wants a part of, and then, on top of that, the industry creates the feeling in people that there is some mystery to doing this work, and so in the end it can very easily prey on dreamers.
What Is A Step-Outline?
Last month, Koppelman allowed these observations to bubble over into a side project, a series of short, forceful videos about screenwriting and the perils of the industry which have quickly gone viral online. He calls them Six-Second Screenwriting Lessons. Koppelman records his thoughts in tiny snippets using Vine, a social-media app that can record six seconds of video that play on a loop.
As of this writing, he has made thirty-eight of them, posted almost daily, with thousands of likes, shares, and retweets. Koppelman records his lessons on the fly, usually while walking around New York, the city rushing by in the background. They are not formal or planned. He usually shoots in extreme close-up, with few blinks.
Because of their short length and repetitive looping, his statements can take on the quality of zen koans, little mantras one might chant into belief. I just struggle every day to live in this business without cynicism, and I wanted to share that. And, suddenly, Vine came along, and it felt like a natural thing to do. The first one was an experiment, and then people seemed to really feel a desire for more. They are straightforward, simple, and affirmational, like something a quarterback might yell right before breaking the huddle:. Lesson No. Watch movies, read screenplays, let them be your guide.
Words, pages, and the intention behind them. And why would I do that? A deft blend of comedy and drama. A great film.
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Read the script. Is this as good as everyone says it is? Casablanca is here because it tops most lists, though for me, the film is in the acting. The script itself plays a supporting role.
A landmark in film-making and scriptwriting. To kill the heroine midway is a terrifically bold and still shocking decision, yet one that does not derail the film. Here it works. Chinatown is magnificent, packing a ceaselessly interesting plot whilst combining two stories of real human weight a corruption tale, an incest one.
Decades after its making, the film packs emotional clout. Though Chinatown is often held up as a perfect example of the three-act drama, I do question that. Read the script and see what you think. A film whose power comes from the emotional force of seeing a decent man corrupted by his family and his circumstances. The gangstery stuff is all great, but the central story is one of emotional destruction, handled so unflinchingly.
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Its script details the Italian-American mafia life in such rich texture, taking the film beyond its stunning visuals. I love the sunshine in this film, the wit, the friendship, the lightness of touch. Mismatched lovers falling in love despite apparent unsuitability has never been better handled.
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Yes, the acting is spot on, but forget about that. And that final dinosaur scene? A poignant film that starts with an astonishing script. Plus, on top of that, the drama is wonderful, its twists unexpected.
Finally, for my top ten, is this philosophical exploration of identity and love. Agent submission builder Get an agent in one hour. Indie marketing masterclass A self-publishing essential. How to write a novel Your free, expert tutorials. Join the list, get your gifts. Write a succinct synopsis, the easy way Write a professional query letter, the easy way Based on over twelve years of working with agents. Quick Simple Easy.