DZ-32: High-Tension Sequences

How can you recreate the feeling of cinematic high-tension on the page? Chas & Stu take a close look at sequences of high-tension – the ones that make you lean forward in fear, or jump backwards in terror. Without camera angles, lighting, music or sound, how can screenwriters can evoke those emotions in readers using only the page? These […]

DZ-21: Scene Transitions and the Hook

Stu and Chas look at one of the basic building blocks of a script: scene transitions. Transitions don’t just move you from one scene to another in a slick way, they can help you compress time, enhance thematic connections, unify different story threads, orient (or disorient) your reader… and just make your script feel more like a movie.

To help us see how scenes connect & collide in interesting ways, we take a close look at scripts of films with great transitions to see how much of the work was done by the writer (as opposed to the director or editor): SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD, HIGHLANDER, AMERICAN SPLENDOR and BOYHOOD.

And then, in backmatter we take a self-reflective look at TIME MANAGEMENT (and naps).

DZ-16: Masters of Time and Whitespace

Cinema is a time-based art, and one of the primary tools in film editing is manipulation of time. A closer look at sequences in the scripts of PULP FICTION, THE BOURNE IDENTITY, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, WOMAN IN BLACK, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, UP, WHIPLASH, and THE UNTOUCHABLES reveals how master screenwriters use the same time-controlling techniques on the page. The closer a writer can recreate cinema’s use of time on the page, the more of an “I’m watching a movie” feeling you can generate for the reader. Or, as Chas puts it, writing like you’d edit. We discuss use of white space, super-present tense, decompression & compression, Soviet Montage Theory, the Kuleshov effect and just a tiny amount of grammar.