Watch Movies, Learn Screenwriting

Watch Movies, Learn Screenwriting uses eight award-winning films to show you how writers create great screenplays and how you can, too. From the start, you’ll be working on your own screenplay! The Guidebook (Part I) explains movie basics such as theme, characters and dialogue while The Workbook (Part II) helps you come up with your idea, your characters and a plan for what happens in your story. Next, the Essential Moments Screenplay Outline (Part III) shows how the screenwriters plotted these terrific films by creating specific types of events at key moments and also includes space for you to write what will happen in your story at these moments. Finally, you’ll begin writing your actual screenplay on the Screenwriter’s Initial Draft Paper (Part IV) — thirty-two specially graphed pages that guide you to write your story in film industry approved, screenplay format.

(Final Drafts need to be typed and in the “Screenplay Resources” section, you'll find venues where you can purchase computer programs that simplify formatting as you type.)

Says Joan Erskine: “Writing screenplays is about becoming a great storyteller. For many people, the place to begin would be Part IV—they would simply start writing. That’s fine for some writers, because a riveting story comes from heart, intuition, passion, and dreaming-awake more than anything else. Many people also write as the way to discover their story. Most of us, though, need some coaching about the specifics of screenwriting and how it differs from other types of creative writing. This book is meant to inform and empower you as you sprint from the starting gate.”

Reviews and Praise

The book’s conversational style flows like two movie lovers discussing a film over coffee. Instead of a stuffy text written by a guru prescribing his or her own preset formula, this book empowers you to mine your own intuitive storytelling skills to find your path as a screenwriter.
Jim Mercurio, screenwriter, script consultant, and filmmaker