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Craft of Scene Writing: Beat by Beat to a Better Script

,Jim Mercurio



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01 April 2019
Films, movies & cinema; Language: reference & general; Creative writing & creative writing guides; Screenwriting techniques
A professional screenwriter's master class in writing the most critical and challenging script element - the individual scene.

No one comes out of a movie talking about structure. What audiences love and remember about a movie are great scenes. Marlon Brando in the back seat in On the Waterfront giving his "I could'a been a contender" speech. Meg Ryan's fake orgasm in Katz's Deli in When Harry Met Sally with the climactic punch line: "I’ll have what she's having." In Super Bad, Jonah Hill professing "I love you" to his friend Michael Cera by touching his nose with a "boop." Great scenes will elevate your script from ho-hum to extraordinary - and from the slush pile to sellable.

In The Craft of Scene Writing, master screenwriter and writing teacher Jim Mercurio analyzes and systematizes the beats, conflicts, character moments, action, dialogue, and structure that create powerful scenes. Citing examples from scripts old and new, The Craft of Scene Writing breaks down how great scenes reveal character, advance the story, and emotionally connect with audiences, plus demonstrates how to use these techniques in your own scripts. This incredibly detailed exploration of screenwriting technique will help beginning writers to write great scripts and experienced writers to gain a more complete mastery of their craft.
By:   Jim Mercurio
Imprint:   Quill
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm, 
Weight:   510g
ISBN:   9781610353304
ISBN 10:   1610353307
Pages:   400
Publication Date:   01 April 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Jim Mercurio is a writer, author, screenwriter and filmmaker. He has directed or produced five feature films and has helped countless writers as a teacher, story analyst and script doctor. Creative Screenwriting magazine ranked him as one of the top screenplay consultants in the country.

Reviews for Craft of Scene Writing: Beat by Beat to a Better Script

Deftly written, organized and presented ... a must-have instructional reference and resource. --Midwest Book Review The Craft of Scene Writing breaks down the rules and how to break them, beat by beat, as a story within a story. A must read for the novice and expert filmmaker. --Brian Asingia, CEO of DreamGalaxy and DreamAfrica Consulting, author of The One Who Lives Forever and The Last Digital Frontier The first time you read Jim Mercurio's outstanding book, you'll be as astonished as I was at his ability to reveal and explain every conceivable element of an emotionally captivating scene. The next hundred times will be when you use it to make certain that every single scene in every rewrite of your screenplay or novel is entertaining, compelling and memorable. --Michael Hauge, consultant and story expert, author of Writing Screenplays That Sell, Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds and Storytelling Made Easy The thing I love most about The Craft of Scene Writing is that Jim treats writers as filmmakers, urging them to consider how the script informs all of the downstream departments, painting a picture in the reader's mind for every story beat. Jim understands that scripts are just an accumulation of these story beats and it is our job as writers to obsess over each and every word and action to ensure that each beat is clear, concise, dramatic and surprising. Easier said than done, but Jim gives us the tools to chop, mold and sharpen these beats to gleaming bits of perfection. --Mike Blum, owner/creative director, Pipsqueak Films; award-winning director, writer and producer; and creator/showrunner of Get My Goat and Fifi: Cat Therapist at DreamWorksTV This book may well change the way screenwriting is taught. While most courses focus on the big picture, Jim Mercurio gives invaluable step-by-step advice about individually crafting each scene in a screenplay. Using well-known examples, Mercurio encourages filmmakers to think of each scene as its own full production, so that the entire film is made stronger by the strength of its parts. It's an eye-opening approach to storytelling, which will greatly benefit aspiring screenwriters, game writers, and novelists alike. --Heidi McDonald, award-winning writer, game designer and author of Digital Love: Romance and Sexuality in Games Utilizing engaging language, Jim Mercurio explores the shape of individual scenes within screenplays, probing the parallels between micro- and macro story structures, and providing keen insights into the nature of storytelling that should prove useful to creators of dramatic narratives not only in film and TV but in all platforms and media. --Prof. Richard Walter, Former Screenwriting Area Head, and Associate and Acting Dean, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television An invaluable guide for screenwriters and anyone else interested in learning more about the creative art of storytelling ... reveals the key ins and outs of developing a powerful screen narrative. As a longtime professor of screenwriting, I must say that I was inspired by this book. --Frank E. Beaver, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus Department of Film, Television and Media, University of Michigan Ann Arbor Developing effective and affecting scenes is the beating heart of screenwriting, and Jim Mercurio has given us an excellent guide to writing scenes that are narratively tight, emotionally engaging, and thematically resonant. He assiduously avoids tired, old school truisms to give us a thoroughly useful, contemporary road map to better writing. --Mick Hurbis-Cherrier, Professor, Film & Media Department, Hunter College-CUNY

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