How to Build a Great Screenplay

A Master Class in Storytelling for Film

David Howard

St. Martin's Press

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Acclaimed USC screenwriting teacher David Howard has guided hundreds of students to careers in writing for film and television. Drawing on decades of practical experience and savvy, How to Build a Great Screenplay deconstructs the craft of screenwriting and carefully reveals how to build a good story from the ground up. Howard eschews the "system" offered by other books, emphasizing that a great screenplay requires dozens of unique decisions by the author. He offers in-depth considerations of:

* characterization
* story arc
* plotting and subplotting
* dealing with coincidence in story plotting
* classical vs. revolutionary screenplay structure
* tone, style, and atmosphere
* the use of time on screen
* the creation of drama and tension
* crucial moments in storytelling

Throughout the book, Howard clarifies his lessons through examples from some of the most successful Hollywood and international script-oriented films, including Pulp Fiction, American Beauty, Trainspotting, North by Northwest, Chinatown, and others. The end result is what could very well become the classic text in the field---a bible for the burgeoning screenwriter.

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Reviews

Praise for How to Build a Great Screenplay

“How to Build a Great Screenplay” is insightful, riveting, clear, concise and to the point. It’s a screenwriter’s screenwriting book packed with practical as well as theoretical insights. If you’re serious about screenwriting -- start here, and if you’re a twenty-year veteran, this is the place to take a refresher course. I came away from reading this book inspired with a renewed sense of purpose on why I write screenplays. This isn’t a book -- it’s an education!"

--Jack Epps Jr., screenwriter Top Gun, Dick Tracy, Turner & Hooch, The Secret of My Success, and Legal Eagles.

"David Howard's How To Build A Great Screenplay is a rarity - not merely a 'how to' guide, but the most comprehensive and thoughtful examination of storytelling, and as close to an entire graduate writing program, as one is likely to find within the covers of a single book."
--Adam Belanoff, writer and producer on Cosby and Murphy Brown, and writer on Wings

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About the Author

David Howard

David Howard is the founding director of the graduate screenwriting program at USC, where he teaches various courses in screenwriting. His students have scripted such successful films as The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Air Force One, Permanent Midnight, and Natural Born Killers. The coauthor (with Edward Mabley) of The Tools of Screenwriting, he lives in Los Angeles, California.

David Howard

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Available Formats and Book Details

How to Build a Great Screenplay
A Master Class in Storytelling for Film
David Howard

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
April 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429994781
ISBN10: 1429994789
464 pages
$9.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
January 2006
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312352622
ISBN10: 031235262X
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 464 pages
$16.99
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St. Martin's Press

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