Would you like to learn how to write a screenplay from a working Los Angeles-based Script Doctor with industry experience that includes major movie studios like Miramax and Fox? Is your goal to gain the skills to compete in the top markets in the movie and television industry in Los Angeles, California, Hollywood, the entertainment capital of the world?
I can give you the roadmap and the skills — the professional screenwriting how to — to write a great movie screenplay or television script. My method is called Story Maps Screenwriting and it is the most simple, clear and effective roadmap to take you from your initial concept all the way to a polished draft that you can submit to agents, managers and producers in the movie industry in Hollywood.
95% of great movies follow the Story Map
We’ll begin by studying a few examples from big movies: The Dark Knight, a Superhero action thriller, The Matrix, a Science Fiction action thriller and As Good as it Gets, a Dramatic Comedy. These movies are all hit films and employ very strong Story Maps, hitting the exact story beats that I define in the Story Map materials that are currently exclusive to my clients and students. These films are very different stories in completely different genres, but employ the same storytelling structure.
As an example, I will highlight one of the unique beats found in my Story Maps structure.
The INCITING INCIDENT is an event of HIGH CONFLICT that…
- Upsets the established ORDER
- Ups the STAKES for the Protagonist
- Acts as a crucial CATALYST for the story.
- Falls in the page 8 – 10 range in the screenplay, or 8 – 10 minutes into the movie.
The Dark Knight
Exactly 10 minutes into the film, BATMAN (Christian Bale) uses his strength and technology to apprehend Jonathan Crane (The Scarecrow) and the last of crime boss Moroni’s crew, dealing another blow to crime in Gotham City and paving the way for the new, more deadly threat, THE JOKER (Heath Ledger). Next, Batman pledges to Police Captain JIM GORDON (Gary Oldman) that he will stop The Joker, launching the Main Dramatic CONFLICT (The Joker), Batman’s EXTERNAL GOAL (to save Gotham City) and the THEME (Desperation leads to destruction).
Exactly 10 minutes into the movie, NEO (Keanu Reeves) meets TRINITY (Carrie-Anne Moss), who tells Neo that the answer to the question “What is the Matrix?” will find him, but only with his free will. This introduces the THEME (Free Will vs. Destiny), the LOVE INTEREST (Trinity) and the main STORY ENGINE for Act One (Neo’s search for “the Matrix.”).
As Good As It Gets
Exactly 10 minutes into the movie, MELVIN UDALL (Jack Nicholson) meets CAROL the waitress (Helen Hunt) for his daily lunch. As they talk, Melvin makes a horrible remark about how her sick son dying just like the rest of us. This introduces the THEME (Don’t let pessimism rule you), Melvin’s LOVE INTEREST (Carol), the powerful CONFLICT between them (negative vs. positive), and Melvin’s central GOAL: to learn to love.
There are nine other crucial story beats in the Story Maps structure,as well as four story engines and 9 main dramatic elements. These are the BUILDING BLOCKS of your story, and once you understand how to use them I can teach you about proper screenplay format, how to write a screenplay treatment (or synopsis) and how to sell a screenplay.
Where are you at in the screenwriting process?
- I would like to develop an all-new concept into a screenplay with the guidance of a professional major movie studio Script Doctor.
- I would like to get professional notes and coaching on my completed screenplay.
- I would like to hire an industry pro to write or rewrite my script for me.
- Read more about Dan.
No matter if you’re just starting out or have written several scripts, I can help you to reach your goals.
Good luck and happy writing!