Dear Screenwriter, You may come up with a cool idea for a movie and be told that it would make a better TV series, or you may create a concept for a TV series and be told it’s more fit for the big screen. How do you tell the difference between a concept that works […]
Daniel P. Calvisi is a story analyst, screenwriter and the author of Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay, Story Maps: 12 Great Screenplays, Story Maps: TV DRAMA and Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan (with William Robert Rich). He is a former Story Analyst for major studios like Twentieth Century Fox and Miramax Films. He teaches webinars on writing for film and television with The Writers Store and speaks at writing conferences. He holds a degree in Film and Television from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He lives in Los Angeles. For more, visit ActFourScreenplays.com.
Entries by StoryMapsDan
I was so excited to see my book, Story Maps: TV Drama: The Structure of the One-Hour Television Pilot grab the #1 and #2 spots (for the Kindle and Paperback versions) on the Amazon Hot New Releases in Screenwriting chart! It was especially satisfying to see my book above the new entry from Robert McKee, […]
Back by popular demand and updated with new material and a bonus map of the breakthrough show MR. ROBOT, my webinar THE TV PILOT BEAT SHEET: FROM AMC TO HBO TO NETFLIX is now available for download.
The great SLOG-WATCH of True Detective season two is over, and I’ve got a few things to say about it. But I’m not just here to point out flaws, I’m also offering solutions so that maybe we can learn something from the 8 1/2 hours of our lives we devoted to this season. It was […]
David Simon is the creator of The Wire, which is often cited as the greatest television drama of all time. I wouldn’t argue with that label. His latest project is SHOW ME A HERO, a 6-hour miniseries on HBO, starring Oscar Isaac, Alfred Molina, Catherine Keener, Winona Ryder and many others, directed by Paul Haggis […]
Here’s a character arc we can all understand: From blocked creative to fulfilled creative. You know this story. You’re young and it comes easy. It flows out of you. You get a bit older and it starts to feel more like work. Life intercedes, your creative side suffers, and you struggle. You hit the wall […]
In early 2014, the television landscape was rocked by the debut of TRUE DETECTIVE, an epic 8-episode drama from HBO that blurred the line between television and cinema more than ever. It was a serial killer crime procedural — as familiar a genre as they come — but the execution was so unique and at such […]
It’s Fall TV season and there are way too many new shows vying for only a few open spots in network schedules. You’re flipping channels, hoping to find a winner, but also itching to boot up your Netflix queue, where you know you’ll find proven content. You find a candidate. A brand-spanking new series. A […]
Christopher Nolan is the most daring film director working in the major studio system today, and each film he directs becomes an event. With Interstellar, he’s created (along with his co-writer, brother Jonathan Nolan) an epic that combines classic Hollywood storytelling with bold narrative choices, all displayed with cutting-edge theatrical presentation. Interstellar is certainly his […]
CREATOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER MICHAEL PATRICK KING (“Sex And The City”) DISCUSSES THE RETURN OF THE HBO COMEDY SERIES THE COMEBACK “B level” TV star Valerie Cherish was a pioneer of reality television. Now, it’s ten years later – there’s more TV than ever and the onetime sitcom star wants back in. Q: How did […]
Q The first episode in particular is absolutely riveting and I loved it, but can you tell me how you first got involved in this and what drew you to it? Carlton Cuse I had read the first Strain novel as a fan of both Guillermo’s work, and also independently I knew Chuck Hogan, and […]
Dear writers, I am excited to be teaching a screenwriting track at the Catamaran Literary Reader Conference from August 13-17 in beautiful Pebble Beach, CA, just off historic 17-Mile Drive. Write, learn, network and have fun in one of the most breathtaking spots on Earth that inspired Hitchcock, Steinbeck and so many other great artists. […]
My buddy William Robert Rich (co-author of Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan) over at Screenplay How To has put together a fantastic Story Map for Rian Johnson’s 2012 sci-fi action film Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. It’s a great way to study the screenplay structure and screenwriting techniques used by […]
Here is a fantastic roundtable interview via The Hollywood Reporter with some of the most influential TV creators out there. Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad Ann Biderman, Ray Donovan Matthew Weiner, Mad Men Carlton Cuse, Bates Motel They cover a lot of topics, from casting movie stars to […]
Noah Hawley is an experienced TV writer and producer (Bones) who has created multiple series in the past (The Unusuals, My Generation), but it wasn’t until this year’s Fargo that he created one that received a full season order. Fargo seems to belong to a trendy category of branded TV series that includes shows like […]
Dear screenwriters, In case you can’t get enough of superheroes at the multiplex this summer and you need to hear two geeks analyzing the crap out of comic book-inspired movies, my latest podcasts are here to help! And I’m now editing in video with some nifty still images to enhance the discussion.
Dear screenwriters, It’s been quite a day for superhero news: we got a first look at Ben Affleck as Batman (pic above) from Zack Snyder and David Goyer’s upcoming “Batman vs. Superman” movie, the news broke about Channing Tatum starring as Gambit in an upcoming X-Men spinoff movie, and ABC announced another Marvel comics-inspired show, […]
“With great power comes great responsibility.” Uncle Ben’s words have guided Peter Parker for decades, and they provide the thematic backbone of The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as well as the previous Sam Raimi-helmed Spider-Man trilogy. Uncle Ben’s wisdom and tragic death are an immutable part of Spider-Man’s origin, going back to […]
Wolverine a.k.a. “Logan” has been the most popular superhero in the X-Men universe for decades, which is why the first major feature film in Fox’s X-Men franchise, X-MEN (2000), chose to foreground him as the central protagonist of the narrative, and he’s been featured in several more films, including two solo adventures, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE […]
I felt like Don Draper strolling into the iconic, tres-swanky Beverly Hilton to attend the HRTS (Hollywood Radio and Television Society) “Hitmakers Luncheon.” When I was politely informed that I was not on the list for the pre-lunch VIP reception, I felt like Dan Calvisi again. (You always have to try to sneak into the […]