Justified Season 4 Red Carpet Interviews

Natalie Zea, Timothy Olyphant and Graham Yost

I remember someone telling me that in a good screenplay or teleplay there should be a surprise on every page.
-Graham Yost

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Actor Elijah Wood tells Dan Calvisi what he looks for in a script

I’m more interested in being a part of an entire piece that I think is brilliant, even if it’s a small part to play.

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Dan’s 2-Minute Screenwriting School: Danny DeVito and the cast of “Sunny in Philly” on great scripts

Your main character has to really WANT SOMETHING.

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Pro Screenwriters Panel Part 2

Dan’s 2-Minute Screenwriting School brings you Part 2 of this panel of top script doctors, including Oscar winners Diablo Cody (Juno) and Dustin Lance Black (Milk, Big Love) as well as Josh Olson (A History of Violence) and Emmy-winning writing team Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (Captain America, Chronicles of Narnia, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers).

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Dan’s 2-Minute Screenwriting School: Pro Screenwriters Panel

It’s back! The 2-Minute Screenwriting School is back in action with this video and I’ve got more in the pipeline.

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Why the surprise ending in The Sixth Sense works

There are actually three climaxes in The Sixth Sense that satisfy the External and Internal goals of Cole (Haley Joel Osment) and Malcolm (Bruce Willis).


Special Offer on Story Maps E-BooksLearn more about Story Maps and buy the E-Book Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay.

  • Related: Download the Full Story Map for “The Dark Knight:” here

Where are you at in the screenwriting process?

To book your Consultation or ask a question… Email me.

No matter if you’re just starting out or have written several scripts, I can help you achieve your goals.

Good luck and happy writing!

Dan Calvisi

The Secret to the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark

I thought I knew everything about Raiders of the Lost Ark until I Story Mapped it out. There is essentially a “soft” climax — Indy and Marian are strapped to a pole and rendered inactive. The day is won, but not at the hand of Indiana Jones. Our big action-adventure hero is essentially inactive in the climax, or is he?


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Story Maps #2: The First Trial/ First Casualty!

The First Trial is the first test of the commitment that your protagonist made at the end of Act One when they made that active decision that pushed them and us into the second act. This must be a setback…a failure…thus there is a First Casualty…

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Story Maps: A Quick Introduction

The Story Map breaks down your narrative into its eight main dramatic elements, the four major story engines and the ten crucial story beats that must be in the same order and must fall in specific page points in your screenplay, no matter the genre.

Learn more about Story Maps and buy the new E-Book Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay.

Good luck and happy writing!


Trilogy Mapping: Star Wars and Lord of the Rings! Dan’s 2-Minute Screenwriting School #5

Not only does each film adhere to the story map structure but there’s an over arcing structure where the trilogy is a story map unto itself as if it were one film.

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Dan’s 2-minute Screenwriting School #3 – THE FIRST TEN PAGES!

The first ten pages of your script must establish the world of your story, set up a compelling conflict with intriguing characters, establish your skills on the page and suck in the reader.

Related: Don’t Suck, Suck in the Reader!

Click to read excerpts

Dan’s 2-Minute Screenwriting School #2 – The Big Idea! Supercharge Your Screenplay!

The Big Idea has replaced the term “high concept”… they essentially mean the same thing.  The big idea is the first and maybe the only thing that will get your script read if you’re a new, unproven writer…the big idea is not just a stringing together of familiar elements from other hit movies, as many newbie writers think.

Dan’s 2-Minute Screenwriting School #1 – How Your Screenplay Should Look Industry Format Final Draft

Don’t print the title of the script on the card stock cover… it should go on the title page of the script. If you’re using Final Draft…define a title page so you don’t get the generic, default title page.