screenwriter's toolkit creative screenwriting exercises (Get the book for all 101 exercises)

Rewriting Genre

05.06.2005 · Posted in Genre

Taking a movie out of the genre it was written for can be an excellent lesson in understanding what a genre is. The Exercise Re-write your favorite scene from a movie as if it were part of A western A horror film A science fiction film. ...

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Tarrantino Exercise

10.19.2005 · Posted in Hal Ackerman, Writing Dialogue

Written/Contributed by Hal Ackerman 1.Open the phone book Yellow Pages to two random pages, and select two businesses. Move two characters from Point A to Point B by whatever means you invent. Invent a good reason for the journey. Reveal that intent skillfully. If it’s huge, understate it. If it’s trivial, exaggerate. 2. Pick one ...

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The 3-Act Structure

10.01.2005 · Posted in Outline/Structure

The three-act structure has been one of the most influential tools for screenplay development. An understanding of its history and applicability is essential to the burgeoning screenwriter. The Exercise Write a four-page essay on the three-act structure. Where did it come from? What is it and how is it used? What are some of the ...

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Editing Practice

10.08.2005 · Posted in Rewriting/Editing

Editing our own scripts is sometimes wrought with our own defensiveness and inability to let go of what we originally put on the page. Practicing with other scripts can improve our skills and help us see that no matter how done we think a script is, it can always use a little more work. Your ...

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Turning Point

05.06.2005 · Posted in Plot

Usually, a movie’s plot is what draws me to it and its’ plot twists are what keep me there. Your Task: Watch 10 movies and identify the turning points in the plot. Answer these questions: How did these turning points happen? Was there a consistent theme from movie to movie? ...

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From My Life

01.22.2007 · Posted in Outline/Structure

Use transformational moments in your life to explore screenwriting structure. The Exercise List three transformational moments in your life. Pick one incident and answer these questions: What was your life like before the transformation? What took place during the transformation? What were the obstacles to transforming (both internal and external)? How did you face these ...

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Combine The Two

12.28.2006 · Posted in Writing Dialogue

There are two kinds of movie dialogue: Expository Dialogue & Action. Expository dialogue says something about your characters, and the who, what, why, how and where of the movie you’re writing. Action dialogue is what moves the plot forward. Your Task: Combine the two. Write a page of dialogue between two characters that exposes them ...

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The Hero's Journey

05.06.2005 · Posted in Plot

A Hero is often considered to be someone who was born with extraordinary talents and abilities. But are heroes really superior beings? I think not. In my opinion, heroes are everyday people who take on challenging obstacles to reach noble goals. Everyone has been or will be a hero in their lifetime. Your task: Write ...

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Editing for Character Consistency

12.28.2005 · Posted in Rewriting/Editing

Sometimes we get so into the challenge of finishing our screenplays that we forget to go back and make sure our characters have a consistent voice. Your Task: Read a screenplay that you or someone else wrote. Get into the mindset of one character and read it thinking of them. While you read, consider what’s ...

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In The Bedroom

10.19.2005 · Posted in Hal Ackerman, Scenes

Written/Contributed by Hal Ackerman Two people are in bed. A siren or alarm is heard. Or the phone rings. Or a doorbell. WRITE THE SCENE. You will have to ask yourself: Who are these people? Who are they to each other? What are the immediate circumstances? How does the alarm affect them? What do they ...

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