On Screenwriting (paperback) – Freddie Gaffney

144pp   £15.99   ISBN: 1-903663-77-6   2008


Writers have been publishing screenwriting books for over half a century, full of ‘insider tips’ on how to make it big in the movies, with titles that suggest screenwriting is an art, a craft, a skill, a business, a talent, a knack, or most simply the ability to tell stories. It is, of course, all of these. But what these books seldom do is take a complete novice to the field through the steps of learning and understanding that are required to undertake any form of creative writing, be it for the Hollywood feature film, or for the college video production.  That is what On Screenwriting sets out to do.

On Screenwriting is a practical manual that engages with theory that can be applied to the practical constructional process. Freddie Gaffney – lecturer and screenwriter – proffers a set of tools that can be brought to bear to make the process more effective and the finished article more successfully executed.

Dr Freddie Gaffney is Chief Moderator for Film Studies at AS/A level. He is a screenwriter, film-maker, and Senior Lecturer in Location and Studio Production at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication.



Introduction – Why teach screenwriting? / Underpinning knowledge of industry conventions / Laying good foundations, improving practical production / Responding to industry standards / 1. Story – Story types / Style / Genre / Themes / Thinking visually in a visual medium / Cine-literate audience / Moving image key concepts for production / 2. Character – What is characterisation? / Developing 3-D characters / Motivation / Action vs. activity / Character and story / Character and audience / 3. Dialogue – Need to speak? / Perception of realism / Actions speak louder than words / Reflections of character / Making dialogue work / 4. Structure: from idea to format – Story vs. plot / 3-act structure / Alternate structuring / Generating ideas and concepts / Synopses and treatment / The extended step-outline / The master scene script / Openings and endings / Glossary of screenwriting terms

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