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Very frequently someone tells me, ‘I have a wonderful plot for a movie!’ I always am impelled to respond, ‘But have you interesting characters?’ Characterization is the most important factor in the film story, and no ingenuity or originality of the plot will save a photoplay which has inadequate characterization; which does not convey the […]

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“In speaking of the necessity for writing in emotional terms, I do not mean that the characters must at all times be either in a rage, or in fear, or in horror, or passionately in love, or under some strong stress. The lighter shades of emotion often are preferable. Emotion is susceptible of many gradations […]

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“In speaking of the necessity for writing in emotional terms, I do not mean that the characters must at all times be either in a rage, or in fear, or in horror, or passionately in love, or under some strong stress. The lighter shades of emotion often are preferable. Emotion is susceptible of many gradations […]

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“I made mistakes in drama. I thought drama was when actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries.” Director Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life) “Everyone wants to find a way out of pain.” Alex Blumberg, CEO of Gimlet Media (@abexlumberg) In writing the film story, keep in mind that the object is to […]

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Book update: I’m still pushing for a release of my book this month and think all is on track. In the meantime, I’ll continue to post insights from Oscar-winning screenwriter Frances Marion‘s 1937 book, How to Write and Sell Film Stories. Since I’ve written a lot of post over the years on emotions, I was […]

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“[W]henever a plot demonstrates some angle of truth it will be very likely to have wide appeal. These sayings are adaptable to expression in the terms of modern life. They never would have become proverbs if they had not been of general and lasting interest.  . . . The theme ought to be broad enough […]

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“They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Hosea 8:7 Proverbs, adages, maxims, parables, and legends supply an amazing proportion of story themes. This, of course, is because they are full of profound meaning relating to human life.  A proverb is a saying certified by the voices of generations, and the origin […]

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“I was astounded at how really useful ‘thematic thinking’ turned out to be.” Stephen King On Writing, page 207 While I have found many quotes from talented writers and directors talking about their disdain for the topic of theme, I will say I have found more from equality talked writers and directors who embrace theme […]

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“The more important the theme, the more important the story.” Frances Marion To show that the debate on theme in relation to screenwriting is nothing new, here’s what Oscar-winning screenwriter Frances Marion wrote in her book How to Write and Sell Film Stories—published in 1937: ‘If you cannot state the gist of a play in three […]

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To show that the debate on theme in relation to screenwriting is nothing new, here’s what Oscar-winning screenwriter Frances Marion wrote in her book How to Write and Sell Film Stories—published in 1937: “The theme is the underlying idea, the aim, the implication of the plot; it is the proposition on which the plot is based; […]

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