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Usually when people suggest books for screen- and television writers to read for ways to structure and plot their scripts, they tend to point them towards tomes written by screenwriting gurus. I don’t think I have to name them. We all know the usual suspects and everyone has their favorites.
And this essay’s purpose isn’t to denigrate any of them and suggest that they don’t know what they’re talking about.
The purpose of this essay is to perhaps point out other sources, sources you might not immediately think about, as guides to us in trying to tell your story, sources that you might not have thought of or even considered of any use in this area.
The idea of writing this essay originated with the sudden rise of what is now being called a second golden age of television, as well as a paradigm shift in the way movies are made.
There are now so many different ways of telling a story on the tube, from episodic, to soap operic, to a different story each season, to a story being told over a very small number of episodes, so many variant structures and styles that, unless you have been a devotee of the BBC, which has been telling these sorts of narratives for almost fifty years now (aesthetically, the U.S. has often been the last out of the gate), you may not have realized that writing has become a whole brave new world that hath such people in it.
And in movies there is a shift away from the Hollywood/Studio type of filmmaking (who are making fewer and fewer of the films being released today) to an approach even more independent than the 1990’s.
Because of this, I believe that thinking outside the box when it comes to finding ways to tell stories might be a wise move to make at this time. Continue reading