An insightful how-to guide for writing screenplays that uses Aristotle's great work as a guide.
Long considered the bible for storytellers, Aristotle's Poetics is a fixture of college courses on everything from fiction writing to dramatic theory. Now Michael Tierno shows how this great work can be an invaluable resource to screenwriters or anyone interested in studying plot structure. In carefully organized chapters, Tierno breaks down the fundamentals of screenwriting, highlighting particular aspects of Aristotle's work. Then, using examples from some of the best movies ever made, he demonstrates how to apply these ancient insights to modern-day screenwriting. This user-friendly guide covers a multitude of topics, from plotting and subplotting to dialogue and dramatic unity. Writing in a highly readable, informal tone, Tierno makes Aristotle's monumental work accessible to beginners and pros alike in areas such as screenwriting, film theory, fiction, and playwriting.
|Product dimensions:||5.12(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Michael Tierno is an award-winning writer/director of feature films, including the independent film Auditions. He is a story analyst for Miramax Films and teaches screenwriting seminars nationwide. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
|Introduction: The Action-Idea||1|
|1.||Let's Start at the Very Beginning, Middle, and End||7|
|2.||Why You Want Your Movie to Be a Bomb!||13|
|3.||The Subject Is an Action ... Not a Person||19|
|4.||Forget Sub-plotting--the Best Plots Have One-Track Minds||25|
|5.||Plot Is Soul||31|
|6.||The Ends Are Always in the Means of the Plot||33|
|7.||Why Is My Beautiful Plot Growing a Hand Out of Its Head?||37|
|8.||The Four Species of Plot||41|
|9.||What the Poetics Says About Epics Like Lord of the Rings||47|
|10.||Destiny Is an Accident Waiting to Happen||55|
|11.||Keep It in the Family ... The Tragic Deed||59|
|12.||Oops! I Caused My Own Undeserved Misfortune Again||63|
|13.||How a Little Moralizing Turned a Gladiator Gore Fest into a Best Picture||71|
|14.||A Movie Is Long Enough, So It Ends Happy or Sad||75|
|15.||If You're Happy and You Know It ... Time for a Reversal of Fortune and Discovery||79|
|16.||"It Scared Me Because I Saw It Coming" ... The Rolls Royce of Complex Plots||83|
|17.||The Devil Is in the Realistic Details of the Plot of Angel Heart||87|
|18.||Whatever Causes the Action Better Be Up There on the Screen||93|
|19.||A Movie Gave You a Bad Case of Pity and Fear? The Doctor Recommends a Catharsis||97|
|20.||Action Speaks Louder Than Words, and Together They Can Speak Volumes!||101|
|21.||The Perfect Hollywood Sad/Happy Plot versus the Perfect Poetics Sad Plot||105|
|22.||Move Your Audience by Teaching Them What They Already Know||109|
|23.||The Good, the Bad, and the Intermediate Hero||113|
|24.||It's the Thought Behind the Action That Counts: Creating the Tone of Your Screenplay||117|
|25.||How to Cheat If You Can't Hire a Whole Chorus||119|
|26.||How to Create Characters That Are Really Really Really Alive||123|
|27.||Dialog Is a Piece of the Action||129|
|28.||If the Pitch Doesn't Fill Me with Horror and Pity, the Movie Won't Either||135|
|29.||The Non-Linear Soul of Quentin Tarantino||139|
|30.||If Your Story Were a Musical, Where Would the Numbers Be?||143|
|31.||History Repeats Itself ... Real and Imagined||149|
|32.||Aristotle's Take on the Importance of Drama||153|
|33.||Aristotle Took Comedy Seriously||157|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am now reading this book for the 4th time. I am a film writer, and this is hands down one of the best books I have read covering the writing process. It is a POWERFUL read for the professional or the student. Whether you are writing a feature film, or any work of fiction, this book is an outstanding tool. Michael Tierno takes Aristotle's theories and then contrasts them with modern drama, quoting many of Aristotle's timeless methods that writers continue to embrace.
Great little book that not only helps in writing and film analysis, but thanks to Dan Miller's musings in A Million Miles and/or Stranger Than Fiction, it's got great advice for life--because "the elements that make up a good story, make up a good life."This is not a book for someone who just wants to write a successful screenplay. If you're simply interested in advice on screenwriting, there are books like Screenwriting for Dummies and such that will teach you the craft in a much more linear fashion.This book is for the writer who wants to understand screenwriting--why it works, how to align the screen with human experience. It dives into these inscrutable waters. Tierno's genius is his simple between philosophy and writing that is constructed with ancient advice and modern examples. The book is broken up into short chapters with clear headings and classic examples for film. It's accessible to a wide audience, though may not have much appeal outside those who are already drawn to character study.
Although it's interesting to look at what the ancient Greeks had to say about storytelling, as for screenwriting books, there are lots of better ones on the market.Michael Tierno "analysis" of different movie also leaves lots to be desired. For instance he devotes an entire chapter (5 pages) to Tarantino's Pulp Fiction but in the end only uses about ½ page on the movie itself. The rest of the chapter is spent on saying that it is important to have a tone to your movie. Yes, yes, it is.Lastly, Michael Tierno end almost every chapter with something along these lines; "Do this and you'll sell your screenplay in a minute". I know that he's a story analyst but leave these things out. They just clutter up the message.