ISBN 9781138482296; 240 Pages
Prewriting Your Screenplay:
A Step-by-Step Guide to Generating Stories
Written by Michael Tabb
Prewriting Your Screenplay cements all the bricks of a story’s foundations together and forms a single, organic story-growing technique, starting with a blank slate. It shows writers how to design each element so that they perfectly interlock together like pieces of a puzzle, creating a stronger story foundation that does not leave gaps and holes for readers to find. This construction process is performed one piece at a time, one character at a time, building and incorporating each element into the whole.
The book provides a clear-cut set of lessons that teaches how to construct that story base around concepts as individual as the writer’s personal opinions, helping to foster an individual writer’s voice. It also features end-of-chapter exercises that offer step-by-step guidance in applying each lesson, providing screenwriters with a concrete approach to building a strong foundation for a screenplay. This is the quintessential book for all writers taking their first steps towards developing a screenplay from nothing, getting them over that first monumental hump, resulting in a well-formulated story concept that is cohesive and professional.
Table of Contents
Act One – The Setup
Chapter 1: Premise (the Big Bang for your script)
Chapter 2: Genre (getting in the right mood)
Chapter 3: The Brainstorm (the storm of ideas)
Act Two – Character Driven
Chapter 4: Character Introduction
Chapter 5: Protagonist (with details on anti-heroes and failed protagonists)
Chapter 6: Antagonist (and the mentor gone wrong)
Chapter 7: Can the Protagonist be the Antagonist?
Chapter 8: Love Interest (the motivator of inner journey and the lust interest)
Chapter 9: Mentor (the model for success in the physical goal or outer journey)
Chapter 10: Dual Mentors (mind versus mission)
Chapter 11: The Protagonist’s Reflection characters (a look in the mirror)
Chapter 12: A Final Reflection (character concept summation)
Act Three – The Big Idea
Chapter 13: Culmination (assembly of the puzzle pieces)
Chapter 14: The Story (everything into a single story)
Chapter 15: The Logline (how you’d sell it – from story to high concept)
Appendix – Bonus Material/Final Exercise
Michael Tabb has developed projects for and with Universal Studios, Disney Feature Animation, Intrepid Pictures, the Canton Company at Warner Brothers; producers Paul Schiff, Sean Daniel, and Lawrence Bender; directors Thor Freudenthal and Mike Newell; comic book icon Stan Lee; and actor Dustin Hoffman. A decadelong current and active WGAW member, Tabb serves on the WGAW Writer’s Education Committee and co-created the union’s first mentor program. Tabb has lectured at writers conferences from coast to coast and in classrooms at Florida State University, UCLA, and USC, having tested his story-development theories as a multiple award–winning MFA professor at Full Sail University.
With a love of giving back, Michael has spoken on entertainment writing for UCLA, NYU, USC, FSU, Columbia College of Chicago’s Semester in L.A., Florida’s and San Diego’s Writers Conferences, Screenwriters’ World Conference, Comic-Con International, film festivals, and his union, the Writers’ Guild of America, West (WGA). Michael volunteered time to guest instruct inner-city youths for the Writers’ Guild Foundation Community Outreach Program and serves on the WGAW’s Writer’s Education Committee. He co-created and spearheaded the WGA Mentor Program from its inception for its New Members’ Committee. Michael is a multiple award-winning, MFA screenwriting educator for Full Sail University. He was educated at USC, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television Professional Program in Screenwriting.