Craft Books: Screenwriting

In which I reveal the greatest book on screenwriting ever published, the greatest book on screenwriting never published, and a couple of runners-up. But first, a history lesson. Syd Field essentially created the three-act structure for screenplays, and most books on screenwriting from the 80s and 90s were devoted to holding up or rejecting “the […]

Five Bad Reasons to Collaborate (and One Good One)

Every writer at some point entertains the idea of working with a partner. And the beginning-er the writer, the worser the reasons. Ultimately, there’s only one good reason to partner with someone, but let’s start with five bad ones. [1] Spoiler: they all boil down to some variation of you think it will be easier […]

Writing the Fight: The Danger of the Weapon

One of the challenges of directing a sword fight is that modern audiences simply don’t perceive swords as weapons; they think of them as costume pieces or props. Too often, when the villain threatens our hero with a sword, no one fears for the hero—they’re excited for the upcoming sword fight. They’re thinking in terms […]

Writing the Fight: Analysis

Seventh in a series on writing fight scenes from the perspective of a fight director. In which I dissect one of my old fight scenes, and it does not fare well. Here’s a version of the Young Siward fight from Macbeth (Act V, Scene 7) that I wrote a few years ago as an exercise:  […]

Mastermind

Taking a break from the fight series to talk about process a bit—partly because process fascinates me, partly because I had a bit of an epiphany today, but mostly because I’m bogged down on my fight entry this week. Stephanie Kong and I have been exchanging “Mastermind” emails since January (her terminology, I’m not sure […]