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Jamie Helton

Web Site: http://filmverse.wordpress.com

What’s In a Title?

Old Manual Typewriter

20th Century Fox recently revealed the title to the 5th film in the Die Hard series: A Good Day to Die Hard.  It’s always good to see a sequel that doesn’t go for the easy way out and just slap a number at the end of the original title.  However, with the number of...
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Character Is Plot


It’s been said that character is plot.  What does that mean?  Simply put, the choices the lead character makes drives the direction the story takes.  In movies with weak plots, stuff happens and characters do things, but the two aren’t necessarily related.  Take your typical slasher film–an anonymous killer stalks a group of teenagers...
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Plots Are Conflict Resolutions


People thrive on conflict.  There’s a reason why shows such as Jersey Shore and Real Housewives of (Name Your City) are so popular–they’re all about conflict.  Feature films are no different.  They need a strong central conflict that drives the story with a lot of little conflicts along with way.  In its basic form,...
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Write About Real Life Instead of Movie Cliches


Nobody likes to see clichéd plots in movies.  After all, everybody and his brother has pointed out the tried and tired plot that Avatar used, which was similar to a slew of movies like Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves, and Fern Gully.  In fact, people hated it so much that Avatar made $2.75 billion worldwide. ...
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Plot Is Determined by Setting

Old Manual Typewriter

The plot of any story is driven by the choices its protagonist makes.  However, the other major factor that affects the plot is the setting–the time and location the story takes place.  Not much thought is given to setting of movies in general; if a movie uses a contemporary setting, then it’s obvious that...
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How Important Is Theme?


When asked, “What’s Moby Dick about?” you can answer in two ways:  1) it’s about an old sea-captain searching for the whale that took his leg years ago; 2) it’s about how obsession can destroy you.  The first answer refers to the plot of the story while the second comments on its theme. 
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Basics of Screenplay Format

Basic Screenplay Format

  This may be obvious, but the purpose of screenwriting is to end up with a motion picture.  This basic yet essential fact is why the screenplay format is so important.  Much like plays require a format agreed upon by those who put on stage productions and poetry has rules regarding meter and verse,...
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Elements of Character Development


  It has been said that story is character–the plot is determined by the decisions your protagonist makes and how the character reacts to situations he/she must deal with.  Like in the make-your-own-adventure books, the story becomes something completely different if the protagonist takes a right turn rather than a left turn.  Before you...
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Outlining a Screenplay

Typing on Keyboard

A phenomenal idea just struck the creative center of your brain, and you know that it will make an amazing movie.  You must write the script for this masterpiece, but the question is how do you develop that fleeting concept into a well-structured screenplay?  The temptation is to just plow ahead and begin writing,...
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Structure: The Framework of a Screenplay

Keyboard 01

The most basic structure of telling a story is to have a beginning, middle, and end.  Screenwriting is a bit more complicated than this as not only do you have to tell a good story with interesting characters, but you have to adhere to a strict format including when to place various story elements....
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