Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
|Print List Price:||£17.99|
Save £1.92 (11%)
Dan Obannon's Guide to Screenplay Structure: Inside Tips from the Writer of Alien, Total Recall and Return of the Living Dead Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
The Alien that Dan wrote, and the variation that Ridley Scott directed, is based on rhetorical repetitions that build to a dramatic climax of options. Dan's criticism of Dramatica (and I am not an advocate for Dramatica, even though I do use Dramatica), is somewhat cursory. The Alien that Dan wrote, is a fundamental piece of Sci-Fi, as in the literature of an idea for a monster that is distinctive and distinctively different to the Vampire, the Predator, the Werewolf, for example, that did not require much in the way of development, as per the dynamic interplay of the story and characters' dynamics. Aspects of story that Dramatica does help to develop and guide one, to keep consistent. It should be pointed out that the original Predator follows a similar form to that of Alien, which is probably why it was that Predator did not WOW the critics, on it s release.
The Ridley Scott version of Alien, did try to fatten things out, beyond the appeal of a straight Sci-Fier, via an emphasis of the characters' interrelationships and their relationship to the company.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Structure is a funny thing. You don't really notice it until it's not there. Recently, not by choice, I attempted to watch a version of "Dinner for Schmucks" on my mobile device. But the version was somehow confused as per the chapters. It started out just fine with the credits and it established, pretty quickly, the Paul Rudd character and his desire to move up and then cut to him and his girlfriend and the implication that he had already met the Steve Carell character. Though I knew this didn't seem right - I had to start filling in the blanks. Why were the filmmakers choosing to completely skip any sort of relationship with one of the main characters? This didn't make sense and I had to start to re-think the structure. After another scene in the restaurant with the investors (or whomever) I was even more confused. Now it appeared that Rudd had a deeper relationship with Carell but that didn't make sense since I hadn't see that relationship develop in any sort of way. And then, 20 minutes into the film, we're half-way through the dinner, then we're at the end of the dinner, then we're at the half-way point again and then we're at the beginning of dinner and then we see the scene where the Rudd character runs into the Carell character and then I finally gave up and turned it off.
I will repeat: You really don't notice it until it's not there. And that's the way it SHOULD be. Structure is something that is best left hidden and only realized when the glow of the movie is fading in a post-film cocktail at the nearest bar.
Dan O'Bannon's book "Guide to Screenplay Structure" does a masterful job of explaining what structure is and what it shouldn't be...in his opinion. The reason why I point out "in his opinion" is that he spends the first quarter of the book explaining OTHER peoples' structure theories. THEN he tells you his with humor and grace. Going over these other structure theories first gives the reader a much needed background on where structure comes from - whether it is from the ancient story-tellers or Robert McKee. Using this understanding that core elements need to be in place - O'Bannon (and his co-author Matt R. Lohr) then explore O'Bannon's take on structure.
I will be honest, though, that one of the things that irritates me most about books on screenwriting structure is that they don't give many or any examples. This is were O'Bannon's book takes this to another level. Giving not only examples of good structure but bad structure as well. So often an author will just point out any sort of film that holds up their argument. O'Bannon and Lohr point out films (and stage plays) that hold up their arguments and pick on films that fail. This gives the reader an perceptiveness that I haven't seen before and is very refreshing.
Along with each chapter - O'Bannon and Lohr give exercises for the reader to do to give this more of text book feel. Including film watching and digesting ones own writing. Obviously you don't have to do the exercises but doing so may push your writing to another level that you may not have experienced before.
The detail and nuance that O'Bannon and Lohr bring to the table is unprecedented but as much as this may be a recap of the core basics of structure - as taught by O'Bannon - there are still things to learn in these pages and discoveries to be explored. Plus there's a sense of optimism and support that filters out of these pages to the writer struggling to get their story told. In short - this book is unlike any other book on structure out there.
Mr. O'Bannon's book is both insightful and very entertaining. Written in a way as if taking a Master's Class by one of the greats. May he rest in peace.
Anyways, I saw that he wrote a screenplay book and thought I would pick it up and see what one of my favorite screenplay writers has to say. I was pleasantly surprised at the oddness of this book.
Mr. O’Bannon starts his book by reviewing a handful of other seminal story how-to’s. Poetics, Story, The Art of Dramatic Writing among a few others. He gives an opinionated run down of the high points of each book.
He then goes into structure by conflict. Something I found refreshing and somewhat similar to the process Mr. Etheredge teaches. He also breaks down several movies using this structure technique.
The most interesting point in the book is how he defines conflict as a transaction. Two characters or groups of characters who disagree on how to resolve an issue. I like this thought process and I am using it on my current story to see where it goes.
The last few chapters he goes on a rant about different aspects of film production. Not sure what to make of that but it was interesting reading none the less.
I am always looking to refine my writing process. I think everyone’s is different. The only way to find out what works for you is to write, read and try new things.
Matt Lohr's concise prose enhances what already was a unique and compelling work.
I can't recommend this enough. There's no way to be disappointed by this book.