The Screenwriter’s Roadmap
21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Story
By Neil Landau
Focal Press – 2012 – 310 pages
Focal Press – 2012 – 310 pages
The screenwriter's GPS for writing a great screenplay!
Avoid the wrong turns, dead ends, gaping p(l)otholes, and other obstacles commonly encountered when writing a screenplay. The Screenwriter's Roadmap: 21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Story keeps you on route and helps you reach your final destination: a completed screenplay that's full of surprises, emotionally resonant, and ready for the marketplace.
Neil Landau, an established Hollywood screenwriter and script doctor, provides 21 questions for you to ask yourself as you write, to help you nail down your screenplay's story structure, deepen its character arcs, bolster stakes, heighten suspense, and diagnose and repair its potential weaknesses. These 21 vital questions have been field-tested and utilized in the creation of some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters and critically acclaimed films. Each chapter is augmented by end of chapter "homework" assignments, examples from recent blockbusters and timeless classic films, as well as interviews with some of Hollywood's most successful screenwriters including Scott Z. Burns (Contagion), Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy), Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island), David Koepp (Spider Man), Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can), Eric Roth (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight Rises), , Billy Ray (The Hunger Games), Melissa Rosenberg (the Twilight trilogy), Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air), and many others.
"Landau keeps each chapter surprisingly short, while packing them with as much information as possible…If you’re looking for something more educational than entertaining, The Screenwriter’s
Roadmap is a fantastic book to pick up for anyone looking to start his or her own masterpiece."
-Blog Critics, www.blogcritics.org
"It’s easy to see how Mr. Landau is the screenwriting Professor at both UCLA and USC. His knowledge is vast and extremely discernible within the pages of The Screenwriter’s Roadmap. It is absolutely one of the best books written on the subject and should be on every screenwriter’s and filmmaker’s bookshelf! Highly Recommended."
-The Film Monthly, www.filmmonthly.com
"As an aspiring screenwriter myself, and I tell you – I have gone through many screenwriting books from The Writer’s Journey to the Save the Cat series, Neil Landau’s guide is certainly one of the best texts I have read in regards to the screenwriting business."
-Digital Hippos, www.digitalhippos.com
"The best screenwriting books aim to inflame that thought process, opening dialogue and creating discussion. This is far more helpful that a set of regimented rules. And that is exactly what Neil Landau had in mind. I won’t bury the lead: The Screenwriter’s Roadmap is an excellent release…The Screenwriter’s Roadmap is not only extremely informative but, frankly, it’s also a genuine page turner."
-Showbiz Monkeys, www.showbizmonkeys.com
GuidePost 1: Clarify the Central Conflict of Your Premise
GuidePost 2: Think of Setting and Time Period as Another Character
GuidePost 3: Create an Iconic Protagonist with a Core Contradiction
GuidePost 4: Give Your Protagonist Something to Win and Something to Lose
GuidePost 5: Determine Your Protagonist's Most Significant Weakness and how they'll overcome it
GuidePost 6: Drafting the Architectural Foundation
GuidePost 7: Hook Your Audience into the Plight of Your Protagonist by Page 10
GuidePost 8: Inject a Potent Antagonistic Force to Obstruct the Goals of Your Protagonist
GuidePost 9: Plunge Your Protagonist into Crisis at the End of Act One (no later than page 25)
GuidePost 10: Fuelling and Consistently Stoking the Dramatic Fire
GuidePost 11: Infuse Your Story with a Central Mystery
GuidePost 12: The Center Can Hold: Ratcheting up the Stakes at the Midpoint of Act 2
GuidePost 13: Thicken the Plot with a Pivotal Character
GuidePost 14: Compel your Protagonist into Epiphany in Act 3
GuidePost 15: Situate Your Protagonist at a Crossroads at the End of Act 2
GuidePost 16: Set the Clock Ticking
GuidePost 17: Heighten the Climax
Guidepost 18: Pay-off the Setups
GuidePost 19: Crafting the Inevitable Conclusion
GuidePost 20: Illuminate the Central Thematic Question
GuidePost 21: Rewrites: Reconnecting to the Emotional Core of Your Screenplay
teaches in the MFA in Screenwriting and Producing Programs at both UCLA School of Film & Television and USC School of Cinematic Arts, and is a faculty advisor in the MFA in Writing Program at Goddard College. He also wrote the cult hit "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead", among many other credits.