Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect, Fifth Edition, stands alone among screenwriting books by emphasizing that human connection, though often overlooked, is as essential to writing effective screenplays as conflict. This ground-breaking book will show you how to advance and deepen your screenwriting skills, increasing your ability to write richer, more resonant short screenplays that will connect with your audience.
Award-winning writer and director Claudia Hunter Johnson teaches you the all-important basics of dramatic technique and guides you through the challenging craft of writing short screenplays with carefully focused exercises of increasing length and complexity. In completing these exercises and applying Johnson’s techniques and insights to your own work, you will learn how to think more deeply about the screenwriter’s purpose, craft effective patterns of human change, and strengthen your storytelling skills.
This 20th Anniversary Edition features 11 short screenplays, including Academy Award winning Barry Jenkins' (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk) luminous short film, My Josephine, and an accompanying companion website that features the completed films and additional screenplay examples. The book has also been expanded and updated to include two new award-winning screenplays Killer Kart and The Great Wall of Vicky Lynn. and a brand-new chapter exploring the use of genre in the short film. An absolute must-have resource for students of screenwriting.
Table of Contents
PREFACE TO THE FIFTH EDITION
INTRODUCTION: THE POWER AND IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN CONNECTION
PART 1 Preparing to Write the Short Screenplay
Chapter 1 Connecting to Purpose
Chapter 2 Connecting to Self
Chapter 3 Connecting to Genre
Chapter 4 Connecting to Process
Chapter 5 Connecting to Collaboration
PART II Aspects of the Craft
Chapter 6 Story and Screenplay
Chapter 7 Character
Chapter 8 Structure
Chapter 9 Dialogue
Part III Five (Not So) Easy Screenplays
Chapter 10 The Discovery
Chapter 11 The Decision
Chapter 12 The Boxing Match
Chapter 13 The Improbable Connection
Chapter 14 The Long Short Screenplay
PART IV Eleven Screenplays That Make It Look Easy
Chapter 15 Chillin’ Out
Chapter 16 The Great Wall of Vicky Lynn
Chapter 17 Killer Kart
Chapter 18 Intercambios
Chapter 19 Underground
Chapter 20 Tough Crowd
Chapter 21 Kosher
Chapter 22 My Josephine
Chapter 23 Lena’s Spaghetti
Chapter 24 Cool Breeze and Buzz
Chapter 25 Slow Dancin’ Down the Aisles of the Quickcheck
APPENDIX A Available Screenwriting Software
APPENDIX B Films and Television Series Referenced
APPENDIX C Further Reading
Claudia Hunter Johnson is the writer/director of the civil rights documentary feature, The Other Side of Silence: The Untold Story of Ruby McCollum, winner of the Gold Jury Prize at Seattle’s Social Justice Film Festival and Best Florida Documentary at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. She is also the author of two memoirs, Stifled Laughter—nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the inaugural P.E.N./Newman’s Own First Amendment Award—and Hurtling Toward Happiness: A Mother and Teenage Son’s Road Trip From Blues to Bonding in a Really Small Car. She has taught screenwriting at the FSU Film School and the Writing for Screen & Television Division at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
"Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect, Fifth Edition, is an incredible, insightful guide to writing an effective, engaging short screenplay. Claudia Hunter Johnson takes the reader through the journey of crafting screenplays using connection as the path."
Dr. Valliere Richard Auzenne, Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts
Praise for the previous edition:
"Claudia Hunter Johnson leads the reader through the process of writing the short film, along the way illuminating something much bigger—how to write great drama in any form."
Linda Seger, Author, Making a Good Script Great