5th Edition

Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect

By Claudia Hunter Johnson Copyright 2020
    414 Pages
    by Routledge

    414 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.





    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