Next Level Screenwriting: Insights, Ideas and Inspiration for the Intermediate Screenwriter, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Next Level Screenwriting

Insights, Ideas and Inspiration for the Intermediate Screenwriter, 1st Edition

By David Landau, David Bennett Carren


152 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780367151584
pub: 2019-05-13
SAVE ~$6.99
Hardback: 9780367151515
pub: 2019-05-08
SAVE ~$30.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429055386
pub: 2019-05-23
from $17.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


Next Level Screenwriting is an intermediate screenwriting book, for those that have already learned the basics of screenwriting, written a screenplay or two and want to bring their writing and stories to the next level.

Each chapter of the book examines a specific aspect of screenwriting, such as character, dialogue and theme, and then provides the reader with ideas, tips and inspiration to apply to their own writing. Rather than being another “how to” book, this volume features a variety of case studies and challenging exercises throughout – derived from a broad selection of successful feature films and TV shows from the 1940s to the present day – to help spark the imagination of the writer as they work through different styles and approaches of screenwriting.

An absolute must-read for any screenwriter wanting to improve their writing and storytelling skills.


‘Whether you’re writing your first script or your twentieth, this book will help you take your screenplay to the next level. An absorbing read – great examples and explanations from well-known films and television shows, all with practical applications to your own work!’

Anna Weinstein, Series Editor, PERFORM: Succeeding as a Creative Professional, and Screenwriting Instructor, Auburn University

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Don’t be afraid of Genre – keeping your promise to your viewer

  • Enjoying the Genre
  • Crossing Genres
  • A Final Note

Chapter 2: The Write Approach – Finding how to approach telling your story and the

point of attach

  • Motivated Style
  • The Internal Approach
  • Maintaining an Established Style
  • Style that fits the Genre

Chapter 3: Character depth – Thinking about more layered characters and their motivations

  • Character Motivation
  • the Character Mask
  • Humor as Character
  • the Other Character Change
  • Television Characters

Chapter 4: Dialogue that does more than further the plot

  • A Distinct Voice
  • Attitude Dialogue
  • Period Dialogue
  • Dialogue that Reveals Character
  • Poetic dialog
  • Contemporary Dialogue
  • When Talk is Action

Chapter 5: Poetic Description – Writing your settings can be as creative as writing your story

  • Choosing Your Words
  • Describing for the Mind’s Eye
  • Writing for the Reader
  • Humorously Said

Chapter 6: Finding the Theme – Discovering what your writing is all about

  • Popular Movies have Themes
  • Shared Themes of Westerns & Horror
  • We have met the Enemy and they are us
  • The Stronger the Theme the Stronger the Story
  • Even Comedy has a Theme
  • The Naked Theme

Chapter 7; First Person Narrative Screenwriting – Writing voice over narration and found footage stories

  • Narration that isn’t a Crutch
  • Hardboiled Wit Narration
  • Found Footage as First Person
  • Mockumentary)

Chapter 8: Dealing with Multiple Protagonist Syndrome or Navigating the ensemble screenplay

  • Ensemble vs Episodic
  • Linking Stories
  • Playing with Time
  • Ensemble Characters
  • Reoccurring Locations
  • The Ensemble Anchor
  • Ensemble in the Park
  • The Trouble with Ensemble

Chapter 9: Based on True Events & Research – Writing the core of the truth without being boring

  • Adapting History
  • Free yourself from the Truth
  • Find a Special Event in History
  • Find a Special Place in History
  • Research that Works for You
  • This All Applies to Television

Chapter 10: Set-up, Pay-off and the Twist – Writing in things that go around and came around

  • Twilight Zone Set-up/Pay-off
  • Twist Ending Set-up/Pay-off
  • Character Character Character
  • Twists in TV
  • Comedy Set-up/Pay-off
  • The Aristotle Connection

Chapter 11: Writing for a Budget – Writing screenplays under budget constraints

  • Micro-budget Feature
  • Independent Low Budget
  • Hollywood low budget
  • Limited budget TV

Chapter 12: Rewriting: The Pain and the Gain

  • Working in backstory
  • Development Rewrite
  • Production Rewrite
  • Post Production Rewrite
  • A Note on Taking Notes
  • Three Tricks to Note Taking

Chapter 13: Wrote the Script, Now What?

  • Copyright
  • Feedback
  • Contests
  • Producers and Agents
  • They Call it Hollywood
  • Make it Yourself
  • Low Budget Independents
  • How and How Much
  • Show Me the Money – in the Movies
  • Show Me the Money – in Television
  • Don’t Undo Your Sale


About the Authors

David Landau is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright with seven plays published and is the author of the books Lighting for Cinematography and Film Noir Production in addition to numerous articles on screenwriting for such magazines as Script, Screenwriter’s Monthly, Student Filmmakers Magazine and HD ProGuide. His feature screenwriting credits include Murder at Café Noir and Dark Tarot. David earned his MFA in Screenwriting from Goddard College and is a full Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is also a member of the Dramatists Guild and the University Film & Video Association.

David Bennett Carren is an award-winning screenwriter whose work includes numerous episodes for such television shows as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stargate SG1, Martial Law, Dennis the Menace, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles among others. His feature films include Mr. Hell and Waiting for Sandoval, and he was the writer/director on the feature film The Red Queen. A member of the Writers Guild of America and the University Film & Video Association, David earned his MFA in Screenwriting from Spalding University and is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where he is the Interim Chair of the Department of Theatre.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Screenwriting