Screenplay: Building Story Through Character, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover


Building Story Through Character, 1st Edition

By Jule Selbo


296 pages

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pub: 2015-08-03
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Screenplay: Building Story Through Character is designed to help screenwriters turn simple or intricate ideas into exciting, multidimensional film narratives with fully-realized characters. Based on Jule Selbo’s unique 11-step structure for building story through characters, the book teaches budding screenwriters the skills to focus and shape their ideas, turning them into stories filled with character development, strong plot elements based on obstacles and conflicts, and multifaceted emotional arcs.

Using examples and analysis from classic and contemporary films across a range of genres, from The Godfather to Guardians of the Galaxy, Selbo’s Screenplay takes students inside the scriptwriting process, providing a broad overview for both beginners and seasoned writers alike. The book is rounded out with discussion questions, writing exercises, a guide to the business of screenwriting, in-depth film breakdowns, and a glossary of screenwriting terms.


"Jule Selbo’s book is a must-read for any aspiring screenwriter. She masterfully breaks down the three-act structure into 11 practical steps that demonstrate how character decisions drive the story beats, scenes, sequences, and acts." —Edward J. Fink, Associate Dean, College of Communications, California State University, Fullerton

"A clear and accessible set of tools for the aspiring screenwriter and an inspiring way for the experienced writer to reconnect with the basic and necessary tenets of storytelling on screen." —Craig Weisz, Professor, Fairleigh Dickinson University and independent producer

Table of Contents

1. Idea vs. Story 2. Genesis of Story 3. Three Act Structure and Beyond 4. Eleven Step Story Structure: Character First 5. Character Is Everything 6. Think About The Ending 7. Once You Know the Ending: Go Back to the Beginning 8. Plot 9. Subplots: A, B and C Stories and Runners 10. Beats, Scenes and Sequences 11. Exposition 12. Dialogue 13. Action, Conflict and Obstacles 14. Events 15. Dramatic Question, Theme and Point of View 16. Logline, Synopsis, Outline and Treatment 17. Start Writing: Act One 18. Working on Act Two 19. Working on Act Three 20. Checklists of Each Acts 21. The Business of Being a Screenwriter 22. Eleven Steps Film Breakdowns 23. Short Glossary of Screenwriting Terms

About the Author

Jule Selbo, Ph.D., is a Professor of Screenwriting in the Radio-TV-Film Department at California State University, Fullerton. She is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter with work in theatre, feature film, network and cable television and animated series; produced credits include projects for Disney, Columbia Pictures, Paramount, and Universal. She is the author, most recently, of Film Genre for the Screenwriter (2015), also published by Routledge.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Composition & Creative Writing
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Screenwriting
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies