Screenwriting Fundamentals: The Art and Craft of Visual Writing takes a step-by-step approach to screenwriting, starting with a blank page and working through each element of the craft. Written in an approachable anecdote-infused style that’s full of humor, Bauer shows the writer how to put the pieces together, taking the process of screenwriting out of the cerebral and on to the page. Part One of the book covers character, location, time-frame and dialogue, emphasizing the particularity in writing for a visual medium. Part Two of the book focuses on the narrative aspect of screenwriting. Proceeding incrementally from the idea and story outline, through plotting and writing the treatment, the workshop-in-a-book concludes with writing the First Draft.

  • A unique emphasis on the visual elements of storytelling because the camera is always present—the screenplay must act as a guide for the director and the editor.
  • A "workshop in a book" approach that walks the reader step-by-step through a screenplay—focusing on character, location, time frame, visual components, and transitions—with plenty of exercises that generate material for the narrative writing process.
  • A process-oriented approach, combined with a lighthearted tone and approachable style, that allows the reader to ease into the daunting task of writing a First Draft and takes them all the way through to the end— First Draft in hand.




PART I - The Gathering Phase

Chapter 1 - Character, Location, Time Frame

  • The Arbitrary Character
  • Character Leads to Story
  • Script Example
  • Character Bio
  • Location
  • Time Frame
  • Personal History
  • Student Exercise Examples
  • Exercise #1

Chapter 2 - Character Out Loud—Dialogue

  • Sources of Dialogue
  • Monologue
  • Script Examples
  • Student Exercise Examples
  • The Character’s Own Sweet Song
  • Exercise #2

Chapter 3 - The Visual Component—I

  • Film Form—Screenplay Format
  • Dialogue in Film Form—Second Character
  • Script Example
  • Screenwriting—The Recipe
  • Student Exercise Examples
  • Exercise #3

Chapter 4 - The Visual Component—II

  • A Scene without Dialogue
  • Script Example—1
  • Script Example—2
  • Student Exercise Examples
  • Exercise #4

Chapter 5 - The Transition

  • The Transition Defined
  • A Coat of Many Colors
  • Script Examples
  • Exercise #5

PART II - The Narrative Arc

  • Review

Chapter 6 - The Idea

  • The Background of Film
  • Narrow Your Focus
  • The Mechanics of Storytelling
  • Set Up, Build, Pay Off
  • Questioning
  • Student Exercise Examples
  • Exercise #6

Chapter 7 - Story—Step Outline

  • What Is Story?
  • Step Outline Defined
  • Creating the Skeleton
  • Student Exercise Examples
  • Questioning Your Work
  • Evolution of an Idea
  • Exercise #7

Chapter 8 - Plotting the Story—I

  • Flesh on the Skeleton
  • The Opening Scene
  • Script Example
  • The Bridge
  • The African Queen—Opening Scene
  • Plot the Opening Scene
  • Student Exercise Examples
  • Exercise #8

Chapter 9 - Treatment—Plotting the Story—II

  • What Is a Treatment?
  • Connecting the Bridges
  • Basic Dramatic Elements
  • Step Back and Question
  • Questions to Ask Yourself
  • Student Exercise Examples
  • Recap—Treatment
  • Exercise #9

Chapter 10 - First Draft Short Screenplay

  • Fulfilling the Treatment
  • The First Draft Screenplay
  • Student Exercise Examples
  • Exercise #10