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Why Spec Scripts Fail: Backstory Thru Subtext, Part 2

Last time in, Part 1, we discussed how the environment creates behavior that leads to the dialogue a character uses to subtly reveal his or her backstory. I suggested that you rewrite the example scene, without any change in the length, to reveal something about backstory via subtext. If you haven’t tried it yet,...

sceenplay subtext

Specs & The City: Subtext and ‘War of the Worlds’

By Brad Johnson Sometimes in life, you need to take a step back and reestablish exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. Screenwriting is about telling a story. We all know that. But sometimes, writers can get so caught up in what’s on the surface – script formatting, how much white is on the page,...


Why Spec Scripts Fail: No Backstory thru Subtext, Part 1

Welcome to the first in a series of articles where we will explore (from a Senior Analyst’s perspective) why 99.95% of spec scripts fail. Today, please travel with me as we journey together to illustrate a point. When you read to the end and of this article and complete the assignment I guarantee a...

Two camels kissing?

Column D: Writing Exposition… and Two Camels

If you watch a lot of movies (and read a lot of screenplays), you undoubtedly have noticed the frequent use of foul language in them.  So-called “dirty” words have been a part of our movie culture since the early ’60s.  Except for kids’ movies, you can hardly watch a movie these days without encountering...

The Great Linda Seger Has Done It Again!

In this, her ninth book on screenwriting, the industry’s matriarch — who essentially created the job of script consultant three decades ago — Dr. Seger has gone on to clarify one of the most elusive elements of screenwriting in her latest book: Writing Subtext: What Lies Beneath.