writing for performance

The Wide Margin: (Parenthetically Speaking…)

I learned more about the craft of screenwriting by studying acting than from reading books on screenwriting. There.  I said it. Actors, after all, are my real audience.  Without them, I might as well write a novel.  The moment I decide I’m going to write for performance, I have committed to...

worried cat

The Wide Margin: Tell the Cat to Beat It!

Writers today are obsessed with structure.  I’m not talking about the traditional beginning-middle-end style structure.  I’m talking about the micromanagement of page counts as typified by anal retentive “techniques” like “saving the cat.”  I’m pretty sure Paddy Chayefsky never thought in terms of a beat sheet, assigning plot points to script...

The Wide Margin: Less is More

The Wide Margin: When Less is More

On the nineteenth day of the eleventh month of the year four score and seven after the founding the Nation, Abraham Lincoln delivered his über-nano Gettysburg Address.  Just how short was this speech?  272 total words arranged in only 10 sentences.  That is to say, 143 different words.  Just how few...