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Breaking Story with Young Screenwriters
18 minutes | Jul 5, 2021
Dos and Don'ts of Exposition - Breaking Story 013
You can’t write a movie without some exposition—but often writers hear the complaint that their writing is too expositional. How do we strike that balance, and importantly, how do we recognize good and bad exposition in our own work? In this episode, screenwriters Alexie Basil and Adam Schaller break down the dos and don’ts of effective exposition. They look at how famous stories have successfully delivered information and how you can replicate it in your own screenwriting.
15 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
#1 Mistake Screenwriters Make - Breaking Story 012
Passive protagonists are one of the most common problems in screenplays—from seasoned screenwriters and newbies alike. Instead of driving the story forward and making active choices, these characters let the story come to them and then react. In this episode, screenwriters Alexie Basil and Adam Schaller examine how to spot a passive protagonist in your own work, why it matters, and how to transform them into an integral part of your story engine.
23 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
What is Three Act Structure? - Breaking Story 011
Three act structure is the most common story analysis tools—and a favorite among screenwriters. By breaking a script down into three acts, writers can approach the beginning, middle, and end from a place of intentionality and give their film momentum and purpose. In this episode, screenwriters Alexie Basil and Adam Schaller three act structure and how to use it effectively. They focus on how to use formula without being formulaic, helpful takeaways from their own education and careers, and the organic nature of story (even within structure).
30 minutes | May 31, 2021
Developing Ideas and Characters - Breaking Story 010
Even with all the skills in the world, a screenwriter still needs one essential ingredient to write a knock-out script: an incredible idea. So, what makes a story or character idea good? Where do they come from and how to you put them to action? In this episode, NYU Tisch Film Professor John Warren and screenwriters Alexie Basil and Adam Schaller discuss idea and character generation. In particular, they explore the importance of learning when to stick to your inspiration, when to let it go, and when to seek more.
25 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
What Makes an Ending Good? - Breaking Story 009
Some film endings stick with us through the ages. Why is that? What makes some screenplays end with a BANG! and what makes others fizzle? In this episode, NYU Tisch Film Professor John Warren and screenwriters Alexie Basil and Adam Schaller discuss writing powerful endings for your screenplay, including Michael Arndt’s theory on endings and case studies of stellar endings such as PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE, and THE WIZARD OF OZ.
23 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
What's the Deal with Film School? - Breaking Story 008
Is film school worth it? What makes a strong film school application? If you do go to film school, how can you be sure to get the most of it? In this episode, NYU Tisch Film Professor John Warren and alum Alexie Basil answer all of your burning questions about film school—getting in, attending, and post-grad life—as well as some questions about NYU Tisch specifically.
25 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
Writing Dialogue - Breaking Story 007
For many screenwriters, dialogue is one of the most exciting parts of screenwriting. It’s where our characters come to life on the page and on the screen. But how do you create dialogue that is authentic, interesting, AND moves the plot forward? In this episode, NYU Film Professor John Warren and professional screenwriters Adam Schaller and Alexie Basil talk about techniques for writing effective, story-driven dialogue. They break down why some dialogue works, while other dialogue falls flat.
31 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
Language and Scene Description - Breaking Story 006
Scene description offers an opportunity for writers to help shape what a reader sees in their mind’s eye. How do you create evocative imagery? How do you capture cinematic action? In this episode, NYU Film Professor John Warren and professional screenwriters Adam Schaller and Alexie Basil break down the type of language to use in scene description. They discuss controlling the rhythm, your objective as a writer, and finding your own voice.
31 minutes | Mar 8, 2021
Objective and Stakes in a Screenplay - Breaking Story 005
Over the course of a feature screenplay, all of the protagonist's actions are in pursuit of their tangible objective. But what happens if they don't get it? What are the stakes? In this episode, NYU Film Professor John Warren and professional screenwriters Adam Schaller and Alexie Basil analyze the relationship between objective and stakes. They discuss how to ensure your objective has strong enough stakes that it drives your protagonist to act and motivates your audience to care.
27 minutes | Feb 23, 2021
Flaw and Inner Need in a Screenplay - Breaking Story 004
Every incredible screenplay and memorable movie has a strong emotional core: flaw and inner need. Over the course of the protagonist's journey, they will gradually overcome their flaw and learn to embrace their inner-need. In this episode, professional screenwriters Adam Schaller and Alexie Basil break down the importance of solidifying your protagonist's character arc. They look at the relationship between flaw and inner need, how it ties to theme, and how you can use it in your own writing.
26 minutes | Feb 13, 2021
Character Development in a Screenplay - Breaking Story 003
Which comes first: story or characters? As screenwriters, we use characters to reveal story just as much as we use story to inform our characters. So, how does that story-driven character development process work? In this episode, NYU Film Professor John Warren, Adam Schaller, and Alexie Basil talk about building and developing characters for stories. They explore the symbiotic relationship between character and story, and share their favorite techniques for character development.
27 minutes | Feb 4, 2021
World Building in a Screenplay - Breaking Story 002
As screenwriters, we spend a lot of time thinking our characters, story, conflict, and dramatic action. But what about the world they inhabit? In this episode, NYU Film Professor John Warren, Adam Schaller, and Alexie Basil talk world building—about designing rich and authentic worlds in screenplays. They dive into iconic scripts like STAR WARS and ALIEN, as well as series like BREAKING BAD, to identify what world building techniques screenwriters can employ to bring their world to life.
37 minutes | Dec 21, 2020
Your First 10 Pages - Breaking Story 001
The first 10 pages of your screenplay set the tone for your entire movie—and tell the reader whether they should keep reading or toss your script in the trash. In the first-ever episode of Breaking Story by Young Screenwriters, NYU Film Professor John Warren, Adam Schaller, and Alexie Basil take a look at opening pages from exceptional screenplays like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and MARRIAGE STORY and break down how you can make your first 10 pages punch through the slush pile.
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