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Publisher's Summary

Whether you want to write your own scripts or simply gain a deeper appreciation for the great stories you see unfold on the screen, Professor Angus Fletcher is here to show you the way in Screenwriting 101: Mastering the Art of Story. Professor Fletcher, Professor of English and Film at The Ohio State University, brings both a personal and scholarly perspective to this craft. As a screenwriter himself, he has experienced the ins and outs of the process first-hand. And as a key faculty member in Project Narrative, a think tank devoted to using cognitive science to study the effects of stories on the human mind, Professor Fletcher offers unique insight into storytelling from both a neuroscientific and a literary perspective.

Despite what you may have been told, writing a great script is not about formulas and three-act structure. Great scripts - great stories - are those that create the desired emotional response in audiences, something that can only be achieved by knowing which methods are most effective and how they suit the story you want to tell. As you study the work of over a dozen great screenwriters and several television shows, each story you encounter will use different tools to achieve a variety of psychological and emotional responses. From the redemption arc of the Western Unforgiven to the romantic longing of Annie Hall, each story offers invaluable insights you can bring to your own writing - and viewing - experiences.

There is no cookie-cutter formula for writing scripts and no checklist for what makes a film or television show great. What Screenwriting 101 offers instead is an infinitely flexible storytelling tool that has worked for the greats - from Euripides to Shakespeare to Pixar - and a selection of resources to show you how to put it to use. How you decide to use these limitless creative possibilities is up to you.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 The Teaching Company, LLC; 2017 The Great Courses

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Not practical

This is film analysis at best - trivia mostly. Nothing helpful for aspiring screenwriter. I was hoping for something more insightful with technical trick and specifics pitfalls and cliché to avoid. Nothing, just rambling about masterpieces...

9 people found this helpful

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Excellent Guidance

This book was very inspirational. It is a great resource for writers of any kind.

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome

It was easy listening and I learned a lot about screenwriting. It's a must-own. Period.

1 person found this helpful

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Yeah, but...

I mean, I was loving it until the author fully mixed up the definitions of sympathy & empathy. Such a glaring error - I just can't get over it.

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Good listen

I have found some of the Great Courses could have used an editor; the term “great” referring to length instead of quality. This is NOT like that! It was an “easy” listen, whether you wish to write a screenplay or just get a new appreciation for films and TV written by others.

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An outstanding screenwriting resource

More than the typical 'how to'. The author provides great insight into film and TV scripts with clear examples.

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Sound and Practical Guide

Screenwriting 101 is my anchor in a stormy sea, looking to conquer the world of TV, and this feels like a beautiful start.
#Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Siobhan Bailey
  • 2018-04-14

Screenwriting 101 - Angus Fletcher

I have read at least 30 books on the craft of screenwriting. This is by far the BEST there is hands down. Wish I had this 4 years ago when I started.

33 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2018-02-11

it's great

the lecture is well narrated and offers more than a dozen excellent plot analysis. It's only weak point is it's repetative style, though it may just be me.

The prof. makes his point in the first third of the courseand the rest is emphasizing this method in a myriad of examples.

It wasn't the best Great Course I've listened to but it's in the top 5.

25 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 2018-01-10

Nauseating.

I'm a screenwriter and I know many professional screenwriters. This is not a book for aspiring screenwriters or active ones. If you loved Cassablanca you'll hate the way Fletcher turns a classic into a math problem. No writer I know knowingly "reverse engineers" the plot to create the best "cognitive effect." They write stories. This book is for students, not writers. But even students would expect at least a little magic with the math. Nothing to see here. Just a dude who thinks he cracked the code and wants to sell a math book because it's easier than selling a screenplay.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-12-16

Unexpected exercises

This ends every chapter with exercises. That's a great thing. Buuuut... I listen while I drive, which I happen to do for a living. So I can't say anything about how good or bad they are.
The rest was pretty good. He breaks down 12 or so classic screenplays. Well done.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 2018-03-04

best class

who knew that Toy Story had ties to Hamlet or that Pulp Fiction is so deep. this couese helps you discover that. The professor tells you up front that even if you don't want to write scripts you will come away witb a deeper understanding of storytelling. I did. this course makes me want to go back and watch Unforgiven again, Casablanca, and Game of Thrones. Highly recommend this course for storytellers and those who appreciate good stories. If you don't appreciate a good story, you will after this.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Marc
  • 2018-09-12

A Mixed Bag of Not Much

The title of this course is misleading, to say the least, as it is not about "mastering the art of story", but about "reverse engineering what successful screen-writings look like".
Just because a screen-writing has been successful at the box office does not tell you that it is GOOD. It only tells you that the movie, as a whole, has been a success. The author confuses commercial success with quality.

The course is centered on the technique of reverse engineering: Looking at a movie or script and backward-explaining how it may have been constructed in order to create what you see. Of course, this is NOT how (successful) scripts are being created (if it was, every single script that was constructed this way would be an equal success, which it is not). It is simply a cheap trick of killing time in a workshop (been there, done that!) if you don't have any original ideas.
That said, it is a good idea to DO reverse engineering every now and then! Understanding how others managed to create certain feelings in the audience or how characters can be built is helpful when you are just starting out with writing. And, no doubt, a lot of scripts out there are being manufactured this way: Just redo what was successful before. Luckily every now and then someone dares to think for herself and try something else - luckily, because else this course would have had to concentrate on a single script that had been copied over and over, right? :-)

In short, the content is GOOD if you never dissected a script before. The content is FINE if you never watched a movie "analytically", trying to grasp "how they did it" (how did they fascinate you?). The content is COOL if you don't have any ideas (or experience in life) of your own but want to rely on other people's recipes.
If you want to "master the art of story" - visit other places. Read books. Listen to story-tellers. Understand, how STORIES work (not how movies are successful at the box office). Different topic altogether, really.

Performance: Whenever someone starts to yell at me, my reaction is "oh, is she THAT uncertain of her arguments? Is she so afraid that she might be wrong - so that yelling and shouting at me makes her more confident?" The lecturer here is constantly yelling and pushing his perspective as if he was afraid that a single voice in the audience might say "erm, Sir, that's not quite believeable what you say ..."
Interestingly the lecturer calms down and switched into a confident, narrative voice when he talks about the course as such (one single lecture!) - he is also much calmer when he (unconsciously?) questions his theory and method (in the TV/Series lectures at the end). I found that observation quite intriguing.

One can have quite different opinions on how "the Classics" (the Greek dramas) worked and how "drama" and "comedy" where perceived or considered when they were written. I happen to HAVE such a different perspective and question the author's understanding of the historic meaning of theatre.

By the way ... the name is "Brecht" (talking about the German theatre writer), not "Bragged", as the lecturer keeps calling him.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Bric
  • 2019-03-20

This is why movies out now suck...

I really wanted to enjoy this course because I am a huge fan of the great course. This one though, is not worth it. The main thing covered here is “reverse engineering” a.k.a copying... It basically tells you to watch for favorite movie then go mimic it. Nothing original is really is told here. I don’t even feel that the ideas covered were even fully understood before they were taught. Angus’s take on the Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey could not be more wrong. Even his Pulp Fiction section is completely off. Just YouTube Quentin Tarantino talking about his writing process. Angus is not even close to understanding the ideas and concepts in that script. I honestly learned more from listening to Quentin talk about writing then from this course.
!!Purchase this with cation!!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Arnfinn Rong
  • 2019-01-05

Worst screenwriting "expert" ever

A self-professed expert in screenwriting, who manages to get Hamlet wrong, has me beat. Also, the book is not a book, but a series of very bad lectures, seemingly created to push the author's own product, rather than to actually teach writing.

7 people found this helpful

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  • William Mlodynia
  • 2019-01-02

loved it!

This was very enjoyable and informative, will listen again. There shouldn't be a minimum amount of words you have to use in your review.

7 people found this helpful

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  • De'Von Walker
  • 2018-07-26

Great book for screenplay beginners.

loved the details it gave on the writing process and the breakdown on how to get started. Finished the audiobook and wrote a short script right after.

7 people found this helpful