Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Limited Time Return of SCRIPTMONK Services

With Screenwriting and The Unified Theory of Narrative, Part II now finished and on the shelves, I find I have more free time on my hands. Because of this, I have decided to bring back my script analysis services for three months only. See my website page HERE for details.

I am also offering a discount of $15 off basic coverage or $25 off advanced feedback with recent purchase of Screenwriting and The Unified Theory of Narrative, Part I or Part II. (I will honor purchases back as far as October 1.) Usually, a simple screenshot of the Amazon order confirmation screen or email works fine as proof of purchase.

I have one request, however. NO FIRST DRAFTS, PLEASE. It is a universal law of screenwriting. No matter how experienced the writer, first drafts are always embarrassingly poor. It is merely a "vomit" draft, meaning its purpose is for the writer to heave up his or her not yet entirely formed ideas onto paper. I always tell writers to never send their first drafts to anyone. Since the new script needs time to "find itself," you owe it to yourself and your script to shape it into the best work you can before sending it out to be potentially savaged. Otherwise, feedback becomes a painful experience for both the reader and the writer who will receive a mountain of negative comments.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

New SCRIPTMONK article in Creative Screenwriting on the Plot Pattern Phenomenon

 This week I had another article published in Creative Screenwriting online, this one introducing the basic principles and theory behind plot patterns -- a phenomenon by which nearly every successful American film over the past several decades comes to unintentionally conform to one of sixteen (or thirty-four, depending on how specific you wish to be) structural patterns of plot despite extreme differences in premise, genre, style and tone.

Since the subject of plot patterns takes up over 200 pages of Screenwriting and The Unified Theory of Narrative, Part II it was difficult to summarize the entire concept in a mere six-page article. Because of this, I had to take significant effort just to not sound like a crazy person. The shocking regularity of the plot patterns found in Hollywood and American Independent cinema is one of the most incredible discoveries of all my years studying screencraft -- made all the more incredible by the fact that it seems to have gone almost entirely unnoticed until now. Yet with a full background and the heaps of evidence I have found to support it, the plot pattern phenomenon turns out to be just as "crazy" as the idea that the earth revolves around the sun.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Official Announcement: Unified Theory of Narrative Part II FINALLY Available!

At long, long last (about six months after my original, and now hilariously optimistic, March 2016 projected completion date), I am happy to announce that Screenwriting and The Unified Theory of Narrative, Part II: Genre, Pattern & The Concept of Total Meaning is finally finished and available for purchase. (Follow this link for the Amazon page.) I would like to thank everyone for their patience. Little did I realize that my final installment would eventually require nearly 400 pages (over twice as long as Part I) to include everything needed to fully complete the Unified Theory model.

Here is the synopsis from the back cover:
Part II: Genre, Pattern & The Concept of Total Meaning completes the Unified Theory of Narrative by going far beneath the surface to reveal cinematic storytelling’s hidden structures of meaning. No previous book has explored the thematic dimension of screencraft in such depth or detail; using an interdisciplinary approach to explain the psychological, sociological, and cultural constructs which have shaped the feature film into the complex form of narrative we know today.

In Part II you will find:
The properties of myth behind all storytelling
The purpose and origin of cinematic genres
The phenomenon of plot patterns and its connection to cultural belief
The explicit lessons found in protagonist psychology
The ideological nature of dramatic conflict
And, most importantly, the connection between these elements and our most basic psychological and sociological needs.

Part II: Genre, Pattern & The Concept of Total Meaning is about far more than screencraft. It is about the intimate relationship between storytelling and humanity itself. Since its beginnings, humanity has used story to make sense of its world, express its beliefs, and give life a sense of order and meaning. By revealing the cinematic story’s ideological structures, and ultimately unifying them with the physical elements presented in Part I, Genre, Pattern & The Concept of Total Meaning shows how modern cinematic storytelling continues this tradition; resulting in an endless multitude of narratives, each doing their part to serve human society with lessons, arguments, and statements of belief.
Although I wrote this synopsis myself, I think it fails to do the book full justice. It was incredibly difficult to summarize the work into three simple paragraph because it is about so much. Part II not only completes my “theory of everything,” but is – in a very limited sense – truly about “everything,” and how this everything expresses itself through our use of story. In many ways, this book reveals the connections between art and the social sciences, going great lengths to explain why storytelling always has and always will be so important to humanity’s social and psychological well-being. Yet at the same time, this information is kept practical by detailing the specific structures and dramatic elements found in the feature film which allow it to continually serve these needs.

On this practical side, Part II explains the cinematic narrative’s complex method of communication through a five-layer structure of meaning. In this structure, you will find: how genres and narrative modes create metaphorical arenas to explore social problems; how plot patterns* are used to propose acceptable solutions; how the psychological factors of protagonist suggest ways we may achieve this solution by presenting lessons on human thought and behavior; and finally, how the storyteller delivers his or her personal opinions on all such issues through the choice of thematic resolution** and aesthetic specialization. Part II then reveals how this five-layer structure of meaning connects with the basic unified narrative structure found in Part I to create an ideologically-unified story where the abstract is made physical, proving philosophical arguments through the guise of dramatic action.

(* Originally proposed on this blog in 2011 (and altered significantly since then upon further investigation), the plot pattern phenomenon is definitely the most shocking (and thus sure to be the most controversial) of my discoveries – and will no doubt be the chief draw to most readers. Part II presents the structural details of all sixteen common plot patterns and their thirty-four subtypes for the first time.)

(**Thematic resolution was originally discussed in Part I as a crucial part of the basic unified narrative structure. By serving a role in both models, its elements ultimately act as the nexus point to connect the cinematic story’s external and internal structures, creating a truly unified theory of narrative.)

I admit this may sound like some dense stuff and potentially a lot to handle. But like my previous books, I have striven to keep material in layman’s terms and explain complicated concepts in clear and simple ways – all the while focusing on the individual screenwriter so he or she may better understand his or her medium and create more effective stories. Both Part I and Part II are available in paperback through multiple online retailers. The eBook versions are available exclusively through Amazon.