Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why think about your premise early on?

     There’s a somewhat silly argument swirling around out there about the importance of thinking about what you’re trying to say with your piece as you start developing a new story idea.  Silly because it’s obvious that there’s an interrelatedness between theme and structure.  That it’s important early on in the development of any story idea to attempt to come up with—as accurately and as simply and clearly as possible—the universal truth you think you ultimately want to communicate.  In scriptwriting this is generally referred to as the dramatic premise.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's all in the story

Recently there’s been a lively discussion on my production company’s Facebook page about the scriptwriting process and the order in which writers should learn the elements of the craft. 


Of course, the difficulty in learning the skills necessary to write a good play or screenplay is determining where to start.  All the basics are important.   However, towering over everything else is the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.  It all starts here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

One-day Scriptwriting Workshop

I’m offering a special workshop on Saturday, May 21 in Keene, New Hampshire.  Here’s the basic information: 


                  WITH BUZZ McLAUGHLIN

An intensive and lively one-day scriptwriting workshop for playwrights and screenwriters that will take participants through the A to Z process of writing a play or screenplay:
·        laying down the basics and formulating your dramatic idea
·        In-depth character exploration
·        Analyzing and charting out dramatic structure
·        Format and techniques of good dialogue
·        Writing the first draft and beyond
Utilizing numerous exercises and handouts to guide you through the writing process as it unfolds, the day is designed for both beginners and more experienced writers looking for a solid review of the basics. 

WHEN:  SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2011  10am - 5pm
               (with 1 hour lunch break in downtown Keene)

                 7 MAIN STREET, KEENE, NH
                 #11, THIRD FLOOR

COST:  $125

TO REGISTER:  CALL 603-313-4872
                           or email 

Join us if you can! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

those hidden I-beams

     I’m amazed when I hear of writers who say they don’t draw up a structural framework before plunging into writing a first draft.  More power to them, but I don’t know how they do it.  And I privately wonder how many hundreds (or thousands)of pages of exploration they have staggered through to come up with their workable draft.  I believe (as do most folks working in this business of writing plays and screenplays)that drawing up a set of plans or charting out a road map before the actual writing begins is a much more beneficial, efficient and practical approach and I can think of no better way to get a grasp of the importance of this than to look at the process involved in constructing a large building...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why another blog on scriptwriting...?

I decided to start this blog to share some of what I have learned about scriptwriting over the past three plus decades.  My career runs the gamut from independent film producer to playwright to screenwriter to artistic director of a professional theatre, to author of a popular book on playwriting, to scriptwriting workshop leader, to university professor of playwriting, to script consulting.

Through these various facets of my career (most running simultaneously) I’ve learned a few things about how to put a play or screenplay together and how a writer in the entertainment business can best maneuver the often turbulent and tricky waters of creating a brilliant script and then see it get produced in a beautiful and professional way.  So now I figure, as Neil Young hints at in one of my favorite songs ("Tell Me Why"), I’ve reached a point when I’m “old enough to repay” but still “young enough to sell.”