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Guide to Screenplay Structure

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Dan O’Bannon famously crafted his screenplays using a self-designed system which he called “dynamic structure.” This book outlines how O’Bannon’s method differs from those of other well-known screenwriting gurus, and illustrates with examples from classic (and not-so-classic) films how dynamic structure can be applied to craft narrative and character. O’Bannon also include Dan O’Bannon famously crafted his screenplays using a self-designed system which he called “dynamic structure.” This book outlines how O’Bannon’s method differs from those of other well-known screenwriting gurus, and illustrates with examples from classic (and not-so-classic) films how dynamic structure can be applied to craft narrative and character. O’Bannon also includes his insights on subjects such as the logic of the three-act structure, the role of the producer in screenplay development, and the psychological principle known as “hedonic adaptation,” which has a unique effect on the structuring of screen stories.


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Dan O’Bannon famously crafted his screenplays using a self-designed system which he called “dynamic structure.” This book outlines how O’Bannon’s method differs from those of other well-known screenwriting gurus, and illustrates with examples from classic (and not-so-classic) films how dynamic structure can be applied to craft narrative and character. O’Bannon also include Dan O’Bannon famously crafted his screenplays using a self-designed system which he called “dynamic structure.” This book outlines how O’Bannon’s method differs from those of other well-known screenwriting gurus, and illustrates with examples from classic (and not-so-classic) films how dynamic structure can be applied to craft narrative and character. O’Bannon also includes his insights on subjects such as the logic of the three-act structure, the role of the producer in screenplay development, and the psychological principle known as “hedonic adaptation,” which has a unique effect on the structuring of screen stories.

30 review for Guide to Screenplay Structure

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt Lohr

    I co-wrote this book (that's me as Matt R. Lohr)... I co-wrote this book (that's me as Matt R. Lohr)...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    After all the books on storytelling, fiction writing, and screenwriting I've read I wondered if this would really add anything new. But O'Bannon has written the scripts for two of my favorite movies so I couldn't exactly ignore this when I saw it was coming out. What you get here is not so much anything "new" (as if you could expect that with storytelling anyway), but rather O'Bannon's own formulation of the traditional three-act dramatic narrative. As is often the case when an insightful practi After all the books on storytelling, fiction writing, and screenwriting I've read I wondered if this would really add anything new. But O'Bannon has written the scripts for two of my favorite movies so I couldn't exactly ignore this when I saw it was coming out. What you get here is not so much anything "new" (as if you could expect that with storytelling anyway), but rather O'Bannon's own formulation of the traditional three-act dramatic narrative. As is often the case when an insightful practitioner recasts "standard wisdom" with a pragmatic bent, there are plenty of gems to be found that help to clarify and lock into place many time-tested bits of orthodoxy. The book itself is written in a way that doesn't take itself too seriously, but at the same time conveys interesting lessons (complete with do-it-yourself exercises) and practical how-to advice on constructing a gripping story. Recommended if you're interested in screenwriting or storytelling.

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.M. Evenson

    This is an amazing book. I've read a number of these screenwriting manuals, and this book still managed to surprise me with juicy nuggets of advice. It's pretty hard to surprise people who've been in H'wood for a while. Highly recommend. This is an amazing book. I've read a number of these screenwriting manuals, and this book still managed to surprise me with juicy nuggets of advice. It's pretty hard to surprise people who've been in H'wood for a while. Highly recommend.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robert Fenske

    An amazing book for beginners, although nothing new or revolutionary is presented for semi to professional screenwriters. No need to read this if you've read any other "how to" screenplay 101 book. An amazing book for beginners, although nothing new or revolutionary is presented for semi to professional screenwriters. No need to read this if you've read any other "how to" screenplay 101 book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Shelton

    Someone had already filled out all of the exercises in this book with dirty limericks about my dad.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jose Gonzales Jr

    The main take away is conflict between the protagonist and antagonist. Both should push each other not the traditional obstacles which is boring.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Clint Hall

    As soon as I found out that a writing book written by Dan O'Bannon was available, I bought it immediately. In case you don't know the name, let me tell you ... you should know the name. He was a co-writer of some of my favourite movies from my childhood: Alien, Total Recall, and Screamers. I had to learn his tricks. The book was worth the read. There are some tricks and tips in there that I had never read before, and I've read quite a few books on writing. So, if you are a fan of his work, I recom As soon as I found out that a writing book written by Dan O'Bannon was available, I bought it immediately. In case you don't know the name, let me tell you ... you should know the name. He was a co-writer of some of my favourite movies from my childhood: Alien, Total Recall, and Screamers. I had to learn his tricks. The book was worth the read. There are some tricks and tips in there that I had never read before, and I've read quite a few books on writing. So, if you are a fan of his work, I recommend this. Once you're done reading it, go watch one of his movies and try to spot his techniques.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Really wanted to like this book, but about half way through you realise there's not much substance and a lot of talk. Dan's "system" seems incredibly basic (which is fine, but doesn't need a whole book to explain), and while it's good to hear a screenwriter talk about all the other must-read screenwriting books out there, his assessment of them starts to feel like high school essays. The end meanders until it runs out of content. The best thing I learnt from this book is not to trust strict stru Really wanted to like this book, but about half way through you realise there's not much substance and a lot of talk. Dan's "system" seems incredibly basic (which is fine, but doesn't need a whole book to explain), and while it's good to hear a screenwriter talk about all the other must-read screenwriting books out there, his assessment of them starts to feel like high school essays. The end meanders until it runs out of content. The best thing I learnt from this book is not to trust strict structures and page counts, and to just focus on a story that works.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robert Parsons

    Excellent book--and a clear-eyed look at story structure. Nothing fancy, no complex system.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jason M.

    It's focused, but a bit dry -- as these books can be. The last ten or so pages, however, offer some welcome truths about the movie business. It's focused, but a bit dry -- as these books can be. The last ten or so pages, however, offer some welcome truths about the movie business.

  11. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Hartman

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  14. 4 out of 5

    C Smith

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marc

  16. 4 out of 5

    Warren Moeckel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Travers

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Phillips

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jack Turner

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julie Threlkeld

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tim Hawkins

  24. 5 out of 5

    MM

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Simpson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  27. 4 out of 5

    H. Rose

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chumley Pawkins

  29. 4 out of 5

    Coley

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Pratt

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