Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach

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The great challenge in writing a feature-length screenplay is sustaining audience involvement from page one through 120. Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach expounds on an often-overlooked tool that can be key in solving this problem. A screenplay can be understood as being built of sequences of about fifteen pages each, and by focusing on solving the dramatic aspects of each of these sequences in detail, a writer can more easily conquer the challenges posed by the script as a whole. <br/> <br/>The sequence approach has its foundation in early Hollywood cinema (until the 1950s, most screenplays were formatted with sequences explicitly identified), and has been rediscovered and used effectively at such film schools as the University of Southern California, Columbia University and Chapman University. This book exposes a wide audience to the approach for the first time, introducing the concept then providing a sequence analysis of eleven significant feature films made between 1940 and 2000: <br/><br/>The Shop Around The Corner / Double Indemnity / Nights of Cabiria / North By Northwest / Lawrence of Arabia / The Graduate / One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest / Toy Story / Air Force One / Being John Malkovich / The Fellowship of the Ring>

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (April 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826415687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826415684
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces

Customer Reviews

Very practical help for anyone with a great story idea who’s facing a blank page (or screen!)

 on February 3, 2016
By Doug Williams
Very helpful method for anyone working to learn this craft. Breaks 120-page screenplay into eight sequences of about 15 pages, each with a different but specific goal. These shorter sequences provide writers with greater focus, which improves clarity and direction. If each sequence is executed properly, all of them work together to build a powerful script. Obviously more to it, but this fundamental structure empowers and facilitates better writing.

Provides a building block missing in most other books on screenwriting

34 people found this helpful.
 on June 26, 2005
By Ars Gratia Artis
Typically screenplays are divided into three acts. Paul Gulino goes beneath the 3 act structure to lay bare a critical building block for each act: the sequence. His insightful book discusses how a properly written sequence improves the audience experience of the story.

8 sequence is a great method

 on August 25, 2013
By Josh
A writing class I’m taking is all about the 8 sequence approach to script writing. I have only read three chapters in the book so far but I have enjoyed it. I can however say that this book cannot teach the 8 sequence method by itself. Using 8 sequences takes a lot of practice and without this class I believe I would not have a full understanding of it. Never-the-less, this book is a good companion in learning this method.

Fantastic writing resource

One person found this helpful.
 on June 3, 2014
By Thomas J. Ryan
A great explanation using examples, of the 8 mini-story structure of a feature film. Combining this structure with Syd Field and Blake Snyder’s 3-act, and expanded 3-act structure makes writing a script much easier, when you can break it down into 8 independent films

The answer to a lot of questions

25 people found this helpful.
 on August 14, 2005
By Riccardo Marchesini
Gulino’s book is one of the best screenwriting handbooks I’ve ever read. It’s simple, clear and concise, providing a powerful tool that can help a screenwriter to engage an audience. The first chapter introduces the sequence concept and shows the four fundamental techniques used to capture the audience attention. In the following chapters the author uses the aforesaid tools to analyze eleven movies, covering six decades and various genres, and showing the effectiveness of the sequence method. Once you have learned the method, it’s quite simple to apply a similar analysis on whichever movie you want.

Mandatory reading…

One person found this helpful.
 on October 13, 2015
By Daniel Petrie Jr.
…for professional screenwriters. As I’m certain the author would be the first to say, this does not pretend to be a one-size-fits-all formula. It is an approach to screenplay structure that, depending on the individual writer’s approach, either supliments the three-act structure or replaces it entirely (in a sense, at least). This is an extraordinarily well thought out way of looking at screenplay structure that has proved its usefulness over and over.

Five Stars

 on October 3, 2015
By David Charles Nichols Jr
This book has been a great help.

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