Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting

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Let’s cut to the chase: Writing a Great Movie is a practical nuts-and-bolts manual to dramatic writing for film. This hands-on course in screenwriting shows how to create, develop, and construct an original screenplay from scratch using seven essential tools for the screenwriter—(1) Dilemma, Crisis, Decision and Action, and Resolution; (2) Theme; (3) the 36 Dramatic Situations; (4) the Enneagram; (5) Research and Brainstorming; (6) the Central Proposition; and (7) Sequence, Proposition, and Plot—which break the writing process down into approachable steps and produce great results.
Author Jeff Kitchen—a working screenwriter, renowned dramaturge, and teacher at the University of Southern California’s graduate film school—shares the insider secrets he has developed over years of writing and teaching. Writing a Great Movie is the complete guide to creating compelling screenplays that will sell.

• State-of-the-art screenwriting theory and technique from a master

• Author named one of today's top screenwriting teachers in Creative Screenwriting magazine

• Great for writers at every level, beginner to established

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lone Eagle; 1st edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823069788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823069781
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Customer Reviews


One person found this helpful.
 on February 23, 2016
By L. Harris
Any independent filmmaker who doesn’t BUY THIS BOOK is going to suffer.

I finally pass my __ year plateau!

2 people found this helpful.
 on May 11, 2014
By Book Bag
I have been attempting to be a screenwriter for an embarrassingly number of years. I have talent I truly believe this, but just could not cross the finish line. The last few months I realized my weakness lies in structuring. Kitchen’s method is nothing new but I guess it is the messenger and not the message, because it took him to tell it to me, me to utilize it, and alas the story I loved and did not want to give up on, emerged. For the first time in the many years I’ve been writing I can finally see the picture. The irony is that I do not particularly believe in screenwriting classes as I feel finding the story is the most difficult part. I could not make sense of all the things in my head, character wound, theme, didactic, want vs. need. As soon as I tried to put any method to it my creativity disappeared and the labeling of these things that usually emerged organically became useless. One or two days prior to purchasing this book, I signed up for a class out of frustration. Kitchen’s method helped me answer the questions and fill in the pieces of my story that had eluded me organically from the character that is residing in my subconscious only awaiting my permission to emerge. Working backwards or rather from what you already know about the scene/character the missing pieces were found. If I ever sell anything as a screenwriter I owe Kitchen a commission.

This is a can’t miss read.

One person found this helpful.
 on October 7, 2016
By Brian Vann
This is the best book on writing fiction I had ever read, I learn more from this book than I have from all the books I have read, I learn how to tighten up my story, add conflict, don’t use unnecessary script, how to build on what you have already written, and how to brainstorm your material to start a novel. I wish I had read this book before I read the other 100 plus on writing, this is a must have for reference.

This is a great take on screenwriting if you’re writing very singular stories

 on June 17, 2017
By Leo Reyes
I had to buy this book twice because the first used copy from Motor City Books was not as clean as advertised. The second copy from The Mighty Book is a very clean copy. I’ll do business with them again. This is a great take on screenwriting if you’re writing very singular stories.

This is a must for your writing library

One person found this helpful.
 on November 5, 2015
By George Speed
I’ve been writing screenplays for 20 years.. If have a screenwriting library with the likes of, Martell, Soth, Snyder, Fields, McKee, et al.. this is a must.. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my story skills.. This is the one book that improved my Dramatic skills.. and that’s the why people go to the movies.. and what sells screenplays..

The Importance of The Dramatic Dilemma

5 people found this helpful.
 on September 30, 2010
By Ars Gratia Artis
What is the difference between a dramatic dilemma and a dramatic problem? A dramatic dilemma and a dramatic choice? If you don’t know, or aren’t sure, then Jeff Kitchen’s “Writing a Great Movie” is for you. His discussion of what a dramatic dilemma is and how important it is to the story is by itself worth the price of the book.

great book

2 people found this helpful.
 on December 27, 2009
By Chase Rangel
The last time I read a book was for my comptia classes for certification in the IT feild. I hate reading but after finding out millionaires read about 16 books a month I changed my mind. I have about 5 movies on tap in my mind from comedy to adventure to horror. My problems is the B and C not A to D. Im a noob to movie writing but not short of great movie ideas. This is the first book I have read on my journey to movie writing. While the book does have you jump around alot its great for people like me. Being a beginner to writing movies having great ideas but underdeveloped and needing more to draw on for substance. This book is great for people like me at this stage of the idea of a movie but needing more direction. My next book is the screenwriters bible. Im only focusing now on format and how to actually write the movie in proper format. My problem isnt what to make a movie about its how to develop a pre-exisiting idea and write it in the proper format.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on September 16, 2016
By Patrick J Mulvihill
Kitchen’s book provides concrete tools for my students to use to learn the craft of screenwriting.

Want tools for the Trade?

One person found this helpful.
 on March 20, 2014
By Amazon Customer
This is the book to give them to you. It’s an unconventional approach, but for sure it adds an element that you can’t get anywhere else when you can’t figure out the next move.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on August 8, 2014
By R Bruce Hudson
Lifted my understanding of screenwriting and the constructs that can be used! Also helped me with writing method.

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