The short film is a unique narrative art form that, while lending itself to experimentation, requires tremendous discipline in following traditional filmic considerations. This book takes the student and novice screenwriter through the storytelling process- from conception, to visualization, to dramatization, to characterization and dialogue- and teaches them how to create a dramatic narrative that is at once short (approximately half an hour in length) and complete. Exercises, new examples of short screenplays, and an examination of various genres round out the discussion. NEW TO THE THIRD EDITION: new screenplays, a chapter on rewriting your script, and a chapter on the future of short films

Key Features

A comprehensive guide to writing this challenging form Numerous exercises to jumpstart visualization and writing In-depth discussion of genres suited to the short screenplay



Table of Contents

Part 1: Storytelling in General; Telling a Story in Images; Using Sound to Tell the Story; Finding a Main Character for Your Story; Writing an Original Short Screenplay; Rewriting Your Script Part 2: Storytelling Strategies; Visualization Strategies; Dramatic Strategies; Characterization Strategies; Dialogue Strategies; Part 3: The Melodrama; The Docudrama; Hyperdrama; Experimental Drama; Part 4: New Directions; A Redefined Future; Appendix: Short Screenplays


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© 2005
Focal Press
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Electronic ISBN:

About the authors

Ken Dancyger

Ken Dancyger is the author of numerous books on screenwriting, editing, and production. He conducts screenwriting forums and workshops in North America, Europe, and Asia. A past chair of Undergraduate studies in the Department of Film and Television at NYU, he is currently Professor of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.


"...for the more technically minded this weighty tome is invaluable." - Black Filmmaker "It is a tough call to sell the script of a short film to a film production company, and your script needs to be outstanding both in concept and execution. If you are a scriptwriter who aims to tackle this tough brief, then here is the book to help you." - Writing Magazine