About the Book
In Screenwriting Unchained, Emmanuel Oberg sets out a dogma-busting, innovative method for developing screenplays
This practical, no-nonsense guide leaves behind one-size-fits-all story theories and offers a refreshingly modern approach to story structure, making it a precious resource for anyone involved creatively in the Film and TV industry (or aspiring to be): writers, directors, producers, development execs, showrunners and, more generally, storytellers eager to reach a wide audience at home and abroad without compromising their creative integrity.
Oberg identifies three main story-types―plot-led, character-led, theme-led― then reveals in a clear, conversational style how each of these impacts on the structure of any story and how we can use a single set of tools to develop any screenplay, from an independent crossover to a studio blockbuster. Crucially, he also looks at hybrids and exceptions, those unique gems that don’t fit any of the story-types but still work beautifully.
This leads to the Story-Type Method®, a powerful yet flexible way to handle the script development process. Oberg’s inspiring framework doesn’t tell filmmakers what to write and when, but focuses instead on why some storytelling tools and principles have stood the test of time, and how to use them in the 21st century.
According to readers, Oberg’s new approach is a game changer.
Here are some of the easy-to-understand concepts explored in Screenwriting Unchained that will help you improve any screenplay
- How to identify the story-type of your project to make its development faster and easier and to solve most story structure problems.
- How to leave behind the prescriptive, logistical three-act structure based on page numbers or minutes and replace it with a flexible, dramatic three-act structure that will help you design a rock-solid screenplay.
- How focusing on emotion, character development and managing information will allow you to go beyond the “protagonist–goal–obstacles–conflict” basic chain of drama.
- How to use the fractal aspect of structure to design not only the whole story but also its parts in order to avoid the dreaded "sagging middle" syndrome and breathe new life into your script.
- How to clarify what’s at stake and increase your chances of getting the project made with a new take on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
- How to use subgoals to Sequence the Action in your story and psychological/emotional steps to Sequence the Evolution of your characters.
- How to keep the audience engaged using tools like dramatic irony, surprise, mystery and suspense, adding a third dimension to your storytelling.
- How to master these tools and principles in scenes through practical exercises before using them in a short film, a feature film, a TV episode or a whole series following hands-on tips and advice.
- How to design an attention-grabbing opening and a satisfying ending.
- How to deal with hybrids and exceptions, as story structure isn't about forcing all narratives into a single formulaic paradigm.
- How to approach a new draft creatively and efficiently with The Rewrite Stuff: 12 Ways to a Stronger Screenplay.
- How to make the difference between selling documents – used to raise development or production finance – and story design tools.
- Once you've developed a killer script, how to best pitch your project according to its story-type and get enthusiastic partners on board.
- …and much, much more!
If you’ve ever questioned why screenplays should be structured in three acts, eight sequences, fifteen beats or twenty-two steps then this first volume in the series was written for you. And if you never have, well… no time like the present!
Including case studies from films as diverse as Gravity, Silver Linings Playbook, Crash, The Intouchables, Birdman, Edge of Tomorrow, The Secret in Their Eyes, L.A. Confidential and The Lives of Others, Screenwriting Unchained will transform the way you write, read, pitch, design, assess and develop screenplays. Guaranteed!
About Emmanuel Oberg
Emmanuel is a screenwriter, author and script consultant with more than twenty years of experience in the Film and TV industry. After selling a first screenplay to Warner Bros, he has been commissioned as a writer by StudioCanal, Working Title / Universal, Gold Circle and Film4.
He has also designed an internationally acclaimed 3-day Advanced Development Workshop and 2-day modules on thriller, comedy, animation and TV Series, all based on his innovative Story-Type Method. He delivers them with passion to storytellers around the world.
Emmanuel lives in the UK with his wife and their two daughters. His film and TV agent is Rachel Holroyd at Casarotto in London.
Over the last two decades, Emmanuel has worked as an international script consultant, in parallel with his writing, on both film and TV projects. He also offers a slate assessment service for producers. For more information, please click here.