About the Book
In The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter, Emmanuel Oberg offers a unique and indispensable survival kit for Film and TV creatives
Are you an experienced writer dealing with development notes on a regular basis, sometimes unsure how to translate them into actionable steps? Would you embrace advice that could lead you past the symptom or suggestion straight to the core of the problem and to finally cracking that rewrite―in time to meet your looming deadline?
Are you a new writer, eager to figure out why some of your manuscripts are getting rejected or why you’re having trouble attracting an agent? Do you wish you could quickly and efficiently diagnose what’s not working in your projects, improve all aspects of your writing and advance your career to the next stage?
Or maybe you’re a producer, director or story editor working with writers. Do you ever struggle to articulate in a precise yet non-prescriptive way what you intuitively know isn’t working in a script? Would you welcome a development resource designed to increase your chances of receiving a new draft that’s not only different but better?
Emmanuel Oberg, author of the international bestseller on script development Screenwriting Unchained, delivers all this and more with the eagerly anticipated second volume in the Story-Type Method series, The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter.
Building on his groundbreaking approach, Oberg identifies forty of the most common screenwriting problems and helps anyone involved in the script development process to resolve them. He explains in a clear, conversational style the possible causes leading to each problem and offers no-nonsense, actionable advice towards an organic, effective and creative solution.
So if you’d like to know what to do when no one cares about your protagonist, or how to address a weak set-up, avoid the dreaded sagging midpoint, tackle an unsatisfying ending and solve dozens of other common screenwriting problems, look no further!
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.
A Few Key Points About The Screenwriter's Troubleshooter
The Most Common Screenwriting Problems
Unlike Screenwriting Unchained, which is designed to be read from cover to cover and where each section builds on the previous one, The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter is designed as a reference guide. The first volume is strategic, the second is tactical.
All the sections are independent and can be read in any order. The idea is that you look for the relevant symptom in the table of contents, which leads you to the actual problem and its possible solutions.
The book contains forty sections, each focusing on a common screenwriting problem. This provides quick, direct access to the relevant information. All the problems explored in the book are listed below.
Cross-References and Recommended Reading
In any story, each problem is often connected to others. The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter reflects this and every section provides links to other sections in the book connected to the problem at hand.
It goes further and suggests sections in Screenwriting Unchained (theory, case studies, etc.) that are relevant and can provide a better understanding of the problem and its solutions.
It also refers to relevant steps of The Rewrite Stuff, the section at the end of Screenwriting Unchained on how to approach a rewrite.
This comprehensive cross-referencing makes The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter an indispensable survival kit for writers and developers.
A Most Welcome "Symptom-to-Problem" Translator...
It’s not always easy for writers to translate development notes or readers’ feedback into actionable steps. It may be obvious that something is not working, but until the root of the problem becomes clearer, it remains difficult for the writer to resolve it.
Similarly, producers and story editors sometimes struggle to deliver notes that are precise yet non-prescriptive. They might point at symptoms or make suggestions, when all a talented writer actually needs is a better understanding of the problems.
The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter provides an interface that works for both parties. It leads beyond the symptom or suggestion, straight to the problem and to possible solutions.
...And a Comprehensive Story-Type Method Glossary
Although it’s highly recommended to have read Screenwriting Unchained (or at least the free sampler introducing the method) to make the most of The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter, it’s not mandatory or expected. At the end of the book, a Story-Type Method Glossary defines the main concepts and gives links to connected problems.
This makes the book more accessible to readers who are not familiar with the method and might need a more detailed explanation when they hit an unknown concept or term.
It’s also a precious tool for those familiar with the method, as it provides a quick refresher whenever needed and points you to the relevant sections for each term or concept.
The Screenwriter's Troubleshooter
Explores the Following Symptoms / Problems...
01. We Don’t Care About the Protagonist
02. We Don’t Care About the Story
03. The Story Takes Too Long to Start
04. The Story Is Linear, Feels Predictable
05. The Characters Are Flat, Two-Dimensional
06. The Character Logic Is Fuzzy
07. The Story Sags in the Middle
08. The Story Is Confusing
09. The Screenplay Is Too Dry or Not Visual Enough
10. The Ending Doesn’t Work
11. The Screenplay Is Written Like a Novel
12. The Characters Are Too Similar
13. The Characters Are Stereotypes or Clichés
14. The Characters’ Backstories Are Irrelevant / Pointless
15. The Dialogue Is Cheesy, Full of Action Movie Clichés
16. The Scenes Are Aimless, There Is No Dramatic Conflict
17. The Script Loses the Plot in the Third Act
18. There Is No Clear Protagonist
19. The Script Feels Formulaic
20. The Conflict Is Artificial or Inconsequential
21. There Is Too Much Dialogue
22. The Ending Is an Anti-Climax
23. The Ending Is a Deus Ex Machina
24. There Is No Clear Antagonist
25. The Narrative Is Episodic or Repetitive
26. The Villains or Antagonists Are Weak or Unconvincing
27. The Script Is Cold, Unemotional
28. The Protagonist Is Not Strong Enough
29. The Plot Is Slowed Down By Unconnected Storylines
30. The Script Contains Too Much Exposition
31. The Drama / Conflict Is Told But Not Shown
32. The Script Privileges Style Over Substance
33. The Tone of the Script Is Unclear
34. Too Many Questions Are Left Unanswered
35. The Script Is Unnecessarily Complex
36. The Supernatural Element Is Too Vague
37. The Protagonist Is a Conventional Hero
38. The Plot Is Contrived
39. The Theme Overshadows the Story
40. The Premise Is an Artificial Excuse For Action
...And Sets You on the Path to Solving Them!
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.