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This PDF sampler (first fifty pages) includes the contents, the introduction and the first 10 problems. Building on his ground-breaking approach, Oberg identifies 40 of the most common screenwriting problems and helps anyone involved in the script development process to resolve them.

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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. For more information, please click here.

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What People Say

About the Story-Type Method

  • The Story-Type Method cuts through to the essence and guides you when you are lost.
    Matthias Hoene Matthias Hoene Multi-award winning film and content-branded director
  • A highly refreshing approach to the subject and one highly recommended to everyone, from the aspiring screenwriter to the overburdened development exec.
    Dan MacRae Dan MacRae Head of UK Development, StudioCanal
  • The way Oberg devises a properly 'unified theory' that is creatively rather than orthodoxy led makes it a fabulous one-stop, practical tool box for writers and developers.
    E. J. Clarke E. J. Clarke Head of Film and TV at ShoeBox Films and author
  • Highly recommended for anybody in the business of film, with an interest in film, or simply with an interest in how and why stories work.
    Simon Bovey Simon Bovey Scriptwriter, director and university lecturer in screenwritng
  • A very thorough understanding of the inner workings of our craft, guaranteed to spark fresh thoughts that will benefit your project, no matter how experienced you are.
    Mike van Diem Mike van Diem Academy Award Winning writer / director
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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!

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The Screenwriter's Troubleshooter Went Straight to #1 On Amazon U.S!
In Screenwriting and TV Screenwriting (New Releases)

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.

As a screenwriter, Emmanuel has been commissioned by:


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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!

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What People Say About The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter

  • As a screenwriter I don't want to page around and exhaust myself to find answers as questions pop up that need to be resolved. This book breaks the content down in such a way that it's easy to follow. Ample script examples in scripts are discussed as well. Like the previous book, a great and practical book/manual to utilize.
    Piet MaraisFilmmaker
  • The review copy showed me where my story ran off the rails. That alone is worth the read. I found it great for helping with a novel, as well as a screenplay!
    Lenny KadnerNovelist and screenwriter
  • I love Emmanuel Oberg's first book, Screenwriting Unchained, and have found this [The Screenwriter's Troubleshooter] to be a good addition to my toolset as a writer. It is designed to be read non-sequentially, with information organised into chapters based on common notes you might get from a studio. However, there is real value in simply swimming around and reading at your leisure. Doing so I found advice that would help with the rewrite of my current animated TV series, advice I didn't even realise I was looking for.
    Adam CullenScreenwriter
  • Are you a newbie or an experienced writer? It doesn’t matter. This. Book. Is. Brilliant!
    I will hold this book close to my scriptwriting heart from now on. I have read many screenwriting books, several great ones. Still, none of them deal with step-by-step practicality and solutions to the script problems you will find yourself in. It will define your writing craft as a moment of "before and after I had this book”. You’ll wonder where this screenwriting book has been all your life.

    Even if you haven’t read Emmanuel Oberg’s first book Screenwriting Unchained (which I think you should too), you will be forever grateful to buy this book. I know I am. It’s like a Swiss knife for writers. Everything you need to solve a script problem is in it.

    The structure of the book works as a tactical and practical handbook for any writer. It’s totally fluff-free and gives you truly actionable advice. But it’s also a reference guide with the freedom to dive in wherever you need. You don’t have to read this book from cover to cover but can identify the specific problem you have and learn about it in its particular section. You get all essential information compiled intelligently in chapters so you can solve issues fast if you’re on a tight deadline.

    Where The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter really stands apart is the incredibly detailed look at the various script problems that will occur. Emmanuel Oberg understands the nuances that make a great story. He offers practical methods to help a writer reach that goal by providing solutions to the most common and typical problems to a script. The book provides specific, useful insights and guidance. This is a go-to book in every way possible.

    It’s not just a problem solver but also educational. It will help you see more clearly what story and structure are really about.

    The Screenwriter’s Troubleshooter is a masterclass in getting unstuck. It provides a set of tools that finally help you get out of your misery to help you solve what you thought was unsolvable.

    Read it, use it, be creative! This book is your friend.
    Michi LantzScreenwriter
  • The content of this book is well presented to enable writers to use it as an easy reference book. Great examples and ties in well with Emmanuel's first book "Screenwriting Unchained". I highly recommend this book for screen writers.
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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.

"Very thorough understanding of the inner workings of our craft, guaranteed to spark fresh thoughts that will be benefit your next project, no matter how experienced you are."
Mike van Diem, Academy Award Winning writer-director

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