How To Write A Movie In 21 Days by Viki King – Part 2


The hero commits irrevocably. In Apocalypse Now, they’re at the Do Long bridge, the border to Cambodia – Kurtz’s territory. After what just happened, we know it’s suicide to go there. Boat Chief says, “Where to, Captain?” Willard says, “You know where to.” Never get out of the boat. Absolutely Goddam right.

This is followed by a quiet scene, a breather form the action. The hero is changing. The bad guys are closing in.

PAGE 75. The hero is about to give up. The lowest of the low. In Apocalypse Now, the Chief is killed with a spear. No one’s getting out alive and we know it. But Chef, the most frightened of the crew, rallies them back on track.

PAGE 90. Act III. Something educates the hero. They arrive at Kurtz’s camp. He realizes that by confronting Kurtz, he must confront himself. To carry out his mission, he must become Kurtz.

PAGES 90-120. Climax/resolution. All or nothing. The final obstacle. He must give up everything. The final traces of his own humanity. He slaughters Kurtz. He becomes the new God. The natives bow down to him.

PAGE 120. THE END. The air strike annihilates everything. The jungle goes up in napalm orange. The horror. Apocalypse Now.



How To Write A Movie In 21 Days by Viki King

How To Write A Movie In 21 Days by Viki King

Run your movie in your mind. Like you’re in the theater. Watch it.

Start in the middle. Skip right past all the bullshit to the middle of most interesting, cinematic action. The bank robbery.

Write down the beginning, middle, and end in less than 8 minutes. Write big, say little. “Night. Storm. Desert.”

Main character. Who is your story about? What sort of things do they do? Where from? Born in what year? Ask your character these questions.

What’s your story about thematically?
Coming of age. What’s your identity? Unfinished business with your mother and father. Proving yourself. Midlife crisis. Does life begin at forty? Getting older. Big changes. A life test. Cash in your retirement account and travel. Perspective. Memories. What was it all about?

Your hero. Face it; your main character is you.

What do you want in life? That’s what your story is about. Talk to your main character. Write down the conversation.

What kind of audience wants to see your film? Who are you talking to?

Watch a movie. Write the time in minutes when major events happen.

One page is one minute on the screen. Time, place, mood. What happens? Point of view. Who are the characters? Begin your story like this in the first minute.

PAGE 3. Find the line of dialogue that introduces the theme. “You have to be rich to get away with murder.”

PAGES 3-10. How does the movie hook the audience?

PAGE 10. What happens that presents the hero with a challenge or opportunity? Psycho – Marion must take $40,000 to the bank for her boss. She goes home. The money’s in her purse. She wants that money. What will she do?

PAGE 30. The Act I turning point. The hero decides between pages 10 and 30 whether or not to commit to the challenge. She makes a decision that brings on Act II. Seeing his home in flames, Luke decides to join the rebellion.

PAGE 45. The Act II metaphor. A small, quiet scene that foreshadows the ending.

Continued in next post…


Top 20 “Screenwriting” books on (by “relevance”)

Probably every aspiring screenwriter has read a book on screenwriting. Here are the top 20 search results for “screenwriting” in books. I’ll follow up with individual posts on the strategies of specific books.

Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder (May 25, 2005)

Essentials of Screenwriting  by Richard Walter (Jun 29, 2010)

The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier (Aug 16, 2010)

Screenplay by Syd Field (Nov 29, 2005)

Screenwriting Down to the Atoms by Michael Welles Schock (Jan 18, 2013)

Story by Robert McKee (Nov 25, 1997)

Screenwriting Blue Books by William C. Martell (Jul 24, 2011)

Screenwriting For Dummies by Laura Schellhardt and John Logan (Jun 30, 2008)

Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach by Paul Gulino (Apr 27, 2004)

Screenwriting for Authors by Danek Kaus (Jul 24, 2011)

Screenwriting Tips, You Hack by Xander Bennett (Sep 28, 2011)

The Starter Screenplay by Adam Levenberg (Feb 8, 2012)

The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler and Michele Montez (Nov 1, 2007)

How to Write a Movie in 21 Days by Viki King (Sep 15, 1993)

Your Screenplay Sucks! by William M Akers (Aug 1, 2008)

FilmCraft: Screenwriting by Tim Grierson (Apr 11, 2013)

The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of Screenwriting by Michael Schilf, Keaton Ziem and Derek Ruth (Dec 2, 2012)

Now Write! by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson (Jan 6, 2011)

The Screenwriter’s Workbook by Syd Field (Oct 31, 2006)

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit by Thomas Lennon and Robert B Garant (Jul 3, 2012)