Guy Gallo visits the Conversation Crossroad radio program to discuss his new book, Screenwriter’s Compass: Character As True North.
“More than just the compass…this is the whole ship. Designed to safely navigate a screenwriter’s journey to safe harbor, it’s a virtual mega-yacht of a book: swift, secure, beautifully detailed…and above all, fun. Guy Gallo is one of the very few practitioners of the art who can show you how to chart your own course…and survive.”
-Tony Bill, producer The Sting (1973)
“I now have a screenwriting bible.”
– Emily Abt, writer, director, film professor, Princeton University
Ever watch a movie, and despite great production value, fantastic action sequences, a great cast, etc, you come away thinking – I just didn’t buy it. Chances are it was because you didn’t care about the characters. Screenwriter’s Compass: Character as True North by Guy Gallo presents a new way of approaching screenwriting. Addressed to both the motivated beginner and seasoned professional, Screenwriter’s Compass examines how effective screen storytelling must be grounded in the vivid imagining and presentation of character.
For more information on this book and to pre-order a copy
Guy Gallo brings well over twenty years of experience–both as a working screenwriter and as an instructor with a list of big-name students including James Mangold (Girl Interrupted, Walk the Line), Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland), Jeannine Dominy (Dangerous Beauty), and Christopher Zalla (Sundance Grand Jury 2007 for Sangre di mi sangre). Gallo is able to seamlessly navigate the reader through the task of screenwriting, dividing the book into distinct sections — First Things, Groundwork, Getting Ready, First Draft, Revision, Finishing, and Getting Ready Again — that map to the writer’s process.
Screenwriter’s Compass is not simply another How-To guide to screenwriting. It is a how-to-think book, an elegant presentation of fundamental concepts of dramatic construction. This fresh interpretation of screenwriting does not offer formulas to follow but instead gives you the tools needed to chart your own path to screenwriting success. It details useful ways of thinking about writing, as well as practical ideas and concepts to help the writer discover the unique geography of their own imagination and navigate the problems posed by the struggle to express vision, agenda, and story. In addition to using contemporary and classic films, Gallo mines both Aristotle and modern literary theory for ideas that can be turned to task in composition. This new book shows screenwriters not just how to create characters, but to root their screenplays in motivation and voice, to create stories that seduce and make the reader lean forward.
About the Author
Guy Gallo’s screenplay of “Under the Volcano” was directed by John Huston and released in 1984. Since then, he has written over a dozen feature screenplays, including “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” for American Playhouse and “The Enormous Radio” for Tales from the Darkside. He has taught advanced screenwriting for twenty years in the Graduate Film Division of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, and drama at Princeton as well as New York University.
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