William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Princess Bride) wrote in his classic book Adventures in the Screen Trade that “screenplays are structure.” Because Goldman is a writing god, people listened.
They listened, but they may not have heard well. Goldman was saying that structure was necessary to a screenplay, but he wasn’t saying it was sufficient. Yet many took Goldman’s point, misunderstood, and ran with it, pitching structure-first as the key to writing film. Luckily, it mostly worked anyway, because most film beginners– and many professionals– fail to focus on a hero and a … Read the rest