Synopses & Reviews
Dan O’Bannon famously crafted his screenplays using a self-designed system which he called “dynamic structure.” This book outlines how O’Bannon’s method differs from those of other well-known screenwriting gurus, and illustrates with examples from classic (and not-so-classic) films how dynamic structure can be applied to craft narrative and character. O’Bannon also includes his insights on subjects such as the logic of the three-act structure, the role of the producer in screenplay development, and the psychological principle known as “hedonic adaptation,” which has a unique effect on the structuring of screen stories.
Dan O’Bannon was an acclaimed screenwriter whose eleven feature writing credits include the international blockbusters Alien and Total Recall, as well as Return of the Living Dead, which he also directed.
Matt R. Lohr is an award-winning screenwriter, essayist, and critic. His views on contemporary and classic cinema can be found on his blog, “The Movie Zombie.” He lives in Los Angeles.
About the Author
Matt Lohr lives in Los Angeles, CA
Table of Contents
Foreword by Roger Corman
Preface by Matt R. Lohr
Introduction, or A Fistful of Popcorn
1. LOOKING FOR THE FORMULA, or The Quest for the Watchable Sow’s Ear
2. TOWARD A DEFINITION OF STRUCTURE, or Let’s NOT Get Physical
3. OTHER PEOPLE’S SYSTEMS, or For Those Who Bought My Book By Mistake
Aristotle: The Plot’s the Thing
Lajos Egri: Defeating the Thud
Howard & Mabley: Ironying Out the Wrinkles
Syd Field: Brother, Can You Paradigm?
Robert McKee: Falling Into the Gap
4. DYNAMIC CONFLICT DEFINED, or Guy vs. Guy
5. DAN O’BANNON’S DYNAMIC STRUCTURE, or Getting to Poof
6. DYNAMIC CHARACTER: O’BANNON ON CHARACTER AS STRUCTURE, or Choosy Writers Choose Choice
7. STRUCTURAL ANALYSES, or Don’t Take My Word For It….
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Dumb & Dumber
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Lawrence of Arabia
Lost Horizon (1937)
Some Like It Hot
8. DO-IT-YOURSELF SCRIPT ANALYSIS, or Take YOUR Word For It!
9. STORY TYPOLOGY, or It’s In The Way That You Use It
10. ON PACE, EXPOSITION AND TWISTS, or Introducing Hedonic Adaptation
11. WHY THREE ACTS? or Pass Ergo, Collect $200
12. LENGTH OF A SCREENPLAY, or Filling the Digital Doggy Bag
13. INSPIRATION VS. RULES, or Calling the Script Cops
14. PERSPECTIVE, or Phooey On What You Say
15. WHAT IS A PRODUCER? or Not Who, What
16. SCREEN CREDITS, or Joining the Desaparecidos
17. WHY BE A SCREENWRITER? or I’ll Make This Brief
18. FEAR, or Taking in the Garbage
CONCLUSION by Matt R. Lohr
AFTERWORD by Diane O’Bannon
DAN O’BANNON: A Filmography