Screenplay, 2nd Edition

Writing the Picture

Other titles by Russin and Downs

Naked Playwriting


424 Pages
7x10 Paper
Silman-James Press
Available electronic format(s):
Kindle, iBook,

Screenplay is a complete screenwriting course—from initial idea through final script sale—providing in-depth discussions of theme development; story research; script plotting and structuring; character development; dialogue; writing and rewriting methods; formatting; the ins and outs of marketing and pitching scripts; writing for TV, the Web and video games, and much more.

Well-written, comprehensive and filled with both innovative and tried-and-true writing techniques, illustrative screenplay examples and sage advice from veteran writers, Screenplay will help novices as well as working screenwriters improve and sell their scripts. The second edition of this popular manual is completely revised, reflecting current film industry practices, and includes new chapters on such subjects as Webisodes and video games, as well as updates to its many examples.

About William Missouri Downs

William Missouri Downs has written over twenty full-length plays and won numerous playwriting awards. He has twice been a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill (Mad Gravity and How To Steal A Picasso)

Downs’s plays have been produced by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, The InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, The San Diego Rep, The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Salt Lake City Acting Company, the Actors Theatre of Charlotte, the International Theatre Festival in Israel, the Stadt Theater Walfischgasse in Austria, the Jewish Theatre of Toronto, The Bloomington Playwright’s Project, the Detroit Rep, the New York City Fringe Festival, the Durban Performing Arts Center in South Africa, the Daehakro Arts Theater in Seoul South Korea and over 150 other theaters worldwide.

In Hollywood, he started as a script secretary on NBC’s Moonlighting (Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd), and worked his way up to staff writer on the sitcom My Two Dads (Paul Reiser). He also wrote episodes of Amen (Sherman Hemsley) and Fresh Prince Of Bel Air (Will Smith). In addition, he won the Jack Nicholson Award for screenwriting, sold a movie to Ron Howard’s Imagine Films and optioned another to Filmways. He is a member of The Writers Guild (WGA).

In addition he has directed over 40 plays and acted in 40 more. He has MFA in acting from University of Illinois and MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA. He was trained in playwriting at the Circle Rep in New York.

About Robin U. Russin

Robin U. Russin has written, produced, consulted and directed for numerous film, TV and theatre productions, including On Deadly Ground; America's Most Wanted; and Vital Signs on ABC, where he was Senior Producer. Among the plays he has directed are Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Charles Evered's Class, and Eric Barr's A Piece of My Mind. Many of his feature spec scripts have been either bought or put under option by both studio and independent producers, and he has been hired to write a number of adaptations and rewrites as well.

Among Russin's plays is Painted Eggs, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times as "ambitious, heart-felt and hypnotic," and The Face in the Reeds, which premiered in an extended run in Santa Monica, and is slated for production in New York. His original one-hour pilot script and bible about King David, Beloved, is now adapted and in production as Of Kings and Prophets on ABC. His stories, articles and reviews have been appeared in Script Magazine, Harvard Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The American Oxonian, Shofar, and elsewhere.

Russin is a Professor of Screenwriting at the University of California, Riverside, where he has served as director of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts.  A Rhodes Scholar, he holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford, Rhode Island School of Design, and UCLA, where he earned an MFA in screenwriting.

"Screenplay: Writing the Picture's newly minted edition is an absolute gem. It updates the classic, indispensable screenwriting craft book and makes it rock for the ever-evolving entertainment marketplace. This book is comprehensive, insightful and genuinely fun to read. I always recommend it on my syllabus as essential reading.”
—Neil Landau, screenwriter, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead; author of 101 Things I Learned in Film School

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