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Page 1


How to Write a Blockbuster
Screenplay in Just 10 Days


by Jonathan A. Browne

Copyright © 2008 by Shamrock New Media, Inc.

You may not copy, redistribute, publish, retransmit, transfer, share, modify or
create derivative works, or in any way commercially exploit, any content
contained in the publication, in whole or in part, without the prior written
consent of Shamrock New Media, Inc.

Page 2

This publication contains the opinions and ideas of the author and should be
used for general information purposes only. Neither the author nor the
publisher is engaged in rendering legal, tax, investment, insurance, financial,
accounting, or other professional advice or services. If the reader requires
such advice or services, a competent professional should be consulted.
Relevant laws vary from state to state. The strategies outlined in this
publication may not be suitable for every individual, and are not guaranteed or
warranted to produce any particular results.

This publication contains statements and statistics believed to be reliable, but
neither the author nor the publisher can guarantee the accuracy or
completeness of any of the information contained in this publication.

No warranty is made with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the
information contained herein. The author and publisher specifically disclaim
any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which
is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application
of any of the contents of this publication.

Each individual’s success depends on his or her background, experience,
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This publication is not officially associated with, endorsed by, affiliated with,
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The names and identifying characteristics of certain individuals referenced in
this publication may have been changed.

The 10-Day Screenplay by Jonathan A. Browne
Copyright © 2008 Shamrock New Media, Inc.


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Day 1: Character Development

Class is now in session and our first day will focus on what I feel separates

great scripts from the piles and piles of garbage written each year: characters!

An original and compelling idea for your movie is essential, but even the best

ideas will flop if the movie lacks great characters.

Dull characters are normally created by writers who get so caught up in their

plots and their big ideas that they end up plugging in stale, lifeless characters

to play out their story.

Think of some of the worst movies you’ve ever seen and I can virtually

guarantee that you failed to connect with the characters that were driving the

story. Those are movies that get made based on ideas alone, but end up

flopping because they don’t include characters that audiences connect with.

So what makes a great character? More than anything else, it’s someone who

seems real. Someone who has flaws, like real people. Someone who

contradicts themselves, like real people. Someone who has a unique voice,

like real people. Someone we can identify with, like real people.

These are characters that we can understand. We can understand why they act

the way they do based on their circumstances (and note here that even if we

don’t approve of or enjoy what the person does, we need to still be able to

identify with why he or she may be doing what they are doing).

Think about what makes Rocky Balboa one of the most enduring characters in

motion picture history. First off, he’s the ultimate contradiction. On the

surface, he’s a brutish boxer who fights at rowdy clubs by night and collects

for the local loan shark gangster by day. But when we get to know him, we

The 10-Day Screenplay by Jonathan A. Browne
Copyright © 2008 Shamrock New Media, Inc.


Page 41

see that this is a guy who lives his life like a beat dog, afraid to ruffle any

feathers or take any real shots at a better life. We also see that he’s got a great

heart: he won’t hurt the people he collects from even if he’s been told to, he

tries to give street kids helpful advice even if they have no respect for him,


Then, there’s the identification factor. Sylvester Stallone has said that he

believes Rocky is such a beloved character because most people are afraid to

take their best shot at life, and here’s a guy who did. We can all identify with

Rocky’s complacency early in the movie and then wanting to prove that he

really isn’t the bum people seem to think he is.

And finally, Rocky had a very unique voice. Yes, his accent is now

internationally known, but we’re talking about more than his accent. Let’s

face it; this guy isn’t the brightest person. He’s uneducated with poor

grammar and a punchy delivery. People write him off as soon as they hear

him speak. Rocky is someone most people could easily have passed on the

streets and thought nothing of, assuming that someone like this couldn’t

possibly have anything of substance to say. But if we really listen to what

Rocky has to say, we hear someone who speaks from the heart. He’s naïve to

the harsh realities of the world and expects people to do what’s right even

though he has plenty of first-hand experience to prove that that isn’t the case

in life.

This quick examination of Rocky Balboa barely scratches the surface, but we

see a lot of depth here. We see a complex character with a unique voice. We

feel like we know him and we identify with him on many levels.

And again, understand that this must be true with our “bad guy” characters as

well. We obviously like and admire Rocky, but we need to also understand

why our “bad guys” behave the way they do. We need to feel their evil and

The 10-Day Screenplay by Jonathan A. Browne
Copyright © 2008 Shamrock New Media, Inc.


Page 80

The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and

Selling Your Script

by David Trottier

The Best Place to Find Screenplays Online:

Drew’s Script-O-Rama:

The Best Place for Movie News:


The Best Screenwriting Software:

Final Draft:

The Best Way to Format Your Screenplay without Screenwriting


Or, refer to:

The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and

Selling Your Script by David Trottier

The 10-Day Screenplay by Jonathan A. Browne
Copyright © 2008 Shamrock New Media, Inc.


Page 81

The 10-Day Screenplay by Jonathan A. Browne
Copyright © 2008 Shamrock New Media, Inc.


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