Writing A Great Script Fast In A Nutshell Workbook

Part 1 of 2 .. .. .. .. . .. . .. ... . . .. . .. ... .. .. . .. . .. ... ..Part 2

Step 1: Introduction

Questions To Consider:
Do you want to write a script, make a film and/or write a blueprint for a novel using this online step-by-step story engine process?


If you want to write a script or make a film do you want to do a short, feature or series?

What is your goal in finishing this story project? To get a job, to win an award, to make money or raise awareness about an issue?

If you are planning on making the film yourself which digital filmmaking tools are you planning to use DV, 2D, 3D or combinations?



Step 2.2: Story Structure Sentence

It is a story about a protagonist (lead character) who wants something (plot goal) that forces him/her to take action. He/she meets with an escalating array of conflicts (obstacles) leading to a climax and resolution.

Protagonist: Lead character and focus of the plot

Antagonist: Character or thing standing in the way of the protagonist accomplishing his or her goals

Any quick ideas for a great original lead protagonist and/or antagonist placed into the above story sentence?



Step 3: Favorite Main Characters

List 5 possible main characters for a film you would love to see in a story. Attach an age, sex, location, occupation, visual style and dreamcast with a favorite actor. Make sure these are characters you would love to see in a film. Use the brainstorming lists below to get more ideas to fill into this example chart:

Body Type
Visual Style
Dog head detective
Nicolas Cage
Mt Shasta
New Age
Angelina Jolie

Tall blond athletic

High tech explorer
Peter Weller
Skinny NYC Party Girl

shock performance artist

Hip NYC artist

Naomi Watts

Polar bear
Intuit Indian
Owen Wilson

Occupational Ideas: Pick ones that seem fun visually or match characters you might want to develop. Feel free to combine occupations such as a Circus Clown Professional Surfer, Matchmaker Wizard or a Tour Guide Astronaut.

Astronaut Musician Professional soccer player Talk-show host Dictator
Hunter Housewife Fashion designer Cowboy

Professional Surfer

Bum Student Circus clown Cook Matchmaker
Wizard Researcher Tour guide Shaman Slave
Belly dancer Sheriff Spaceship commander Teacher Reporter
Soldier Psychiatrist Gangster Guru Hairdresser
Poet Witchdoctor Magician Construction worker Burglar
Stockbroker Government employee Investment banker Novelist Pirate
Policeman Lifeguard Hands-on healer Computer programmer Game designer
Butler Astrologer Advertising executive Astronomer Accountant
Car thief Knight King/Queen Clerk Mailman
Fireman Hit man Retired Archeologist Chemist Congressman
Cartoonist Model Clown Comedian Wrestler
Veterinarian Priest Detective Dentist Doctor
Witch Lawyer Artist Plumber DJ/VJ
Student Mortician Vagabond Warrior Editor
Explorer Fisherman Fortune teller Politician Engineer
Landscaper Actor Racecar driver Painter President

Visual Styles/Attitudes: What one or two words would best describe the appearance of your character style wise?

French Chic Hippie Student
Punk Biker Trucker
Goth 1950's Cocktail Hour Techno
Yuppie Small Town Native Indian
Country Beachy Four Seasons
New Age Nerd Hot
Nervous Servant Dad
Old Money Bookish Dirty

Dreamcasting: Attach a famous actor to dreamcast your main character idea. Feel free to change their real ages or even use dead ones to describe their essence. If you are thinking about an animated character dreamcast for the voice actor.

Female Actors:

Angelina Jolie Drew Barrymoore
Meryl Streep Marilyn Monroe
Lucille Ball Angela Lansbury
Elizabeth Taylor Dolly Parton
Nicole Kidman Kathy Bates
Cameron Diaz Sissy Spacek
Halle Berry Diane Lane
Reese Witherspoon Shirley MacLaine
Angelica Huston Jodie Foster
Kate Winslet Julia Roberts
Jennifer Lopez Parker Posey
Catherine Zeta Jones Kate Hudson
Gwyneth Paltrow Whoopie Goldberg
Sandra Bullock Uma Thurman
Claire Danes Goldie Hawn
Naomi Watts Sigourney Weaver
Oprah Winfrey Kristen Dunst

Male Actors:

Jack Nicholson Samuel L. Jackson
Anthony Hopkins Harrison Ford
Jeff Goldblum Christopher Walken
Ben Affleck Val Kilmer
Bruce Lee Sean Penn
Billy Bob Thornton Nicholas Cage
Richard Gere Clint Eastwood
Ed Harris Kevin Costner
Jackie Chan Tom Cruise
Robin Williams Billy Crystal
Keanu Reeves Arnold Schwarzenegger
Bruce Willis Michael Douglas
Leonardo DeCaprio Matthew McConaughey
Tom Hanks Denzel Washington
James Woods Edward Norto
Brad Pitt Owen Wilson
John Travolta Ryan Gosling

Make sure your Top 5 Possible Leading Character Ideas are ones you would love to see in a story!

1.Age/Sex/Body Type:



Visual Style:

Dreamcast With Famous Actor:

2.Age/Sex/Body Type:



Visual Style:

Dreamcast With Famous Actor:

3.Age/Sex/Body Type:



Visual Style:

Dreamcast With Famous Actor:

4.Age/Sex/Body Type:



Visual Style:

Dreamcast With Famous Actor:

5.Age/Sex/Body Type:



Visual Style:

Dreamcast With Famous Actor:

Step 6: Film World Settings

What film worlds or settings have you always wanted to see in a film or story?

List your Top 5 Favorite Film World Settings with dates, visual styles and a few adjectives to really see these locations.

Think of places you have always wanted to see in film. These sets do not have to relate to the characters you just did but may be places some of them would live too.

If you are making the film yourself, think also of local settings you could shoot or existing footage you already have such as DV and photos.

For example:
• NYC 3012 as a green hippie Utopia city with a gold beehive looking visual style”
• Mars surface during an expedition
• Ancient Egypt at it’s height

List Your Top 5 Favorite Film World Settings:







Step 5: Favorite Subjects

What are your top 5 Favorite Subjects or areas of interest?

• Hobbies
• Subjects you like to study or research
• Mystical creatures
• Favorite subjects in books, movies, comic books
• Favorite myths or cultures
• Things you like to do for fun
• Places or historical events
• Urban Legends

List Your Top 5 Favorite Subjects:

Step 6: Story Flavors/Genres

List your Top 5 Favorite Story Flavors
using the list below to help you come up with ideas.

Think also of combining Story Flavors such an animated supernatural comedy or a romantic crime thriller.

Action/adventure. Big adventures, hero survival, daring stunts, and action sequences.
Animation. Far-out or surreal visual elements with objects that can turn into other things. These stories usually show us something real actors or sets cannot do as easily, such as talking animals or living toys.
Ensemble. Stories about groups of characters unified by same theme.
Experimental. Avant-garde rule breakers. Creating films that audiences may not even understand.
Biography. Find meaning of the person's life (theme), and make the person the hero (or anti-hero) in his or her own tale.
Buddy. Friendship or nonromantic close relationships developed over a series of events.
City symphony. Films about a single location with different perspectives, characters, events, and time frames.
Comedy. Show how characters in the best situations still manage to mess up or create fish out of water tales. These stories are often used to showcase the brutality of social life.
Crime. Murder mystery, detectives solving cases, reporters investigating crimes, prison stories, heists, spy stories, criminals/victims getting revenge, courtroom dramas, organized crime.
Disillusionment. Protagonist's view of life changes from positive to negative.
Documentary. True story about event, people, or place.
Drama. Passion, madness, dreams of human heart.
Education. Protagonist changes worldview from negative to positive by learning something new.
Fantasy. New-world rules playing with time, space, and laws of nature.
Historical. Stories from the past often work great to show us some themes of our present situations at a comfortable distance.
Horror. Bad, evil, scary, creepy things.
Journey. Trip, road trip, or travel tale.
Love story. What gets in the way of romantic love?
Maturation. Coming-of-age story.
Mockumentary. Fiction that looks like a real documentary.
Music video. Short film for a song and hopefully some story, theme, or context.
Musical. Songs used to tell stories from any genre. What are the new digitally enhanced musicals going to look like?
Myth. Hero journeys, ancestral memories, prehistory moral conduct, or urban legends.
Obsession/addiction/temptation. Willpower versus obsessions/addictions/temptations.
Personal anthology. Video diaries, personal events.
Postmodern. No single lead protagonist with distortion of time and space.
Punishment. Good protagonist turns bad and is >punished.
Psychodrama. Madmen, serial killers, crazy people, nuthouses.
Reality shows. Real-life, voyeuristic-style stories. TV shows such as The Osbournes or Survivor.
Redemption. Protagonist goes from morally bad to good.
Science fiction. Possible future, unknown past.
Societal problems. Political, racial, medical, educational, business, environmental, family.
Sports. Big character change in relationship to sporting event.
Supernatural. Spiritual or freaky occurrence in unseen realms.
Tragedy. Cautionary tales, somber themes, catastrophic characters.
War. Combat, prowar/antiwar.
Western. Wild West. Good versus evil. Gunfights, cowboys, bank robberies, cattle drives, Indians, ranches, horses and saloons.List Your

Top 5 Favorite Story Flavors or Genres:


Step 7: Digital Filmmaking Techniques

If you are making the film what types of software or digital filmmaking tools do you want to use?

  • Digital Video
  • 2D Animation
  • 3D Animation
  • Photo collage virtual sets
  • 2D Southpark-style hand-drawn characters
  • 3D sets such as fantasy settings, prehistoric places, or anything else
  • Bluescreen characters
  • Hand made and painted hand puppets
  • 3D characters – anything goes!
    DV actors on DV sets
  • Old hand held stop motion dolls
  • 3D FX such as tornados, fire, tidal waves, smoke
  • DV actors on 2D photo sets
  • 3D particles
  • Cut up paper doll parts

List Your Top 5 Favorite Digital Filmmaking Techniques:



Step 8: Story Sentences

Fill in the following chart with the Top 5 Lists you just created:

Characters Settings Subjects Genres Software
Bigfoot teenage girl, new age shaman, 16 Angelina Jolie lost underground ancient city Bigfoots Comedy 3D bigfoots
Tall blond Nordic archeologist 32, explorer, Peter Weller Prague 1992 Lost cities Animated supernatural comedy 2D photo collage sets
NYC party girl 28 hip techno, shock artist, Naomi Watts Tunnel crypts under Paris 2007 shamans Romantic myth thriller 2D lightening bolt FX
Polar bear boy 9, fat orphan, Owen Wilson Inside a cat's brain Native Americans Buddy spiritual adventure bluescreen actors
Dog headed Gothic detective, 32, Nicolas Cage Lightening bolt storm crop circles Mockumentary horror hand drawn 2D characters

Create 3 Story Concept Sentences using the above chart to fill in these spaces:

It is a story about a Top 5 Character who lives in a Top 5 Film World/Setting. This story explores the subject of Top 5 Subject in a Top 5 Story Flavor using Top 5 Software.

Be flexible with how you phrase the sentence to make it sound best. Feel free to add things not on the lists if you come up with better ideas. Your goal is to end up with at least one Favorite Story Sentence you would love to see as a film. Here are some more examples:

It is a story about a 3D teenage bigfoot girl who lives in a lost underground city. This story explores the subject of shamanism in a supernatural animated comedy using 3D bigfoots on 3D sets.

It is a story about a dog headed gothic detective living in Prague investigating a series of bigfoot sightings in an animated crime thriller comedy using bluescreen actors, 2D photo collage sets and 3D bigfoots.

It is a story about a fat polar bear orphan boy living in Alaska trying to survive global warming in an animated comedy using 3D creatures, 3D sets and some DV sets.

Pick your favorite Story Sentence to develop for the rest of this Writing A Great Script Fast Nutshell Sample Workshop. Make sure it is a story idea you would stand in line in the rain on a dark cold night to see!


Step 9: Adding Plot Goals

Choose 1-2 main plot goals for your Final Story Idea Sentence:

Plot Goal #1:

Plot Goal #2 (optional):

Make sure the goals sound fun visually and see how you can use favorite subjects or goals. Be specific about the goal such as what type of race they want to win.

To slay monster To win the race To rule the world To stop a bomb
To defeat an enemy To win political office To become king/queen To get revenge
To save the world To cure disease To stop natural disaster To fall in love
To get the girl/guy To solve a crime
To solve a mystery
To steal something
To win war
To stop war
To get rich To advance spiritually
To become famous To become successful To blackmail someone To get someone to do something
To get someone to do something To find meaning in life To solve murder To catch a killer
To solve/fix a problem To understand something To learn a new skill To become a top warrior
To become a leader To fight for a just cause To do what is right To help people
To find treasure To get around the system To stop a bad thing from happening To become a better person
To evolve to a higher state of being To survive a dangerous vision quest To travel to distant lands To prove a theory
To get a promotion To get a date To explore new territory To fix broken transportation
To invent a new device To make something new To have a successful art show/event To save a current relationship
To defeat evil      


Step 10: Antagonists

Who or what is standing in the way of you character accomplishing the plot goal you just chose?

This antagonist could be a madman, boss, family member, teacher, enemy, competitor or organization.

You want to create a great original antagonist - think back to the antagonists in your favorite films or stories to get ideas.

Competitor Madman
Pirate Outlaw
Monster Natural disaster
Family member Authority figure
Boss Commander
Lawyer Evil person
Protagonist himself/herself Bad alien

Corporation or head of corporation
Someone blackmailing someone
Robot Cursed object
Social pressure Criminal
Spirit Leader
The system The police
Enemy The government
Local bully A teacher or mentor
Organization or head of organization Dangerous animal
Thug or gang Characters with different viewpoints
Character seeking revenge Disease

Antagonist Idea For Your Story:


How is the plot goal for this antagonist in opposition with the protagonist’s plot goal?



Step 11: Plot, Character & Theme

Choose a one word theme for your story then explain how you are going to make it original and specific (desire leads to suffering):

Themes from Feature Films to study and get ideas:

• Alien: Fear of the unknown.
• Alien 2: The strength of motherhood.
• American Beauty: Desire leads to suffering.
• Antz: Think for yourself
• Apocalypse Now: There is a fine line between insanity and sanity.
• Bad Lieutenant: Redemption of a lost corrupt man.
• Brazil: Consequences of individuality in a totalitarian dictatorship.
• Boogie Nights: Self-delusion.
• Buckaroo Bonzai: Superhero with a pure heart can see evil.
• Casablanca: Loss of love for some greater cause.
• Citizen Kane: Exploration of personality; who was Kane?
• Clockwork Orange: Violence is a cost of individuality and non-individuals have a loss of soul.
• Dangerous Liaisons: Courtship as combat.
• Dr. Strangelove: Exploration of systems and their crushing of individuals.
• Evil Dead 2: Triumph of hero.
• Fargo: Treasure the little things in life.
• Fatal Attraction: Cost of deception.
• The Graduate: Alienation of 60’s youth.
• Magnolia: Forgiveness in Los Angeles.
• Memento: How humans construct and deconstruct reality.
• Princess Mononoke (2D): Everything is alive and connected in our environment.
• Pulp Fiction: Seeking out redemption in underworld with emphasis on loyalty.
• Requiem For a Dream: Addiction to dreams.
• Run Lola Run: Exploration of how the power of love can change fate.
• Shrek (3D): Seeing inner beauty. When you can love someone else you can love yourself.
• Star Wars: A hero coming of age taking on lost father’s path.
• Terminator: Man being destroyed by their own machines.
• The Bad And The Beautiful: Creativity and corruption.
• The Big Chill: Warmth of friendship against cold world.
• The Blair Witch: Arrogance of youth lacking respect for themselves, surroundings, and subject.
• The Celebration (DV): Dark secrets destroy families.
• The Cruise (DV): The beauty of Manhattan.
• Lord Of The Rings (1): Even the smallest person can change the world. Pure heart needed to wield great power.
• The Matrix: Rise of superman against the system of the future.
• The Piano: The need for creative expression.
• The Remains Of The Day: Individual vs. place within class society. Class society destroying individual.
• The Usual Suspects: Construction and reconstruction of memory and identity.
• There’s Something About Mary: Love is more important than beauty. Struggles with perfection.
• Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead: Honor among thieves.
• Trainspotting: Conflict between life and death urges.
• Toy Story (3D): Being the most favorite toy.
• Waking Life (DV): Exploration of lucid dreaming state. What is real verses what is illusion.
• Wallstreet: Greed leads to corruption.
• Wizard of OZ: The importance of home and family
• You Can Count On Me: Loves evokes love

Theme Symbolic Image Description in Script

Treasure the little things in life
Character eating fresh pie savoring every bite.
Alienation of youth Young character looking out of place at grownup party.
Desire leads to suffering Character getting beat up trying to get what he wants.
Exploration of character Searching for meaning of last word uttered on deathbed.
The blurry line between sanity and insanity Show all the characters acting crazy but functional.
Violence as cost of individuality Hip, artsy, unique criminal characters.
Cost of deception Pet cat found hanging on clothesline by antagonist.
Power of love can change fate Character screaming so loud that he wins game of chance to save lover.
War changes people Main characters all experience extreme changes as result of war. Some characters die, some become very scarred and others get very resourceful.

One Word Theme for your story:

How is your theme original and specific?

List 3 ways to show story events being controlled by the theme in your story:





Step 12: Character Traits

A character trait is anything that determines the way a character sees the world and how the character thinks, speaks, and acts.

Possible Best Traits
Possible Worst Traits
Champion ________ Intelligent Airhead Insane
Professional ________ Fake Athletic Addicted
Master ________ Aloof Activist Fearful
Top _____ Affectionate Moody Worrywart
Beatnik Middle class Dead inside Mean
Model ___ Corporate Gypsy Alcoholic
Warrior Negative Hippie Thief
Beautiful Positive Intuitive Poor
Courageous Cool Dork Annoying
Rich Well educated Perfectionist Depressed
Charming Funny Loving Hot tempered
Talented Peaceful Irresponsible Playboy
Prodigy Worldly Tough Stubborn
Survivor Burned out High strung Stressed

Pick one best trait, one worst trait and five others for each of the main characters in your story idea using the spaces below:





Love Interest:

Other Characters:

Step 13: Plot Points

Write 1-3 sentences for what happens at each of the 9 basic plot points for your story idea:

1) Hook: Start in the middle of a high intensity mess. How could you show your main characters doing what they do best or have them make an exciting visual entrance into your film world? What twists, shocks or surprises could you add to your opening hook (twist ideas: accident kills someone, a shocking truth revealed, key equipment or transportation breaks down, sudden change of plans announced)?

2) Setup: How will you introduce us to your characters, film world, and story? How will you show your character in his or her normal life? The audience needs a chance to get to know your main characters, along with the limits and possibilities of the film world.

3) Inciting incident. What event happens that forces your character to act by choosing a goal and committing to making it happen?

4) Journey Into Unknown: Protagonist sets off to accomplish plot goal leaving what is familiar behind.

5) Investigation: Protagonist searches for goal object or informationencountering lots of Obstacles/conflicts. What are some obstacles or conflicts your characters might face while attempting to accomplish their plot goal in your story idea?

6) Twist: A new plot goal usually emerges at this point because the first goal is accomplished or an unexpected event occurs which changes the focus of the main plot goal. Accident kills someone, a shocking truth revealed, key equipment or transportation breaks down, sudden change of plans announced.

7) Final confrontation.
This is a confrontation between two characters, groups or a situation that has been building up during the story Protagonist/antagonist conflicts related to plot goal.

8) Climax. Highest point of intensity and audience interest where the plot reaches a crescendo. What is the big climatic event at the end where we see whether the characters succeed or fail in accomplishing their goals?

9) Resolution. Ties up the loose ends in the story such as who lives, who dies, who gets the girl, and who lives happily ever after.


Workbook Part 2

Writing A Great Script Fast Nutshell
90+ Minute DVD


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