Acclaimed USC screenwriting teacher David Howard has guided hundreds of students to careers in writing for film and television. Drawing on decades of practical experience and savvy, How to Build a Great Screenplay deconstructs the craft of screenwriting and carefully reveals how to build a good story from the ground up. Howard eschews the "system" offered by other books, emphasizing that a great screenplay requires dozens of unique decisions by the author. He offers in-depth considerations of:* characterization* story arc* plotting and subplotting* dealing with coincidence in story plotting* classical vs. revolutionary screenplay structure* tone, style, and atmosphere* the use of time on screen* the creation of drama and tension* crucial moments in storytellingThroughout the book, Howard clarifies his lessons through examples from some of the most successful Hollywood and international script-oriented films, including Pulp Fiction, American Beauty, Trainspotting, North by Northwest, Chinatown, and others. The end result is what could very well become the classic text in the field - a bible for the burgeoning screenwriter.