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Screenwriting made painless

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Hollywood is full of people trying to write their first screen play but when Joseph McBride started teaching screenwriting he couldn’t find a manual worth using to teach aspiring writers their craft. In his new book “Writing in Pictures” veteran screenwriter and film historian Joseph McBride breaks down the daunting process of writing a first script.

Using a series of approachable tasks, McBride focuses initially on literary adaptation then goes on to illustrate the path from synopsis to treatment, from outline to screenplay. Finding your voice, getting to the heart of the story, learning the rules in order to break them are all elements of good screenwriting that McBride examines in his book and as professor of cinema at San Francisco State University.

How do you tell a story in film and how does one learn to think cinematically? McBride elucidates these questions using the knowledge and experience he has accumulated as was one of the screenwriters of the cult classic punk rock musical “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” and co-writer of five American Film Institute Life Achievement Award specials for CBS TV.


Joseph McBride, author of “Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless” (Vintage Books).