Every student needs books to learn more about their field, and screenwriters are no different. The area of writing in Brazil is still scarce in relation to courses and teaching, even research material is not always translated in the country, so the best way to improve your studies is through works that describe the experiences of writers. See below for our list of tips, made with the help of the organizers of the Cinematic Ideas Factory.
For the study of structures and narrative
1- Script Manual– Syd Field- Publisher: Objective
The renowned North American screenwriter Syd Field has written one of the most extraordinary books on script technique, essential for those working in the film and TV market. From the initial idea to the finished text, from the development of characters and dramatic situations to the perfect finishing of the scene, Manual do script presents, in simple and accessible language, all the fundamental elements for the construction of a good narrative.
2- From Creation to Script– Doc Comparato- Publisher: Summus Editorial
After forty years of a life dedicated to the act of writing for cinema, theater and television in Brazil and Europe, Doc Comparato conceives a new vision of the screenwriter's work. It presents us in a unique way a new perspective and perspective for those who want to dedicate themselves to the media in the third millennium. New definitions, attributions and conceptions are born, which include innovative examples and exercises, applied in unpublished scripts. The work's mission is to bring what is most modern in creation for streaming, virtual reality, webseries, games and artificial intelligence, and also covers contracts, adaptations, festivals, professional contacts, university students and much more. Masterfully, the very current From Creation to Script maintains a balance between the theoretical text and the pragmatism of the manual that teaches how to do it today and in the future. The book is an inexhaustible knowledge tool for professionals and students.
3- Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and Principles of Screenplay Writing– Robert Mckee- Publisher: Art and Letters
Unlike other books, Story is about form, not formula. Using examples from more than a hundred films, McKee uses a philosophy that goes beyond strict rules to identify the most illuminating elements that distinguish quality stories from others. Starting with basic definitions – what is a beat? A scene? A sequel? The climax of the act? The climax of the movie? McKee not only unravels the mysteries of the standard three-act structure, but demystifies unusual structures such as two-, seven-, and eight-act. It exposes the limitations of each genre, highlighting the importance of theme, environment and atmosphere, and emphasizes the difference in character versus characterization. Packed with examples from movies like “Casablanca” and “Chinatown,” Story dissects classic scenes, guiding us step-by-step to reveal not only how a scene works, but why it works. Going beyond compositional fundamentals to the enduring values and conflicts that separate the classics from the cliché.
4- The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers– Christopher Vogler – Aleph Publisher
In 1949, in the classic The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the scholar Joseph Campbell conceptualized the so-called Hero's Journey: a structure present in myths and replicated in all the good stories ever told and retold by humanity. In The Writer's Journey, Christopher Vogler makes a detailed and enlightening analysis of this concept, based on several important films. The result of years of study about myths and archetypes, added to Vogler's experience in the American film industry, this edition, revised by the author, is a fundamental reference work not only for those who want to write good stories – drinking from the fountain of the most beautiful and fascinating myths already created by the human mind – as for those who want to understand them better, relating them to life itself.
5- The Hero with a Thousand Faces– Joseph Campbell- Publisher: Thought
Apollo, Thor, Buddha and numerous other protagonists of religions, mythologies, fairy tales and universal folklore simultaneously represent the various phases of the same story. The relationship between its timeless symbols and those detected in dreams by modern depth psychology is the starting point of the interpretation offered by Joseph Campbell, admittedly one of the greatest scholars and deepest interpreters of universal mythology, in this mandatory classic to understand this monomyth that is the hero's journey.
6- Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need – Blake Snyder- Unfortunately without translation and publication in Brazil.
In this book, Blake Snyder presents a (even somewhat controversial) theory of how to use the Beats and guides a necessary framework for writing his work.
For Advanced Writing
7- Dialogue– Robert Mckee- Publisher: Art and Letters
Robert McKee's popular writing workshops have earned him an international reputation. The list of his Oscar-winning students spans pages. The basis of his program is the book Story, a work that defined the way we talk about the art of creating stories. Now in Dialogue, McKee offers the same in-depth analysis of how characters speak on screen, on stage, and on the page in a believable and interesting way. From Macbeth to Breaking Bad, McKee deconstructs important scenes to illustrate dialogue strategies and techniques. Here the writer will find the structure to create an impactful and accurate speech. Among McKee's famous students are Peter Jackson, Jane Campion, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Haggins, the Pixar writing team, and many others.
For a historical study of cinema
8- History of world cinema – Franthiesco Ballerini- Publisher: Summus Editorial
The result of three years of in-depth research, History of world cinema brings an unprecedented approach to the study of the theme: the geographic and cultural focus of the seventh art. In the first part of the book, Franthiesco Ballerini explains how the main film industries in the world, such as Hollywood and Bollywood, were formed. Then, it takes a tour of the most emblematic cinematographic movements on the planet – such as Italian Neorealism and the French Nouvelle Vague. In the third part, the author analyzes the best cinema made on each continent, specifying cultural, aesthetic and language aspects. Using his characteristic didacticism, Ballerini addresses art and communication students, cinema and audiovisual professionals, teachers and artists. In the work, the reader will also find: short synopses of the most important films; behind-the-scenes trivia about the film industry; lists of essential movies; beautiful photographs that help tell the story of each chapter; name index composed of all the films mentioned and by directors, actors and producers.