Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I have always loved movies, and have taken a number of film courses at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute just outside of Philadelphia. I recently completed a terrific class in writing scripts for films. The instructor, Marc Lapadula, teaches film studies at Yale, and taught at the U. of Pennsylvania and was educated at Oxford. Not only was his knowledge encyclopedic, he was very entertaining. We looked at the scripts for Psycho, Rebel Without a Cause, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and others. If you want to really train yourself in being economical, learning the ability to show, rather than tell, I recommend you take a course or buy a book about screenwriting. It helps to have a software program, such as Final Draft, to help you with the complicated formatting needed to write a script. I am doing a screenplay of my OTP novel, A Lesson in Murder. I always thought my book would be a good vehicle for director Brian DePalma, since it involves murders associated with a Philadelphia Quaker school. DePalma went to Friends Central in a Philly suburb, and he obviously knows how to tell stories about murder and mayhem. Brian, are you listening?

Gus Cileone


Kit Sloane said...

I agree that writing screenplays is an interesting writing exercise. The only note of caution for you, Gus, is that getting a screenplay even looked at these days is even more difficult than getting published. But do go for it!

Gus Cileone said...

I'm doing it mostly for the fun of it and the experience. The instructor has had students sell scripts in the past and some have won contests. I'll ask him to take a look at my screenplay when I've completed it.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good luck, Gus, I hope you are successful. Writing a screenplay is nothing I've ever wanted to do.


Holli said...

I love writing screenplays, and agree that a screenwriting course can help with novel writing. While the thought processes are different, and words are a luxury when it comes to writing a screenplay, screenwriting skills can definitely teach show-don't-tell.

Good luck, Gus, with adapting your novel. Having tried it with my own in the past, I have come to the conclusion that writing a screenplay or a novel from scratch is much easier than adapting something already written, even if it something I wrote. Just coming up with that first image, knowing how important that visual is to a movie, stumped me.

My husband works as an extra in a lot of movies shot down here, and has gotten my book into the hands of a few famous actors, some directors and assistant directors, but so far, Hollywood hasn't come knocking yet. But at least Mark Wahlberg has a copy of my book.

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice
Jambalaya Justice, coming 2011