About James Napoli

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July 6, 2017
Story structure guidelines can seem like killers of originality. The key, though, isn’t the decision to use or not use them, but when to use them, and how.
May 25, 2017
Through analysis of Nocturnal Animals, Groundhog Day and Black Mirror, James Napoli explores how to fulfill the promise of your script’s premise.
January 4, 2017
Sometimes moving your script forward means taking your story backward, into the past. Flashbacks and monologues are two keys to the time machine’s ignition.
December 14, 2016
Paul Attanasio’s script for Quiz Show was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars and the Golden Globes, and won a BAFTA Award.
December 7, 2016
Every screenplay should be set somewhere. Use your locations to your advantage and it will feel like more than just the film holding the audience’s hand.
December 5, 2016
Sometimes paring your story down to the bare necessities of comprehension, as with Groundhog Day, helps to streamline the messages and ideas.
November 15, 2016
“Show don’t tell” is a good rule. But if dialogue doesn’t ask audiences to take in all-important facts, we deprive characters of much-needed understanding.
September 11, 2016
Learn surprising screenwriting structure from the plant and payoff threads that ripple through the extraordinary mosaics of The Orphanage and Chinatown.
June 15, 2016
In partnership with Creative Screenwriting, we present “First Draft: Surprise or Suspense?” with explanations from Hitchcock about the important difference.