But every once in a while I see one from someone of whom I can truly be called a fan. This is rare, However, I just spotted this on the “Open Culture” email and had to read it. https://www.openculture.com/2013/08/10-tips-from-billy-wilder-on-how-to-write-a-good-screenplay.html
Billy Wilder is best known for his movies of course, but he started out as a writer and his top ten tips on how to write a good screenplay are applicable to pretty much any fiction. If you’re uncertain about the quality of his work, I recommend viewing “Double Indemnity,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “The Seven Year Itch,” “Irma La Douce,” “The Apartment,” “The Fortune Cookie,” and “One, Two, Three” – the last of which, Cagney’s last film before retiring (and then coming out of retirement for “Ragtime”) is vastly underrated for the density and subtlety of the script, not to mention the glory of Cagney in a serious comic role.
Here are Wilder’s ten rules of good filmmaking:
1: The audience is fickle.
2: Grab ’em by the throat and never let ’em go.
3: Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.
4: Know where you’re going.
5: The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.
6: If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.
7: A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.
8: In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they’re seeing.
9: The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.
10: The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then — that’s it. Don’t hang around.