Author: Tyler Mowery

Title: "Practical Screenwriting: Cutting Through the Noise and Focusing on What Matters" Publication: 2020, Practical Screenwriting LLC, ISBN 978-1-64826-150-3, 96 pages, 4 sections, 7 chapters. Purchase link.

Tyler has an interesting YouTube channel on screenwriting and offers a course, named above. It is very easy to see his talking points from the names of his videos.

Tyler's philosophy is somewhat in three parts. There is plot with the usual opportunity for ironies and surprises. There are characters with the normally desired (often selfish) goals who face danger.

But, finally, and most important, there are questions as to whether the characters' goals are morally appropriate: the events of the story will typically force the character to chance who they are in some existential way. It is not hard to imagine that the current public health crisis is capable of doing that.

On p. 19 he self-references a statement he makes about the importance of understanding psychology and philosophy before taking on the mechanics of writing screenplays.

He warns writers about 'shiny ideas' (lest they become an aging character's shiny shins?) and, toward the end, he distinguishes between mystery and ambiguity. I must say, however, that I enjoy a bit of ambiguity (I think both 'Inception' and 'Cloud Atlas' had ambiguity too).

I think his ideas about philosophy and morality, as challenged by an external global challenge, will map to parallel issues in a character's life and create irony, sometimes a sequence of ironic situations.

Mowery's ideas remind me of (Canadian Harvard undergrad) John Fish, especially in the first chapter where he talks about learning to read stories. In some ways he reminds me of Martin Goldberg (Economic Invincibility) too.

There's one other thing here. Mowery sells this book himself. I didn't see it on Amazon. His payment page, from a third party, worked normally and connected to Paypal. I could place more emphasis on doing my books this way. You get a PDF (one file) to download (rather than a Kindle file, although maybe you can get that). In my own case, I have separate PDF's for the separate chapters of my three DADT books, so I would have to combined them to work this way. Right now I am configured to sell hardcopy myself from my own inventory (rather clumsy now with the "lockdown"). Maybe I need to look at following his example.

The website is "" (with https). For some reason it times out if externally linked from here but works if you go to it yourself. Look for the ebook link on the top banner.

Visitors will also enjoy this video from Dec. 18, 2019, 'I Wrote a Screenplay in 48 Hours'.

Mowery advocates new writers to finish their first drafts quickly and that writing for a living requires discipline, schedule, and commitment, regardless of the subjecr matter. The script he wrote is called 'Blue Moon' (the same title as the name of a popular ale in all bars) and is a sci-fi script about international competition to mine a possible cure for a pandemic or earth disease from the Moon. He provides a Dropbox link in the video description to download (free) a copy of the script (PDF, in screenplay format, probably Final Draft of similar). Of course, it is automatically copyrighted, like any literary work online. I must say, if the film got made (and I hope it does), it would give the moviegoer a good feel for what it would be like to live (indoors, 1/6 Earth's gravity) on a Moon base in the near future, and to take excursions on the surface, and underground, and possibly face hostility or competition. [Titan, by the way, has 1/7 Earth's gravity, but that is my own 'Second Epiphany' script.] It's odd that something like this got written "in 48 hours" just a few weeks before global knowledge of the coronavirus pandemic, just as it is odd that (then barely 17-years old) Avi Schiffmann had his tracker ready to go at the start of 2020. And it is odd that I got bizarre-looking emails from China in early Octber 2019 that I thought were spam. The Wuhan virology lab supposedly had a communications blackout then, well verified in major news reports.

Posted by Bill Boushka at 11:58 AM No comments: Labels: screenwriting Newer PostsOlder Posts