screenwriting teacher Michael Colleary

Fade In:

The genesis of this website and my book came unexpectedly.

One day I was asked to appear on a panel of screenwriters at the Writers Guild of America, West. The topic assigned to me was, “How do you increase the stakes in a second act?”

Innocent enough, right?

Yet that question needled me like a dried-up Christmas tree.

So why did I find this seemingly easy question so tough? Well, to start, it is impossible to answer in the abstract. Every script is (or better be) an utterly unique creature. So, truly, there is no way to answer that question without asking – what’s happening in your first act?

One of the many agitating ironies of writing movies is that no two are alike. Why is this such a problem? Because the solutions you find yesterday might not help you solve the problem today.

Which translates into this – the lessons you learned writing your last script might not have any relevance to the script you’re writing now.

Yet if every movie/screenplay is unique unto itself, how can they also be alike?

And so the whole point unwinds before anything useful can be found.

My inability to articulate all that led me to stop and think about what I had been doing professionally. To really examine my daily process and compare it to what I had been taught at UCLA all those years before.

This book, this guide, this companion, is the result.

Hope it helps! Hollywood needs you!

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