Satire is one of the most useful tools writers can use to comment on the follies of humanity and the evils that exist in the world. We’re going to look at some satire examples in literature and movies to gain a better understanding of the term. By seeing how satire is used in a variety of mediums, we’ll be better prepared to apply it in our own projects. But first, let’s start by jumping through a portal to the past to see where satire began. (more…)
What is an antagonist? The simplest explanation is that an antagonist represents the opposite of the protagonist. But there’s much more to the term than that. By understanding how these characters are used in screenwriting, we’re better equipped to handle story conflict in our own scripts. We'll start with an antagonist definition that may surprise you before highlighting some of the best antagonist examples in recent memory. (more…)
Symbolism can create an indelible impression on an audience. Symbolism runs through literature, poetry, and especially screenwriting, where visuals are paramount. But what is symbolism? In this article, we’ll define symbolism and show how symbols change over time. We’ll explore this topic by looking at common symbolism examples in literature and film. Pertinently, we’ll explore how symbolism can enhance your screenplay by taking a look at Eric Heisserer’s script for Arrival (2016). (more…)
Flashback is a term that we hear nearly everyday in life -- but what is a flashback in writing? A flashback is sometimes used to give context to the past, but there’s a lot more to the term than just that. We’re going to break down flashbacks by looking at how they’re used by writers, with examples from classical literature like The Odyssey and recent films like Manchester By The Sea. But before we jump into our examples let’s define flashback. (more…)
Some may argue whether a screenplay is truly a work of literature. Nevertheless, anyone who's sat down to write a screenplay knows it isn't for the faint of heart. To juggle all aspects successfully, a screenwriter needs a few tools in their toolbelt. Enter common literary devices, literary elements and literary techniques. Besides listing, defining, and providing examples, this article will also take a moment to consider how and why a screenwriter might use these common literary devices in the first place. (more…)
What is an allegory? Many of us have heard the term used when describing literature or film, but how do we know what it means? For writers, bringing allegory into their work is an excellent opportunity to add layers of meaning. We’re going to get to the bottom of those questions by looking at examples from Fight Club, Snowpiercer, and more, but first, let’s define allegory through exploring its etymology. (more…)
In storytelling, it can be extremely valuable to be able to compare a new idea to something the audience already knows. One of the best tools to do this is the simile. So, what is a simile used for? They can make dialogue, characters, or themes of a story more relatable. From outrageous comedies like Step Brothers to heartfelt dramas like Forrest Gump, similes are a great writing tool. Understanding the difference between simile vs. metaphor, and how a simile are used is essential for any well-rounded writer. Before we dive into any simile examples in film, you may be ...
Motifs are a great way to reinforce the theme of your project. Understanding how to build motifs that work requires strong attention to detail and a clear game plan. But what is a motif? Looking for a clear motif definition? Need motif examples in film? All these questions and more will be answered as we dive into the patterns and symbols that can bring depth to your work. (more…)
Have you ever watched a movie with a plot twist that blew your mind and then watched that movie again and noticed signs leading to the twist? You’re not alone. Writers have used foreshadowing for this effect because it is an extremely useful storytelling technique that engages an audience and captures their attention. While the foreshadowing meaning in some of these movies may be unclear upon first watch, their subtle presence leads to a large impact. Implementing foreshadowing techniques into your story can create anticipation that will have your audience captivated until the end of your story. Let’s first get ...
What is alliteration? You may conclude comprehension ‘cause alliteration words exist everywhere. Always ask anyway, as they sometimes share special, specific and subtle significance not explicitly evident. Writers would be wise to ascertain that alliteration meaning might manifest in a multifaceted manner, as we shall see shortly! (more…)
What is a paradox? Definitions can often feel, well, paradoxical. Even though paradoxes have been part of human thinking for thousands of years, they are not always well understood. This seems particularly true of paradoxes in movies, which often leave viewers scratching their heads. Whether you want to get a grip on exactly what a paradox is, or write the next great brain-teasing movie paradox, this article will get you started. (more…)
Storytellers have been using literary allusion for thousands of years - Sophocles, for example, used Greek mythological allusion in Antigone way back in 441 BC. But while the device is a crucial element of literature and drama, it’s not always easy to recognize types of allusion or understand how they are used. Exactly what is an allusion?This article will illuminate the purpose of allusion, then illustrate allusion examples in movies — including historical allusion and literary allusion. Examples include emphasizing themes, engaging readers and viewers, and connecting a script to the larger world. (more…)
What is a protagonist? Many refer to it as the lead character in a story but the true protagonist definition is slightly more complicated than that. To understand the protagonist meaning completely, we need to look at how different types are used in screenwriting. This will help you decide which type of hero (or villain — that's right, a villain can also be the main character!) might work best for your next script. (more…)
Plato’s "Allegory of the Cave" is one of the most well-known philosophical concepts in history. As such, it only makes sense that numerous filmmakers would try to incorporate this philosophy into their movies. But what exactly is it? And why does it work so well in the context of filmmaking? We’ll look at this concept as well as several films that have incorporated it excellently. It’s time to find the sun. (more…)
Two is always better than one when it comes to Juxtaposition. Other than being the game-winning word in your next Scrabble match, what is juxtaposition? It is a frequently used term throughout the artistic world from photography to literature to film. Despite its frequent use, its meaning can be quite vague. We'll define juxtaposition with examples in film so that you can use it throughout your next project. (more…)
No matter what you write, it’s agreed that metaphors are an important literary device. But, what is a metaphor? What does metaphor mean? In this article, we’ll explore this question and answer how this literary device can enhance your screenwriting. We’ll cover this concept and catalog the ways in which you can use metaphors to enhance your script. (more…)
⌂ Overview Verbal Irony Situational Irony Dramatic Irony The future is unwritten — at least that's what they say — but the past is very much written. From a present-day perspective, we can learn about what was done and whether or not it worked. In storytelling, historical irony gives your characters perspective. It is a very specific type of situational irony so let's talk about how it can be used effectively with examples from David Fincher, George Lucas, and Guillermo del Toro. (more…)
⌂ OverviewVerbal IronySituational IronyDramatic Irony We encounter irony every day: in our favorite movies, TV shows, and in our own lives. Most people have a general understanding of irony but there are also a lot of misconceptions about it. For example, were you aware that there are 3 different types of irony?In this article, we're going to define irony in all its variations. Whether you're writing a short story or a screenplay, irony can be a powerful storytelling tool. You'll be able to recognize the different types of irony and understand how they work. The next step is to carry ...
⌂ OvervieW (1) VERBAL Irony (2) Situational Irony (3) Dramatic Irony Dramatic irony requires time to work effectively. And, in the best examples, dramatic irony unfolds over the course of minutes, an hour, or even the entire film. Similar to a three-act structure, there are stages to how it works. What are the stages of dramatic irony? We'll answer that with examples from classic movies so that you'll know how to use it in your own screenplays. (more…)
Denouement is one of the most important aspects of a script, yet it can easily be confused with other story beats like climaxes or epilogues. So what is denouement?In this article, we’re going to define denouement in a clear and simple way, then look at some key examples from film that show us how masterclass filmmakers use it to expert effect.We’re going to cover the various permutations of denouement (explicit vs. implicit) with some stellar examples from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Return of the Jedi and more. But before all that, let’s quickly define denouement so we can ...