One of my favorite screenwriters/film makers is Billy Wilder. He's responsible for classic movies such as Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment, Sabrina, and one of my all time favorites, Some Like it Hot. This man knew how to tell a story. I tripped upon a list of Mr. Wilder's screenwriting tips over at writer, Billy Mernit's blog Living the Romantic Comedy. Click here and scroll down to his post Wilder Wisdom. Mr. Mernit provides insightful commentary on each tip.
In the meantime, here are Wilder's Ten Tips on Screenwriting compliments of Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe. To me, whether it's a screenplay, novel, or short story, storytelling is storytelling. And Wilder was a master.
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.