Film Courage: According to your website, 95% of great movies follow the story map. I’m curious what is a story map?
Daniel Calvisi: A story map is a structural template that is followed by most commercial films and it breaks a film narrative into 4 acts. There is act 1, act 2(a), act 2(b), and act 3(d). And it contains four major story engines that drive each one of the individual acts. And 8-12 major signpost plot beats. It’s not deciding what you will write. It’s providing a form and a template which the writer pours their story into. So a writer still makes their own unique creative decisions but they may want to think about what page ranges those decision fall into and the kind of basic beats that would inform the storytelling.
Film Courage: Okay. Where do you think many new writers go wrong in terms of the [story] map? In terms of the layout. Where are most new writers weak in that structure?
Daniel Calvisi: Often it’s overwriting to the point of where those beats are falling too late. Like I mentioned the inciting incident should probably be between page 8-12. But we also want something that I call the strong movement forward, the next major beat to be in the page 18 to 20 range. Sometimes that doesn’t happen (watch the video interview on Youtube here).
BUY THE BOOK – STORY MAPS: How To Write A GREAT Screenplay
Lazar works as a ‘decoy’ or ‘bait’ who distracts the police and oversees the transfer of illegal immigrants across the border with the EU. Intelligent and discreet, he lives under the patronage of a local mobster and is able to support his family with the money he makes from trafficking. He falls in love with a young student, a stranger to his world, and contemplates changing his life. One night, his brother Toni is responsible for the drowning of one of the immigrants. Lazar is called to help and is faced with an impossible decision.
The Cyclotron is a thriller that takes place at the end of the Second World War. Simone, a spy working for the Allies, is entrusted with the mission to find and execute Emil, a scrupulous Berlin scientist who discovered before the Americans the way to build an atomic bomb, and is fleeing with his secret. Simone finds him on a night train speeding towards Switzerland. German soldiers, led by König, a German scientist, who want to arrest Emil and make him talk before he leaves the country, are also chasing him. Things get complicated when memories of love and quantum mechanics get intertwined in the pursuit.
BNB Hell tells the story of a young woman’s hunt for her missing sister ends at a rundown bed and breakfast in the Hollywood Hills run by an ill-tempered woman called Mommy. Disturbing messages left by former guests suggest unsettling secrets lay buried there.
Show Business is an American comedy that follows screenwriter Guy Franklin as he moves from NYC to LA with his fiancé. It should be a great gig but Guy soon realizes that being in Show Business and balancing his life love is easier said than done – a movie by Composer/Filmmaker Alexander Tovar