Smarter Story Structure (online course)

Write Addictively Entertaining Stories—Faster

With my online course, Smarter Story Structure, you’ll learn practical tips for overcoming plot problems like these in your screenplay or novel:

  • the story starts too slowly (according to a Goodreads survey, 46.4% of readers abandon novels for this reason)
  • the story doesn’t get going until halfway through (this happened in almost a quarter of scripts read by a studio reader in a year)
  • the middle “runs out of gas” (even John Grisham admits this is a tricky issue)
  • the climax doesn’t deliver fireworks, merely sparklers
  • the story is the right length…but isn’t a good read (uh-oh)

Enroll today and learn how to use story structure to get on audiences’ good side. Click on the button below to learn more:

Writing for Movies: the 4 Quadrant Screenwriting Myth

Movie Reel

If you’re trying to write for the movies, you’ve probably heard of the 4-quadrant picture. Simply put, it’s a movie which appeals to all four demographics:

  • young
  • old
  • men
  • women

And every studio loves them — for good reason. They can cast their marketing nets as wide as possible, hopefully ensnaring an equally large proportion of the public. Never forget that Hollywood is a business first & last.

I said it in Screenplay Writing Tips from The King’s Speech and I’ll say it again:

Write your movie from the heart, not for the market.

If you’re one of those lucky screenwriters whose passion projects ALSO coincide with Hollywood trends, then my friend, many doors will be open to you. I wish you well.

For most of us however, that is not the case. If you’re writing a one-quadrant picture, don’t add random subplots and supporting characters to increase its appeal to the other demographics. You’ll just end up alienating your target audience. They’ll trash talk it more than New Englanders at a Red Sox-Yankee game.

There is a simple way though for your one-quadrant picture to rival four-quadrant movies at the box office, and that is to make sure they include rewatchable moments.

What are these rewatchable moments exactly?

As their name implies, they are the moments that your target audience connected to so strongly the first time they saw a movie, that they will pay to see it again and again and again.

This repeat business boosts the box office bottom-line…and a few months later, will also drive DVD sales.

Scenes audience strongly connects to =
Repeat visits to movie theater =
Larger box office potential

Romantic comedies are much maligned one-quadrant movies, but the best of them have wonderful rewatchable moments. I’ve collected 6 of them to inspire you as you write your own movie.


Do you remember that scene in Hitch? The one where Hitch tries to teach Albert how to dance?

Whenever I pop Hitch into the DVD player, that scene is what I look forward to watching again the most.

Pretty Woman

For anyone who’s been slighted by a patronizing jerk…the moment in Pretty Woman when Vivian gets to crow about a saleswoman’s big mistake is, “huge.”

Notting Hill

Another rewatchable moment provided by Julia Roberts. This time, from Notting Hill. Half of you will say it’s super sappy, but the other half will agree with me, Julia being “just a girl standing in front a boy” is one of the best parts of the film.

Note: the formatting of this script isn’t quite standard.


Sorry about that.


That’s fine. There’s always a pause when the jury goes out to consider its verdict.



Anna. The thing is…I’m a fairly level-headed bloke. Not hugely in and out of love. But…


…can I just say ‘no’ to your kind request and leave it at that?


…Yes. that’s fine. Of course. I…you know…of course—I’ll just be getting along then…Nice to see you.


The truth is…


With you, I’m in real danger. It looks like a perfect situation, apart from that foul temper of yours – but my relatively inexperienced heart would. I fear, never recover when I was once again—cast aside, which I would absolutely expect to be. There are too many pictures of you everywhere, too many films of you. You’d go and I’d be… a broken man.


I see.


That really is a real ‘no’, isn’t it.


I live in Notting Hill. You live in Beverly Hills. We’re from different worlds. Everyone in the world knows who you are. My mother has trouble remembering my name.


Okay. Fine. Fine. Good decision.


But the fame thing isn’t really real, you know. Don’t forget – I’m also just a girl. Standing in front of a boy. Asking him to love her.

As Good As It Gets

Top-notch screenwriting created the best compliment ever in As Good As It Gets…which is not really a one-quadrant picture, but is definitely rewatchable!

Jerry Maguire

Many of you might think this next clip has more cheese than Wisconsin. Taken out of context, it does. But with Tom Cruise’s delivery, Rene Zellweger’s earnest face, and the backdrop of the divorced women’s talking group, this is a classic:

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Our last rewatchable moment is one of my all time favorites:

Final thoughts

Are there rewatchable moments from these movies that you’d like to add? Or examples from other movies & other genres? I’d love to hear about the moments that drew you into the theater a second time…

Movie Reel by Thomas Galvez

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Annie Macdonald April 29, 2013, 2:49 pm

    The end of SOME LIKE IT HOT

    The end of CASABLANCA

    The end of Gone with the Wind

    • scribemeetsworld April 30, 2013, 10:51 pm

      Hi Annie,

      Thanks for sharing your top rewatchable moments. Gone with the Wind is my favorite example of the three!

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