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WEEKLY SCREENWRITER TOP TEN #9 "PARTNERSHIPS"



Forming a successful screenwriting partnership in Hollywood is no easy task. In some cases, it's actually easier to find the perfect spouse than it is to find the right collaborator. It's extremely difficult to find someone who shares the same love and enthusiasm for film and "SCREENWRITING" as you. Someone who understands what you're trying to convey. Not only that, but then you have a potential long-term working relationship that could be very lucrative for all involved.


In today's 'Weekly Screenwriter Top Ten', we'll be discussing screenwriting partnerships that have stood the test of time. Hollywood powerhouse duos that once dominated and some who still dominate various aspects of the film world.


Just so we're clear, this is not a definitive end-all-be-all list. This is only, in my opinion, screenwriting partnerships that screenwriters, trying to get into the business, should learn from. In this article/blog, I'll go very in-depth with my observations and detail how those partnerships could benefit you in the greatest way possible.


Without further ado, I present my Top Ten Screenwriting "Partnerships" in Hollywood and what you can learn from them.


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Sorkin's sharp, fast-paced, and dialogue-heavy writing style vastly compliments Fincher's direction, attention to detail, and visual storytelling style. Their collaborations always seem to bring scripts to life using their famous non-linear narrative structure. Together, they have created the critically acclaimed film...

The American biographical drama film about the founding of the social media network juggernaut Facebook.


Both Sorkin and Fincher have a great understanding of the medium and are able to bring out the best in each other's work. They're known for their character-driven stories, which are often centered around complex and flawed characters. They're known for their attention to detail and precision in their storytelling. They are masterful at creating tension and suspense.


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

You can learn to focus on crafting characters that speak in distinct and interesting ways.
Pay attention to the rhythm and flow of dialogue.
Learn to focus on creating well-rounded and relatable characters, and to use their actions and motivations to drive the story.
Pay close attention to the details of your story and characters.
Make sure that everything is consistent and plausible throughout your script.
Think about how to use visual storytelling to enhance your story and characters.
Use different techniques like pacing, foreshadowing, and character development to build tension and keep audiences engaged.
Learn to think beyond the surface level of your story and explore deeper themes.
Share ideas that resonate with audiences and makes them want more.

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WAIT, WHAT! Why are they so low on the list? Well, this article is about and for screenwriters, not directors, so let's continue...


Spielberg and Kushner are considered fantastic screenwriting partners because of their ability to create epic and historical stories that are both emotionally powerful and intellectually engaging. Together, they have crafted films such as...

for which Kushner won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The musical...

and

which explores the aftermath of the 1972 Olympic terrorist attack. Also this year they collaborated on...

The semi-autobiographical story that's loosely based on Spielberg's adolescence and first years as a filmmaker.


Continuing, their collaborations have the ability to balance spectacle and intimacy, blending historical research with personal storytelling. Their films are known for their ability to tackle complex and controversial issues with nuance, depth, and sensitivity. Additionally, they have great chemistry which allows them to work with each other efficiently and creatively. They're able to bring out the best in each other, with Spielberg's visual storytelling and Kushner's sharp dialogue and character development, making them one of the Top Ten best screenwriting teams in Hollywood.


Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner are known for their attention to detail in their historical films, which require extensive research to ensure historical accuracy. They're also known for their ability to create compelling and complex characters that drive the story. Spielberg's masterful use of visual storytelling uses techniques such as camera movement and composition to convey emotion and advance the plot.


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

Find a creative partner with whom you can share ideas and bounce off, in order to create the best possible story.
Tell epic and historical stories on a grand scale.
Offer a new approach and skill set to effectively convey the scope and impact of your story.
Use dialogue as a tool for character development and to reveal your story.
Try to use sharp and witty dialogue that reveals character and advances your story.
Write and create visually stunning and action-packed scenes while also maintaining an emotional depth that connects the audience to the story on a deeper level.

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The films shelled out by these collaborators often deal with dark and controversial themes, such as violence, crime, and religion, which have helped to create a distinct and powerful cinematic experience. They are some of the grittiest, most intense, and most important films of the last few decades. Schrader's screenwriting often delves into themes of obsession and redemption, which align well with Scorsese's storytelling style.


Together, they have created some of the most iconic films like...

and the psychological drama...

Schrader's scripts have provided Scorsese with rich and complex characters, and a strong sense of atmosphere and setting, which has allowed Scorsese to bring these stories to life in a powerful and memorable way.


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

Learn to create complex and nuanced characters that drive the story forward.
Pay attention to the motivations, desires, and struggles of your characters, making them relatable and believable.
Try to be masterful at writing dialogue that is not only authentic but also revealing of the characters.
Use your dialogue to advance the story, reveal the character, and create tension.
Use visual storytelling techniques to create powerful and impactful imagery that adds to the story's meaning.
Use themes, such as morality, guilt, and redemption, to create deeper meaning and to reflect on the human condition.
Experiment with different genres, such as crime dramas and psychological thrillers.
Learn how to adapt yourself to different genres.
Make your screenplay unique and one-of-a-kind.
Bring authenticity to your stories.
Look for personal connections that bring their own voice to their writing.

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We're going way back for this incredible screenwriting partnership because of their ability to craft compelling and entertaining stories that often had a comedic and satirical edge to them. Decades later and their films still hold up incredibly well.


Billy and Itec were known for their sharp wit and ability to blend humor and drama in a way that was both effective and memorable. They wrote many iconic films together, including... "Some Like It Hot (1959)"

and

which are considered some of the greatest comedies ever made.


Their ability to create relatable characters and situations was both funny and insightful. They were also able to create a unique voice and vision, which made their movies stand out from the rest. Thus it made them one of the most respected and successful screenwriting partnerships in Hollywood history.


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

When writing comedy, try to have a strong sense of timing when it comes to delivering jokes and punchlines.
Use satire to poke fun at societal norms and institutions, as a way to comment on contemporary issues.
Write thought-provoking screenplays that keep the reader engaged.
Create relatable, complex characters that audiences can connect with and understand.
Make your characters more dimensional and human.
Hone in and craft sharp, witty, and memorable lines to effectively make your character stand out.
Always keep advancing the plot and try to create memorable moments.
Make your screenplay melodramatic.
Use emotions as a way to engage the audience in your story.
Use emotions in your storytelling to create and write more powerful and effective stories.

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Both Kenneth and Kevin have a strong focus on character-driven storytelling. Lonergan is known for his emotionally nuanced and realistic writing, while Smith is known for his sharp dialogue and relatable characters. Together, they are able to create films that are both emotionally resonant and entertaining. One of the most notable films they wrote together is

which was written by Lonergan and directed by Smith. The film received critical acclaim for its performances, direction, and script. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and won several awards such as Sundance Grand Jury Prize, and the Independent Spirit award for Best First Screenplay. Their partnership is not very frequent but when they collaborate, it results in a great film.


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

Create complex, nuanced characters that are relatable and believable.
Learn to approach character development that's more dynamic.
Craft engaging characters in your own work that resonates with others.
Write dialogue that feels authentic, sharp, naturalistic, and true to life.
Learn to deal with handling heavy emotional themes and subject matter.
Develop a deeper understanding of how to create emotionally impactful stories.
Make your characters the driving force of your stories by creating more compelling and impactful narratives.
Reveal your character's thoughts and feelings through their actions and behavior, rather than through narration or exposition.
Create a more immersive and engaging storytelling experience for the audience by showing not telling.
Learn how to use subtext to create more complex and nuanced stories that add depth and meaning to your screenplay.

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We are talking about their talent as screenwriters, not their personal life. With that in mind let's talk about these screenwriting partners. because of their ability to create comedic and introspective stories that delve into the complexities of human relationships, self-discovery, and the human condition. Their films often feature witty and intelligent dialogue and characters that are deeply flawed and relatable. Together, they wrote some of Woody Allen's most popular and critically acclaimed films, such as...

and


Their partnership was marked by a strong collaboration, with both writers contributing their own unique perspectives and ideas to the films they created together. They both shared a passion for exploring the complexities of human emotions and the human condition in a comedic and relatable way.


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

Create complex and relatable characters that drive your stories.
Write witty and clever dialogue that not only moves the story forward but also reveals your characters' personalities and motivations.
Delve into the inner thoughts and emotions of your characters.
Explore deeper themes and ideas by stepping outside your comfort zone.
Use comedy in a way that is both funny and thought-provoking, often using your humor to comment on serious social and environmental issues.
Use a famous city as a character, which adds to the atmosphere and tone of the story.
Use objects, colors, and imagery within your screenplay to convey a deeper meaning.
Explore themes such as love, relationships, and the meaning of life, which are universal and timeless.

☆☆☆☆☆



Known for their character-driven storytelling in films. They have a great partnership because they both have a deep understanding of character development and motivation, which is evident in their films. Their collaboration on films like...

and

have resulted in richly drawn and complex characters that drive stories forward.


Their "partnership" also allows for a lot of creative freedom and experimentation. They are known for taking on unconventional and ambitious projects which showcase their unique vision, and the ability to work in different genres. Furthermore, their partnership allows for a balance of creative control and trust which is a vital aspect of any partnership.


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

Learn how to create fully-realized characters that drive your narrative and make the audience care about what happens to them.
Learn how to create a fully-realized world that feels authentic and grounded.
Learn how to use visuals, within your screenplay, to tell your story.
Create a unique visual language for your screenplay.
Learn how to collaborate effectively with other writers, directors, and producers to create better work.
Learn how to tap into emotions and create stories that resonate with audiences.
Make your stories emotionally impactful, leaving a lasting impression on the audience that makes them feel something.
Learn how to incorporate striking and memorable music to enhance the emotional impact of your story, create a specific mood, or drive the narrative forward.

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Quentin and Roger are considered great screenwriting partners for several reasons. One is their unique and stylized storytelling approach, which often involves a blend of different genres such as crime, action, and comedy.


They've also been known to use a lot of pop-culture references and cleverly placed dialogue. They have great chemistry when working together, which allows them to bounce ideas off each other and create compelling and memorable characters. Their partnership is also known for its controversial and violent themes, which they use to explore deeper societal issues. Some of the most notable films written by them together include...

which won the Palme d'Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, and...


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

Nothing wrong with using non-linear storytelling techniques in your screenplay or film, which can add complexity and depth to your story.
Sharp and witty dialogue can be a great tool for building characters and driving the plot forward.
Create tension and suspense in a stylized story that has over-the-top violence,
Creating memorable and complex characters that audiences can relate to, which is crucial for a good screenwriter.
Breaking conventions and taking risks in your storytelling can be a great way to create something truly unique and original.

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2. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN and JONATHAN NOLAN


These two great screenwriting partners, who also happen to be brothers, have a unique ability to craft complex and thought-provoking stories that challenge the audience's perception of reality.


They often use non-linear storytelling and mind-bending concepts to explore deeper themes such as memory, identity, and morality. Their films are known for their strong visual style and attention to detail, creating a fully immersive experience for the audience. Together, they have written and directed several successful films such as...

and

which are considered to be some of the best films in recent years.


The Nolan brothers have a great working relationship, with Christopher often directing and producing films written by Jonathan, and vice versa.


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

Take complex and thought-provoking concepts and turn them into compelling stories.
Use non-linear storytelling techniques to keep audiences engaged and add layers to your narratives.
Use striking visuals in your script to enhance the themes and emotions of the story.
Add realism and credibility by paying close attention to the small details.
Create well-written, complex, and compelling characters that drive your stories.
Blend elements of different genres, such as crime, action, sci-fi, and psychological thrillers into your screenplay, which adds depth and complexity.
Leave elements of your stories open to interpretation, which encourages audiences to think critically and form their own interpretations about the ambiguity.
Maintain a consistent visual and narrative style across your screenplay, which helps to create a unique and recognizable brand.

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Joel and Ethan Coen, to me, have the greatest, most talented, and most successful screenwriting partnership in Hollywood. They are known for their unique and offbeat storytelling style, characterized by dark comedy, unconventional characters, and unexpected plot twists.


One of the reasons they're considered great screenwriters is their ability to blend different genres in their films. They have created movies that are part crime, part comedy, part thriller, and part drama. Their films often have a distinct visual style and atmosphere, which helps to create a sense of immersion for the audience.


Another reason is their use of dialogue. They often craft witty and memorable lines that are often quoted by audiences long after the film has been released. They also have a knack for creating memorable and eccentric characters, who are often the driving force behind their films.


The Coen brothers have a keen sense of storytelling and pacing. They are experts at building tension and suspense, and their films often have a sense of unpredictability that keeps the audience engaged.


They have also been successful in writing, directing, and producing most of their films together, which has allowed them to maintain a consistent vision and aesthetic throughout their career. Some of their notable works include

which are widely considered some of the greatest films of all time. Their unique and consistent storytelling style has earned them critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase.


That is why the Coen brothers are considered the greatest screenwriting partnership in Hollywood history... At least in my opinion.


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?


Keep your stories grounded in reality and fantastical at the same time.
Create unique and highly detailed worlds that you can find yourself actually in.
Write complex, strong, and fully-realized characters driven by actions and motivations.
Write dark humor to add depth and complexity to your stories and characters.
Keep your collaboration professional by setting up a realistic goal to achieve.
Use different genre conventions in your screenplay, such as film noir, crime, and westerns to tell your stories.
Use visual and thematic symbols in your screenplays that add to the meaning and depth of your stories.
Write striking visuals, within your screenplay, to create a sense of place and mood, and to add to the visual storytelling as people read your masterpiece.

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HONORABLE MENTION



This screenwriting partnership has produced films such as...


WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEIR PARTNERSHIP AS A SCREENWRITER?

Emphasize character development by creating well-rounded, relatable characters that drive the story and evoke emotions in the audience.
Write non-linear and unconventional narrative structures to keep your stories fresh and engaging.
Learn to balance serious themes with lighthearted humor, which adds depth and nuance to your characters and story.
Write dialogue that feels real and unforced, which helps to bring your characters to life and make your story more relatable.
Write stories that are based on your own experiences, which give your screenplays a sense of authenticity and emotional depth.
LASTLY... Work closely with directors, producers, and actors to bring your stories to life on the big screen, which shows the importance of being open to collaboration and feedback in the screenwriting process.

IN CONCLUSION


I hope you enjoyed this top ten list or possibly even gained something from it. If so, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you haven't already please sign up and register on our website to get the latest news, information, and updates on our journey through Hollywood.



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