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The Art of Screenwriting: Woody Allen

When it comes to screenwriting and filmmaking, studying some of the iconic and most prominent figures in the industry is something every writer or filmmaker should do. To understand and analyze the art of screenwriting, we’re going to take a close look at Woody Allen and what makes him one of the best in the industry.

For those of you that don’t know, Woody Allen has been making films since the 1960s and is known for his unique take on writing and directing. To fully understand how to be the best writer you can be, taking inspiration from Allen is something you should do.

To discuss Allen's innovative style and unique ability with screenwriting, we need to take in a few of the general aspects of what makes him unique. Let's get started!

Photo credit: Britannica


Taking in Aspects of Life


When you look at a script from Allen, you can infer that for a writer to fully embrace being a writer, they need to take in aspects of their life for the writing itself. This means that if you experience something exciting or have a past experience that you can be utilized for your writing, then you should do it.

It's essential to always be thinking about what you can take and use for your writing. Whether you're out to eat with your family or just spending a day inside, there are aspects around you that can be used for your writing. Basically, always look for inspiration and ideas!


Neurotic Characters


If you're a fan of Allen's work, then you know how his characters are; they're usually unstable, disturbed, and have something going on that is out of the ordinary. This is done on purpose because from Allen's perspective, people are going to buy into a film if the characters are interesting.

Entertaining doesn't necessarily mean insanity, but problems are what people are generally interested in. No one sits around and gossips about good things that have happened to people. Whether it's the news or people just chatting about nonsense, it's usually about something negative or wrong that happened to someone.

It's human nature to be interested in the ugly, and Allen knows that. Thus, why Allen usually makes his characters to be neurotic. It keeps the audience engaged.


Characters Have Issues in Their Lives


Going on top of Allen's writing choice about Neuroticism, most of his characters have something wrong in their life. Whether it's a woman whose life is falling apart or a man who realizes his relationship is failing, Allen makes it, so his characters have significant issues in their lives.

Similar to his notion of keeping the audience interested in neurotic characters, having issues in their lives as well will make the audience want to root or not root for characters. It’s a brilliant method from Allen.


There’s a Deeper Message Behind the Story


Although this isn't always the case, a lot of Allen's work has a deeper meaning or message behind it. For yourself, you don't have to still be thinking about what your script actually means. Still, it's certainly something to consider once you gain more experience writing.

Adding a more profound message behind your story is what can make your script from being average to exceptional. However, keep in mind that it's complicated to master the craft of added messages. Allen is a perfect example of a director and writer who has countless examples of a story with a more profound message.


We hope you enjoyed our art of screenwriting article dedicated to Woody Allen. Although Allen has faced controversy over the years, his directing and writing will remain influential for being as innovative and groundbreaking as it was when it first came out.

Best Films:

● Midnight in Paris (2011)

● Annie Hall (1977)

● Manhattan (1979)

● Blue Jasmine (2013)

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