The Nutshell Technique

The Nutshell Technique : Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting

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Veteran script consultant Jill Chamberlain discovered in her work that an astounding 99 percent of first-time screenwriters don't know how to tell a story. These writers may know how to format a script, write snappy dialogue, and set a scene. They may have interesting characters and perhaps some clever plot devices. But, invariably, while they may have the kernel of a good idea for a screenplay, they fail to tell a story. What the 99 percent do instead is present a situation. In order to explain the difference, Chamberlain created the Nutshell Technique, a method whereby writers identify eight dynamic, interconnected elements that are required to successfully tell a story.

Now, for the first time, Chamberlain presents her unique method in book form with The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting. Using easy-to-follow diagrams ("nutshells"), she thoroughly explains how the Nutshell Technique can make or break a film script. Chamberlain takes readers step-by-step through thirty classic and contemporary movies, showing how such dissimilar screenplays as Casablanca, Chinatown, Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Silver Linings Playbook, and Argo all have the same system working behind the scenes, and she teaches readers exactly how to apply these principles to their own screenwriting. Learn the Nutshell Technique, and you'll discover how to turn a mere situation into a truly compelling screenplay story.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 178 x 254 x 19mm | 454g
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • English
  • 11 b&w illus.
  • 1477303731
  • 9781477303733
  • 52,256

Table of contents

A Note on the Text
Foreword by Patrick Wright
Part 1. The Problem with 99% of Screenplays

Chapter 1. The Problem
Chapter 2. The Solution

Part 2. The Nutshell Technique Process

Chapter 3. How to Use This Book
Chapter 4. Protagonist
Chapter 5. Set-Up Want: Part 1
Chapter 6. Point of No Return
Chapter 7. Set-Up Want: Part 2
Chapter 8. Catch
Chapter 9. Flaw
Chapter 10. Crisis
Chapter 11. Triumph
Chapter 12. Climactic Choice
Chapter 13. Final Step
Chapter 14. Strength

Part 3. Advanced Application of the Nutshell Technique

Chapter 15. Nonlinear Screenplays
Chapter 16. Using a "Secret Protagonist" to Structure a Nonconventional Story

Part 4: Film Nutshells

Annie Hall
August: Osage County
Being John Malkovich
The Big Lebowski
The Bourne Identity
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Dallas Buyers Club
The Godfather
Groundhog Day
Little Miss Sunshine
The Matrix
North Country
Pulp Fiction
Silver Linings Playbook
The Sixth Sense
The Social Network
Sunset Blvd.
Up in the Air
The Usual Suspects

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Review quote

"The Nutshell Technique offers ideas that will grow in resonance with each movie you watch. . . a comprehensive method of categorizing movies that you might consider your favorites can now be applied." * Free Press Houston * "A Top 10 Book of the Year. A go-to guide for anyone with a story to write." * Austin Chronicle * "A clever, fresh way of analyzing structure. I've added The Nutshell Technique to my own writing toolbox." * Creative Screenwriting magazine *
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About Jill Chamberlain

Jill Chamberlain is a sought-after script doctor, story consultant, and screenwriting coach who founded The Screenplay Workshop ( She has taught the Nutshell Technique to more than a thousand screenwriters around the globe, and many of her students have achieved success in Hollywood, having their screenplays optioned, sold, and made into award-winning feature films.
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Rating details

53 ratings
4.26 out of 5 stars
5 51% (27)
4 32% (17)
3 11% (6)
2 4% (2)
1 2% (1)
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