What is it about?

Whilst screenwriting handbooks have popularized practical approaches to writing the screenplay they have also delegitimized unconventional structural approaches. In this article I argue for a change in focus within screenwriting theory and the development process away from the replication of the conventional through an analysis of a particularly unconventional structural schism in the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men (2007).

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Why is it important?

Screenwriting practice has been through a profound conventionalisation process, due in part to the influence of populist screenwriting handbooks and their role in both industry and education. Refocusing on the unconventional narrative structures available to the screenwriter can help foster and support more innovative and original screenwriting.


My hope is that this article might help screenwriters and development professionals to see the power and possibilities of unconventional approaches.

Chris Neilan
Edinburgh Napier University

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This page is a summary of: The power of schism: Unconventional narrative structure in No Country for Old Men, Journal of Screenwriting, November 2022, Intellect, DOI: 10.1386/josc_00103_1.
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