Vale's Technique of Screen and Television Writing is an updated and expanded edition of a valuable guide to writing for film and television. Mr. Vale takes the aspiring writer through every phase of a film's development, from the original concept to the final shooting script. Teachers of the craft as well as writers and directors have acclaimed it as one of the best books ever written on how to write a screenplay.

This book combines practical advice for the aspiring or established writer with a lucid overview of the unique features of this most contemporary art form, distinguishing film and video from other media and other kinds of storytelling. It teaches the reader to think in terms of the camera and gives practical advice on the realities of filmmaking. At the same time, Vale, who began his own career as a scriptwriter for the great French director Jean Renoir, provides a solid grounding in the history of drama from the Classical Greek theater through the great cinematic works of the twentieth century. Both philosophical and pragmatic, this is a very readable book for students and active professionals who want to improve their writing skills, and for film enthusiasts interested in knowing more about what they see on the screen.

Mr. Vale is that rare combination, a practitioner of great experience who can offer a lucid explanation of his craft.

Eugene Vale was born in Switzerland and began his career in France in the 1930s. He was an award-winning novelist, film and TV scriptwriter and teacher, whose works include the bestselling novel The Thirteenth Apostle and the scripts for Francis of Assisi, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and The Second Face. He also worked in many other areas of the motion picture industry, including directing, producing, cutting, distribution and finance. His archives are held by Boston University and University of Southern California. Mr. Vale died in 1997, shortly after he completed the updated version of this handbook.

chapter |6 pages


The Exciting New Media

part |54 pages

The Form

chapter |9 pages

The Film and TV Language

chapter |6 pages

The Sources of Information

chapter |10 pages

Enlargement and Composition

chapter |12 pages

The Scene

chapter |5 pages

Selection of Information

chapter |3 pages

Division of Knowledge

chapter |3 pages

Three Types of Storytelling

part |77 pages

The Dramatic Construction

chapter |13 pages


chapter |8 pages

Transition of Action

chapter |16 pages

Disturbance and Adjustment

chapter |6 pages

Main Intentions and Subintentions

chapter |26 pages

The Effect upon the Audience

part |54 pages

The Story

chapter |4 pages

From Idea to Final Form

chapter |5 pages

How to Choose Story Material

chapter |4 pages

Story Content

chapter |19 pages

The Writing of the Script

chapter |4 pages

The Young Filmmakers

chapter |4 pages

The Daring Conviction