Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach” as Want to Read:
Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The great challenge in writing a feature-length screenplay is sustaining audience involvement from page one through 120. Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach expounds on an often-overlooked tool that can be key in solving this problem. A screenplay can be understood as being built of sequences of about fifteen pages each, and by focusing on solving the dramatic aspects of ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 27th 2004 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published April 2004)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Screenwriting, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Screenwriting

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  245 ratings  ·  15 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach
Kali Srikanth
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: both novice and experienced screenwriters alike.
Recommended to Kali by: Gopi Mohan
4.5* by 5.

Gulino does not tell us why the sequence approach to writing ended but he does tell us why he believes it should be revived. Any screen-writing method that makes the writer’s task easier and focuses on the audience’s experience is worth examining.

A typical two hour film, Gulino tells us, comprises eight sequences – two in the first act, four in the second and two in the third. Each sequence is a short film which mirrors the structure of a complete film. But while complete films have co
Feb 11, 2007 rated it liked it
read the first chapter then skim the rest. useful.
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Worth reading for the brutal kneecapping of Lord of the Rings alone.
Ira Livingston
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gulino writes a fascinating book with a sequence approach or mini-movies strung together in order to tell the larger story.

It seems to make the task of confronting 120 pages a little bit easier. I’ve read several books on the subject and actually went to college to get a degree in Screenwriting.

What I truly loved about this book, is that over half of the book covers films that don’t fit Gulino’s theory. However, you see that somehow by breaking his rule, but sticking with the sequence method the
Glenn Mitchell
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a helpful book for screenwriters that will help them avoid a sagging story during the second act. Paul Gulino learned this approach at USC. So did Chris Soth, who markets this same approach in a more formulaic way as the Mini-Movie Method.

I enrolled in the Mini-Movie Method class from ScreenwritingU, after reading partially through this book. I dropped the class because the book is much better. The book avoids the incessant hype, the need to tie it to Joseph Campbell's idea of an heroic
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Sequencing seems to lend itself to some good approaches for sustaining audience interest in a story, however, as the author readily admits, don't get the idea that sequencing is the only useful way to look at screenplays.

I do however think this is definitely a good book to have in your screenwriting library, and I did pick up some useful techniques from it. Unlike "Story," it's pretty boring, but it does focus on taking apart scripts sequence by sequence--so if you rent the movies while reading
Ramsey Ess
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Someone on here said to read the first chapter and skim the rest and they were right, so that's what I did. ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I have a mixed relationship with any type of novel about writing or how to approach an artistic mean. When I read them, I always find nuggets of truth or better yet, a type of clarification in what I've done in my own works.

Expanding on that further, I usually can pick up why some movies turn out well and why even certain pieces of my own writings were successful. But then after I've reached that understanding in a how-to book - I find the remainder redundant, even petty in its analysis.

This b
Brie Porter
Apr 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: screenwriting
Fragmenting films into sequences is a fantastic approach for dissecting story. Gulino elaborates to great effect on the uses of writing tools such as the dangling clause, dramatic irony, and preparation. Narrowing focus on sequences allows for the application of a three-act structure on a manageable chunk of story, setting in motion a series of dramatic questions that compound to address the overall dramatic tension. I highly recommend this book to critics and screenwriters and alike.
Matthew Siemers
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Great info in the first chapter. The rest of the book is examples.

Not sure why the author hates The Fellowship of the Ring so much.
Patrick Grizzard
Dec 28, 2020 rated it liked it
In attempting to tackle my first feature, I found the prospect of writing eight to ten 12-15 page sequences far less daunting than writing first, second, and third acts of 30, 60, and 30 pages each. As the author points out, writing each segment with its own protagonist (and their own objective and obstacle), tension, rising action, and resolution ensures that the script as a whole is cohesive and maintains dramatic tension throughout.

That said, this book is more of an analysis of sequence stru
Abner Rosenweig
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
An instant classic in the field, STSA is essential reading for any screenwriter, and helpful for novelists, too. Gulino joins Aristotle/Syd Field (3-Act) and Joseph Campbell/Chris Vogler (Mythic) by offering a third paradigm of screenplay structure, the Sequence Approach.

90% of the value of the book lies within its first 19 pages, where Gulino lays out the sequence approach and discusses its merits, in addition to a fine--no, an outstanding--primer on the basic principles of drama. The rest of t
Emma Sea
Very useful book, although it ends rather abruptly. I would have liked some kind of conclusion, rather than just being dumped out of the book. The first chapter is definitely the meat of the content, but I highly recommend the analysis of Jackson's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, to get a very clear unpicking of why the film is so visually attractive and yet utterly unengaging. ...more
Jun 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Pretty useful. It shows the structure and flow of different genres of films.
Rasha Dbakrly
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very useful and professional. Good to read!
rated it it was amazing
May 22, 2013
Hosein Abolghasemi
rated it liked it
Mar 17, 2019
Matty Boca
rated it it was amazing
Dec 05, 2013
Mesh Flinders
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jun 23, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Sep 04, 2015
Kiss of a sniper
rated it it was amazing
Apr 04, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Mar 31, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jul 15, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2021
Laura Kirk
rated it it was amazing
Sep 18, 2017
rated it really liked it
Oct 23, 2013
Steven Orlowski
rated it it was amazing
Jan 18, 2014
Poetry Train
rated it it was amazing
Dec 11, 2019
Mitchell Leblanc
rated it liked it
Aug 01, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need
  • In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing
  • Screenwriting 101 by Film Crit Hulk!
  • Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope
  • The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting
  • Into the Woods: A Five Act Journey Into Story
  • Poetics
  • Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured Includes Navigate 2 Essentials Access
  • Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1)
  • Unknown Man #89 (Jack Ryan, #2)
  • Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy
  • The Essential Screenplay (3-Book Bundle): Screenplay: Foundations of Screenwriting, Screenwriter's Workbook, and Screenwriter's Problem Solver
  • How I Escaped My Certain Fate
  • The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
  • Kick-Ass
  • The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film
  • Broken Glass (Nik Pohl Thriller #1)
See similar books…

News & Interviews

The beauty of a paperback novel is multidimensional. Allow me to explain: The format allows you to catch up on some of 2020's biggest books...
103 likes · 10 comments
“is waiting, the audience is secretly aware that” 0 likes
More quotes…