BPS 087: The Essentials of Great Screenwriting with John Truby

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The Essentials of Great Screenwriting with John Truby

Today on the show we have one of the most popular guests to ever be on the Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, the legendary John Truby. John is the author of The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller.

John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry, and his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood’s most successful films. The Anatomy of Story shares all his secrets for writing a compelling script. Based on the lessons in his award-winning class, Great Screenwriting, The Anatomy of Story draws on a broad range of philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby’s own unique approach to building an effective, multifaceted narrative.

His is former students’ work has earned more than $15 billion at the box office, and include the writers, directors, and producers of such film blockbusters as RatatouilleIn TreatmentPirates of the CaribbeanX-Men I/II/IIIShrekMother Mary of ChrisBreaking BadHouseLostPlanet of the ApesScreamThe Fantastic FourThe NegotiatorStar WarsSleepless in SeattleOutbreakAfrican Cats (which Truby co-wrote for Disney) and more.

Over the last 25 years, more than 50,000 people have attended his sold-out seminars around the world, with the American Film Institute declaring that his “course allows a writer to succeed in the fiercely competitive climate of Hollywood.”

John’s angle on the storytelling process has always fascinated me. This is why we teamed up to bring you his FREE screenwriting webinar call Stories That Sell. The replay is available for about another week for the BPS Tribe. Click here if you want to watch it for FREE.

Get ready to take some notes. Enjoy my EPIC conversation with John Truby.

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  1. Bulletproof Screenplay Script Coverage Service – Get Your Screenplay Covered by Industry Pros
  2. The Foundations of Screenwriting: Story Development
  3. The Foundations of Screenwriting: Formatting
  4. BPS Presents: Writing for Emotional Impact (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
  5. Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) FREE AUDIOBOOK
  6. Rise of the Filmtrepreneur™ (FREE AUDIOBOOK)


  1. Indie Film Hustle TV (On-Demand Real-World Screenwriting Education)
  2. Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
  3. The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
  4. The Script Lab Workshops
  5. How to Write a FAST Screenplay
  6. WGA Presents: The Art of Screenwriting
  7. Screenwriting Masterclass: Crafting Complex Characters



  1. Download FREE Screenplay Collections
  2. FREE 3 Part Screenwriting Video Series Taught by Oscar® Winners
  3. Download Your FREE Screenwriting Audiobook
  4. Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind™ Podcast
  5. Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
  6. Filmtrepreneur® Podcast

Gain Access to On-Demand Screenwriting Courses

If you liked the Essentials of Great Screenwriting with John Truby, then you’ll love: 

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Podcasts To Open Your Mind:
Podcast: Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind™
Podcast: Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
Podcast: Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
Podcast: The Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
IFH Podcast Network: Discover the Best Screenwriting and Filmmaking Podcasts

Additional Resources:
IFHTV: Indie Film Hustle TV
Indie Film Hustle Academy: Premium Online Screenwriting Courses
Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
Book: Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
FREE 3 Part Screenwriting Video Series Taught by Oscar® Winning Screenwriters

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1 Comment

  1. Mike on October 7, 2020 at 6:45 am

    Just listened to this show today and thought it was fantastic. Loved the reasoning that plot is everything, that if you become stuck it’s not writer’s block but a failure of the plot. It’s soooo great to hear that. Also, dismissing the idea of a 3/5 whatever act structure was music to my ears – anything can be retrofitted to fit within a structure you have a bias towards. Simple stories can fit into a simple structure (beginning, middle, end), but more complex stories (Lost, Reservoir Dogs, Being John Malkovich, Dark) feed off intricate plots littered with challenges and reveals – something the gaming industry has refined down to hyper addictive levels.

    I’ve had a story in my head for over a decade now, and because of COVID I actually have an opportunity to devote time to writing it; which is kinda weird. I’ve become ‘stuck’ once or twice – or maybe a few more times – not because of my characters or the story I want to tell, but purely because I reach a point where the plot wasn’t well enough thought through. If the internal logic of the story world dictates I can go no further along a particular path without jeopardising the belief that, yes, these characters would absolutely do that in that situation then I have a dilemma: do I force a solution, or do I give attention to the plot? Personally, I prefer to fix the plot, even if it means unravelling a thread.

    BTW: Avatar. Once Neytiri shows up it was always going to be a love story that drove the plot.
    Cameron loves love stories that come up against super-obstacles which, though thinly written (because he’s never that interested in the antagonist), provide just enough pressure to juice things on:

    Terminator: Sarah & Kyle V Terminator
    True Lies: Harry & Helen V mid-life crisis and terrorists
    Titanic: Jack & Rose V Billy Zane and history
    Avatar: Jake and Neytiri V Toxic Masculinity and Greed