How to Write a Screenplay like David Mamet

Do you have an idea that you think would make a great movie, TV show or webisode, but have no idea how to write a screenplay?  It is not uncommon for people to have a screenplay idea, but have no clue where to start.

Like many other skills in life, learning to write a solid screenplay takes a good amount of research, practice and repetition. The following are some things that you can do to help yourself learn:

  • Read screenplays
  • Understand the format of a screenplay
  • Watch television shows and movies
  • Study some of the most successful screenplay writers
  • Come up with an idea for a screenplay
  • Develop screenplay ideas through outlines and storyboards

One of the best ways to learn the process of writing a screenplay is to watch and read from the best screenwriters. Most of the best screenwriters have a signature or a niche. David Mamet, the screen writer of The Untouchables and Hannibal, is one of the best screenwriters who displays his signature style in his screenplays. Mamet has always had the ability to include wordy, actor-reliant sensibility in his scripts.

Mamet’s style of dialogue is what speaks his name in his screenplays. It is branded by a cynical, street-smart swagger that is so distinctive that people gave it the name Mamet Speak. He likes to use italics and quotation marks to highlight particular words and to draw attention to his character’s deceitful use of language. Mamet’s films have a tendency of make a change of direction of a moral question or decision. For example, in the screenplay Glengarry Glen Ross, two real estate salesmen consider breaking into their boss’s office to steal a list of good clients. Here is a snippet of the script.

Moss: No. What do you mean? Have I talked to him about this [Pause]

Aaronow: Yes. I mean are you actually talking about this, or are we just…

Moss: No, we’re just…

Aaronow We’re just “talking” about it.

Moss: We’re just speaking about it. [Pause] As an idea.

Aaronow: As an idea.

Moss: Yes.

Aaronow: We’re not actually talking about it.

Moss: No.

Aaronow: Talking about it as a…

Moss: No.

Aaronow As a robbery.

Moss: As a “robbery?” No.


Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize and Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross. As a screenwriter, he received an Oscar nomination for The Verdict and Wag the Dog. Mamet has shown that screenplay writing can lead to so many other things. He is the founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company.

New Show Studios is a company designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small (TV shows, movies, webisodes).  The company has all the resources under one roof to develop your screenplay idea into a concept package and present it to an entertainment company through its exclusive licensing agent, SFM Entertainment.  SFM Entertainment has over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry.

Don’t be the person kicking yourself because you sat on your idea only to see it in theaters or on television one day, because someone else had a similar idea.  New Show Studios can help you take action and pursue your screenplay idea.

Do you have an idea for a new TV show, movie or webisode? Click here to submit your idea.


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