As most of you know, at The Thinking Writer, I think a lot about theme. In a review of Alex Epstein’s excellent book, “Crafty Screenwriting”, The Artful Writer has dredged up a debate over that all important element: theme. It is worth paying attention to. A-level writer Craig Mazin shares his insight.

Here’s a sampling of past entries from The Thinking Writer on theme:

Why Bother With Theme?
April 4, 2005

But I Have A Theme?
April 7, 2005

February 25, 2005

2 thoughts on “THAT OLD DEVIL THEME”

  1. Hi, I was wondering if you know of a book, paper, or web site that has compiled a list of themes explored in the movies.

    There are hosts of books listing character archetypes, plots, genres, etc, but I can’t seem to find any compilations of movie themes. You’d think someone would have done this at some point in time.


  2. Most books about movies talk a little about the theme of specific movies they use as examples, but I do not know of any books that simply list themes of movies. Part of the reason may be that audience members often disagree on what the theme of a particular movie is, at least when it comes to a concrete expression of that theme. Those differences are not important for us as writers, since we use theme as an organizational tool to create dramatic structure. We don’t care whether different viewers interpret our material differently as long as it engages them on a thematic level.

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