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Special Writing Show interview: Writer/director Dan O'Bannon's Screenwriting Structure

With Diane O'Bannon and Matt Lohr

Download and listen to Dan O'Bannon's screenwriting structure here

A Writing Show special: Dan O'Bannon's screenwriting structure.

Famed writer/director Dan O’Bannon, best known for his work on “Alien,” was a legend. At the time of his death in 2009, he was working with a protégé named Matt Lohr on a book that outlined his own proprietary screenplay structural method, which he called dynamic structure. He had taught this system at USC, Chapman University, and other institutions.

After Dan died, his wife, Diane, asked Matt to complete the book, Dan O'Bannon's Guide to Screenplay Structure: Inside Tips from the Writer of ALIEN, TOTAL RECALL and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Matt and Diane finished the book, which has been published by Michael Wiese Productions, the publishing house behind such popular film production and screenwriting books as Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder and The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler.

Dan's structural system is a unique look at story, reconceiving character and conflict in a revolutionary style that breathes new life into standard screenplay structural models. Unlike other such systems, Dan's has a proven track record, as the billion-dollar worldwide grosses of his films (not to mention ALIEN's place in the National Film Registry) attest.

Diane O’Bannon met her future husband, Dan, at USC while he was in preproduction on “Dark Star.” Following a years-long on-again off-again connection, Diane and Dan married in 1986, a union that lasted until his death in 2009.

Diane continues to shepherd unproduced and unpublished Dan O’Bannon works into the wider world. She is currently preparing a publication of Dan’s own version of the Necronomicon and is in negotiations regarding posthumous production of several of his screenplays.

A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Matt R. Lohr, is an award-winning screenwriter, essayist, and critic. He holds an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman University in Orange, California, where he first met Dan O’Bannon and agreed to work with him on the book that became Dan O'Bannon's Guide to Screenplay Structure. He is a regular book critic for JazzTimes Magazine, and his views on contemporary and classic cinema can be found on his blog, “The Movie Zombie.”

Matt is also the host of the forthcoming Dan O’Bannon Writing Workshops, which will bring a hands-on presentation of Dan’s dynamic structure screenplay system to seminars, pitchfests, and industry events worldwide. More information on these events, and on all upcoming projects and programs relating to Dan’s works and teaching, is available online at the official Dan O’Bannon Web site.

Interviewees: Diane O'Bannon and Matt Lohr
Host: Paula B.
Date: February 18, 2104
Running time: 01:11:04
File size: 25 megabytes
Rating: PG. Passing sexual reference.