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The Screenwriter’s Roadmap by Neil Landau

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17

WHAT'S THE MISSING PIECE?

Infuse Your Story with a Central Mystery

The exceptional screenwriter/director/executive producer J.J. Abrams did a TED Talk several years ago called “The Mystery Box.” If you haven't seen it yet, it's only about 20 minutes long and definitely worth checking out. Basically, when Abrams was a kid, his grandfather bought him a “Mystery Box” at a magic store. The packaging on the sealed box promised: “Fifteen dollars for fifty bucks worth of magic!” Abrams explains to the rapt TED Talk audience that he still has this box today; it sits on a shelf in his office—for inspiration. But what's most remarkable about the story is Abrams has never opened it. Because he knows it will be disappointing. He talks about how the ...

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