The Last Reveal Blog Interviews Richard Walter – Screenwriting Priesthood

The below posting is an excercpt from Lee Matthias’ blog The Last Reveal:

For the unfamiliar, a “reveal” in screenwriting parlance is the placement of key, revelatory information in a story. Most times, the last reveal is the most important revelation of all.



Through the open entryway, SNOW swirls over a rocky promontory. The HIMALAYAS spike the sky in the distance.

The SOUND of struggling IS HEARD (O.S.). Then a gloved hand holding an ICE HAMMER punches up from below. A PITON is thrust up and to the edge where the hammer pounds it in. A CARABINER with ROPE LINE is snapped in place.

Then, a FIGURE, A MAN, pulls himself up and onto the flat surface and stands.

The heaving, exhausted climber reaches up and removes his GOGGLES.

With effort, he staggers into the monastery.

A MONK sits in meditation before him. After a moment, he opens his eyes, a look of questioning in them.

MAN I seek… enlightenment.

The monk beckons him forward as a DOOR in the wall behind him magically OPENS.

Inside is a SCREENING ROOM, filled to capacity with laughing MONKS. Everyone watches Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? with TIBETAN SUB-TITLES.

At the front, bathed in ethereal LIGHT, is the monastery’s HIGH LAMA, the GURU, RICHARD WALTER. He turns, smiles.

GURU RICHARD WALTER Just… entertain me.

Essentials of Screenwriting: the Art, Craft, and Business of Film and Television Writing,
—Richard Walter, Plume, 2010.

From the author’s website:

Richard Walter is a celebrated storytelling guru, movie industry expert, and longtime chairman of UCLA’s legendary graduate program in screenwriting. A screenwriter and published novelist, his latest book, Essentials of Screenwriting, is available in stores July, 2010.

While he may not remember it, Mr. Walter and I were on a screenwriting conference panel in Madison, WI back in the ‘90s. I recall that he was a great guy, an engaging and illuminating panelist, and he even signed and personalized my copy of his first book.

Richard Walter is also a preeminent proponent of screenwriting and screenwriters. While some screenwriting experts aspire to be seen as authorities on the craft, oftentimes limiting and controlling what it is, Mr. Walter facilitates screenwriting, striving to help screenwriters and screenplays become what each can be. The darker side of screenwriting gurus, a group along with its disciples, of whom I have referred to in this space as “the Screenwriting Priesthood,” are all about their own power and control. Richard Walter (and others like him) is only about his student’s potential, and their scripts’ power to affect and move audiences. The Yiddish word, mensch, comes to mind: a man of integrity and honor. He is a screenwriter’s champion.

To read the full posting – visit The Last Reveal.

Comments are closed.