Diane O’Bannon & Matt R. Lohr on Dan O’Bannon’s Screenplay Structure from Alien to Total Recall

In January 2013 Dan O’Bannon’s book about the craft of screenwriting, “Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure,” was posthumously published four years after his passing. O’Bannon had conceived and authored the sci-fi/horror classic “Alien” and amongst other notable genre favorites, also directed and wrote the zombie horror/comedy classic “The Return of the Living Dead.”

This following interview was graciously granted by his wife Diane, and the book’s co-author Matt R. Lohr, originally at Cinemachine in December 2012 – along with a review of the book.

How long was this book in the making?

DIANE O’BANNON: Dan had some version of this book in the back of his mind for a long time. Back around 1974, I was going through some of his papers, and among his notes I found a single sheet titled “O’Bannon’s Rules of Writing.”  That page only had one rule on it: “Never Bore Your Audience.” At that time, it was clear that Dan was going to continue from there with different rules, but the message was obviously a central and simple one.

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