Vancouver film drector, producer and screenwriter Ric Beairsto learned in 2007 that his book, The Tyranny of Story: Audience Expectations and the Short Screenplay was #1 on the American Film Institute's list of required reading for its incoming students, under the screenwriting category, when an AFI student called him looking for the book. The call prompted Beairsto to rewrite and self-publish The Tyranny of Story as a print-on-demand title. "At the risk of hubris," he says, "I don't believe any of the other books on short screenplay writing have grasped the essential difference between writing feature-length vs. short screenplays; how the visual nature of the medium calls for a particular kind of story, if a short screenplay, and ultimately a short production, is likely to realize its full potential.";

The first version of the book was written in the late 90s, after Beairsto had taught a course in screenwriting at the Vancouver Film School for almost ten years. He had tried repeatedly to find a textbook for the course, but was never satisfied with anything available. Unlike the many books to be found on feature-length screenwriting, there are relatively few on the short screenplay. His frustration grew steadily, until finally in 1997, he decided to write The Tyranny of Story: Audience Expectations and the Short Screenplay. It was then published by the School in a small run of a few thousand.

Ric Beairsto has worked as a screenwriter, director and producer in the Canadian film and television industry since 1980. He has also taught screenwriting on a part-time basis at various post-secondary institutes since 1987, where he has actively workshopped more than 1500 short screenplays.

[BCBW 2009] "Film"