Online Screenwriting Classes
For Spring Semester September 2015 the following courses will be offered:
Visual Writing: Online 6 week master class
Dialogue Writing: Online 6 week master class
Character Writing: Online 6 week master class
Dynamic Writing: Online 6 week master class
The Sex Scene: Online 6 week master class
All classes roll open on a Tuesday, around or before 3 AM, and there is a short written assignment due that Tuesday—students have all day to do that, up until 11 PM EST when the short written assignments are due.
All classes have Thursday night chats, which are one hour long and depending on the class take place at 8 PM EST, 9 PM EST, and 10 PM EST.
The Art of The Pitch
GET READY & SELL: You will learn how to encapsulate your story into one compelling statement; the five essential elements your pitch must contain to sell to producers and studios; the two pitch models; action driven vs. character driven pitching; the six points an elevator pitch must contain to interest a potential buyer — and what an elevator pitch is; how to open; how to close; how to use a story’s turning points to make your pitch compelling; when film comparisons work — and when they don’t; how to address the specific concerns of different members of the entertainment industry; how to condense and expand a pitch to take advantage of new pitching opportunities and mediums, and more….
MAKE READERS SEE YOUR MOVIE: You will learn how to use the visual elements space, light, and texture to create locations and scenes your readers can “see” and “feel”; how to establish and utilize perspective to make your script more visually dynamic; techniques to make your characters visually dynamic and “real” for readers; techniques to juxtapose exterior and interior visuals to create visually dynamic scenes and visuals; how to create visually dynamic motion and action in scripts using space and motion for the screen—and much much more….
The Sex Scene
MAKE SEX COUNT: You will learn how to portray sex on the page that is sexy to a reader—and audience. What to include, and what not to include, in a sex scene. How far is too far? And how far is just far enough? The difference between a character being hot and a reader/audience member being hot—and with you on the page. What to keep, what to lose, what’s gratuitous, and what plays into plot and works. And much much more.
High Concept Writing
UP YOUR GAME: You will learn techniques to identify and break down high concept — as well as build it up; how to kick start the five story elements that contribute to high concept; how genre can be used to increase your story’s concept level; how to recharge mundane story elements using arena, characters, and story stakes; how to use your story’s twists to heighten your story’s concept; how to utilize mental real estate while formulating your concept; how to take a mundane concept to an extreme concept — and how to use extreme story elements to up your concept game.
MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS REAL: You will learn how to create and use the two cornerstones of character; how to make characters “real” using the five visual elements of character; how dialogue and motion contribute to character reality; the do’s and don’ts of authorial intrusion in character introductions; when character arc is necessary and when it isn’t; why unlikable characters are sometimes favorite characters; the two aspects that contribute to character empathy; how to use subplots to contribute to character dimensions; what separates lead characters from secondary characters; what makes actors and actresses want to play characters; and how to use character goals to drive and focus your story’s plot.
Dynamic Writing is a six week intensive online course on using motion and scene elements, both static and non-static, to make sure a writer does not end up with a “talking head” script, i.e. a script which is all just watching characters sitting down talking. Which is radio, not film.
Oddly, in a crowd of people allegedly writing cinema for a screen at least the size of a small house wall — and sometimes larger — this is the class most people don’t get, or understand the importance of, going in. Dynamic Writing however is the second class I created from scratch because motion is one of the most lacking elements in scripts I read coming in from students and competitions — and shouldn’t be. When a writer writes for film, a writer is writing moving pictures. Emphasis on “moving.” Motion is one of the core strengths of cinema. Augmented by sound. Dynamic Writing is about using the strengths of film, motion and time jumps, overcoming the weaknesses of stories that do not have strong visuals or make use of both open spaces and enclosed spaces, and making images and scenes move on the motion picture screen — the way movies are supposed to.
Dialogue Writing is a six week intensive in depth class on writing dialogue. It is one of the newer classes. It is also one of the classes students have repeatedly asked for most. We will be covering realistic speech vs. dialogue speech. When to get in and when to get out of scenes and dialogue subjects in scenes. When monologues work and when they don’t — and why. How and why speech length vs. brevity reflects on and builds character. Using dialogue to create character and individuality and unique character. Why characterization cannot be separated from dialogue. How character reveals really work – and why. Why and when characters lie and how to use that to story advantage. How much information characters really want to give up and how that contributes to story and character as well. What in dialogue makes characters unique — and what doesn’t. Using rhythm and cadence vs. colloquialisms. Subtext. Voice over narration. And much much more.