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WRITE LA Screenwriting Workshop 2020
COMING SOON: WEEK 3. Understanding HOW to write out your story now that you’ve written words down.
APRIL 10 | The next lesson will be getting a better understanding of actual structure. Understanding scene breakdowns, lines of action, beats, moods, dialogue, transitions.
I know there is a lot to learn and 4 weeks online are tricky in terms of covering it. That said, if anyone would like to do a live zoom call, let’s schedule that on April 12th at 12noon PST. (Los Angeles time) To be on the call, please email me and in the subject header type: ZOOM CALL, YES! firstname.lastname@example.org
WEEK 2 | START.
WEDNESDAY | April 1, 2020
All week I’ve been thinking about the feature film and TV episode I need to write this month. And as I thought about what I do to prepare, including asking myself all the questions I posed to you last week, I figured I’d apply some of the things that have helped me write projects and get out of my own way.
This week—now that you’ve hopefully answered all those questions from the 1st assignment—I want you to actually START WRITING YOUR SCREENPLAY/TV PILOT. Yes, I’m serious. I am not a fan of waiting and methodically doing every thing prior to getting to it. AND if you’re a screenwriter, you know your mortal enemy is procrastination. So this week I’m going to give you one assignment. And it’s going to be difficult.
START WRITING YOUR SCREENPLAY or TV PILOT/EPISODE.
No more excuses.
No more waiting.
Much like writing a short story or a short film, you have approximately 5 pages/minutes of limited time to lure in the reader/viewer.
The only way to do that? START WRITING IT.
So what does that mean?
It means your very first page must be strong. And everything to follow? Has to be just as strong.
Taking the first page from some of our favorite movies, the one certain “certainty” is that no one page is the same and yet all are engaging.
Take a look at 5 screenplays PAGE 1’s.
I want you to not only start writing your first pages, I want you to keep writing through to page 5.
I know. It’s scary and a big task—but one page every day would get you to 9 pages by the time we get to Week 3 (keeping in mind that in coronavirus world, a week is not 7, but rather 10 days. You’re welcome.)
It’s tough screenwriting love time. And this is the push you’ve been begging for. Promise.
READ THE PAGE ONE’S BELOW. (Then read the message right after.)
THE BREAKFAST CLUB by John Hughes
Against Black, TITLE CARD: “…and these children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through… – David Bowie”
The Blank Screen and Title Card SHATTER to reveal…
EXT. SHERMER HIGH SCHOOL – DAY
During Brian’s monologue, we see various views of things inside the school including Bender’s locker.
Saturday…March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois. Dear Mr. Vernon…we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong, what we did was wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write this essay telling you who we think we are, what do you care? You see us as you want to see us…in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at seven o’clock this morning. We were brainwashed…
INT. CLAIRE’S CAR – DAY
We see CLAIRE and her FATHER sitting in their car in the parking lot. Claire is the prom queen and is clearly a snob.
I can’t believe you can’t get me out of this…I mean it’s so absurd I have to be here on a Saturday! It’s not like I’m a defective or anything…
I’ll make it up to you…Honey, ditching class to go shopping doesn’t make you a defective. Have a good day.
Claire rolls her eyes and gets out of the car and walks up the school front steps
THELMA AND LOUISE by Callie Khouri
WHIPLASH by Damien Chazelle
We hear a HIT. A drumstick against a drum head. Crisp, sharp.
Then a second hit. Then a third and a fourth. The hits growing so fast they start to blur together. Like gunfire…
1 INT. NASSAU BAND REHEARSAL STUDIO – GEHRING HALL – NIGHT 1
A cavernous space. Sound-proofed walls. And in the center, a DRUM SET. Seated at it, in a sweat-marked white T, eyes zeroed on his single-stroke roll, is ANDREW NEIMAN. He’s 19, slight, honors-student-skinny — except for his arms, which have been built from years and years of drumming.
Suddenly — a MAN enters the practice room. Stopping, rising–
Sorry… I’m — I’m sorry–MAN. It’s ok. Stay there.
The MAN steps forward, removes his coat. He’s tall. Late fifties. Black T-shirt, black slacks, black shoes. We’ll know him as FLETCHER.
The room is silent now. And then, softly, as he’s one of those people whose whisper can scare the crap out of you–
What’s your name?
Andrew Neiman, sir. (It’s pronounced “Nayman”.)
What year are you?
I’m a first-year, sir.
You know who I am?
You know what I do?
GAME OF THRONES – PILOT
PULP FICTION by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary
Now that you’ve read a variety of page one screenplays that have gone down in history as the greats, stop holding yourself back.
This workshop is about you actually gaining an understanding of what and who you’re writing about. You need to know them intimately… your characters. Only way to do that? BRING THEM TO LIFE.
So go. Don’t worry about how perfect it comes out. Just write the first page—and then write four more.
In 10 days you can accomplish more than you think.
I have faith in you. And remember, get out of your own way.
Now go write the first five pages of your screenplay/teleplay.