ASSIGNMENT No. 1, MONDAY | March 23rd, 2020
Writing is a gift, a sneaky little voice that looms within. And turning those stories that fester within into films? The world will gladly watch it all unravel, line by line and scene by scene.
I had to go through the process without a whole lot of direction, but once in a while people way smarter than me with so much more experience than I had gave me tips and opportunity that opened the creative doorway.
This workshop is FOR YOU.
The bonus? It’s FREE!
Rather than sit in a classroom, we’re going to practice social distancing like rockstars.
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
– Louis L’Amour
Part 2 of your 10-day assignments.
- Make a pie circle.
- Divide that circle into 4 pieces.
- Each piece is one act of your screenplay and will act as the foundation you continually return to.
FILM + TV
Think about each pie piece as these four things.
Each pie piece is pivotal in making sure you know where your episode and story is going.
As you’re doing the exercises for this week, think about these pie pieces. They will become the driving force when you want to quit or feel writers block looming.
Part 1. Weekly Assignment …
This week we’re going to focus on intention. Each week I will add a new exercise but since this is the first day, I want to get your mind moving by asking a few questions.
- What is your film about?
- What is your main character’s motivation?
- Who are your characters?
- What nuances make them unique?
- Do you relate to them?
These five questions can help you decipher everything. Why? Because if you don’t know what and who your movie is about, that’s the first challenge you’re going to be faced with.
Start this week by taking time to know the WHY.
Why are you motivated to tell your story?
It’s not meant to be discouraging, but when you’ve finished your story, someone is going to ask you why you wrote your story, what inspired you. Honestly? This is the time to craft an answer so that BEFORE you start writing and breaking your story, you remember there’s a reason for it.
In order to craft a great story—and even moreso—an unforgettable and award-winning screenplay, you have to peel away the things holding you back.
My favorite way to map out my story defies some of the traditional screenwriting advice. A while back a friend introduced me to the Storyclock Notebook. Unlike 40 notecards or index cards pinned on a board, the storyclock is a visual story pie. Each quarter of the pie represents an act.
Why does that matter? Because we’re writing for a visual medium. Sometimes going against the grain is your greatest asset. Seeing your film in tangible pie pieces helps you locate plot holes, missing scenes and the modality its going to require to move your story forward.
So today, begin with answering these basic questions:
- What message matters most in your particular story?
- Write down the first line of dialogue.
- Is it strong?
- Would you be interested if you were watching it on screen? (If you answered no, ask why.)
- Remember that dialogue is essential. Be expressive but don’t speak in ways that don’t FEEL natural. Forced dialogue shows on screen.
- Make a list of your top 1-5 characters.
- Give them names. This makes them real to you.
- Write down 5 characteristics of each one of your characters.
- Do not be basic.
- Describe WHO and WHAT they are.
- Do they have nervous ticks?
- Do they have distinguishing marks?
- Do you they have a tell?
- Lastly, whatever descriptive word you’re used to, go search for a new way to say it.
- EXAMPLES: Instead of sad, use morose. Instead of happy, use jovial. GET DEEP.
NOW? When you need feedback or direction, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When you’ve answered these questions, email them to me for feedback. I will be checking back to see how everyone is doing and if you have questions? Contact me HERE.
For those interested in the CREATIVE SHORT FICTION Writing Workshop:
The last writing workshop we did at LACMA was about learning descriptors.