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SCREENWRITING FUNDAMENTALS SUPPLIES & PREPARATION

Screenwriting StillThis is going to be a fun and rewarding, but challenging class.  We have set the bar high, but completely achievable. The goal of writing a feature length screenplay will entail writing 90-100 pages of script, so that works out to be 10-11 pages a week or 1-2 pages a day.
But as they say in the Screenwriting world, it’s more about the journey than the destination.  My expectations for each of you is that you go at your own pace and commit to writing every week for the next 9 weeks.  I don’t care if you write a page a week or 10 pages a day, it is all progress to me.  The other very important expectation of the class is that you are prepared to share your work and what you have written every class.
I would like the students to begin developing their story idea now before class begins.  They are welcome to begin writing a rough draft, but not required.  They can begin outlining their story, but not required.  They can begin by writing a short-story not in a formatted script, but again not required.
All I will require of the students is to prepare their elevator pitch for their movie idea.  This is known as the logline.  One sentence that captures the essence of the movie and lays out the story’s concept.  Read pages 30-33 in your text book for more info on loglines and conceptualizing a great movie idea.
Here are 2 different suggested formats for a logline:
1.  Logline Elements in this order.
  • A protagonist (A Sheriff afraid of water)
  • + A struggle/a verb (overcomes his fears to hunt and kill)
  • + Antagonist (A massive predatory Great White Shark)
  • + Goal (To save his beach town)
  • + Stakes (Or more people will die.)
Example:
Jaws:
A Sheriff afraid of water, overcomes his fears to hunt and kill a massive predatory great white shark, to save his beach town or more people will die.
-OR-
2. The Kinetic Logline Template:
  • Action Verb
  • Inciting Incident
  • Flaw
  • Protagonist
  • Outer Journey Crisis/Conflict
  • Realization of Inner Journey
Example:
Minority Report:
“Forced into hiding for a crime he didn’t do, a despondent cop attempts to prove his innocence for a murder he has not yet committed.”
  • Action Verb: Forced into hiding
  • Inciting Incident: A crime he didn’t do
  • Fatal Flaw: Despondent
  • Protagonist: Cop
  • Outer Journey: Attempts to prove his innocenceCrisis: For a murder
  • Realization: He has not yet committed.
To help you brainstorm your movie idea, I’m providing you with some great articles from Script Magazine.
Additional Homework:
Reading produced scripts is the single most important thing you can do as a developing writer.  I am providing you with a few scripts this summer.  I’d like you to read two before class begins.
Please read the scripts first then watch the movies for:
  • Shawshank Redemption (movie available for streaming on Netflix)
  • Ferris Beuller’s Day Off (movie available for streaming on Hulu)
If you can’t access the movies online or from your public library let me know.  I will be able to provide you with them.
Supplies Needed:
  1. Ear-bud headphones with built in microphone
  2. Cell phone
  3. Screenwriting Software (Final Draft recommended, but celtx.com is a good free alternative)
  4. Access to personal computer laptop or desktop
  5. Webcam (if computer doesn’t have one built in)
SFA Provides:
  1. Text Book “The Screenwriter’s Bible”
  2. Access to online platform
  3. Produced Screenplays
  4. Articles
  5. Film clips
  6. Full-length Films (if needed)