Getting Visual (Screenplay 101) Screenwriting Seminar
This session is now closed- please contact us to talk about your screenwriting any time!
“Scripts are what matter. If you get the foundations right and then you get the right ingredients on top, you stand a shot… but if you get those foundations wrong, then you absolutely don’t stand a shot. It’s very rare–almost never–that a good film gets made from a bad screenplay.”
Ready to explore how to bring your ideas to life? Get all the foundational aspects of screenwriting in this 3-session seminar. Through a combination of lectures, samples, handouts, and short assignments, you will learn what a screenplay is, what it isn’t, and how to start your journey as a screenwriter.
January 27, Feb. 3, Feb. 10, 2020
7:00 p.m. EST
*Click here to sign up for The Everything You Need to Know About Screenwriting Seminar Series, which is a full course designed to prepare writers to write your own screenplay and launch you into a screenwriting career.
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Are you ready for your writing to get visual?
Screenwriting is the perfect art form for bringing visual storytelling to life. In this 3-session seminar, you will learn the nuts and bolts of screenwriting:
- In Session 1, you will learn standard industry formatting, get familiar with how screenwriting software works, and learn how to read screenplays.
- Session 2 will introduce the concept of visual storytelling and how it differs from other forms of writing (i.e. prose). You will also learn how screenplays measure playing time from the page, and how to plan a story from visuals first. Your take-home work will see you trying your hand at telling a simple visual story.
- We’ll wrap up with Session 3 – “show don’t tell.” Here you’ll learn how to avoid expository writing and what is and isn’t for the screenwriter to put on the page. We will also explore how visual story telling allows writers to use and bend time in ways entirely unique to the medium.
By the end of the seminar, you will have a firm grasp of how to go about writing your own screenplay!
The online seminar is fully interactive and takes place via live video conference (which is recorded, so you can watch it on replay). During the seminar, you’ll have ample opportunity to share your work, talk through and practice craft issues, and ask questions about the genre.
Assignments, readings, and video clips will guide you on your screenplay writing journey.
Isn’t a screenplay just a story?
Not exactly. While a screenplay tells a story, it is actually a blueprint for the final visual product. It will be used by the producers, directors, casting agents, actors, location scouts, set designers, costume department, etc. to bring together all the elements that make a movie or TV series. It is a very collaborative document and the success of every department starts with the writer.
How is telling a story for the screen different from writing any other type of story?
Film and television are visual mediums. What is described in a book can range from the physical surroundings, to the smells, to the deepest thoughts and feelings of a character. We spend time in their internal world, getting to know them and bonding with them. In screenwriting, if it can’t be seen on the screen, it shouldn’t be in the script.
Screenwriting forces the writer to ask: “How do I SHOW what the character thinks and feels since I can’t TELL the audience directly?” This includes actions and dialogue that convey emotional subtext.
Do I have to buy special software?
Not at all! While screenwriting does use special software like Final Draft and Move Magic Screenwriter there are free online alternatives that will help you format your screenplay. Of course, once you fall in love with screenwriting, you may want to purchase the more comprehensive software.
What is the seminar format?
The class will meet in real time over interactive video conference (3 sessions at 2 hours each) to hear Rebecca’s lecture, and talk about the various craft, theory, and production elements in screenplay writing. All materials will be provided including assignment details.
How the online seminar works
- After enrolling, you will receive an email with information about the seminar series. A few days before the first seminar is to begin, you will receive any other pertinent information and a reminder for the video conference.
- The seminars take place over video conference. Each week prior to the video meeting, you will receive an email with a link to your class’ video meeting. Click on it, and you’ll be brought into the secure meeting where you can take part in the interactive conversation.
Rebecca Hales is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Bell Media Prime Time TV program and holds an MFA from University of British Columbia. In 2016 she was awarded the Telefilm New Voices award at the Toronto Screenwriting Conference and was one of the Corus Entertainment Writer’s Apprentice Program participants at the Banff World Media Festival. Her credits include script supervising the critically acclaimed and Canadian Screen Award winning CTV Series Cardinal – Blackfly season, a writing credit on Season 1 of Travelers, the Showcase/Netflix sci-fi series from showrunner Brad Wright (Stargate franchise), working in the development room of Solstice, another Brad Wright original series, interning on the CTV drama series Saving Hope, and the Women in Film and Television Toronto Showcase award winning short film “Dissecting Gwen.” In 2018 her political crime thriller Amazonas was short listed for the NSI Totally Television award. She is currently developing a number of projects with Rusty Halo Productions, has created a half-hour comedy series with creative partners Katherine Barrell (Wynonna Earp)and Ray Galletti with the support of producer JB Sugar(Bitten, Dark Matter), and multiple solo projects.