If you were a group of “creative writers” or a bunch of kids dabbling in film class in any other high school, I’d have given you the short <> Easter Basket version of this presentation. But this is CAPA and more than a handful of you are seriously considering going into the biz, so I can’t treat you like babies <> Presumably artists/fimmakers in training, you will someday look back on this and find it valuable. <> As far as training goes, any trainer knows, you need to feed the animals to make them happy. (Hand out cookies) Let’s get busy.
Bennett encouraged me to go easy on the boring theory stuff and tell what its really like to work in the industry. If you were a So here it is, bumps, warts and all. Maybe one or two of you will end up being a fulltime scriptwriter, but if you stay in this business, you will have to read scripts, analyze them, hire and fire writers or again maybe put your story on the screen. Screenwriting is unlike any other kind of writing and I’m going to show you how. The boring theory stuff is a big part of that. But first, as I promised my son, I’d lead off with what it’s really like to work as a freelance screenwriter. I work for myself. I set my own schedule. I make an income—some years decent, some not. I’ve met some celebrities and been on some amazing film and tv commercial production sets. I’m not famous and haven’t done anything famous. The closest I got was as a finalist in the Sundance Institute’s New Filmmakers Lab. It was a ROM COM I co-wrote with a guy from India I met at Rockport. But I do something I love and can’t imagine doing anything else. I came to screenwriting as a process. I love movies and everything about them. That’s what I should have said at the top. So I went to Temple and got a degree in Communications. I came out of Temple U a green kid, knowing about what you’ll know at the end of Mr. K’s course. So in order to break into the biz I fetched coffee, did tape logs, gripped, tape-oped, did electrical, started shooting, did some lighting design, edited, ran an edit suite and a studio as a post-production engineer, went to Channel 12 and got lectured to by the Production manager who said kid get the heck out of tech and do what you do best That began my focus on writing Over the years, I’ve done a lot of writing, studying of writing, writing and some lecturing on the subject of writing. I may never have a screenplay optioned or made into a film, but I continue to plug away at it. I have half a dozen great ideas, one for sci fi time travel epic. Avatar convinced me the time is right for me to get busy on it. But day to day, I have to make a living. Day to day. Screenwriters in NY/PHL make between free and $20 on the low end and upwards of $120 an hour on the high end. Working for ad agencies, corporations and private companies with real budgets that range from 60k to 1.5Mill. I can tell you I haven’t worked on the low end for quite a while. But that doesn’t mean I work regularly. Some weeks I work not at all, some 80 hours. It’s a crapshoot. My income rises and falls with jobs. There’s a lot of competition out there. Sometimes I do quite well. Sometimes city garbagemen do better than me. It’s not easy, certainly for somebody who needs job security or a regular life. It’s also kind of a lonely business. It helps being in a big city, but you have to be good in your own head by yourself and then turn around and be good with people. It’s a tall order. I’m a working screenwriter and yes, <>1 I feel lucky. Anybody have any questions about anything I’ve said <>2 Then lets talk about the art of the script and 3 act structure <>3 After we get hip deep in it, we’re going to do an exercise that I think will help make it clear We’ll hit on some other important things you need to know, things that make scripts unique documents <>4 You would think with all you have to go through, with all the competition, with all the great films out there, with the fact that there is no film except that it starts in the mind of a writer, that the writer would be a revered part of the filmmaking team. But we’re a step above pond scum, the lowest rung and I’ll prove it to you. Quickly Name 5 Films . Five directors, 5 actors. Now name 5 screenwriters: William Goldman, Cody Dakota, Joss Whedon, David Mamet, Julius Epstein, David Hare, Aaron Sorkin, Anita Loos, Dalton Trumbo You know their movies, but you don’t really know them, <*>5 Do you? Amazing and spontaneous as Dirty Harry seemed. Somebody wrote Clint Eastwood these lines and every other one he spoke. His name was Dean Riesner Credits: &quot;Lawman,&quot; &quot;Ben Casey,&quot; &quot;The Outer Limits&quot; and &quot;Rawhide,&quot; &quot;Coogan's Bluff.“ &quot;Play Misty for Me,&quot; &quot;Dirty Harry.&quot; &quot;High Plains Drifter&quot; &quot;Rich Man, Poor Man&quot; Script doctor, working Uncredited on such features as &quot;Das Boot,&quot; &quot;Blue Thunder&quot; and &quot;Starman.“ He died in 2002, like most great screenwriters, in virtual anonymity.
We live on stories. Just like food, water, shelter, emotional connection, we need stories to feed our emotional connections to the people around us. To our world. So, to introduce the theory of screenwriting, let me tell you a story. For most of human existence, there was only one way to tell a story. <*>1 Verbally. The story changed with each teller. Some story tellers became elevated because of their skills, but their stories were only as good as the teller and after the telling, the story was gone, just a wonderful memory. <*>2 Writing changed that. Now a story could be told exactly the way the storyteller wrote it. Each new storyteller could still add their schtick to a classic story, but anybody who knew the original writing now had a basis for comparison. Some say that this was the twin birth of the writer and the critic. <*>3 Now the story, because it is written, it had a script, which meant it could even be relived through performance. There was nothing more thrilling to see a story brought to life right in front of you. But if you missed the event, it was gone. No live performance was or ever is the same twice. <*>4 Then it changed again through the advent of the recording arts and sciences. Film Radio, then TV brought stories off the paper, off of live performance and made them recordable, repeatable, archivable and accessible to virtually everybody who had access. Films If you go back to the early days of TV and radio, what they started with, what continues to go strong today are stories. We crave them, They are part of our “social” DNA. The magic of film is the magic of any performed story. In the first 30 seconds, you are drawn into a living, breathing thing. You forget you are in a darkened room, holding some guy or some girl’s sweaty hand and you are sucked into the story as surely as you are pulled into another dimension. In this dimension, everything that happens seems new, magical and spontaneous. Like it just happens, right in front of your eyes. But as future makers of media, know this. Nothing in film, radio or TV production is spontaneous. Nothing just appears. Everything, every shot, frame, actor, prop, light, extra, every story element is carefully conceived in the mind of the writer, then the director, then the actor Everything that looks spontaneous is in fact carefully orchestrated, down to the last detail. It may look that way to the uninitiated, but guess what, you are now the initiated. You have to give up your naiveté that anything can happen in a film. The day you entered that door, you jumped down the rabbit hole and here you are Alice. Welcome to Story Wonderland. So let’s look at it’s first rule.
Stories are told in three acts Stories are told in three acts The three act structure is something that sounds forbidding and formulaic, but you’ll soon see that there’s nothing more natural. Aristotle in his famous Poetics, the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory, analyzed storytelling and broke it down by its elements. <>1 plot (mythos) character (ethos) theme (dianoia) performance (lexis) melody (melos) setting (opsis) <>2 You don’t need to know them He defined the difference between dramas and comedies, he did a lot of stuff, but since you’re not eyeing a career in the Greek theater. Let’s look at how Hollywood breaks it down this way. <><><> This is a formula. It works. Now you’re gonna find out why.
It works because it’s dead dog logical 3 acts. 3 parts of a story, beginning, middle and end. Act 1 Setup, Act 2 Conflict. Act 3 Resolution In Act one, things begin, In act two, the conflict happens, in act three the conflict is resolved. Lets deconstruct this further
Connected to 3 act structure like you to your cellphone is the notion of rising action. What this means. Simply that as things go along, they get more intense. Logical again, right. If you want to get a visceral sense of rising action, think of any slasher fllick. Or think of the Terminator. Let’s graph this out. <> The lead character starts at their baseline at the beginning. But one thing happens that starts the action. This is called the inciting incident. Then another, more major incident happens Plot Point 1 We’re at the end of act 1. and we know there is no going back. Act 2, more crises happen and each crisis drive your character to more desperate, more life changing actions. Tension is on the uptick in the midpoint, halfway through the movie, Then something hits your character so hard, that we think that all is lost. Call this the Black moment. But then, the tide turns, something sets the hero up for a possible success. A ghost of a chance. This is Plot point two. This sets the hero and villain up for the climactic event where the hero defeats the villain and we resolve into a new baseline. Once again, all is right with the world, but like Thomas Mann said, we never quite go back go home again. This is Rising action With each event, the action gets faster, more intense, more important until the climax, then we settle down. The don emon. We all love action and “the ride” is one of the reasons we go to films. This may lead you to believe that action leads the other elements of the story but it doesn’t. <*> Action must derive from your character. Not the other way around. Who they are, what they want from life, Nothing happens that does not come from the things that drive your characters to change, Think of Gollem in LOTR <*> The bottom line is as Dante says, Action is the Mirror of character A passive character is one whose environment acts on them. Boring. An active character is one who acts on their environment. <> Character development drives conflict. Character development drives conflict. I cannot overstate how important this is.
Who are the people in your story going to be? Why do I care about them? Will anybody else? What is the journey my hero/heroine is on? What is his or her major malfunction? One of the adages of good screenwriting is begin your scene as late as possible and get out as early as possible. The heroes journey does not begin at Fade In Act 1 Scene 1 but long beforehand. Read Joseph Campbell if you want to learn all about heroes in not just Western Culture but all cultures. We don’t have the time to do that here But these are just a few questions to ask before laying out a character arc. I’ll leave you one thing to think about. Dudley Dooright is a cartoon. No truly engaging hero is perfect. From Gilgamesh to Hercules to the Guvinator. All heroes are deeply flawed people. It’s what makes them interesting.
You can say much the same about villains. Nobody wants a Snidley Whiplash villain. Heavies who twist their moustaches and know they are evil are cliches, and belong in comic books. Make sure they are fully rounded. The better your antagonist is defined, the better your protagonist will be. Remember, Hitler thought he was performing a service to mankind when he gassed six million Jews. In his mind, this was valuable social retribution, not genocide. Say you are going to write him as the complex monster that he was, you must see inside that twisted logic. You’d need to show that he believed he was a hero, despite the fact that he was one of the most infamous villains' mankind has ever seen. Finding the motivation for the villain is extremely important. The strengths in a villain are always more interesting than the flaws
Character Arc in Story Structure defines how your hero changes In Act 1 Beginning 30 min—Establishes Exposition --The part of a story that introduces the characters, shows some of their interrelationships, and places them within a time and place. This part of the story introduces the main character, the dramatic premise, and the dramatic situation. Main character --the person in the story who has a need/objective to fulfill and whose actions drive the story Dramatic premise --what the story's about Dramatic situation --the circumstances surrounding the action Inciting Incident --an event that sets the plot of the film in motion. It occurs approximately halfway through the first act. Act One is the preparation act for the viewer or reader. They are asking who is the hero. Do I like this person? Is this guy a heavy? Do I care about the relationships? What is the problem for the hero? Is the problem gripping?
Act 2 begins to put pressure on your main characters. It begins as a surprise that shifts the story in a new direction and reveals that the protagonist’s life will never be the same again. In Star Wars this point occurs when Luke's family is killed, freeing him to fight the Empire. The key to Act Two is conflict Co ntinually raise the stakes of your character’s emotional journey. Simultaneous inner and outer conflicts . Reversals of fortune and unexpected setbacks mark the Midpoint The Black Moment turn, the hero reaches In order to have a &quot;Climax&quot;, where the tension is highest, you must have a &quot;Black&quot; moment, where the stakes are highest and danger at its worst. Without it you can’t move the story forward. Dorothy’s gotta get a broom from the Wicked Witch before she can go home. Luke’s gotta blow up the Death Star before fulfilling his destiny. Act 2 is all about the hero’s battle with change, resisting it until they realize they can’t. Until they scrape bottom. It puts an obstacle in the way of the character that forces him or her to deal with something they would avoid under normal circumstances. And conflict doesn’t mean a literal fight. Come up with obstacles (maybe five, maybe a dozen— depends on the story) leading up to your plot point at the end of Act 2.
Plot Point 2 marks the end of the second act and the beginning of the 3 rd . Here, it becomes clear that the story shifts in a new direction and reveals that the protagonist’s life will never be the same again. In the &quot;Climax&quot;, where the tension is highest, the stakes are highest and danger at its worst. During this moment, the hero draws upon the new strengths or lessons he's learned in order to take action and bring the story to a conclusion. Dorothy’s gotta get a broom from the Wicked Witch before she can go home. Luke’s gotta blow up the Death Star before fulfilling his destiny. Character arc. Let’s review Character is happy, everything is normal. Something compels him to change but he resists. Then something happens that he can’t resist. She needs to do something to restore normalcy, to save the day, but we know things will never be the same even if she succeeds. Then more crises happen, until the crippling one that makes it look like our hero will fail and all will be lost. The hero reaches deep within herself and pulls out something she didn’t know or nobody else even knew was there. He now believes in himself, even if his belief seems foolish to outsiders. By luck, skill, heroic action, she saves the day in a climactic event. But he is a changed man and she is a changed woman. Things return to “normal” but it’s a new level of normal and our hero is a changed man, a changed woman. In a nutshell, the hero has gone through an arc, from complacency to crisis, to his lowest lowpoint, to climax, to resolution. It worked for Aristotle and it works in every film you see today. The film you are going to see came from a friend in DC who sent it to me as an email transcript with a, aw, ain’t this cute take on it. I said, dude, this has classical three act structure. So I turned it into a little movie exercise for your benefit We’ll watch it twice. The first time just to absorb the story. The second time to analyze it.
Naturalistic vs. Natural Compression Research Authenticity Listening for: Question to you Did anybody notice anything unnatural about the little “radio play” we went through That’s right, on advice of Mr. K I had to do a global search and replace a certain word that sounds like heck 16 times and I had to replace a word that sounds like split another eight times. I had to remove two sexist and homophobic references as well. It sounds like I didn’t get them all. Sounds like Isaiah and Dan put some back in. Hey it’s only natural and naturalistic. We’re in a school, this is a classroom, I’m an adult and a supposed authority figure, but if I was writing this chat for a film, there’s no way I’d have cut those words out, because this is how males of the teen species naturally speak. To remove those words would have removed the authenticity.
There are two formats for scripts. Lefthand is mostly reserved for television. The righthhand one for films Hollywood has its conventions about how a script should look and if your script doesn’t look like that, it won’t get read let alone made. For the scriptwriter, each has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of how you put pictures and sounds together, but the important thing they both HAVE IN COMMON is what my college screenwriting professor told me when I wasn’t much older than you are now. I still live by these words and every good screenwriter out there does too. Ed McCoy said, “A script should only contain two things. “ What you see and what you hear.” That means no emotions, no writers’ asides, no doodles. If it ain’t seen on the screen or heard on the soundtrack it has no place in the script. If you want to instantly mark yourself as an amateur feel free to disregard this ironclad rule Second and equally important: Those things should be described in the most economical manner possible When Bennett was still a baby I took a month and went to a screenwriting bootcamp in Rockport Maine with the writer who scripted Steve McQueen’s last film. We were a group of writers and this one lady psychologist was there because she’d written an erotic novel and wanted to turn it into an erotic screenplay. There was a lot of detail in her script, which depending on your view, could be a lot of fun, but it was wrong. The first page of her script was nothing but an elaborate recounting of the Victorian livingroom where the two principle characters would “interact.” Hundreds of words describing every lampshade, table, the carpet which would figure prominently in the story, everything. The instructor, not unkindly, but firmly took a red pen and crossed out all her careful description leaving the following phrase, A well-furnished Victorian livingroom. Thats it. Not just what we see and hear, but in the most economical manner possible.
Traditional outlets will still be around when you get out of film school as they were for me I’ll tell you what all my screenwriting instructors have always told me. You spend a year or two writing your spec screenplay. You spend another year or two finding an agent. They spend another year or two finding somebody to option your gem. The screenplay spends another year or two in circulation and if you’re lucky, super super lucky, some producer or star sees your script and wants to make it. If you’re super, super lucky, 50% of your original work sees the screen and you get a screen credit. It sounds like a longshot but Hollywood is hungry for great stories. They don’t care where they come from and they pay really, really great money, top dollar for them. If you’ve created a great story your principle challenge is going to be wading through the millions of pieces of crap out there to find the producer, the angel, who will take a chance on you. That person will recognize your great story for what it is because they’ve spent most of their day wading through crap to find it. That’s Hollywood, a real crap shoot. But oh the payoff. Independent production-you and a bunch of films school rejects banding together, stealing your parents credit cards, selling blood or other body parts and make your version of the great American movie. Blair Witch, Paranormal, excellent examples of fearless filmmakers putting $20,000 on the screen and their next films will be greenlighted with million dollar budgets. There’s New York, Madison Avenue, the ad agencies where storytellers work in short, short formats, creating advertising crap and an occasional works of art in :20/:30 second or web formats. The money is good, but it ain’t Hollywood. There’s corporate work, where a lot of “true creative types” turn their noses up, but work for anyway, because the money is good. It isn’t always glamorous, but it’s a living. This is most of what I do and I feel no shame about it. I work at something I love and the paying gigs sponsor my creative outlets. That’s the big payoff. For every film that breaks out, there are hundreds that don’t or don’t ever get released or even made. For every screenwriter, there are a hundred failed screenwriters who go on to sell insurance, work in their Dad’s shoe store or go to business school.
But there are also game changers already in play. Game changers, Netflix, YouTube, Twitter, anything feeding viewers entertainment, news and documentary on demand. When I was a kid, the only way to get media, entertainment, whatever was to consume it. You went to school, went through a long apprenticeship to acquire the skills and the contacts and the money and only then were you able to “make media.” Now you guys have the digital tools to create it with little skill and no training and the digital tools to publish it for the world to see. Click and click again. Cheaper and faster and more widespread than at any point in history. But here’s a sobering thought for you. All these so-called game changers will be old school by the time you get out of school. But the game hasn’t just changed from a business angle. There are, more exciting, game-changers in the storytelling arts. The day in 1976 when Philadelphia’s own Garrett Brown took a camera off of a tripod, dolly and rails and moved naturally, POV style through a cast of hundreds, the camera became a fluid tool of storytelling. That was a little movie called “Bound for Glory” and you wouldn’t know it for a cinematic breakthrough today, but before Steadicam, camera placement dictated action. After Bound for Glory, action took place and a camera could move in and out of it with ease. Polar Express was one of the first movies to demonstrate the virtue of 3D, but it was more of a gimmick than an integral part of the story. James Cameron’s Avatar showed dramatically for the first time that 3D cinematography is more than a funhouse gimmick and has become a mature storytelling technique. 3D has been around since I was a kid, but it was just a gimmick until arguably Polar Express and then Avatar. In the future 3D will be abused and made crap. It will also be extended and made even more of an artform. When you guys get out of film school gimmick technologies like holographic displays, heads up displays, virtual screens and force feedback smell-o-vision will put viewers not beyond the screen, but in it. The notion of a “screen” will disappear. You’ll make it happen. Audiences won’t go to watch movies, but be in them. This isn’t a new concept any more than 3d was a new concept when Cameron took it and owned it. You’ll put your creative minds to it and you’ll demonstrate that all these things that are just cool gimmicks right now, that they are part of the storytellers' toolkit. The tagline of the 1985 Woodie Allen Film The Purple Rose of Cairo was “She's finally met the man of her dreams. He's not real but you can't have everything. “ The film was a fantasy about an romantic hero jumping off the silver screen and into a lonely woman’s life. By the time you guys get out of school, it won’t be a fantasy, it will be reality and You’ll own it. But you won’t unless you can tell a story people want to hear, see and experience. There’s so many more elements to the screenwriters storytelling kit that I haven’t been able to talk about. Your audience may not know about this stuff like you do. Inciting incidents, rising action, midpoints and denouments. They will not be able to put a name to it or tell you where it belongs. But they’ll feel it in their gut if it’s right and they’ll feel it if it’s missing. You know this yourself when you've gone to movies that seemed to have a great premise but just don't live up to their trailers. Just wasted 8 bucks. Learn how to tell stories, learn the three act structure and you’ll be able to use whatever mind-controlled holographic 6D whatever technology is at hand to make real human stories live for your audience. That’s why the filmmakers first and most important piece of technology is and always will be--the script
The best way to really learn how to write a script is to read scripts. Lots of them. That’s what I’ve left you with. Probably 50, 60 of my favorites, along with articles on screenwriting, getting an agent, all kinds of how to stuff it would take year to go through. When you read enough scripts, you realize that nothing in a film is left to chance. Despite the fact, that the script tells you what you see and what you hear and in language that is economical, easy to read and entirely engaging. is a very specialized, minimalized document. Directors, actors, editors, sound and music designers, art designers, add their piece. This is the part the really sucks, because in itself, a script is never a finished work of art. I’m sure that Mr. K has made it clear to you all that filmmaking is a very collaborative art. And the script. It is only a blueprint from which all your collaborators, producers, directors, actors and editors will each add their touches. The final result, the finished film, is the finished work of art. Not the script. Deal with it. A script can take years to write and years to film, but it isn’t complete until the final cut is made. So, a good piece of advice to you budding writers. The best scripts are so tight, so minimal that nobody can take anything away from them. That way you don’t get disappointed by all they cut out only by what they put in. If you are so much of a written artist that you can’t stand the idea of people mucking around with your purple prose, I have one word of advice. Don’t become a screenwriter. Maybe this sucks and maybe it doesn’t. Why would anybody want to slave away at 120 sheets of paper, for months if not years, only to have some yutz director, actors and editors muck it all around. It’s simple. It pays so well. Half million on a represented spec script. Millions for established writers. Anonymity has its rewards and they reach well into the seven figures. I don’t care if you go 5 thousand years in the past or 5 thousand into the future. People want emotionally satisfying stories. In the words of Mark Twain—a good story, well-told. That hasn’t changed in 20,000 years and it won’t change in another twenty thousand. I told you at the start that you as storytellers in training have to throw out your wide-eyed enjoyment to become practitioners of the craft and that you’ll no longer be able to simply sit down to a good movie as you did when you were a kid. Well, I lied. A little. The truth is that you have to put your analytical brain on hold to do anything creative. You have to split yourself down the middle. Part of you is going to movies with your analysts cap, analyzing performances, camera angles, beats, rising action, midpoints and slams, the other part is just enjoying the show like every other Tom Dick and Mary out there. Look, the truth is that if you aren’t going in with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a kid looking for a thrill ride, you won’t be creative. You won’t be able to create fun, memorable, compelling stories and the only work you’ll be good for is studio or network exec. I’ve given you the toolkit. How it works, how it all plugs together. I know it doesn’t feel natural to you. It didn’t to me when I first learned it. It’s complex and it takes years to assimilate. If you go on in film studies or in screenwriting, you’ll hear about this stuff so often it will make you wanna barf. Then one day you’ll realize, without even thinking about it, yeah, this is what I’m doing. This is who I am. You’ll stick your conscious knowledge of technique back in the drawer and use it not because it’s what Hollywood, Madison Avenue or your film school teacher expects but because it is organic. It’s part of you, your DNA, your storytelling DNA. This is a lot to assimilate in a couple of hours but I hope I’ve planted some ideas in your heads and opened the door on techniques that take a long time to master. I’m not a master yet. Like you, I’m on a journey of discovery. I may have started out a starry-eyed kid, gotten some hard knocks along the way, but I’ll tell you two things. I love what I do. And I love, love, love the movies.
In that case, let’s call it a wrap. With my thanks to all of you for your generous attention, to Mr K, Dan and Isaiah.
The Screenwriter’s storytelling art A presentation to Mr. Kaufman’s Film Class By Rick Weiss Trident Productions, Inc
“ You have to ask yourself Do you feel lucky punk? …” <ul><li>The life of a screenwriter </li></ul><ul><li>The art/work of screenwriting </li></ul><ul><li>Three act structure </li></ul><ul><li>Class exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Other important elements </li></ul>“ Do you…”
Let me tell you a story <ul><li>Stories in life </li></ul><ul><li>Stories on paper </li></ul><ul><li>Stories on film </li></ul>
The story formula The Three Act Structure <ul><li>Aristotle </li></ul><ul><li>The Hollywood Formula: 120 page script~1 min./page 2 hrs. screentime </li></ul><ul><li>Act I = 1 st ¼ = 30 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Act II = 2 nd ½ = 60 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Act III = 4 th ¼ = 30 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>The formula—Why it works </li></ul><ul><li>plot (mythos) </li></ul><ul><li>character (ethos) </li></ul><ul><li>theme (dianoia) </li></ul><ul><li>performance (lexis) </li></ul><ul><li>melody (melos) </li></ul><ul><li>setting (opsis) </li></ul>
The Three Act Structure Resolution Conflict Setup End Middle Beginning Act 3 Act 2 Act 1
Rising Action <ul><li>Characters are not plot driven. </li></ul><ul><li>Plot is character driven. </li></ul>Character development drives conflict!!! Bs ??? Action is the mirror of character. 120 min. 30 min. 60 min. 30 min. Dante
Heroes <ul><li>The person or team we root for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why we root for them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making good heroes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The hero’s journey </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Myth of the hero </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The hero’s tragic flaw/ghosts/backstory </li></ul><ul><li>The flaws in a hero are always more interesting than the strengths. </li></ul>
Villains <ul><li>Yin to the Hero’s Yang </li></ul><ul><li>Believability </li></ul><ul><li>Human motivation </li></ul><ul><li>The strengths in a villain are always more interesting than the flaws. </li></ul>
Character Arc in Story Structure <ul><li>Act 1 Beginning—Establishes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exposition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Main character </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dramatic premise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dramatic situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inciting Incident </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hero will resist change (inner conflict). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot Point 1 Something happens to throw everything off balance. </li></ul></ul>
Character Arc in Story Structure <ul><li>Act 2 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Begins character’s emotional journey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives characters challenges to overcome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make them struggle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The key to Act Two is conflict-- Midpoint </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Continually raise the stakes of your character’s emotional journey. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Simultaneous inner and outer conflicts . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reversals of fortune and unexpected setbacks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Black Moment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All is lost / the hero appears beaten </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot Point 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Thrusts the story in another unexpected direction. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The hero's goal becomes reachable but she must draw on new strengths. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Act Two ends </li></ul></ul></ul>
Character Arc in Story Structure <ul><li>Act 3 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shows how the character is able to succeed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>outcome of the main character’s decision at the climax. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolution/denouement ties together the loose ends of the story </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Character arc </li></ul>
Exercise <ul><li>Watch and discover </li></ul>
Exercise <ul><li>Rewatch and Analyze for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Act 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inciting incident </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot Point 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Act 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Midpoint </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Black Moment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot Point 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Act 3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolution </li></ul></ul>
Dialogue <ul><li>Naturalistic vs. Natural </li></ul><ul><li>Compression </li></ul><ul><li>Research Authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>Listening for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cadence, tones, inflections, slang, beats, the music of language </li></ul></ul>
On scripts and script formats Two column , news, documentary, TV script format Film/studio / Hollywood screenplay format What we see. What we hear.
Go West young wo/man? <ul><li>Hollywood </li></ul><ul><li>Independent </li></ul><ul><li>New York </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate work </li></ul>
Game Changers <ul><li>In the business of making and distributing media </li></ul><ul><li>In the storytelling arts </li></ul>1976 2004 2009
FADE IN: … FADE OUT It’s a wrap <ul><li>Nothing in a good story is left to chance </li></ul><ul><li>Scripts are highly specialized documents </li></ul><ul><li>The first step to creating a movie </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration – Deal with it! </li></ul><ul><li>The Song remains the same </li></ul><ul><li>Final thoughts </li></ul>"I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself." —Mark Twain