Screenplay seminar

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Powerpoint presentation for an introduction to screenwriting given at the Community Writing Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 12, 2011

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Screenplay seminar

  1. 1. How important is the screenplay?
  2. 2. “ If you have a great script, you can almost shoot the damn thing on gaffer tape, it doesn't matter.” - Gale Tattersall, Director of Photography, House M.D.
  3. 3. Your screenplay should: <ul><li>Tell a great story </li></ul><ul><li>Be a “page turner” </li></ul><ul><li>Excite others about your project </li></ul>
  4. 4. Screenplay Do’s <ul><li>Keep it interesting (rule #1) </li></ul><ul><li>Describe things that can be seen </li></ul><ul><li>Use active voice </li></ul><ul><li>Proper screenplay format </li></ul>
  5. 5. Screenplay No-No’s <ul><li>Camera angles </li></ul><ul><li>“ We see” </li></ul><ul><li>Passive voice </li></ul><ul><li>Large blocks of description </li></ul><ul><li>Trivial action </li></ul>
  6. 6. “ I think part of being a good screenwriter is being concise as possible.” -Eric Roth, Forrest Gump screenwriter
  7. 7. Screenplay Format <ul><li>12-point Courier font </li></ul><ul><li>Slug line (INT/EXT., location, time of day) </li></ul><ul><li>Action (what is happening) </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue (what is being said) </li></ul><ul><li>Parenthetical (special dialogue note) </li></ul><ul><li>Mini slug (location – keeps action flowing) </li></ul>
  8. 9. Describe in 3 <ul><li>Describe a new location or character in no more than three sentences. </li></ul><ul><li>Be creative and clever </li></ul><ul><li>Get all pertinent information across quickly (what do you want the reader to know?) </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue also describes character </li></ul>
  9. 11. Let’s practice! In three sentences or less, fully describe your instructor.
  10. 13. Let’s practice! In three sentences or less, describe the room you are sitting in.
  11. 14. Three Act Structure
  12. 15. The Matrix (1999)
  13. 18. “The Hook” <ul><li>Grab reader at beginning of story </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t have to be action </li></ul><ul><li>5-10 pages to succeed </li></ul><ul><li>Less time on shorter scripts (1 page?) </li></ul><ul><li>Probably 5-10 seconds on YouTube </li></ul>
  14. 21. “ The Taser” <ul><li>Put barbs into reader at beginning </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure barbs stay put </li></ul><ul><li>Zap them for entire screenplay </li></ul>
  15. 22. Homework! <ul><li>Write 5-page hook (start of any script) </li></ul><ul><li>Print out copies for all characters (including screen direction) </li></ul><ul><li>Bring to class, assign parts </li></ul><ul><li>Read out loud </li></ul><ul><li>Share opinions </li></ul><ul><li>If using profanity, check with reader first </li></ul>
  16. 23. Free Screenwriting Software Celtx www.celtx.com
  17. 24. Screenplay Archives <ul><li>Simply Scripts (simplyscripts.com) </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDB.com) </li></ul><ul><li>Horror Screenplay Archive (horrorscreenplay.blogspot.com) </li></ul><ul><li>Public/University library </li></ul>
  18. 25. Books on Screenwriting <ul><li>Syd Field’s Screenplay </li></ul><ul><li>Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Mckee’s Story </li></ul><ul><li>David Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible (here at the CWC) </li></ul>

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