An 8-Week Intensive Workshop with Brian Herskowitz
This eight week intensive course covers the basics of screenwriting from concept to script. During this course, you will gain a strong working knowledge of structure, format, and the creative process used in developing a script.
Upon completion of the course, there will be follow-up via the internet, phone and/or live meetings to discuss script development. You will have an opportunity to troubleshoot any potential problems and receive feedback on the progress of your screenplay.
Process to Product: A practical Guide for the Screenwriter by Brian Herskowitz – available online through Amazon.com or from the instructor.
- The Screenwriter’s Workbook by Syd Field
- The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri
- Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
PRIOR TO THE FIRST CLASS, STUDENTS SHOULD PREPARE AN IDEA FOR A FEATURE LENGTH FILM SCRIPT
I. Why write for film?
- Concept and Theme
- Story Premise
- Communicating an idea
- Film vs. Novels vs. TV etc…
II. What’s commercial?
- What is a genre
- Types of genres
- High Concept
- What is high concept?
- Pluses and minuses
III. Premise development
- Where ideas come from
- Inside – stories from our lives
- Outside – stories from our imagination
- Why do research?
- How to do research.
Inside/outside exercise (best/worst)
- Do any necessary research to become an expert on your story idea.
- Rewrite the single sentence premise line for your idea.
IV. Additional elements
- Who are they? What do they want? What do they need?
- Why do we care?
- The World of the Story
- Defining the rules
- Where and when
- Creating momentum
- A character’s drive
- Opportunity as a complication
- Write a “bio” for each of your characters.
- Write a fact sheet about the world of the character.
- Brainstorm potential obstacles.
- Complete the outline to be turned in prior to class five.
V. Structure for Film
- The Mythological Structure
- The hero’s journey
EX: STAR WARS: The Force Awakens
- The hero’s journey
- Three Act Structure
- Syd Field
- Syd Field
- Training the brain
- Exercises for brainstorming
- Putting ideas on paper
- Process and purpose
VII. Beating out the story
- Finding the significant events – the 12 guideposts
- Molding the story
20/20 brainstorming exercise.
Brainstorm potential scenes and obstacles for your story. Find 12 “anchors” that will serve as your road map. Each anchor represents a major “event” in your story.
VII. Outline development
- Working with and without a net: the importance of the outline
- Outline logic
- Outline vs. synopsis: what’s the diff?
Write the 12 Guideposts for your film and start the outline for your screenplay.
Analysis of Shrek and or Silver Linings Playbook
- Screening of the Film and in-depth discussion
- Making a fantasy world feel real
- Clarity in writing and how it translates onto the screen
Write an analysis of two diverse films one successful, one a failure.
VIII. Getting ready for the first draft.
- Setting Goals
- Scene Work
- A few general “rules”
- Rules made to be broken
- Commentary in action
- Clarity vs. Poetry
- Writing Dialogue
Dialogue exercise – voice clarity
Write 20 lines of dialogue for each of your five main characters, then remove the names and read the lines out loud. Are the characters’ voices clear enough to ID who’s speaking?
- Begin writing your screenplay.
- Continue with the voice exercises.
IX. Scene Work In Action
- Read Scene work
- Discussion on how actors affect the process
X. The Rewrite Process
- How to rewrite
- What to change
- Brainstorm new concepts and ideas.
- Incorporate those ideas into your outline.
- Rewrite the outline.
- Continue writing your script.
Class Eight (Final Class)
Q and A about the business
- Agents and Managers
- Work Discipline
Receive individual critiques on your outline/scene work, and direction to pursue.
Up to Two weeks after the completion of the class students may submit between 20-40 pages of their completed screenplay for feedback (the first “act”)
Work submitted for critique must be directly related to the work done in class.
Work submitted beyond the deadline will be subject to a consultation fee.
This course meets on 8 consecutive Thursdays
7pm – 10pm
Hollywood International Film Academy
3153 Los Feliz Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Limited to a maximum of 20 students.