Program: Film Connection for Cinematography

Screenwriting

What does a screenwriter do?

The screenwriter is the person who creates, takes, or adapts an idea and formulates a screenplay. Without the writer, there would be no movie. Period. He or she is the person who starts the ball rolling down the hill. Sure, some films are made backwards. There are studios who come up with ideas and package actors, then go find a writer. Nevertheless, the film getting made still hinges on the writer or group of writers’ ability to put together a viable, industry quality screenplay.

The Script is King

This is a term used throughout both Hollywood and “Indiewood.” What it means is that at the end of the day, the most important element comes down to the script. 

Many of the best films in cinema are don’t owe their greatness to the actors’ stellar performances, deft action sequences, or amazing effects.

These films are considered great because of the script or screenplay. Movies such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Chinatown” are renowned for their reliance on tight action and plot. Movies such as “Streetcar Named Desire” “Casablanca” and “Ordinary People” are known for their dialogue, material that enabled actors to give vivid, powerful performances. Your job, as the writer, is to produce the KILLER SCRIPT.

The Killer Script

The “Killer Script” is the script that isn’t merely good. It is beyond good, and it is beyond great. IF you have a Killer Script, when someone reads it, they read it in one sitting, and immediately get back to you.

When an actor reads it, he or she gets his or her agent on the phone. When a production company reads it, the project is green lit.

Here is a universal truth that many people do not know (even many who think they are in the movie business): KILLER SCRIPTS GET MADE. Remember that. It’s the good, mediocre, and downright horrible scripts that constitute 99% of what other writers put out there. Our Screenwriting Film School Program is geared towards empowering you to write your own KILLER SCRIPT.

Apply Now

Get Educated,
Get Access,
Get Hired.

With the right experience and connections, you can jumpstart your career in the film industry.

  • Personal Details
  • More Info
  • Tuition

Contact Information

Please enter your info below, and someone from RRFC will contact you:

More Info

Note: If you are serious about learning real-world audio production the way we teach it, answer the following questions to expedite your admissions process.

Note: If you are serious about learning real-world radio production the way we teach it, answer the following questions to expedite your admissions process.

Note: If you are serious about learning real-world film production the way we teach it, answer the following questions to expedite your admissions process.

Note: If you are serious about learning real-world culinary skills the way we teach it, answer the following questions to expedite your admissions process.

Which of the following do you have experience with?

What large city is closest to where you live? (Or, which city do you live in?)

Are you willing to go there twice a week for six months?

Tuition

How do you plan on paying for your tuition?
*When paid in full, tuition will receive a $2000 reduction, bringing the program’s total tuition of $12,200 to $10,200 not including administrative fees.

Are you a member or veteran of the military?


What are your goals?


Meet our Mentors

Why learn from teachers when you can learn from the professionals?

John Lafia Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

John Lafia Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

John Lafia is a director and writer, known for Child’s Play (1988), Child’s Play 2 (1990), Man’s Best Friend(1993) and 10.5 (2004) Request an Invitation

Brian Dryden Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Brian Dryden Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Clients: The North Face, Cherokee Sports, LSU Request an Invitation

Peter Foldy Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Peter Foldy Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

“For a fraction of the price of a university course, students of the Radio, Record and Film Connection receive one-on-one consultation and mentoring from a seasoned film professional. It is an opportunity for an exchange of meaningful ideas and for some, even a chance to network, an essential requirement to make an in-road in the film business.” Request an Invitation

Eric Abrams Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Eric Abrams Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

“Unlike many programs that stress theory over doing, our goal is for our students to have completed a 1st draft of a screenplay or be well on their way in 10 sessions.”   Credits I’m proud of: “Married…With Children,” “Gary & Mike,” ‘Live & Maddie,” and an unaired Muppet pilot. Request an Invitation

Monty Mickelson Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Monty Mickelson Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Freelance Journalist, Financial Writer, Corporate Communications Copywriter, Writer of Corporate Training and Life Skills Videoscripts, Public Relations Account Manager, Special Events Promotion and Media Wrangling, Award-Winning Published Novelist, and Feature Film Screenwriter. Request an Invitation

Daniela Larsen Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Daniela Larsen Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Daniela Larsen is the former CEO of Creative Media Education. She created and expanded education & certifications in Digital Media, Film, Cyber Security, Leadership and Technology. She also developed strategic partnerships in the private and public sector to make this education and training accessible to the public. Finally, she used digital media, documentaries and non profit experience to create opportunities for cause marketing, tell the stories that have real impact and increase the reach of online education to the remotest places in the world. She is currently the Executive Director & Founder of Small Candles Education & Economic Development, the CEO of the Navanas Institute and a Certified Partner for Infusionsoft. Request an Invitation

Ryan E. Heppe Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Ryan E. Heppe Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

During his tenure at CCH, Heppe was hired by legendary producer David Foster (The Getaway, Short Circuit, The Mask of Zorro) and quickly climbed to the position of Head of Development where he became involved with Foster’s productions: Collateral Damage starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hart’s War starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell, and The Core starring Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank. As a hyphenate Producer/Director/Writer/Actor, some of Heppe’s work includes: Production of the docu-drama The Magic Was In The Music, a remake of Short Circuit, adaptations of the 80’s television mini-series V and cop series T.J. Hooker, among others. As an actor, he’s starred in such stage productions as You Can’t Take It With You, Life On The Bowery, Dracula and Picnic at Hanging Rock – several of which he directed. In the world of VO, he’s lent his voice to numerous commercials, both national and regional, and performs several characters on the animated series DaGeDar. Request an Invitation

Wade Marshall Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Wade Marshall Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Since 2007, Millennium Studios has been servicing productions in Shreveport and throughout Louisiana. Credits: True Blood, The Expendables 3, Olympus Has Fallen Request an Invitation

Jon Reiss Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Jon Reiss Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Named one of “10 Digital Directors to Watch” by Daily Variety, Jon Reiss is also critically acclaimed filmmaker whose experience releasing his feature Bomb It with a hybrid strategy was the inspiration for writing Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing in the Digital Era (TOTBO), the first step-by-step guide for filmmakers to distribute and market their films.  He also co-wrote Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul and Selling Your Film Outside the US.   He also teaches at the Film Directing Program at Cal Arts. Request an Invitation

Rick Dahl Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Rick Dahl Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

I’ve written for many of the major studios and networks. My first movie, “Red Rock West,” was nominated for Best Screenplay by the Independent Spirit Awards.  I think this program is fantastic. I get to spend an hour a week, one-on-one with my students. We read over their material carefully. It affords me the opportunity to dig deep and get into the details of screenwriting – a deceptively complicated craft. We can cover various aspects of formatting, different styles of writing and how they impact the reader – which ultimately determines the filmic outcome and audience sees on screen. The time allows me to get know my students so that I’m able to help them put some part of themselves into their stories.  Once you get past the basics, screenwriting is about story. And we all have one to tell. The more personal that is, the more impact it will have. The terrific thing I get to experience with Film Connection, because of the one-on-one time I have with my students, is the growth they achieve in their writing Request an Invitation

Jana Sue Memel Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Jana Sue Memel Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

“Students at the Film Connection receive the extraordinary benefit of a one-on-one mentoring relationship with highly experienced industry professionals. What an amazing way to learn your craft. Nothing could be better.” — Jana Sue Memel, Films Jana have produced have been nominated for eleven Oscars and won three. They have also won Emmy’s, Director and Writer Guild Awards and numerous film festival awards.  Credits:  So I Married An Axe Murderer, Tough Guys, Down Came A Blackbird, Duke of Groove Request an Invitation

Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs has been one of the most consistent actors in Hollywood and his amazing work has won millions of hearts all over the world. He was born in the year 1953 on 4th of September and this makes his age 61 at this time. At this age he has already been a legendary actor and he will be always remembered for his contributions. He was born in a place called New York City, which lies in New York of United States of America. He belongs to the ethnicity black and nationality American. He is very humble and always carries a smile on his face. He is an extremely tall man as he has a very impressive height of 6 feet 2 inches, which is around 1.87 meters. He went to the university called Wilkes University for his degree. A lot of information on him and his interesting biography can be grabbed from wiki sites like Wikipedia and IMDb. He has been very motivated in his career and to make the scenes look real he has given many shirtless scenes as well. He has been living a king’s life and all thanks to his hard work and dedication. He has poured perfection in almost all of his work. He has been earning good money also and has his net worth in millions of dollars. He has a net worth of 1 million dollars and this speaks his success story. Videos related to him are absolutely loved in YouTube. It does not seem like he is much into social networking sites like Twitter and Instagram and does not like to upload his pictures in those sites to share them. After being so popular he has managed to keep his personal life very low profile. It does not seem like he is gay but, as he has not revealed his sexual preference nothing can be said with assurance. He has never talked about his wife and children but he looks like married. If he is not married also he has never revealed the person he is dating right now or his girlfriend. He has never talked about his current affair also if he is having any. It seems like he has not been through divorce. He has played great roles in TV shows and movies and this has made him who he is today. He played the role of Charles in a movie called Claudine in the year 1974. He played the role of Cochise in a movie called Cooley High in the year 1975. He played the role of Floyd in a movie called The Annihilators in the year 1985. In the year 2004 he played the role of Anthony in a movie called 30 Miles. Other movies to his credits are Nocturnal Agony, Otis, Tamales and Gumbo, Indecent Behavior, L.A Vice, Chance and Youngblood. He has been superb with his roles in TV shows and series as well. He appeared in a TV show called Welcome Back, Kotter from the year 1975 to the year 1979. Other TV series to his credits are Pointman, Ellen, Moesha and The Jacksons: An American Dream. Request an Invitation

Jim Fogarty Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Jim Fogarty Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Jim Fogarty is a writer and producer, known for Waxing Gibbous (2001), Coffee & Donuts (2007) and A Legacy Reborn: The Rebirth of the W.D. Packard Music Hall (2014). Request an Invitation

Dale DeToni Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Dale DeToni Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Owner/Producer, Dale DeToni, began his career thirty years ago when he brought his experience and education from some of Chicago’s largest recording studios to Springfield, with the dream of starting his own media production company. Request an Invitation

Damon Crump Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Damon Crump Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

The Millionaire Matchmaker, Risen, Broke Sky, Aliens on the Moon, Endings, Assault on Waco, Telling Stories: The Comic Book Creators, Big Rich Texas Request an Invitation

Mark Gibson Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Mark Gibson Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

“As a screenwriting mentor I know that every student like every writer is different.  The Film Connection screenwriting program allows me to work one on one with my students, customizing the curriculum, allowing me to focus on each student’s needs by helping them raise the level of their writing whether it’s their first script or their fiftieth.” As for credits, I think my two Disney films SNOW DOGS and THE WILD are certainly the most well known.  Request an Invitation

Conrad Denke Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Conrad Denke Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

“There is no replacement for actual hands-on experience, and The Film Connection provides opportunities to work closely with our production team and learn what it takes to make it in the production business.” — Conrad Denke Conrad Denke, film producer/director and CEO/owner of Victory Studios has been in the film and video business for over 30 years. He was co-executive producer and director on the PBS series “National Desk.” Denke has worked on feature films including “Assassins” with Sylvester Stallone, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” with Antonio Banderas and Johnny Depp,  “Santa Who?” with Leslie Nielson, “Boycott” for HBO, “Alone with Her” with Colin Hanks, “Cover” directed by Bill Duke, and “Mr. Warmth: Don Rickels” directed by John Landis. He is currently producing the television series “Band in Seattle” and has several projects in development including “Music for Young People” and “Daredevils and Disasters.” Request an Invitation

Seth Wood Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Seth Wood Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Seth has been working in production since 1998 and has a wide range of refined marketing skills. With abilities in media marketing and advertising, he is an asset to almost any organization. Seth works with companies and agencies all over the US to produce “brand” friendly marketing pieces that actually generate results. Because of his extreme expertise and experience in graphics, photography, video production, and other media marketing solutions, you can get all your products produced at one boutique advertising location… Seth’s office! Brands promoted with video projects over the past years include: Microsoft, Avaya Telecommunications, Susan G Koman, Texas Instruments, CAE, Evatran, Oster and many more. Check out the full list of production credits on his new leads generating website. www.SwoodMedia.com “I work hard, am deadline savvy, and ready to get YOUR job done right.” Request an Invitation

Ricky Lapkin Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Ricky Lapkin Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Ricky Lapkin full-service production company offering cinematic shorts and films, corporate audio visual services, and analog recording transfers to all digital formats. Request an Invitation

Mark Roos Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Mark Roos Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

“I create music that connects people. It’s what I love to do and I’ve been doing it for over 25 years. I’ve worked with some if the best directors around on a variety amazing of projects in just about every medium there is, including computer games, full-feature and documentary films, websites, radio, television shows, commercials and custom music production.” Clients: Discovery Channel, MSNBC, History Channel Request an Invitation

Richard Brandes Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Richard Brandes Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Richard Brandes is an accomplished writer, director, and producer of over two dozen feature films, which have been released through such well known companies as Alliance/Atlantis, Screen Gems, Sony, HBO, CBS, NBC/Universal, and Lionsgate, to name just a few. Known in the industry for creating highly commercial, profitable films, Richard has an impeccable reputation for completing his projects on schedule and on budget. Request an Invitation

Paul Guay Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Paul Guay Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Credits: Liar Liar, The Little Rascals, Shrinking Violet Request an Invitation

Steve Rausch Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Steve Rausch Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Steve Rausch is owner and operator of focused motion. Focused Motion produces and shoot video content for commercials, industrial videos, surgeries and live sporting events. My company has worked on documentaries, programming for Discovery Networks and reality TV shows. Request an Invitation

Adam Weber Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Adam Weber Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Adam Weber is a multi-purpose media production addict who has specialized in copywriting, video production, audio production, front-end web development, digital advertising, media planning, and any other role you can think of in regards to making intangible things using software. He also likes to be creative by writing songs with his band Integrow and making delectable craft home brews in his free time. Request an Invitation

Mike Domgard Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Mike Domgard Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Credits: Blur Parties, Lincoln Promo Video, Inner Thoughts Request an Invitation

Aimee Schoof Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Aimee Schoof Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Aimee Schoof is an entertainment executive, producer, and co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films with Isen Robbins. She has produced more than 30 feature films that have premiered either at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Toronto, Venice, New Directors/New Films, and Berlin. Request an Invitation

Dean Baker Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Dean Baker Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Projects range from Multi-camera Live Webcasting to National TV Ads for Good Neighbor Pharmacies, Regulator Boats, and Product launches airing on Lifetime, The Learning Channel and The Golf Channel. Request an Invitation

Ryan Heppe Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Ryan Heppe Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

During his tenure at CCH, Heppe was hired by legendary producer David Foster (The Getaway, Short Circuit, The Mask of Zorro) and quickly climbed to the position of Head of Development where he became involved with Foster’s productions: Collateral Damage starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hart’s War starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell, and The Core starring Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank. As a hyphenate Producer/Director/Writer/Actor, some of Heppe’s work includes: Production of the docu-drama The Magic Was In The Music, a remake of Short Circuit, adaptations of the 80’s television mini-series V and cop series T.J. Hooker, among others. As an actor, he’s starred in such stage productions as You Can’t Take It With You, Life On The Bowery, Dracula and Picnic at Hanging Rock – several of which he directed. Request an Invitation

Karl Koelling Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Karl Koelling Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

I began TAPROOT with a passion to create inspiring film and video content that would move people and maybe even make the world a little bit better place. There are projects that TAPROOT pursues and develops based on our interests, but I’m a firm believer that we all have our callings, and that collectively we can have the biggest impact. As a result, TAPROOT partners with businesses, agencies, and other organizations that are doing important work, helping them tell their stories and share their ideas through cinematic filmmaking. Our team has a multi-disciplinary background that enables us to understand and compellingly translate your messages and ideas to the visual medium of film and video, and we create and execute projects of varying scale from start to finish. I run TAPROOT and provide direction on all our projects, which include: story-based branded content, television commercials, web based video of all sorts, and film series. If you care about how you’re presenting your work to the world and want to do so in an honest, inspiring manner – we’d make a good match. Request an Invitation

Keith Golinski Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Read Profile

Keith Golinski Learn Screenwriting Mentor

Background

Keith Golinski of Fulvew Productions is a Director of Photography, editor and producer. He’s best known for his work on America’s Most Haunted (2013), Talking Dead (2005), and An Ordinary Killer (2003). Request an Invitation

View Full List

This is your curriculum.

Lesson One: Getting Started

We dissect a script to find out what makes it a killer script. We also discuss the importance of reading classic screenplays and begin understanding the essential elements that all good screenplays have in common.

Lesson Two: The Story

Everything starts with the story. What story are you trying to tell? Is it based on a true story, a book, or some other published work (an adapted screenplay), or an original idea that you came up with (an original screenplay)? You will learn what it really means to write what you know and that every script has a beginning, middle and end.

Lesson Three: The Three Act Structure and Plot Points

Pretty much all movies follow the same plot format, which consists of three separate sections of a film to tell a story. This is called the 3-Act Structure.

Act One: The Setup

  • Exposition
  • Main Character
  • Dramatic Premise
  • Dramatic Situation
  • Inciting Incident

Act Two: The Confrontation

  • Obstacles
  • First Culmination
  • Midpoint

Act Three: The Resolution

  • Climax
  • Denouement

Homework

Lesson Four: Character

Your characters must be alive. Your characters must be real. Some of the greatest screenplays of all time are great not just because of the memorable lead and supporting characters, but the one-line characters that are featured. Sometimes a character can say one line, and you instantly feel you know him or her. Every character in your screenplay (especially your lead characters) has to have substance. Substance is achieved by back story.
  • The Reality
  • Back Story
  • Character Arcs
  • Taking What You See
  • Supporting Characters
  • Homework

Lesson Five: Theme/Genre

This lesson defines the kind of film you are writing. Genre is defined as a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, marked by a distinctive style, form, or content. For films, genre is the form of film that your story is going to reveal.

Genres include:

  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Action
  • Musical
  • Thriller
  • Horror
  • Western
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Satire

As well as these variations:

  • Dramedy (Drama and Comedy)
  • Black Comedy
  • Film Noir
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Street Drama
  • Horror Comedy
  • Musical Comedy
  • Crime Thriller
“Theme” is different from genre. A theme addresses the question “What’s it about?” in a topical, idealistic sense. A story can be made deeper by adding a theme.

Examples of themes include:

  • Revenge
  • Loyalty
  • Love
  • Forgotten Love
  • Justice
  • Betrayal
  • Friendship
  • Faith
Additionally, this lesson will spend time getting you ready to sell your screenplay.
  • Identifying the Genre
  • The Two Line Pitch
  • The Two Movie Pitch
  • Homework

Lesson 6: Actions and Descriptions

A screenplay has to move. We’ve talked about having a beginning, a middle and an end. All of the scenes within the three acts must be targeted to move the story along, whether it’s character exposition or action.
  • The Novel vs. The Screenplay
  • Write What’s Seen
  • Writing Scene Action
  • Shooting Scripts vs. Reading Scripts
  • Homework

Lesson 7: Formatting

If you submit a script to a literary agent, and it is typed in Microsoft Word in Times New Roman font, it will most likely never be read and end up in the trash. Screenplays have to follow certain rules:
  • They need to be formatted correctly.
  • They need to be the proper length. A screenplay page is roughly a minute of movie length, so a 120 page screenplay is a 2 hour movie.
  • They need to be printed and presented correctly
In marketing, “packaging is everything.” If you plan on selling your script or raising money to produce your own film, you need to know how to format and present your finished screenplay.
  • Which Screenwriting Software to Use
  • Your Title Page
  • Printing
  • Homework

Lesson 8: Dialogue

When writing dialogue, you’re not writing what looks good on the page. You’re writing what sounds good. One of the best ways to become good at dialogue is to listen to the people around you. Every line you write should be able to be spoken aloud, and you should be able to visualize and hear your character saying that line of dialogue. You have to try to be as tight and as economical with your dialogue as possible. Try to never “over-write.” Again, this is a screenplay, not a novel. People rarely talk in paragraphs. Make all your words tight and to the point.
  • Giving Your Characters a Voice
  • A Word on Narration
  • Do You Ever Use It?
  • Homework

Lesson 9: Synopsis and Treatment

The short synopsis is a one to two paragraph summary of your story. Be careful here. You don’t want to give away the ending! You just want to give a quick rundown of what the story is about. This is another one of those tools that helps you both before you write (it gives you a short, tight picture of your story),and after you write (your short synopsis is many times the way to get your foot in the door).
  • The Long Synopsis
  • The Four Page Treatment
  • Homework

Lesson 10: The Scene Outline

Start getting excited, because you are very close to beginning your KILLER SCRIPT. The outline is an essential tool for many writers. Though many veteran WGA writers still use outlines, it’s quintessential for beginning writers who have never completed a script to have a general idea on where, specifically, they are going.
  • Scene Ordering
  • Marking The Plot Points, Acts, Midpoints and Climax
  • Sample Scene Outline
  • Your Guide
  • The Main Rule of Writing
  • Create Your Rock
  • Homework

Lesson 11: The First Draft

As we mentioned in the last chapter, the main rule of writing is to not be afraid to write crap. You have to understand that even the best writers in the world do not write brilliant masterpieces on their first drafts. Many of the greatest screenplays of all time have been written and rewritten numerous times over. Just focus, get excited, and begin to write.
  • Create Your Rock, Part Two
  • Pushing to the End
  • Homework

Lesson 12

You’ve finished your rough draft screenplay. Isn’t it a great feeling? It’s fantastic to hold those 120 or so pages, 3 hole punched, 2 brass brads and say, “I did this.” Okay, don’t get too confident. The script you hold in your hands you will show to NO ONE. EVER.
  • The First Read
  • The “Professional” First Draft
  • Making a Cohesive Story
  • Judging the Logic and Movement
  • Your Job
  • Homework

Lesson 13: Polishing

The first aspect of your script polish deals with tightening. As we stated in the last lesson, you MUST have a script that moves. After your first rewrite, you might have altered major aspects of the story. Now it is time to polish them. Polishing the script is like operating with a laser. Another way to look at it is that you’ve now shaped the rock, but it’s time to pull out the small chisel and start working away. “Tightening” is the process where you make the script shorter and quicker. There’s no such thing as a script that reads too fast. You need to be economical on your dialogue and your action, but not lose essential elements.
  • Good Tightening
  • Bad Tightening
  • Fixing a Scene’s Structure and Flow
  • Making It Error-Proof
  • The First 10 Pages
  • Your Job
  • Homework

Lesson 14

Know this: at this point in time you’re too close to your script. Even the most veteran of writers, when they are finished with their first drafts, might have an idea how good/bad their screenplay is, but they never truly know until they’ve gotten “The Good Read.” The Good Read is the read by an objective person who will cover your script and give you feedback. This shouldn’t be a friend or a family member, even if you find them critical or think they’re objective. They’re not. They know you and they have a sense of you, so their view of your script is always tainted.
  • Where to Find Good Readers
  • How to Interpret Their Notes
  • Homework

Lesson 15: Rewriting, Part Two

One of the essential steps in your second rewrite is to identify the problems that the “Good Readers” pointed out. What do you need to change? How do you change it? Again, the best way to improve something is to see how the problem areas in your script were resolved in a successful script. If one of your consistent notes from your readers were, “I wasn’t buying the action sequences,” for example, then you know you’re not writing great action sequences. Continuing with this example, you’d need to refer to at least two screenplays where the action sequences are known to be excellent. Always, always refer to what has worked in the past. That’s what makes this program and its approach to screenwriting instruction so powerful. We’re using the technique of “modeling” to create a KILLER SCRIPT. “Modeling” involves duplicating successful paths so that you can be successful as well. You’re going to be modeling your KILLER SCRIPT after the techniques and qualities that previous KILLER SCRIPTS had!
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Kill Your Babies
  • Go Back and Read
  • Your Job
  • Homework

Lesson 16: Agents

Literary agents serve to sell your screenplay in exchange for a 10% commission. They have the connections to the studios and the production companies who buy your script and potentially make it into a film. In essence, that’s what you’re paying the 10% for…their contacts and relationships. The more powerful the literary agent, the more pull he or she has with the studios and major production companies.
  • The Pitch
  • Referrals
  • The Query Letter
  • Getting Them to Read Your Script
  • Homework

Lesson 17: Selling Your Script

There are tons of scripts written each year. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has less than 12,000 members. Of these members, only a small percentage are making a living by writing. Becoming a professional writer takes time, hard work, and talent. As we stated earlier in this program, if it was so easy to sell a screenplay for mid-six figures, everyone would be doing it. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and plan for success is to write a KILLER SCRIPT. That’s what matters in the end. If you can create a true Killer Script that’s backed up by good reads, and has been rewritten, and can potentially be reshaped (more on that in the next lesson), you have a much better chance at a sale.
  • Be Realistic
  • Production Companies
  • Don’t Be Afraid
  • Copywriting
  • Homework

Lesson 18: Rewriting, Part Three

Okay, so maybe your script isn’t selling. Maybe you can’t get an agent, even after you’ve gotten some great feedback. What are you doing wrong? Perhaps your script needs to be altered. Maybe if you wrote a thriller set in the 1970’s, it needs to be moved to present day. Maybe you’ve written your lead character as a male and you might need to change him to a female. There are so many variables. The key is, you need to be flexible and open to changing your script. A script is almost never finished. Once your script is optioned, it will be rewritten many times, and by time the screenplay makes it to the screen, the script may be completely different. You must be open to this.
  • Be Open to Changing Your Script
  • Writing is Rewriting, but…
  • Director’s Notes
  • Homework
Homework

Lesson 19: On Set/Credits/WGA

Sometimes it seems like the writer has one of the least important roles on set, and, in many ways, that’s true. You, as the writer, were the inspiration and the cause of a film. You created (or adapted) the ideal. As a result of that blueprint a movie will be made. And even if you singlehandedly wrestled that idea out from the depths of your imagination and have turned it into a great screenplay, it’s time to get out of the way. It’s true… when it comes time to shoot a film, the writer’s job is regulated to the sidelines. That’s exactly why, according to the WGA, the writer has to be paid in full 100% by the time production starts. Their work is done—kind of.
  • Your Job On the Set
  • Actor’s Notes
  • Credit Rules
  • The WGA
  • Homework

Lesson 20: Your Career as a Writer

The killer script is your ticket to making a career as a screenwriter. You can become a professional writer if you work at it persistently and regard this as a career not a hobby. As your read more, learn more, and write more scripts, remember to always look into the great screenplays you’ve studied and consider what worked and why it worked. Get to knowing and seeing what is on the page of screenplays in your mind’s eye. Recognize the problems you come across in those less-than-fantastic scripts you read (there will be many). In short, task yourself with developing a deep understanding of writing film. And even though the screenplay is a document of words that serves as the blueprint for movie, always work to entice the reader who is holding that script in their hands. Make it enticing to read.
  • The Future
  • Branding Yourself
  • Establishing a Body of Work
  • Homework
Coursework is delivered via distance education and completed at a location determined by the student. Apprenticeship (Externship) locations can be up to 60 miles away from the student’s address. The apprenticeship (externship) mentor will work with each student on structuring a specific schedule, the student agrees that he/she will be available to meet with the mentor for a minimum of two sessions per week.”

« Back to Curriculum