Screenwriting Foundation Certificate
May 10 @ 6:30 pm - June 7 @ 9:30 pm
You want to write a movie but… don’t know where to begin, or you need a practical, useful approach to develop your ideas and improve your writing. How do you make your scenes funny, scary, more dramatic or powerful?
Our 5- evening Screenwriting Foundation Certificate helps you apply excellent storytelling fundamentals to develop an outline, treatment or script, to create more interesting and unique characters, and write engaging dialogue. Learn tricks and tips to writing screenplays that jump off the page, and understand how to take your ideas out to the marketplace.
At the end of this 5-week course, participants will have solidly conceived and developed a personal screenwriting project outline or treatment.
Each week will deal with a different aspect of writing and will help emerging writers understand structure, character, story development, and dialogue. Each week will provide illustrations of ideas through script excerpts and film clips from a range of projects. Participants should also be prepared to develop their own outline, treatment or script from week to week.
Week 1: A great story idea
- Overview of Story Structure: 3-Act structure and other structural tools. How they can help you?
- Things to keep in mind while developing your idea
- Story Ideas: How to find them and how to create them
- What genre does your story fit into
- Homework: Brainstorm a collection of story ideas or concepts and select an idea to further develop throughout the course
Week 2: Tools of the trade
- The logline, tagline, synopsis and outline (or treatment)
- More on story structure: Plot Points, Turning Points and Midpoints.
- Acts, Sequences, Scenes and Stakes: the Building Blocks of Story
- How to make PLOT work for you; how do you know when it's not working?
- Resources and reading: which approach is best for me?
- Practice loglines/taglines
Homework: Create a logline and synopsis
Week 3: The Mechanics of Screenwriting
- Formatting: what goes on the page and why
- Style: Active vs. Passive writing
- Show vs. Tell
- The opening scene; theme
- Practice exercises to play with scene dynamic and impact
Homework: Plot and write a scene for your own project
Week 4: First Draft, Feedback & Rewriting
- Identifying and dealing with the 'Second Act slump'
- Managing critical feedback - when, why and how?
- How to approach a draft rewrite
- Learning from the Masters: how to continue your professional development
Homework: Complete a draft outline on your own project
Week 5: Getting Your Story Out There
- Funding and development money: Grants vs. Investors
- Surviving and thriving as a writer
- Niche audience vs. Mass Market
- Feedback on your outline
- Next Steps
Who should take this course?
Writers and aspiring writers who would like a solid foundation in writing screenplays, creating compelling stories and characters, and who have a film, TV or web series idea they would like to develop further; Writer-directors; Producers, Actors who want to understand basics of storytelling and how to identify potential winning scripts
About the Instructor, Randall C Willis
Randall C Willis is an award-winning screenwriter based in Toronto. Randall is part of the writing team that produced the sketch comedy TV special Some TV!, and co-wrote several theatrical comedy shows staged across Toronto. Randall’s specialty is story and his ability to help writers develop both their ideas and their unique voices. He has brought those skills to bear with the Austin Film Festival, where he has served as Second Round Reader, and more recently, in his story analysis business So, What’s Your Story?