Mastering Genre Workshop Series


When?: Thursday February 13th, 7-10pm
How Long?:
Three Tuesday evenings from Thursday February 13th, 7-10pm
Location: The Daniels Spectrum Building at 585 Dundas St East

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Mastering Genre Workshops: | Mastering Horror  | Mastering Thriller  | Mastering Sci-Fi

Mastering Genre Storytelling for Screenwriters & Filmmakers

Whether your passion is to create an award-winning short film, the next viral web series or feature screen gem, this master class will help provide a road map for your script.

What you’ll learn:

  • Explain and demystify what “genre” is and what exactly makes a story “genre?”
  • Defining the thriller genre and its many related blended and sub-genres
  • Structural and story conventions of thriller genre scripts
  • Style and thematic conventions of thriller genre scripts
  • How and where to bend and play with these conventions in the script
  • How understanding “genre” can enable you to improve not just your storytelling but your chances for success

Each evening class is available separately or as part of the Mastering Genre Workshop Series.

Week 1: THE ART & CRAFT OF HORROR Thursday February 13th, 7-10pm

Horror has consistently been one of the most profitable and successful movie genres of all time, and many emerging filmmakers feel it’s a good genre to cut their teeth on — especially as a genre to write for micro-budget. But what makes horror screenplays work? And how do you create the next great horror hit?

This one-evening course — part of the Mastering Genre series — provides an overview of genre and helps you understand the conventions and tropes of specific genre storytelling. Whether you stick to the conventions or bend them, your ability to write a horror screenplay that sells requires a deep understanding of the style and structure of the genre as a foundation to make your script exceptional.

Week 2: THE ART & CRAFT OF THE THRILLER Thursday February 20th, 7-10pm

That shiver… That tingle up your spine… The unbearable tension as the unthinkable closes in on you. The thriller has long been one of the most reliably profitable and successful movie genres of all time and has launched or elevated the careers of countless revered directors. Micro-budget-friendly, not always needing “name actors” to find success, often requiring few special effects or demanding locations, the thriller can be an aspiring screenwriter or filmmaker’s best friend.

But what drives the popularity of thrillers? What makes thriller screenplays work? And how do you create the next breakthrough thriller hit?

Week 3: THE ART & CRAFT OF SCI-FI Thursday March 5th, 7-10pm

Sci-fi is an increasingly popular genre with an identifiable audience and lots of fresh opportunities for story-world development.  This genre, once thought to require expensive budgets, is increasingly being written for low-budgets by emerging filmmakers, such as Mike Cahill’s Another Earth (2011) or I, Origins (2014). More recently, 2015 BIFA Award winner, Ex Machina created a powerful human story in a future dystopia which competed well when up against conventional and powerful dramas of that year.

Mastering Genre Workshops: | Mastering Horror  | Mastering Thriller  | Mastering Sci-Fi

About the instructor, Randall C Willis

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?


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