Practice the art and craft of screenwriting
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 learn and apply excellent storytelling fundamentals to develop an outline, treatment or script, to create more interesting and unique characters, and create compelling scenes. Learn tricks and tips to writing screenplays that jump off the page, and understand how to take your ideas out to the marketplace.
Who should take this course?
Writers and aspiring writers who’d like a solid foundation in writing screenplays, creating compelling stories and characters, and who have a film, TV or web series idea they’d like to develop further; writer-directors, producers and actors who want to understand the basics of storytelling and how to identify potentially winning scripts.
What you’ll learn:
At the end of this 5-week course, participants will have solidly conceived and developed a screenplay outline or treatment. Each week will deal with a different aspect of screenwriting and will help emerging writers understand plot structure, character, theme, setting, story development and dialogue. Through script excerpts and film clips from a range of projects, each week will illuminate key concepts and approaches to cinematic storytelling.
Week 1: Thursday Sept. 20 A great story idea
- Story ideas: How to find/generate them
- Genre: Reframing ideas; tropes and clichés
- Considerations: Things to think about while developing your idea
- Describing your idea: Loglines, synopses and outlines/treatments
Homework: Brainstorm several ideas and create a logline for one.
Week 2: Thursday Sept. 27 Mechanics of screenwriting
- Story structure: The skeleton of 3-Act structure (and other approaches)
- Component parts: Understanding acts, sequences and scenes
- Formatting: Examining a screenplay
- Creating characters: Who are these people and why are they here?
Homework: Describe the 3-Act skeleton of a favourite movie. Bonus: Build the 3-Act skeleton of your idea.
Week 3: Thursday Oct. 4 Building your story
- Plotting: Weaving purpose with action
- Action: Active vs passive voice, show vs tell, description vs choreography
- Dialogue: Unique voice, emotion, subtext
Homework: Write a 3- to 4-page scene involving 3+ characters.
Week 4: Thursday Oct. 11 Completing Draft One
- Finish it: Typical stumbling blocks between you and Draft One; Killing your darlings
- Read it: What to consider when reading your own work; Theme
Homework: Generate an outline of your story & identify your theme.
Week 5: Tuesday Oct. 23 Feedback and rewrites
- Getting Feedback: Who to ask, how to ask and how to cope
- Giving Feedback: Asking questions, offering suggestions
- Rewrite: Where to even begin
About the Instructor
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?