Archive for January, 2013
Pretty much since the day I announced the creation of The Loose Cannon, my on-line writing workshop series, people have been asking me to include a screenwriting workshop.
To date I have not. I always felt like I should have a fully produced and released feature under my belt before I started telling anyone how to write a screenplay. And although I’ve written, sold, and/or been hired to write several feature-length scripts, none of those have thus far been produced into movies (this is, of course, not at all uncommon).
But screenwriting is also how I make my living, especially in the last year and since moving to Los Angeles. I spent the tail end of 2012 penning a biopic about one of the biggest rock stars ever to come out of Australia. I’ve written every kind of video content for the web from corporate to narrative to edutainment (the fact Word did not just red-line that phrase makes my heart hurt). I worked on the animated Nanovor series for Smith & Tinker. I worked on the award-winning Illusion TV series Stranger Things. I’ve worked for Fox Studios scripting EPK content for The Three Stooges, Taken 2, the X-Men series, and A Good Day to Die Hard.
I even got to write some dialogue for Liam Neeson.
That was pretty cool.
So I know how to make enough money doing this to feed, clothe, and shelter myself. I guess I know enough to get you started.
The other thing is… even more than prose, it is hard figuring out how to break into screenwriting. I was clueless for a long time. I even entered the first Project Greenlight contest, I had so little concept of what to do with a screenplay. I would’ve loved a workshop where, more than learning how to write a script, someone told me how to get a job doing it.
That’s actually not true. I fucking hate workshops and always have. But you probably dig the idea. And you should.
Saturday and Sunday, March 9th & 10th, I’ll be leading my first weekend of TLC Script Writers where that very thing will happen. The cost is $100.00 USD to attend. I’m limiting class size to no more than ten people. If I get enough overflow I may add a second weekend, but that’s not guaranteed, so if you want in I recommend acting fast on this one.
The official schedule is as follows…
Saturday, March 9th, 2:00 p.m. PST – “Introduction (by Fire) to Screenwriting.” Guess what? You’re going to write your own script. Script Writers will be no different from my regular TLC fiction writing workshops in that you will learn by doing. A lot. Over and over again. With no time to overthink it or procrastinate. Until you fucking hate me. This is also how you’re going to learn the basic format of screenwriting. You’ll learn what a script looks like, how to make it look like that, the shorthand and what it all means, etc.. We’ll also touch on the three-act structure, structure in general, and how that all will factor in after you have a basic handle on what the hell you’re doing.
Sunday, March 10th, 2:00 p.m. PST – “… It Also Has to Not Suck.” Now that you have the basic tools to create something recognizable as a screenplay… you need to actually write something in that format which does not suck. We’ll deal with story, characters, dialogue, and all those elements that create a narrative screenplay. We’ll also deal heavily with how screenwriting is different (and should be different) from writing prose. This is very important. Finally, I’ll talk about actually taking all of this knowledge, and your screenplay, and using it to sell something and/or get paying work. Because that should be your goal.
I recommend screenwriting as a field. It’s more diverse than prose and it’s generally far more lucrative even at the shallowest end of the pool. It’s always a good and worthy avenue for the professional and aspiring professional author to explore.
It’s also hard to get into. It’s hard to know what to do with a script or with screenwriting ability once you have it. It’s hard to break through the wall into what can be and is a very exclusionary industry. If you come out I’ll tell you everything I know that I think might possibly help you in those veins.
That’s my humble guarantee.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to register for the workshop. Spots will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. No exceptions.
It’s a new year. You’re still alive. You defied every relevant doomsday prophecy and (if you’re a US citizen) avoided America’s more lethal episodes of gun violence.
It’s 2013. You’ve made it.
The problem remains… you’re still a shitty writer.
Admit it to yourself. It’s the first step. The next step is signing up for The Loose Cannon. It’s the on-line writing workshop designed and led by me that makes one, and only one promise: at the end of the workshop you will suck a little less than you did before.
It’s not for the weak-minded or weak-willed (read: writers). It’s a lot less talking and a lot more writing. It’s practical, hardcore nuts and bolts education. It has shaped minds and careers of authors all over the world and will continue to do so until the rest of you are dead or better writers than you are now.
It’s not for everyone.
Which is good. Because everyone sucks. Especially authors. The worst thing to be as an author is everyone else.
I’m restructuring TLC slightly this year to encompass one weekend a month. Saturday’s workshop will slant more toward the introductory/novice side in terms of how hard I work you and how much I ask you to process, while Sunday I’ll conduct much tougher, “advanced” workshops designed to pretty much break your brain (in a good way).
Both workshops are and will be open to everybody. You just have to decide you can handle it.
I’ve released the TLC schedule for January/February.
And hot damn, here it is!
Saturday, Jan. 26th, 2:00 p.m. PST: “Dialoguing” Some of you have attended TLC workshops on dialogue before, some of you haven’t. All of you will benefit from working on your grasp of character dialogue. We’ll focus on writing naturalistic dialogue (put simply: things that sound like real people said them), and then branch off into how to make your character’s voices distinct, singular, and dynamic. These are two of the most basic and most important tenets of dialogue writing, and the two that can and will set your story and characters apart and make them stand out in the right way.
Sunday, Jan. 27th, 2:00 p.m. PST: “Editing & Rewriting Power Session” A TLC Power Session means one thing: a lot of writing, over and over, with me giving you more and more to do and less and less time in which to do it. This Power Session will focus on editing and rewriting. We’ll also, obviously, cover tenets and tactics of the editing process and that of which rewriting should and should not consist.
Saturday, Feb. 23rd, 2:00 p.m. PST: “They’ll Write On My Tombstone: ‘At Last, A Plot’ ” We’re going to break down the mechanics of how to construct and execute the plot of your story, how to integrate and balance subplots and what a subplot is, and finally and most importantly… what’s the difference between plot and story? This is one of the most important questions to which you need to know the answer if you’re going to fully execute both in your fiction.
Sunday, February 24th, 2:00 p.m. PST: “TLC Challenge: A Short Story In Three Parts” The “TLC Challenge” is something new I’ve come up with, and it’s going to be a doozy. In this workshop, for this first TLC Challenge, you will literally write an entire short story from start to finish. We’ll break it up into three parts (beginning, middle, and end) as you go, review each part as you write it, and I’ll give you notes and guidelines between each mini-writing session to carry forward into the next. You’ll learn a lot, write a lot, and probably have a psychotic break. Don’t come to this one unless you’re ready to do the work. Seriously.
E-mail email@example.com for more details, and to sign up. TLC Annual Passes are also available at a 50% discount off the standard yearly rate, so ask about that if you’re really ready to commit to not sucking.