Teaching Script WritingLessons in screenwriting
Bringing Screen Writing into the Classroom
Allison Vanore, a filmmaker who submitted two submissions to this year's Garden State Festival, considers why writing a screenplay is important for college undergraduates. "They are taught how movies are built, that they are tales that have been meticulously built to make you think you're in a book or on TV," says Vanore. Seen from a creatively point of view, it gives the pupils another opportunity to build and articulate themselves.
In this session, participants are taught to be discerning critics, but also become proficient as professionals. I' m starting classes with a page or two movie studends have probably seen (I picked Toy Story, but the Script Frenzy resource page has other options). The pupils are reading the sequence in which Woody tries to persuade Buzz that he can't go loud (he flies "in style").
We could say in our novels: "Jack was walking down the road sad and thought of his missing canine. "In a script, the readers can't see what Jack is thinking, so we have to do something that the cameras can do. The pupils show in various ways that Jack is commemorating his missing puppy and they describe his physical expression ("he is shuffling along, his shoulder is heavy") and the detail they can contain (some of their ideas: he can wear a lead with a puppy necklace; he can have a photo of the puppy he asks for when he walks by; he can put "lost puppy" signs).
I' ll tell the student that the books we have written are perfect for those who want complete mastery of their work: a writer of a novel will compose every detail of the writer, describe every detail of the scene, describe every personality and his or her reason. "In twos, they either work on a scene from their novel or follow their own movie notion.
They like to work together and create something that none of them could have made themselves. I' ll be reminding the kids that you can tell a great storyline in 30 seconds, and we'll do advertisements that do just that. For the rest of the weeks, the pupils are working on some of the small classes I have put together.
We' ll analyse how the videos generate a vibe, and then I'll ask them to find the vibe of their song and incorporate it into their music. In the end, the student decides how long to do the script (they usually wander on the side of longer, and the approximate page length is 20, although some scripts are full-length.
I' ll give a lecture on dialog, and then we'll discuss formating, recalling that these, like their fiction, are first sketches and can be horrible. Junior classes could write screenplays for implicit sequences in tales they are reading or movies they have seen together. Even short movies can tell a big storyline.
Watch some short films and talk about characterisation, motivations and barriers. The class can do brainstorming and the instructor can transliterate the script on a projectors. Pupils can be asked to draw up individual dialogues or to agree on what will sound best and to complement each other. The other thematic areas could profit if pupils are encouraged to think about what they can show on a monitor to show understanding: from a documentation about rains in the environment to historic interpretation of occurrences, pupils can show their lessons (reading scripts is also a good diversion to read essays).
In the beginning, the pupils are often divided between hesitating and exhilarated that they can post something "real" (their words, not mine). Finally, some pupils join the videoclub to see how to bring what they have written onto the page. The majority of college graduates, however, abandon the experiment with a strong performance and talent management skills and a more discerning view of the surrounding medium.