The “Screenwriting Series” will be offered once again by the Atlanta Film Society in Fall 2017. This class is ideal for writers new to the art and craft of screenwriting. Attendees will have the opportunity to dive-in Hollywood style with a four-part collaborative workshop series. The series, taught by Kathy Berardi, an independent writer-producer and UCLA MFA Screenwriting alum, embraces the philosophy of learning by doing. Beyond receiving instruction and how-to advice in each class, students will roll up their sleeves and collaborate with the instructor and each other with creative brainstorms, process and content critiques and real-time discussion following in-class viewing of movie examples.
This series also serves as a helpful introduction to writers interested in learning the foundation of screenwriting to prepare themselves to write a full script in the follow up potential Advanced Mentored Workshop class that may be offered next in January/February 2018 (TBD).
CLASS 1: Before Page One – Cracking Your Premise and Plot
In class no. 1, students will learn the essentials to coming up with a story that will sustain them to write 100+ script pages that will in turn warrant 100+ minutes of their audience’s attention. Below are highlights of what will be covered in this segment:
o How to tell a good story
o Coming up with a logline
o Developing the basic idea of a story
CLASS 2: Define Your Characters
- In this session, new material will be presented that will serve as a continuation to content presented in the first class for returning students. This class will also serve as a standalone lecture and discussion for students who were not able to attend class no. 1.
- In-class warm-up & workshop:
o Students who attended the first class and return with their completed assignment (2-page treatment) will receive in-class review and feedback.
- In this class, students will learn:
o How to develop a worthy protagonist
o How to create a multi-faceted antagonist
o The role of supporting characters relating to fleshing out the elements of the main characters of the script and their relationship to one another
o How to define their characters on screen with action, and in the story with emotion
CLASS 3: The Craft of Writing a Screenplay
- Students who attend class no. 3 will continue building incremental knowledge needed to either start their first screenplay, or continue building their craft. This session will also welcome new students with standalone material that doesn’t require attendance of the first two classes as a pre-requisite or to fully understand and appreciate what will be offered in this session.
- In-class warm-up & workshop:
o Students who attended class no. 2 and return with their completed assignment (character bios) will receive in-class review and feedback
- The craft of screenwriting will then be broken down, examined and demonstrated in this session, covering the following key formatting elements of screenwriting mechanics:
o General rules from sluglines to capitalization
o Structure of a scene
o Dialogue formatting
CLASS 4: What Do I Do Once I Finish My Screenplay?
- The entire Screenwriting 101 Series is designed to give new writers the guidance and direction they need to understand the starter elements to writing a screenplay and the know-how to then go off upon completion of the class to finish a script. While the immediate aim of the class itself is for students to write the first 10 script pages, it is important to have an ultimate goal in sight as to what their options are once they do finish their full screenplays. This class will be relevant as a standalone lecture or a conclusion for students who attended previous sessions as to what they should look to achieve once a first draft of their scripts are finished.
- Highlights of what will be covered follow:
o Collecting peer feedback – how to interpret notes received on peer or professional reviews/consultations and determine when to make changes
o Writing is rewriting – how to maintain the energy and excitement level and putting a process and timeline in place for revisions for the second draft
- Students will also receive guidance to help them:
o Recognize when their screenplays need further work
o Determine when their scripts are truly ready to be sent out to the industry
- Hands outs for reading outside of class will be provided to also help guide students on:
o How to ‘qualify’ or have their work recognized by selecting contests/competitions they may consider submitting it to
o How to find resources for targeting agents, production companies and managers relevant to the genre or specific story your script tells
o Tips for writing query letters and networking in the industry