The Screenwriting Series with Kathy Berardi (Online Course)
DATES: October 1st – 30th
EARLY REGISTRATION: $150 Standard | $125 ATLFS Member – Now until September 15th
STANDARD REGISTRATION: $200 Standard | $160 ATLFS Member – September 16th to October 12th
The Screenwriting Series is an online course for writers who are new to screenwriting. The series, taught by Kathy Berardi, an independent writer-producer and UCLA MFA Screenwriting alum, embraces the philosophy of learning by doing. The 4-week Hollywood-style class helps students get into a collaborative mindset to learn the art of storytelling and technical essentials required for professional screenplays. Beyond receiving instruction and step by step how-to advice in each webinar, students will be motivated and encouraged to jump right into writing by collaborating with the instructor and each other with creative brainstorms, process and content critiques, and online discussion.
The SCREENWRITING Series includes the following:
• WEEK 1: Before Page One – Cracking Your Premise and Plot
• WEEK 2: Define Your Characters
• WEEK 3: The Craft of Writing a Screenplay
• WEEK 4: What Do I Do Once I Finish My Screenplay?
Link to instructor bio: http://www.atlantafilmsociety.org/kathy
WEEK 1: Before Page One – Cracking Your Premise and Plot
In week 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.
Section 1 Highlights:
• How to tell a good story
o Coming up with a logline
o Developing the basic idea of a story
• How to develop plot structure for the opening act, hitting on key points from opening hook to inciting incident
• Students will finish week 1 with a premise that they can use to start writing or thinking about for their story.
• Supporting online material will be provided complete with recommended follow up reading and resources as well as film-specific examples.
WEEK 2: Define Your Characters
In this session, new material will be presented that will serve as a continuation to content presented in the first section. This class will also serve as a standalone lecture and discussion for students.
Section 2 Highlights:
• Students who completed the first assignment (2-page treatment) will receive review and feedback from the instructor.
• In this section, 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
o How to merge the character’s arc with the appropriate occurrences in the story
• Students will be given a checklist of the top aspects they should know about their characters at the start of their story.
• Students will also be provided with film-specific character examples discussed during webinar as well as hand-outs and recommended materials for further reference as they work on their characters at home.
WEEK 3: The Craft of Writing a Screenplay
Section no. 3 will continue building incremental knowledge needed to either start their first screenplay, or continue building their craft.
Section 3 Highlights:
• Students will receive review and feedback on their completed assignment (character bios)
• 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
o Standard delivery formats of a screenplay
• Resource material will be provided to illustrate examples of points discussed in class. Film-specific references will also be given.
WEEK 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 final webinar 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.
Section 4 Highlights:
• Collecting peer feedback – how to interpret notes received on peer or professional reviews/consultations and determine when to make changes
• 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 notes 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
• Resource material 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 industry
“The screenplay I am producing later this year made quarterfinals at HollyShorts (top 4%) and is one of six selected for reading at the Miracle Theater in DC for DC Shorts. Another one was a finalist at Richmond International, just one step away from an award nomination. I don't think I could have done that or gotten my spec features together so quickly without Kathy's classes. I went from zero screenwriting experience to that level in under a year.“
- Taz Lake