BE A STORYTELLER FIRST!
....AND THEN A WRITER!
IS DIVIDED INTO (6) SECTIONS
EACH WITH AN EXERCISE
FOR YOU TO COMPLETE
It's fine to glance over all the sections first. But you won't understand the lesson if you don't take time to do the exercises! Recommended: Do just one section / exercise per study session and really think about it. Remember: This Is Normally A Semester Long Class!
DID YOU DO LESSON : FILMMAKING BASICS ?
1. WHAT KIND OF
STORYTELLER ARE YOU?
Love telling stories about your family, or what you saw other people doing?
Analyze the storylines of films? (To the point of annoying other people!)
Like to do puzzles or games that require 'cognitive skills'? (The core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, problem solve, and visually process !)
Fancy yourself an amateur psychologist, keen on the little things that people say and do that give away their inner lives?
Watch every CSI show? (Crime Scene Investigation) Love studying physical environments and objects to piece together the stories they tell?
Love history and doing research?
ASSIGNMENT (60 min)
1) Write down (5) things about yourself that might help you become a good (or better) Storyteller. You can include traits not listed above.
2) READ ARTICLE:
'(6) Tips For Beginners On
Creating Good Writing Habits'
'(11) WEIRD HABITS OF WRITERS
THAT YOU'LL LAUGH AT & LOVE'
These articles can help you improve both your study and writing habits.
3) Write down (5) habits you already have (even if you don't yet regularly stick to them), or can imagine starting, that could help you stick to regular study and writing sessions.
MY WEIRD HABIT!
"When I'm just sitting down to write and struggling to get focused, I literally like to warm myself up! I'll wear a knit cap and cozy socks and drink hot-hot tea in a thermos -- even on a hot summers day (I might be wearing shorts!). It helps me feel contained inside of myself. Once I get going I usually peel off the cap and socks."
2. LEARNING TO ENJOY
Before you get started as a Writer, I want you to first get started as a 'writer' with a lower case 'w'. This is the notetaker writer who jots down his/her (or the team's) ideas and thoughts, not meant to be shown to an audience, but used to help record and structure discussions. This is called 'Prewriting'.
Prewriting will help you generate ideas before you start writing and get stuck! Here are stages your writing should go through:
II. Write 1st Draft of Script
III. Share Draft To Get Feedback And Then Edit IV. Write 2nd Draft And Get Feedback
V. Final Draft (However many drafts it takes)
ASSIGNMENT (60 min)
1) Below are (3) different resources explaining what 'Prewriting' is. The resources cover the same information, but in different ways. One might inspire or make more sense you, so check them all out. You don't have to understand or use all the techniques. Using even one technique will get you going !:
WATCH VIDEO (1min):
2) Choose your own one word Topic* (Examples: Dog / Work / Dinner / Subway, etc)
Pick one of the Prewriting Technique you learned about (i.e. brainstorming, freewriting, listing, clustering, or questioning). Use it to come up with as many ideas as you can for a story about your Topic (that includes ideas about how to describe Characters and location).
(*This is an exercise! You can choose a
different topic when you start writing your script.)
EARLY HOLLYWOOD WAS ALL ABOUT
'PREWRITING' IN TEAMS!
3. BE LIKE THE PEOPLE WHO STARTED HOLLYWOOD
Filmmaking started to take
root in Hollywood around 1910, at the end of the Gold Rush in California.
Thomas Edison (actually William Dickson, one of Edison's employees) had created the movie camera in New Jersey (while an employee of the Lumiere brothers was creating one in France). People took cameras to California for the year round sunlight because the early celluloid film stock (perfected by Eastman Kodak) needed a lot of natural light. And some people fled to California with stolen cameras to get away from Edison's control!
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST MOVIE CAMERA !
The people with cameras
pulled together crews and
actors from the locals –
ex-gold miners, cowboys, traveling salesmen -- ordinary people just getting by who wanted to try something new.
THERE WERE LOTS OF WOMEN WORKING IN EARLY FILM !
A Cultural History
of American Movies
by Robert Sklar
A great book with a full history of the beginning of movies.
Take a 'look inside the book'. (Skip past opening Contents
and Preface to Chapter #1: 'The Birth of a Mass Medium')
ASSIGNMENT (60 min)
'The Origins Of The Modern Scriptwriting Format'
Write down (3) historical facts that are new to you.
2) List the (6) main elements of a modern script, given at 9:23 minutes into the video. (Don't worry you'll get more
help to understand!)
4. THEY MADE
LOW/NO BUDGET SHORT FILMS!
In the beginning films were only a few minutes long. They were viewed by working-class people in Nickelodeons (think like a game arcade in a mall). The well-to-do dressed up and went to the theater to see plays!
This was before there was any written plan to follow like a 'script', and they had only one
camera to choose from !
HOW DID THEY COME UP
WITH THEIR IDEAS FOR FILMS?
By looking around at what they had free – locations, wardrobe, props – and recruiting people who wanted to try acting.
Everyone brainstormed over ideas for a story. Often it
would be one person who
gave the starting idea, but
then everyone added to it.
Learn How The Development Of The Script Became Necessary Because Of Better Cameras and Lights, Longer Stories, And Bigger Budgets !
Who Watched the Movies? History of Audiences
1896 to 1920
Importance of Props
To The Film Story
('Prop': anything handled by actor)
ASSIGNMENT (30 min)
List (10) things* that you have (or can borrow) that would be fun to use or look great in a short film. Spend time looking!
Come up with the weird, unusual, or special -- even if you don't know at first how to fit it into a story. Keep this list handy for when you start to work on story ideas.
(*i.e. locations, clothing, paintings, rubber turkey, pretty box, rocking chair, a beautiful plant -- or a dying plant --, guitar, etc. )
Like the earliest filmmakers, let’s first focus on coming
up with a story based on resources you already have so you can afford to shoot the film. Then we'll think about how to write it down as a script.
Did you know it's not unusual to have a couple of Writers write the script for a short or feature film? (Sometimes together or taking turns writing different drafts). And often the Director (and Actors) will contribute ideas to the re-writing of a script, even though they don't get writing credits.
TV And Streaming Series Always Have
A Writing Team!
On a writing team one person might be good at coming up with exciting scenarios (situations). Someone else is great at dialogue or humor. Another person is good at capturing everyone's ideas
in written words.
What Your First Day Will
Be Like In A Writers Room For A Series !
Asking Others for Ideas
It's Not Cheating!
It's How It's Done
LEADING A TEAM
First you might meet people who are willing to listen to you talk about what you are learning, but are not interested in working with you on creating a script.
If you continue your learning and keep reaching out to people, you eventually will find those who stick. Think ahead about how to lead your Team !
(7) Qualities Of Successful
(5) Steps To A Successful Team
ASSIGNMENT (30 min)
' BE A TEAM PLAYER'
1) Name a Team you've been on (for work, play, or school):
a) List (3) Pros (the good) b) List (3) Cons (the bad)
2) Group Writing Exercise:
One person writes down the first line for a story on a paper. Then passes it to the next person who adds another line / idea to what happens in the story. Keep passing it and adding to story. Be imaginative (and silly if you want). If there’s just two of you, go back and forth building the story. Continue work on story for (5) min.
6. THE FINAL CLASS
First I’ll tell you the final class assignment. Then I’ll be giving you lessons to help you understand what I'm asking you to do!
Write a (2 to 5) page, (1) Scene, Short Script in Proper Script Format
Set Your Story in An Actual Location That You Can Get For Free To Shoot In (even if you don’t plan to actually shoot your script, I want you to have a real world to imagine your story happening in)
(2-4) Characters – NO MORE THAN FOUR ! (no background extras)
Create Character Profiles
Use (3) Act Structure, And Have A Conflict And A Resolution
Summarize Your Story Idea In A One Sentence Logline
LOGLINE: Concise and intriguing one or two sentence summary (25 - 50 words) of your story that will stimulate audience interest!
STICK WITH ME AND FIND OUT WHAT ALL
"Our Mind Is Like A Parachute.
It Only Works When It Is Open."
"If You Don't Love It
Without The Money --
You Won't Love It
With The Money"
- Todd Siler
Over And Over Again --
And That's Why I Succeed"
- Michael Jordan
ASSIGNMENT (30 min)
' IDEA TOSS
1) READ ARTICLE:
'Famous Films Loglines'
'How To Write
2) Quickly toss out (3) ideas --
in the form of loglines -- for a short script. For one of your ideas use a one word Topic from the Prewriting exercise. Have fun! You are not committing yet to the idea for your short script.
FIND OTHER PEOPLE
TO BOUNCE IDEAS OFF!