The Fundamentals of Screenwriting Masterclass
November 16 and November 17
Class runs from 10 am to 5 pm
(* Both dates / all 12 hours included in price)
BMO Centre, 295 Rectory St, London ON
Second floor, Meeting Room “D”.
Note: No food or drink from home is permitted, but there is a snack bar on site.
This is a 12-hour course scheduled over 1 weekend / 2 days with 6 hours of study each day (time and location details below).
This course is suitable for any skill or experience level and is designed to help you learn the rules, tools and concepts required to craft a marketable, industry-standard screenplay. Typically those who enrol fall into one of these four categories:
Filmmakers working in some other area of film production who want to gain a better understanding of how to tell a more effective/moving/memorable story.
Emerging screenwriters who are not yet enjoying the level of success they desire.
Creative writers from different disciplines (eg. comic book artists, blogger/vloggers, journalists, novelists, poets, game designers, musicians, playwrights, etc.) that want to re-examine storytelling from a screenwriter's perspective - often because screenwriting is famous for its succinctness and straightforwardness and they want to adopt those qualities in their writing.
Absolute beginners who are merely curious and are looking for a new and fun creative outlet.
As a student of this course, you will learn how to use a “centre-out” strategy starting with a carefully crafted central premise designed to sell, how to choose the right genre and themes to develop your script, how to create a cast of characters that suit your unique story, proper structure, scene construction, dialogue, effective editing strategies and even the value in "pitching" a screenplay concept.
The Fundamentals of Screenwriting will provide you with a long list of the most practical and useful insights available. You will start by learning storytelling techniques that have been used successfully for thousands of years, and many of the latest tips and tricks shared by working professionals. Most importantly, you’ll learn what to expect from the industry and how to make the process as easy and fun for you as possible.
If you’ve always wanted to learn, or if you’re already writing, but want to elevate your skills, this course is for you!
Jordan Christopher Morris
Jordan is a London-based, award-winning producer and director of films like Nintendo Quest and Multiple Festival Best Documentary winner, Missing Mom. Most recently he appeared on-screen as the host for Pyre Productions’ docu-series Video Game Box Art. He has also worked on numerous films as an actor, production designer, art director and screenwriter.
Since 2013, Jordan has been creating and hosting popular seminars and workshops on the nebulous art and science of writing screenplays.
His experience, disarming personality, and entertaining teaching style have made him a popular instructor for all experience levels. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact him immediately:
Instructor Contact Information:
To provide students with the best possible chance of finding success as a screenwriter, whether it be it as a working professional or amateur hobbyist looking for a new creative outlet. To help all students strike the perfect balance between the proper technical disciplines required by the film industry and their own unique voice as a creative writer.
This course is an interactive, seminar-style event that will focus on ten areas of study:
FUNDAMENTALS OF SUCCESSFUL SCREENWRITING
After the 12 hours are complete, you will have been introduced to - and given some time to experiment with under guidance - many of the tools required to complete a feature-length screenplay. You will gain a solid understanding of what makes a successful screenplay and how to use the insights and basic building blocks employed by industry greats.
What to Bring to Class:
You will receive Sighthound Studio’s 200 page SCREENWRITER’S COOKBOOK reference manual at no additional cost, but it is also a very good idea to bring whatever you need (notepad and writing instruments) to write additional notes.
Prior to the beginning of class on the first day, full refunds are available.
Student Code of Conduct:
Sighthound Studio is committed to providing a safe environment for everyone.
You are expected to conduct yourself in a courteous and respectful manner at all times.
Anyone compromising the safety or comfort of anyone else for any reason will be removed immediately and permanently without refund.
ACT ONE: FUNDAMENTALS
Introduce yourselves to the class; discuss your goals, and what your EXPECTATIONS are for your screenwriting efforts.
Listen to strategies that will help you maintain your MENTAL HEALTH and preserve a positive mind-set while you work.
Learn about HOW THINGS CAN GO WRONG for many new screenwriters, so that you can avoid the same pitfalls.
Observe WHERE NOT TO START by examining some of the types of projects and motivations that commonly lead to a new screenwriters failure.
Learn to “Talk the talk” by breaking down and understanding the THREE QUESTIONS you need to be able to answer articulately before you begin writing your screenplay.
ACT TWO: CORE INGREDIENTS
Explore THE ADVANTAGE OF A “CENTRE-OUT” WRITING STYLE” that can help you avoid many of the most problematic attributes of bad screenwriting.
Learn what the term “HIGH CONCEPT” means and why it is critical to your success.
Study what a PREMISE is and why starting there makes most sense.
Learn how to add a unique HOOK to your premise so that it will stand out from other, similar concepts.
Understand how THEME gives every story complexity and deeper meaning.
Define the word GENRE and explore its effect on story.
Explore how to effectively leverage GENRE CONVENTIONS.
Learn a simple method for generating and effectively ASSEMBLING YOUR CORE INGREDIENTS into a winning screenplay concept (Subject, Premise, Hook, Theme, Genre).
Learn how to create an effective LOGLINE and why it should be considered your most important diagnostic tool.
ACT THREE: STORY
Dissect and explore the definition of “STORY”.
Understand the profound effect of MYTHOLOGY and the MONOMYTH on modern storytelling.
Explore the attributes of a POETIC SCREENPLAY and why embracing them will elevate your work.
Learn how to use SURPRISE as fuel for your narrative.
Study why PAIN & CONFLICT (for your characters) are critical ingredients for any screenplay.
Learn how the profound power of TRAGEDY can “supercharge” your story.
Learn the art of ESCALATION and why it will improve your work
Explore David Mamet’s THREE MAGIC QUESTIONS.
Learn DYNAMIC CONTAINMENT TOOLS and how they can give your story more focus.
Study insightful CONSIDERATIONS to be mindful of while crafting a story.
ACT FOUR: CHARACTER
Observe some INSPIRATION for creating unforgettable characters.
Learn how to create powerful character FIRST APPEARANCES and why they can help save your script.
Explore what MAKES A GREAT CHARACTER and how your characters can make or break a screenplay.
Learn how to write BETTER BAD GUYS.
Study popular and effective character ARCHETYPES and how they should work together to make your script better.
Learn why a particular combination of five archetypes are most commonly used in popular films and how they got the nickname “THE FANTASTIC FIVE”.
Explore how using the ENNEAGRAM personality chart can help you create complex character relationships and motivation.
Learn how to create successful CHARACTER ARCS that work harmoniously with your plot, theme and overall structure.
Study strategies that will help you identify your protagonist/Hero character’s INNER WOUND and how that fuels character choices and motivations.
Study a concept known as THE LIE YOUR CHARACTER BELIEVES that will help you create rich, complex characters.
Determine how to identify your protagonist/Hero character’s WANTS vs. NEEDS, what makes them different from one another and why each is so important.
Learn how THE WOUND, THE LIE and the character’s WANT vs NEED typically play out and work perfectly together.
Break down the simple narrative tool known as the CHARACTER CONFLICT TRIANGLE and learn how it can help you dramatize your character’s internal and external struggles.
ACT FIVE: STRUCTURE
Discuss the clear advantages of using a PROVEN FORMULA and why formula’s are often seen as a weakness.
Learn several PLOT and SUBPLOT CONSIDERATIONS that will have you answering questions designed to elevate your craft.
See exactly how the number of pages in your script affects a movie’s RUNTIME and what the average number of pages, scenes and sequences are for today’s feature screenplays.
Learn how to successfully structure your story by studying several STRUCTURE TEMPLATES and why they work.
ACT SIX: SCENE
Learn HOW A SCENE SHOULD FUNCTION.
Study “THE THREE METHODS OF COMMUNICATING INFORMATION” to audiences and why most new writers ignore at least one.
Explore the 7 ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS of any scene.
Experiment with 8 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS you need to ask before drafting a scene.
DISSECT A SCENE from a popular movie and learn the 7 DRAMATIC STAGES that you can use in your own script.
ACT SEVEN: DIALOGUE
Explore DIALOGUE FUNDAMENTALS and the ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS of dialogue.
Learn what DIALOGUE SUBTEXT is, how it works, and how NOT employing it will ruin any screenplay.
Study 8 DIALOGUE STRATEGIES THAT WORK.
ACT EIGHT: TECHNIQUE
Understand why SCREENPLAY FORMATTING is more important than most new screenwriters realize.
Discuss SCREENWRITING SOFTWARE: industry favourites, excellent free options and where to find them.
Identify the best books available to study SCREENPLAY FORMATTING.
Learn the basics of SCREENPLAY FORMATTING from page one’s“Fade In” to the final page’s“The End”.
Study the importance of WHITESPACE and why leaving empty space on the page is a good thing.
Discuss the effects of good SCREENWRITING RHYTHM and how to harness it in your writing.
Discuss numerous screenwriting techniques such as “COMPRESSED IMAGERY”, “LESS IS MORE”, THE PARAPROSDOKIAN and why they’ll help your work stand out.
Study why “SHOW, DON’T TELL” is the cornerstone of successful screenwriting.
Learn how an uneven TONE can destroy a screenplay.
Explore the “invisible” ingredient that is STORY SUBTEXT and why you cannot write anything worth reading without it.
Study the power of Andrew Stanton’s (Pixar) 2+2 TECHNIQUE for establishing character details and conveying theme.
ACT NINE: FINISHING
Learn an effective strategy for tackling your FIRST FULL DRAFT and why it is actually much closer to the START of the writing process than the END, like many assume.
Explore how to assess your screenplay’s strengths and weaknesses by using the provided SCRIPT ASSESSMENT QUESTIONNAIRE.
Study the SIX TARGETED REWRITES and why editing one aspect of your script at a time will make your rewrites more effective and greatly improve your script.
Learn how to CHOOSE AN EFFECTIVE TITLE and how it will affect your screenplay’s performance in the marketplace.
ACT TEN: POST-WRITING
Explore how PITCHING your script and defending your work to professionals will make you a better screenwriter.
BONUS: Your copy of THE SCREENWRITER’S COOKBOOK reference manual will also include:
An updated list of respected CONTESTS & FELLOWSHIPS you can submit to.
A list of credible “COVERAGE SERVICES”.
A list of FREE ONLINE SCRIPT LIBRARIES.
And a GLOSSARY of the most common screenwriting terms and industry jargon.