Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Motor of Your Script

Raise the hood of any play or screenplay and you should see its motor staring back at you.  And without a doubt, in the vast majority of cases, that motor is the script's central character and his or her main want and/or need that somehow has to be satisfied.  This is what drives the story from the beginning to the end of the journey, what pushes it forward and gives it ongoing momentum.  

Just this week I've been struck again with how critical this basic tenet of good script writing is.  I've been reading a client's screenplay that is filled with wonderful moments and lovable characters. Clever and witty humor abounds.  But the story never fully springs to life and gets me entirely engaged in the first act because the writer has not clearly defined the main external want and dominating internal need of the central character.  I found myself not being able to focus on the story and get swept up in it's unfolding early on because the motor was not yet firing on all pistons.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Where Script Writing Begins...

I've been struck again recently with the degree to which playwrights and screenwriters I work with often tend to be unaware of, downplay, or largely ignore the importance of pre-writing work before going to draft.  Talented as they are, a number of my script consulting clients and students in the MFA program I run are not adequately familiar with the pre-writing tools available to them and that are, in my opinion, essential for thorough character exploration and for laying the structural groundwork for any good script.

There are a number of basic principles that need to be embraced as you plunge into a new project, all of which point to the importance of undertaking extensive pre-writing work:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Finding out more about our MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, the New Hampshire Institute of Art is offering a new 2-year low-residence MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen run by yours truly.

Launched with great success this past June with a stellar faculty of established professional writers and students from NYC, Los Angeles, and Canada, this is a unique hands-on graduate program designed to guide a small number of talented student writers through an intensive process-oriented approach to the writing of plays and screenplays.  See my recent post below for a rundown on our first residency.

The next residency is this coming January 3-12 and we're actively seeking to add a small number of new student writers to our "family" when we reconvene as a group.  The application deadline for new students interested in joining us is the end of November.

Held in the historic and culturally alive New England village of Peterborough, New Hampshire, each of the five ten-day residences over the two-year program are designed as script laboratories utilizing a collected ensemble of theatre and film professionals to test and give voice to student work and offer intensive courses and workshops in various aspects of the craft and profession.

Between residencies students work on writing projects throughout each of the four semesters under the supervision of established writer/mentors drawn from the professional theatre and film worlds.

If you're in New England or happen to be in the area in the coming weeks, you can find out more at one of the following upcoming information/open house sessions:

Saturday, September 14th, 10-11:30 am--Sharon Arts Center Gallery, 30 Grove Street, Peterborough, NH

Tuesday, October 15th, 6-7:30 pm--Panopticon Gallery, Hotel Commonwealth, 502c Commonwealth Ave., Boston

Tuesday, October 22nd, 6-7:30 pm--Sharon Arts Center Gallery, 30 Grove Street, Peterborough, NH

Saturday, October 26th, 10-11:30 am--Amherst Street Gallery, 77 Amherst Street, Manchester, NH

To register for one of these info sessions:

Call:  603-836-2522