The late Syd Field is legendary in the world of screenwriting and filmmaking. Acclaimed as “the guru of all screenwriters” (CNN), Syd was regarded by many Hollywood professionals to be the world’s leading authority on the art and craft of screenwriting. The Oscars also featured Syd in their 2014 In Memoriam.
When he passed on November 17, 2013, The New York Times said Syd wrote “the definitive book on writing screenplays,” while the Los Angeles did a front page story featuring quotes from many
industry heavy weights like Oscar-winning Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) and Judd Apatow (Bridesmaids, Girls, The 40 Year Old Virgin) who said, “Syd Field wrote screenwriting books which did exactly what they were supposed to do — they made screenwriting seem possible.”
Syd loved to teach. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy and body of work that will continue to inspire writers and directors around the world. Fortunately, many of Syd’s classes and seminars were recorded and preserved, and we are honored, in conjunction with the Syd Field Estate, to be able to offer his “The Foundation of Screenwriting” 4-part webinar series recorded just last Summer.
Class #1: Setting Up Character & Story – Part 1
Question: What’s the best way to set up your Character and Story? Through an action or through character? Do you design an Inciting Incident to open your screenplay, or do you reveal Character in an Action/Reaction situation? It’s not an easy question to answer. It depends on a number of variables, of course; genre, conflict, dramatic need, etc. But there is a helpful “rule” we can follow: either the character drives the action, like the George Clooney character in The Descendants, or the action drives the character like the Daniel Craig character in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s an important distinction every writer must understand. That’s what this newly created Two Part Setting Up Character & Story Webinar is all about.
In Part I of Setting Up Character & Story, we’ll establish some essential distinctions about the Nature of Conflict, the character’s Dramatic Need, the importance of the First 10 pages and explore the different aspects of the Inciting Incident. The relationship between Story and Character is defined by revealing basic distinctions linking genres, storylines and main character. Various clips from The Descendants, Little Miss Sunshine, Avatar, American Beauty, Lord of the Rings, and other movie clips from Academy Award-winning films will illustrate different ways of Setting Up Character & Story. Understanding these distinctions is an essential tool to writing successful screenplays.
Class #2: Setting Up Character & Story – Part 2
Part II of Setting Up Character & Story continues to examine the distinctions between character and story line. In this Webinar Session, we’ll examine the Nine Different Ways of Setting Up Character & Story. The Nine Ways will be explored through specific definitions and film clips and discussion will illustrate each aspect of the Screenwriter’s Craft.
The purpose of this webinar is to clarify and guide you about different ways to set up character and story. Whether you choose to set up your screenplay with an Inciting Incident, or Character Exposition, or Action Sequence or Voice Over, your understanding and execution of the material will be expanded as the material is illustrated with clips from: The Departed, Juno, American Beauty, The Lookout and others. The purpose of Setting Up Character & Story Part II. is to expand your knowledge and understanding of the Screenwriter’s Craft.
Class #3: Writing Effective Dialogue
What’s the purpose of dialogue? Does it move the story forward, or does it reveal information about the character? Is your dialogue too “right on the nose,” or “too direct?” Do your characters all sound the same? Are your minor characters more interesting than your main character? This session explores the function of dialogue and illustrates the nine different types of dialogue found in movies like Juno, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Little Miss Sunshine, The Bucket List, American Beauty, and more. The purpose of the session: to expand and broaden your awareness of dialogue and its function.
Class #4: The 6 Stages of Rewriting
You’ve finished the first draft. Now what? Does it work or does it need more work? Do you need more action? Stronger characters? More tension? Are the stakes high enough? What can you do to make your first draft a better read? In this session we’ll begin by examining your original intention – what was it that originally attracted you to the idea? A character? A situation? An experience? In the first draft, did you end up writing the story you originally intended to write? This session is all about the Re–Write and the tools you can employ to make your intention equal your result.
April 12, 2014 (Saturday) – Setting Up Character and Story – Part 1
April 13, 2014 (Sunday) – Setting Up Character and Story – Part 2
April 26, 2014 (Saturday) – Writing Effective Dialogue
April 27, 2014 (Sunday) – The 6 Stages of Rewriting
Time: Each class runs from 10am to 12:00pm Noon PST
One Webinar: $84
Two Webinars: $148 (Save $20)
Three Webinars: $208 (Save $44)
Four Webinars: $248 (Save $88)
Please Note: If you are unable to attend the “live” webinar times, you will be able to view and listen to them on-demand for 14 days after each air date.