Light & Shade's got an update on all the new courses and opportunities available at the moment, one of them being Jurgen Wolff's Right-Brain Scriptwriting Course, which is taking place on Sunday, April 22, Ealing Studios, London. (For more information or to book, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
I attended one of Jurgen's courses a few years ago. A friend had a ticket but couldn't go, so graciously offloaded it to me, in exchange that I would type up notes on what I learned. Here are the best bits:-
It was an interesting day. It was very hot and humid outside but thankfully RADA’s student rehearsal rooms were generously air conditioned so that it was cool and comfortable. The chairs were a bit small though, and there wasn’t a lot of space between each person, making it a bit cramped.
Anyway, Jurgen Wolff eased in to his performance and seemed like a very nice and wise man. He’s about six foot four, lean and thin. A crisp white shirt rolled up to his elbows. Eggshell chinos. Despite his European roots, an American accent prevailed.
Jurgen did three ‘self hypnosis’ sessions where we would all try to relax and get into a meditative state to consider something about our characters or story or whatever. This is an interesting technique but I’m not sure how practical it is in your workplace. Obviously, you’ve got the private space to try to get into this relaxed position but I think you need to be of a certain personality or be open to what it represents in order to fully get the most out of the exercise.
One of the more useful excercise in the notes was the ‘Word Juxtaposition’ page. This is where you brainstorm how your characters might react or what your characters might do if faced in a certain situation like ‘Hospital’ or an item like ‘Hamburger’. The picture page is pretty much the same deal but treated in a visual fashion, naturally.
Jurgen also presented another useful ‘grid’ exercise, where you list your main characters and then in the grid, you list the scenes of your screenplay and mark out which characters appear in which one. If one character is ‘missing’ from a number of scenes but then gets his moment, the previous blank spaces should help you try to consider what he’s been doing all this time so that you have the right frame of mind for his character come his introduction or portrayal.
Generally, Jurgen was all about brainstorming and creative ways to stimulate your brain so that you don’t fall foul of writer’s block etc. There were a lot of useful tips and advice, but I wouldn’t like to do a whole weekend of his workshop (which he occasionally does).