Would you like to attend Gordy Hoffman's WEEKEND WORKSHOP on the 16th/17th August, FOR FREE? Well, here's your chance. All you have to do is DESCRIBE A MEMORABLE TIME YOU CRIED DURING A MOVIE. Leave your answers and your contact email in the comments section ('insightful development notes' at the foot of the post, for those who might be unclear) by 6pm (UK) on Saturday 9th August (comments will be datemarked) and Mr Hoffman will choose a winner.
Yes folks, a blog exclusive! A free competition to win a free ticket to Gordy's exciting screenwriting workshop (normal price £150). Who loves ya, hah? AND you get a guest post from the man himself, talking about Plot Vs Character. He's doing a whole week of workshoppy goodness so for the full details, check out the website or the bottom of the post.
Plot Vs Character by Gordy Hoffman
I once told a writer they were lying. It sounded very much like I was calling them a liar. But I was actually talking about a screenplay they wrote. I often make the mistake of thinking someone is talking about me when they’re talking about my work, which is not my person.
They had left out a very important event of the plot. They had left out a goodbye scene, a moment where a family might never see one again. Do we show every time a character ties a shoelace? No, as it’s not important to the story. So what’s not on the page is inherently unnecessary. Leaving out the important is not truthful.
So how do I know what to put in and what to leave out? What are the necessary pieces of the story? What are the crucial, non-negotiable moments of my plot?
Our characters will tell us. More specifically, our honesty with them.
Does this sound touchy feely? Have you one eye for the exit suddenly? Well, I’m happy to say any discomfort you may feel is where you will continue to develop as a writer, as this is a touchy feely business. The perfectly ordered rhythm and pitch of an engaging plot is founded on how honest a writer is about how their characters behave. How do I become an expert on what a character might do or say in my movie?
I have to admit and continue to admit that screenwriting is an intimate action. I have to cultivate an opinion, a thought, a guess, on what people feel at any second of their lives, and I need to imagine what actions or words might come of those feelings. So I am thinking about people and their emotions, actually, I hope, every time I sit down and write.
The more specific I am, the more honest. How can I be this specific? What do I know about shipbuilding? We’re not talking about shipbuilding. We’re talking about human emotion. What do you know about that? I’m sure there’s a Wikipedia entry, but I suggest you provide your own expertise: you.
By investing your own research as a human being in life, we can create honest actions and words for our characters. Not only will the plot make sense, not only will your story be credible, the audience might actually identify with your characters. Your movie could be compelling.
Do you remember the last time you saw someone before they died? Have you ever said goodbye, knowing it might be the last time? Would this be left out?
Tell the truth.
THE BLUECAT SCREENWRITING WORKSHOPS
LONDON - August 12-17, 2008
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street, Bloomsbury
London WC1E 7HX
Gordy Hoffman, the award-winning writer/director (LOVE LIZA, A COAT OF SNOW), USC School of Cinematic Arts Adjunct Professor and founder of the BlueCat Screenplay Competition, will travel to the UK this August to lead a week of screenwriting workshops at Birkbeck College, University of London.
The creative principles of the workshops were borne out of over a decade of experience of judging the only major script competition in the world helmed by a produced screenwriter, a writer who continues to write today.
The BlueCat workshops help the writer develop the authentic, original voice behind every story that impacts the emotions of the audience, the essence of all commercially and artistically successful films.
If you care passionately about your script and story, this week will provide the tools to transform your commitment and concern into a compelling film.
THE ART OF SCREENWRITING WORKSHOP (two day workshop)
09:00 – 17:00 on August 16, 17 in room B35 Malet Street
The screenplay is creative writing. It is imagination in action, the heart of every experience of the writer speaking truthfully and generously.
Writing creatively for the screen has no method, no formula, no rigid worksheets to comply with or enforceable rules hanging on a wall somewhere. Every conformity or formula determined and “discovered” by the screenwriting establishment can be blown apart by some of our most beloved movies.
But what cannot be argued away is that every classic movie we love has affected us emotionally.
This is always true.
There are principles of authentic storytelling. Yes. But these are not learned, but remembered from our own experiences of living our lives. The ability to tell a story lies inside every human being.
These questions, among others, will be examined at length at the workshop:
* What makes for a robust idea for a feature length film? How should I consider this idea? Where do ideas come from? What is planning vs. imagination?
* What are the various approaches to the first draft? Does an outline hurt or help? What is the true value of research? Can I just start writing now?
* What is the tone of rewriting? What are the goals of revision? What are the tools of de-constructing your first draft? How many rewrites is healthy?
* How does dialogue affect my audience connection? When is dialogue not cinematic? How does dialogue improve?
* How does description hurt your ending? Does description help an audience care about characters?
* Do all characters have a genuine place in my story? Can I write about people I hate? Can I write about things I imagine and never do? Does that mean I’m not "writing what I know"?
* Who is qualified to give me feedback? Are some notes simply worthless? What does praise for my work do?
* When do I become a screenwriter? Can I make movies where I live? How do I find the real film industry and make relationships?
* Are there other reasons why I’m stuck? How do writers write on a daily basis? How do I trouble shoot when I'm drawing a blank? Why do I get bored?
* Why is pitching my movie important? Do I have to be good with pitching? When does a pitch work?
* What does the personal voice have to do with box office grosses? What is my audience and how smart can I be? How will the audience identify with my own life experience?
Writers will engage in writing and pitching exercises designed to flesh out new ideas or rework existing scripts. Please bring your laptops and/or paper and pen.
If each person is indeed unique, it follows simply that each writer is unlike any other, and can write a story no one else on Earth can. This purpose is the mission of this workshop.
THE TEN PAGE WORKSHOP (limit 5 writers per day)
18:30 – 23:00 on August 12, 13, 14 in room 629 Malet Street
These workshops will consist of 5 writers each submitting ten pages of a work in progress in advance. We will go over each work individually, discussing the specific, unique challenges each writer is facing on the page. This discussion will include the technical aspects of description and dialogue, the depth and reality of the characters, and how the ten pages reflect where the entire story goes.
The intimate, focused interaction with fellow writers in the workshop will provide all with a greater understanding of the work that lies ahead on their screenplay, and more importantly, a detailed sense of how they might develop as writers themselves.
18:30 – 23:00 on August 12
Cost: £125 SOLD OUT
18:30 – 23:00 on August 13
18:30 – 23:00 on August 14