Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First impressions

As part of my ticket for the London Screenwriter's Festival I and a few other attendees get a short course on screenwriting. The course is based in the Met Film School building at Ealing Studios which, for me, is a bit of a trek from the place I'm staying, or is on the way back but you can't get enough education.

The first evening was introduced by the one and only Chris Jones who then passed us over to Claire Moorsom.

It was interesting evening as she endeavoured to shoe-horn what I guess was a full day's course into under three hours.

While much of the material was, for me, already quite familiar the group setting gives you the opportunity for different viewpoints and no choice when it comes to practical exercises - you know how it is if you're reading a book with exercises? Do you do them? Usually not (okay, you might but I don't).

But here there are no excuses and no escape - not that I minded.

Claire passed out some pictures and got us to get down and creative with the ideas they sparked for us. She said we could choose the picture from the pile, but I and several others just grabbed one at random - a better experiment, I thought. Interestingly I came up with something completely unlike my usual stories, a social drama set in Spain.

Then we paired up and interviewed each other about personal life events that might be worthy as a starting point for a bit of screenplay action.

In the second half we discussed what makes a strong premise using Spielberg's "25 words or less" concept. Lot's of the usual examples. If you have an interest in this I can recommend the "How to write a logline" resource in the side bar. However Claire had a number of other insights into this area that were certainly worth the journey.

All good stuff, next time we'll be going into more detail on conflict with Claire; and different speakers in the weeks to come after that right up to the festival itself.

What's on the turntable? "Running Hard" by Renaissance from "Turn of the Card"

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