Writer's Block: A Practical Guide to Beat it. | Aram Atkinson | Skillshare

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Writer's Block: A Practical Guide to Beat it.

teacher avatar Aram Atkinson, Storyteller. Filmmaker.

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (1h 17m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:18
    • 2. Class Project & Tools

      1:13
    • 3. Fear: The Concept Creation Tool

      5:46
    • 4. Developing The Set-Up

      8:08
    • 5. Plot: What Actually Happens?

      5:05
    • 6. Prose/Description: A Sensory Technique

      7:39
    • 7. Dialogue: Starting a Conversation

      10:59
    • 8. Recap: End Of Part 1

      2:27
    • 9. New Worlds: Getting Inspired

      5:21
    • 10. Long-form Writing: Translating the Techniques

      3:46
    • 11. Staying Focused

      3:56
    • 12. Bringing Authenticity to Your Work

      4:17
    • 13. Outro

      2:17
    • 14. Bonus

      13:27
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About This Class

Aram Atkinson, winner of Filmarket Hub's 2021 UK TV Pilot Screenplay Contest, guides you on a journey to overcome writer's block. In this fun and practical class, Aram shares his proven methods that helped him break through his own mental barrier to write an award-winning 70-page screenplay, a new short story every 2 weeks for 8 months, and start writing Medium articles all within a year!

Through a series of exercises you'll learn how to:

- Repeatedly come up with interesting dramatic setups

- Start a dialogue that has purpose

- Create varied, quirky, and believable characters 

- Write prose/description with ease, that actually pulls the reader in

- Find inspiration for new unique plots and worlds

This class is designed for budding novelists, screenwriters, playwrights and anyone else who wants to be a writer, yet struggle to get the first words onto the page. Equally, if you are an established writer and feeling stuck in a creative rut, then these lessons will help you rediscover your passion and confidence when it comes to thinking up fresh ideas and transforming thoughts into actual words!

There are printout worksheets or interactive Canva worksheets in the class project and resource tab, but you can just as easily follow along with a notebook, word doc, chalkboard, or any other writing medium of your choice.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Aram Atkinson

Storyteller. Filmmaker.

Top Teacher

Hey what's up, I'm Aram, and I'm an award-winning UK writer/director of commercials and branded content. I love stories...whether it's writing them, reading them, telling them or shooting them. 

My story is far from finished, I like to think I've just got to the good bit at the end of chapter 3! I'm fortunate to do what I love and work with brands to create visual stories on the daily, but the goal I'm working towards is writing and directing my first feature film.

Follow me on YouTube here

Follow me on Instagram here

I'm also striving to make film more inclusive, and I hope to one day be on set that represents the best of all of us, telling a story that matters.

I truly believe film is a gateway for us all to change our story and the stories of o... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Why is it so hard to start a script or a book, let alone finish one when we're full of ideas, and is there way to make it easier? My name is Aram, I'm a writer/director, and this is my class on how to beat writer's block. In 2020, as we all know, the pandemic hit. Film work basically dried up overnight, so I really had no excuse to not write. In the first few days, I sit down, open up a laptop and just stare at a blank screen, I'd eventually give up and tell myself, I'll try tomorrow, I'll be inspired tomorrow, I'll be in the zone tomorrow and yet tomorrow would come and it would be the same problem. There's nothing more frustrating than when you feel like you have a world inside you, but it refuses to come out and onto the page. How did they go from that place feeling frustrated and angry and genuinely like, maybe I'm not a writer to pitching scripts to studios like Lion's Gate TV, to winning national screenwriting contests, and to even writing medium articles just as a side project or within a year? I'll tell you now, it wasn't a lightning bolt of inspiration. It was through a process and one that I want. In this class, I'm going to show you how I repeatedly and reliably come up with new and dramatic concepts. How I was able to write a new short story every fortnight for eight months. I'm going to teach you how I access other voices on-demand to give my character's life and a uniqueness when the time cause I'm going to walk you through a method that will help you navigate your way through scene with purpose, so you never feel lost along the way. I knew I was a writer, I just needed the tools to get me started and I've no doubt it's the same with you. Together will knock down that wall in front of you and kickstart your own writing project whenever that may be. This isn't a class about the three-act structure or hero's journey. You already know that this is a class to get your brain ticking, to get your hands typing, and to get your character speaking. Whether you're using a laptop or scrap paper or a chalkboard. By the end of this class, you will have not only written a new short story, but you have the tools to go off and write that project that you've always wanted to. If you're ready then I'll see you in class. 2. Class Project & Tools: Before we get going, I thought I'd give you an overview of what's to come and the tools you need to complete the course. The first half of this class, we're going to go through our super easy 5-step writing activity that will help us learn how to create dramatic setups, interesting characters, and know how to get prose and dialogue onto the paper right away. We'll use these techniques to bypass writer's block and create our class project, which is a short story. Once you've done that, we'll move on to Part 2, where we'll look at how to bring these techniques to your own projects, your large, big scope projects. Now whether you have something in the works or you're looking to understand how to be inspired. We'll be covering how to do all of that. I'll also be sharing some extra tips on how I get inspired to create bigger world's biggest scope projects and how I stay focused when doing that. Now It's entirely up to you how you want to actually write this, whether it's a nice notebook on Microsoft Word or using the links and worksheets provided. Just whichever method you choose. Don't add obstacles. We're not after the perfect notebook or the best quality printing paper. It's all about getting started right away because the best tools are the ones you have. 3. Fear: The Concept Creation Tool: The first exercise we're going to do is we're going to learn how to reliably and repeatedly come up with setups that start a story off, that kick-start our journey. First of all, we have to establish what makes a good setup. Well in a word, friction. I want to take a quick look at one of my favorite example, which is Toy Story. Toy Story has a brilliant setup. A new futuristic spaceman threatens a jealous cowboy's position as Andy's favorite toy. Perfect. Fun fact, I used to have a Buzz Lightyear toy. It was awesome. Why is this such a good setup? Well, it has two conflicting characters in the same environment, where one of those characters is going to draw out the other ones fear, that makes them start acting irrationally. Everyone loves Woody initially, but as soon as his fear is provoked, he becomes this cruel, selfish character. He starts making reckless choices that move the story forward. Fear is such a strong catalysts to start a story because it brings out the best and worst in us. That's why we're going to start with fear, because it does really help you to start a story. I'm sure that if you think to moments of fear in your life, then you'll be able to think of moments of dread where you've not acted the way you'd like to, and also moments of pride where you've achieved something you didn't think you can. When I was growing up, I had a speech impediment and when the phone rang, I was filled with this dread about, should I pick up the phone? This whole saga started in my mind, what happens if they can't understand me? What if it is an important phone call and I don't pick up? All these different internal conflicting questions going on in my mind. Whether you are writing a short story or a 500 page novel, the quicker you can start throwing challenges at your protagonist, the quicker we can pull the reader in. As Alfred Hitchcock said, enter late, exit early. Basically, get straight in to the action and don't ask that, you're welcome. Here's what I want you to do. Now you can do this on the Canvas spreadsheet, on a PDF or your notebook, whatever method you've chosen. If you want to get real fancy, you can do this on flashcards or you can just use the worksheets I provided. I want you to come up with three people that you know in your life, ideally really well, and write down their name, you can use an alias if you prefer to protect the identity, and a fear that they have. A physical fear is more helpful to get going than an abstract fear. For instance, a fear of spiders is more helpful than a fear of failing, but we can still make it work with the latter. Now, obviously, the better you know someone, the more likely you are to know their fear. If you don't, then you can just put a post out on Instagram or message a few friends and ask. If you're thinking, "Hey, Aaron, I'm a writer, I don't have friends." Then you can just google some fears and drop one in. But the closer you can associate a fear with someone you know, the easier the later steps will be. We're going to create a setup by establishing a fear and two characters that conflict in that environment. You're going to write down a name and you're going to write down a fear. You can see I've already put two in here, but I'm going to fill out a third one with you. Just, "double-click" and then I'm in. I'm just going to type in Margaret. I don't really know Margaret, but that's an alias for the person I know. Their fear is flying. What we want to do next is think of the environment which is going to provoke that fear, is going to realize that fear in its most tangible and powerful way. For me in my case, it's going to be an airplane or at the least an airport. Once you've done that, you then need to think of a person or a job role that exists in that environment that's going to feel really comfortable and at home there. Again, in my case, that's going to be a flight attendant, a pilot, or a frequent flyer. Now the reason I put protagonist, antagonist here is actually in later stages when you want to develop your own stories a bit more. It can be really interesting to have the protagonist fill out that role themselves. Say for instance, a flight attendant who's full of fear, a pilot who's full of fear. But in the early stages to just get into the habit of writing stories and getting three writer's block, keep it as your antagonist for now. Just bear that in mind later on down the line. You can very quickly see how we have a loose framework for a setup. It's not complete. We're going to flesh this out a little bit more in the next lesson. But you have two opposing forces coming together in the same place where one's going to provoke the other one to start making bad decisions. It propels the story forward. Just to run you through my other examples here, just to give you a bit more inspiration. Brian is scared of spiders. Were they going to exist in the jungle, maybe bathroom or the zoo. Who's going to be those people that feel right at home there? It's going to be a wildlife presenter, it might be a cleaner, or could be a zookeeper. We also have Trevor who has a fear of fire. That could be volcanoes if you want to go big or could be camping, a bit more accessible, could be a kitchen or even a spa room, there's candles that masseuses like to use. Who are the antagonists in that situation? Well, on a volcano it might be a photographer, by campfire a scout, in a kitchen a chef, but a spar room, a masseuse. This is how we can start creating our setups. Go ahead and come up with three to six different characters, write down their fear, the environment, and the antagonist. Once you've done that, move onto the next lesson and we will look at finishing off this setup before we get cracking on the writing. 4. Developing The Set-Up: We have the ingredients for our setup. We have our antagonist, our protagonist, and a fair and an environment. But it's not quite enough. What we need is a reason for our protagonist to put themselves through that. We need an ambition to meet at the crossroads of fear. When ambition or desire meets fear or duty, sometimes, at the crossroads, it starts a journey of trial and tribulation for our character. Someone with a fear of flying is a great start point. But why are they there? What reason do they have to stay? We need a powerful enough motivation that allows us as the writer to keep turning and twisting that knife, making things worse and worse and driving that story forward. The harder we challenge our characters, the deeper that character development can be. Back in 2015 when I was the young age of 22, I got the chance to go and direct a campaign film in Bangladesh. This was a film that was going to play at the World Health Organization and the UN to try and get global drowning recognized as a problem that needed addressing. It was a humbling and incredible opportunity to be part of, one I was very ambitious to be involved with. But I never left Europe and I was a very fussy eater growing up, like next-level fussy. But even in my early 20s when I was a bit more adventurous with food, my level of spice tolerance was terrible. The idea of going to Bangladesh and knowing I had no choice on the food, I'll just have to eat whatever was there, it did fill me with a lot of fear. But I really wanted to go, I really wanted to be part of this project. Here I was at my crossroads. Despite the fact I got unbelievably ill on that trip, I loved it and it was a real journey of personal growth and development for me. Ambition gives our audience something to root for and it gives us a reason to keep tormenting our character. Now the ambition doesn't have to be some big noble quest. In fact, it can be quite low-key and personal and still have the same powerful impact. Taking someone with a fear of flying, for example, their ambition could be to get back home to see their ill parents one last time and that's a very powerful ambition. A great example of ambition and fear coming into conflict is the HBO series Barry. It's an incredible show about a hitman with an ambition to become an actor. The two worlds are completely opposite and his fear is that people will learn the truth about his dark job, his dark past. Now we have the question of how far would he go to protect that secret. Just how much would he risk for his ambition? How afraid is he of people finding out the truth? We're going to work through this worksheet here that will help us establish everything we need. The first one is why is my counter here? What is the ambition? Taking the example of someone afraid of flying, their ambition is to get home to visit their ill parents. Next, we need to establish what's at stake? What happens if they fail? Again, the stakes need to be massive in terms of scale or scope, but they can be really big personally. In this case, what's at stake is they didn't get home in time to see their parents. Maybe there's an argument between them and their parents that hasn't been resolved. In my case, I'm going to put not seeing their parents before they pass away. Stakes can be emotional, they can be financial, or they can be career-wise. It might even just be pride. One of my favorite films is Whiplash, a story of an aspiring jazz drummer who wants to be one of the all-time greats. What's at stake if he doesn't get there? Well, nothing really or so it seems, but actually to him, the character, everything is at stake. He will live up to everyone's low expectation. He will reside himself to an unfulfilled life. So come up with the stakes. Once you have the ambition and stakes, you have a setup, you have a complete setup. What you want to do now is to write that as a little logline. I've given you the template here to help you with that. The who, the fear, or GT, the antagonist, the environment, the ambition, and what's at stake. I've actually written three from our earlier examples just to help you understand a little bit more what I mean here and how we can build up a bigger story. Starting with Margaret, the nervous flier. Margaret, a nervous flyer, must endure bumpy plane rides, rookie flight attendants, and pessimistic travelers, if she is to make it back in time to see her critically ill parents one last time. Here's another. Brian, a bankrupt cameraman with a fear of spiders, must voyage into the jungle with a childish TV presenter if he is to save his house. Lastly, Trevor, traumatized by a recent fire incident, must endure a not so relaxing spa day with a careless masseuse and her many candles if he is to relieve his back pains before his date later that night. You can see how ambitions and stakes can be very low key or very high key and you still get drama. But there is one more thing we need to do before we come up with our beat sheets, our outline, and actually start writing our story. We have to decide, what is the inciting incident? What is going to happen that actually propels the story forward? Now so often people go way too big, too early here. Some with the fear of flying, they'll think, "Well, let's crush the plane." The smaller you can start, you can build things up greater and you can really add to that tense drama. If a person wants to go home to see their parents, we don't need to crash the plane, we just need to divert it. Now we can make our hero suffer three planes. We prolong that traumatizing experience for our character. We make that challenge greater. We can pinpoint moments of drama like who she make her connection in time. Who she understand the language at the new terminal. What happens if customs find something in her bag that shouldn't be there? What happens next doesn't need to be a massive end game. It can be quite a small incline. That is a very simple thing in logistics, but emotionally quite powerful. Now you might just come up with what happens next very easily. But if you don't, the key to unlocking that door is to use the antagonist as that what happens next. The antagonist is there to provoke fear. They are there to be the root cause of that problem. Find a way for the antagonist to be the problem or create the problem. It can be through spikes, it can be accidental. There's so many different motivations behind it. But as long as the antagonist is there, there should be a way of creating conflict, of creating a what happens next that causes a prolonging of our heroes' experience in that world of fear. Once again, going back to when I had a speech impediment, something that my friends could have done is take my phone, call the girl I fancied, and put me on. There is a what happens moment. This is probably the trickiest stage of the entire process, coming up with what happens next. But that's why we have the antagonist. That's why we put our protagonist in an environment where that fear can really be exploited. Once you've done that, just take a moment to stop and think that you've already passed writer's block here. You have created an idea, a full setup that you can now turn into a story. We've worked through to a setup rather than waiting for a moment of inspiration to haters. Once you've done that, move on to the next lesson where we're going to just outline our story and then we're going to get stuck in writing pros and dialogue. 5. Plot: What Actually Happens? : Back in the 90s, there was an Irish band named D Ream. They had a song called Things Can Only Get Better. Clearly, they hadn't met any screenwriters or novelists because we want things to get as bad as they possibly can. All good stories are character-driven journeys through trial after trial, obstacle after obstacle. We want to escalate the nightmare for our protagonist, making things just get as bad as they possibly can. But every surprise and every twist and every new action has to be logical. There has to be a sense of reason for that coming to be. Pixar has something called the 22 rules of storytelling. There's one in particular I find really helpful to remember. That is that, coincidence is fine to get our characters into trouble. But coincidence to get our characters out of trouble is cheating. A tool I like to use for mapping out my plot points and getting the beat sheets done is through the classic conflict resolution technique. I do this using two words, which is, therefore and but. Every different moment of a story can be broken down into a therefore, or a but. I use this for my TV pilot, for every main character. I went through their entire narrative journey with therefore, but, therefore, but. That got me to develop all these different narrative threads. Then I could weave them together, place them in the story where I want them to be. I'm going to show you an example of this, of how I've done this for one of my made-up stories. You can go ahead and do one yourself. I'm going to use the example of Brian, the cameraman in the jungle, to walk you through how you create a story very easily, just using therefore and but. You can see here, I've started my situation by the antagonist provoking affair. My starting point of, this happens, is the TV presenter places a spider on the camera man's arm. Instantly, that's going to draw some reaction. Therefore, the cameraman panics, drops the camera to the floor, the spider falls off. But the spider bit him, sending him into medical emergency. Then perhaps the presenter didn't think this was a poisonous spider. Their arrogance coming back to haunt our protagonist. Therefore, the TV presenter tries to suck out the poison, and save him. But they suck out too much and they too go into medical emergency. So now both the protagonist and antagonist are in a bad situation. Therefore, the team medic has to save them both. The presenter tries to blame Brian for overreacting and causing the problem. But the whole thing was caught on camera and broadcast live. Right at the start where Brian drops a camera that comes back. Nothing is illogical in this. Everything makes sense. The fact that it was caught on camera can happen because he dropped the camera, but it's still rolling. Therefore, the war-like presenter a loses their job and the camera man gets a large insurance paycheck, saving his house. If you remember from the sets that we had for this character, is they were a bankrupt camera man taking a job that they were afraid of because they needed to save the house. It looks like things we're going to go to in a real bad way. It got worse and worse and worse, and eventually we get a resolution. Even the mini resolutions throughout, the spider falls off, but it's already bit him. The TV presenter tries to suck out the poison. But in doing so, they get into a worse situation. Every time we think there's a solution, a further problem comes. Is only right at the end where we do get that resolution. What we've got to do, is go in here and fill it out. Add your own situation and then go therefore, but, until you finally get to resolution. To reemphasize, once again, we are not trying to get this perfect. It doesn't matter if it's not the best story in the world. This is just an exercise, so don't overthink it. Just learn skills to get past writer's block and move forward. We learn more through trial and error, through attempt an analysis than pondering over perfection. If you write a story and you don't like it, then don't try and make it better. Just write another one and then another one, and you'll continue to improve that habit. In the next lesson, we're going to start putting words on the page and writing the pros or the description that kicks our story off. We're going to do it in a way that captures our audience's attention and really pulls them in to our character's perspective. 6. Prose/Description: A Sensory Technique: We have our setup, we have a perfect situation to start a story. We are now at that age old problem. How do I actually put the first word on the paper? How do I start writing? This is not impossible. It's nowhere near impossible. I'm going to walk you through how I come up with pros and description to start a story. Now, down the line, you may choose to start straight away with dialogue. When I was writing my short stories, I started every single one with a piece of dialogue first. But I want to start with the pros or description here, because I think it will help you to set the scene a little bit more. I think one of the reasons that people find this so hard, is they don't give themselves the time to immerse themselves in the situation and just imagine being there to really experience it. I'm going to show you how I do just that, and create a picture in my mind that allows me very quickly to start writing. Now there's two steps to this process. The first one is objective and the second one is subjective, where we start turning that description into our character's perspective. What we're going to do, and we're going to look for some audio, whether that is on a video or a podcast, or even just you walking to the environment and going spending some time there. We're going to allow ourselves to just sit there and listen. Audio is a way that we can immerse ourselves so completely, despite the fact we're not in an environment. You can either write notes about it as you go along or after, or you can even just put your phone to the side with a little audio recording going and just speak. What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? I'm just telling you to do this, I thought I would demonstrate. I'm going to look a little bit ridiculous, but so be it. I found a clip on YouTube of someone entering a plane. Now, I'm just going to listen, and I'm going to describe what I'm hearing, and you'll understand what I'm talking about. The first thing I hear is this rush of engine sounds just pouring over me. It's different accents, different languages. Some sort of beeping. I don't know what that is from. Suddenly the sounds cut to something different. Must have walked into the airplane where you get that different air-con. Just imagining being on a plane when you walk in and you get that smell. We all know that smell from a cabin. The sounds of trays and cutlery or metal banging, I guess, from the staff preparing something. If I open my eyes briefly, I see that is exactly what I'm looking at. It is a coffee machine. The sounds changed again. I guess I'm walking through the cabin. There's some Christmas music going on setting the time for me. Things being put in there had lockers. As you can imagine, you can then go further on from there, you'd have the plane taking off. Objectively, I've understood the picture there. I have a sense of what I might hear, what I might experience in a logical order. We want to write this from a character's perspective, don't we? Imagine that someone's afraid, and they're going to experience all of this through the lens of being afraid. Think how that might sound and smell and feel. The beat is going to sound like an alarm. The clanging of metal is going to sound more like rickety old boats coming undone. Christmas music is going to maybe give them a little sense of relief, but that's going to be undercut by all these other sounds going on. The little knocks and bumps from people as they go by, and the overhead lock is banging shut. Maybe someone can't get something really heavy up there. Now they're going to be thinking, well, what of that falls out? I'm going to do same thing, I'm going to listen again, and I'm going to do it from a point of fear-based perspective. It sounds like the engine running or some petrol being pumped in. Seems very last minute if you ask me to be doing this just as you're boarding. There is this alarm in the background. There's people welcoming you, but they're not very welcoming in their approach, it's very cold and confrontational welcome. Any first claustrophobic, there's voices all around. The sound has changed again, and now, basically sealed in, it's like a sarcophagus. There's no where for me to get out of this, is suddenly a dampen sound. There's a rattle of something, maybe like a dodgy wheel on a trolley that could send the trolley spiraling down the aisle if it wanted to. It comes to Christmas music again, little reminder of home, why I'm on this flight. I want to go home and see my parents. What happens if I don't make in time? Sound like someone screamed there. Maybe it was a laugh. It's hard to say. There's someone trying to slam a overhead locker shuts. Then clearly, the suitcase is too heavy or too large to fit in, and it could come tumbling out any minute. You see how without too much effort you can turn something objective into very personal account. That's all we need to do. I'm just going to think of the sounds, the smells, the touch, and then what we see. This technique has helped me build so many worlds and allow me to just get some description down and start laying the scene. Interior boarding bridge night,. The chill rush of air rattles the tunnel. Fluorescent lights flicker overhead. Margaret, a woman in her 20s, pulls the color of a thick overcoat around her neck as she waits in line. Surrounded by the sounds of careless conversations in a kaleidoscope of languages. Her feet cross the threshold as she enters the plane, along with the bump of a suitcase. A beep emits from somewhere. It could be an alarm or just a reversing vehicle. The stale smell of cabin air waffs over her, as she squeezes past the hostile flight attendants. The clatter of metal fades behind her. The tinny Christmas music gross before her. She answers the cabin. Eyes stare back at her from and every seat, each chair more tattered than the last. The heat rises in the crowded pen. Finally, she reach a seat 57. Margaret wrestles her suitcase into the overhead locker, and sinks into the stained seat by the scratch window. Geoffrey, a man with gray hair at an even greyer suit, bears down on her. In that description, I've created the environment. I've allowed the internal fair to drive through some of the language in that. Script writing is a lot more direct than traditional pros in novels. I didn't have as much liberty to play with that one in terms of the internal mind, but you still get the flavor. By the end of it, I've introduced the antagonist. I've written this in a script format. If you're wondering what software this is, this is final draft. There's other free bits of software, I think Trelby is a free script writing software. But just use whatever you have. I use this because this is my go-to for writing. Give this a go, and then we're going to get into our dialogue, our conversation in the next lesson. 7. Dialogue: Starting a Conversation: Hopefully by now you have some pros, some description to get you into the scene, but what we want to do now is start the dialogue, start the conversation. Now, this is a place that I've actually got stuck quite a lot in the past. I know for many people, coming up with a dialogue is quite tricky. I think the reason behind that is we're always talking from our own voice, we're always thinking, "What would I say, what would I do in that situation?" That's why we need to hack our accounts as voice. We need to find a way of having another voice authentically come into the story. I devised a short exercise that I do so I can reach for a voice that I know really well, and infuse that into a character. Suddenly, that jump between my voice and the character is a lot easier because I already know how that person talks, and thinks, and interacts. When someone speaks, we get an idea of their viewpoints, of their personality. But when you put someone in a place of fear, you also get their flaws, they really come through. All the human elements that we try to hide, they come out into the full when we're put in that situation. By determining not just the viewpoints but the flaws of our character, we can then use that to build the dialogue in a way that feels genuine and realistic. This worksheet is super basic, is super simple. You'll see it's just a mind map. It works because it is simple, because we don't need to over-complicate it. If you want to add more, then you can literally just copy and paste, drag it across, and type in a new word. Now, I've included interests on there because that can help just give a bit of background grounding, but we do really want to focus on the flaws and the viewpoints because that's what brings the drama. The more we can have that flaw coming out through the dialogue, the better. You see here that I put the flaws as defensive, petty, and a bit of a lightweight in terms of they can't really hold their drink. The viewpoints is they're liberal, they're a charity worker, and they're vegan. Now, just think about how we can then build an antagonist just off the opposite of these words. We have someone who's not in the charity sector, very much a private sector person, we have someone with a very traditionalist viewpoint, and we have a heavy meat eater. Equally with the flaws, there's ways we can use that to undermine our character. We can create situations where we get to see them being petty, being defensive, see how being a lightweight leads to further problems down the line. You can also use parts of the interest to justify the actions that that character has. If they have an interest in heavy metal music and they listen to that, and that's going to bother someone else, is it justifiable character trait because you know that as a genuine interest of them? Spend a bit of time and think about the people that you know in your life and use them as this character. If it's your parent or your child or your friend, just put in what are their viewpoints, put in what are their flaws, and put him what are their interests. You see how you start to be able to pull in other people's voices that you know really well, and use that in your script, in your novel. Beyond that, I just want to give you a quick example of how to get into the conversation. Now, to start this conversation, the best and easiest way to do it is with an open question. As soon as you ask an open question, be it from the protagonist or the antagonist, you're inviting a conversation. Now remember, we want the flaws of our characters to come through the dialogue because flaws is what makes characters relatable. No one likes a perfect person, everyone has flaws, and we want to play on that. But to reveal those flaws, we need to create conversation, create situations. Like I say, an open-ended question is the best way to do that. You can add whatever intention you want behind that. For instance, "What are you doing here?" Asked by Geoffrey. That can be asked in a multitude of ways. It could be an old friend, "What are you doing here?" It could be someone genuinely confused, or in this case, it could be someone thinking that you've sat in their seat, "What are you doing here?" It doesn't matter who asks that question, as long as the question comes, that's a starting point. But what's going to really help you is to also have the end point. That's why we do the beat sheet. We know what is the end point of this conversation. Where do we need to get to? We have our open question and we have the end point. In this case, the end point might be that the plane gets delayed on the tarmac due to a late emergency check to an unchecked suitcase. In this situation, maybe is Geoffrey's suitcase. All I need to do is build an argument about Margaret being sat in Geoffrey's seat, and how that leads to some confrontation and it draws out Margaret's flaws. Potentially, we can use a juxtaposition of viewpoints to really emphasize that conflict. If Geoffrey has very different viewpoints to Margaret, we're going to get more friction, which is exactly what we want here. I'm going to go ahead and continue writing the scene, and that will be down in the resources below for you to read through, and you will see how I've mapped out that conversation. But let the real voice of the person you know come through. You can see how that end point stopped me from going on too far before I got to a bit of drama, a bit of friction. At least something happened. It may not be the best dialogue in the world, but it's precise dialogue that's getting to the point way quicker than if we didn't have that end point established. Using her flaws, we can dictate some of that language. Things like, I was here first is a very childish thing to say, and leaning over and grabbing the flight attendant, that's an action drawn by fear, not something a character might normally do. All these elements add up to create a scene of friction. What we need to do now is go ahead and write that dialogue. Once you've done that, we'll move on to the next lesson, where we'll finish the short story, and start using these techniques in your own larger project. 8. Recap: End Of Part 1: Now we're onto the final piece of the puzzle. But the beauty is we've already gone through the heart steps. The next bit should really come a little bit easier to you than you might expect. To recap on what we've learned up until this point before we go and put that into our own big projects in the second half, we started off by creating a scene, a setup. We did that using a protagonist fear, the environments that fear belongs in, and antagonist he feels at home in that environment. Then we defined our ambitions as well as what's at stake. Before we went on and figured out what's going to happen, what's going to go wrong. Once we did that and created the beat sheet, we went through, and found different paths to our characters and define their voice. That's going to help create more friction, using different viewpoints and different floors within our count is. Now you've done all that, all we need to do is finish the story, just go through the beat sheets and finish what you've already started. Just make sure every scene, every moment is getting you to the next beats, is all about working your way through until you finally gets that resolution. But in-between, we're revealing floors where showing each other's viewpoints and we're creating friction in those moments. That will be the class project complete. That will be a short story that you have written. When you stop and take a minute to think about it, you've just proven that you can beat writers block. You've come up with an idea, you come up with characters, you come up with a description, some dialogue, you making things happen, and all you got to do is keep making them happen. I'd love for you to do that. I would really love feeds, upload it once you've done it. I know you're going to hate that idea, the idea of sharing what it's just an exercise. But think of it this way, writing as a community, and we need each other, we need to absorb energy from each other. I would love for you to also read someone else's and leave a nice comment. Just pick out something that you like about it because that will encourage them to keep going, just as if someone reads yours, and leaves a nice comment about a line of dialogue, or a certain description, or even the whole story, that's going to encourage you to keep going. This isn't the time to critique. None of us are sharing our big projects here. This is simply a place where we're going to share the exercise that we've done. Psych, good luck. Once you've done that, maybe grab yourself a cup of tea, and we will move on to part 2. 9. New Worlds: Getting Inspired: So I love a short story as I'm sure you do. But let's not lie. We all want to write the big stories, the big ideas. But what if we can't come up with those ideas? What if, no matter how hard we try those big ideas that will make a novel or feature film they just don't come to us? I think many of us don't give ourselves enough creative credit. We tell ourselves that we're just not creative. We don't have those ideas. Or we think that we have to go around with a little notebook and anytime something happens in the real world you make a note. You can do that and that can be good way of doing it. But I think there's a more pragmatic approach that I've used and has worked time and time again. It's all about building a library of different worlds, concepts, and ideas that you can pull upon and blend together. The human brain store something called explicit memories in the hippocampus. This is basically either autobiographical memories, things have happened to you, events, or its general knowledge that you picked up. When we blend the two together, when we start putting in our experiences, our interests and passion together with what we've learned, then we have the ingredients to create our own new worlds. My TV pilots screenplay infused my love of Jazz music with my love of science. Something that hasn't really been seen too much as a pairing. As a result, the most common feedback I got when I was pitching to film nation or Lion's Gate TV, all these big studios was that it was a completely original concept which is very hard to do. They would say, "we so often see the same concepts coming up at the same time". But that fear was really fresh and different. There's an expression that there's no such thing as original these days. Well, if you blend the two things together, you can make an original approach, an original perspective on something. Mixing two different things together can give you a really unique perspective. So here I have three books, three incredible books: Once a fiction, a Gentleman In Moscow, very good book, and two unknown non-fiction books; Factfulness, which is all about positive facts and progress that humanities made over the years. So not everything so depressing and bleak, and a book called Nine Points. This is all about the history of blood. Reading non-fiction is a great source of inspiration. There are different worlds, different times, different characters, different topics, different fears, so many elements that you can use in your own work. There's one story in this book about midwives in Sub-Saharan Africa. I read it and it shocked me and it amazed me. It talks about some of the dangers they face, including snakes on the road. These midwives, they have to walk long distances between villages late at night in the dark, and they don't see a snake, they stand on it and they get poisoned. That in itself turned into a little short story that I wrote simply based on that idea of what if a midwife's ambition is to get to the next village to deliver a baby, but her fear is standing on a snake. But rather than seeing it from the midwife, what we see from a training midwife is her first night call. Suddenly there's more excitement, there's more drama, but there's more fear. There's also a greater reward if she makes it to the other side and helps deliver a baby. What about a Gentleman In Moscow? This is already a fiction books, so how can I take anything from it without it being plagiarism? I really enjoyed a tone of voice in there. There was a tone of voice that was very dry humor, very sarcastic, and quite blunt. So I took that tone of voice and I infused it into one of my own characters in a short story. It was a completely different story in a completely different time, but that sense of dry humor carried through. Now, I personally prefer to read nonfiction for getting inspired because I think there's more raw data that you can take and use. I read so many non-fiction books and they all provide something, something of interest to use. So here's an activity for you to do if you're stuck getting inspired for a concept. Go and find yourself two non-fiction articles. One based on a person, so it might be a politician or could be a job role, it could be a gardener, something of that element. The second article make it about an activity, about a world, and then combine the two. So you can bring in that person, say as a gardener into that world, let's say it's surfing and use fear as a driving force. So a gardener decides to start surf lessons despite having a fear of the sea or fear of sharks or something like that. And then build an antagonist and work from there. There's so many different ways that we can build stories up just using what's around us. Also think about your own topics of interest, things that you are naturally drawn to, and all it is is it's blending two worlds together. Give that a go and then once you have a concept which you may already have, then we'll look at how to use what we've learned and put that into your own projects and getting the words on paper. 10. Long-form Writing: Translating the Techniques: At this point, you might think, great, I'm ready, you sit down at the computer, you open up your writing software, and bam, you stare at the blank screen and curse my name into the ether. Hold on just a minute, when I'm writing a script, I very rarely start at the beginning, sunrise meets sunset, I started that on page 12, because that's the scene where things start to happen, where ambition meets fear and a conflict happens. The inciting incident is such a pivotal scene, that's basically the issue story in itself. What we've already done is exactly what we need to do again, just within your own world hedge, just within your own new parameters that you've decided. Let's think back to the first lesson where we talked about a good example of a set up, Toy story. Buzz Lightyear arrives and threatens with these places and his favorite toy, is that the first scene we see in the film? No, it's not, it's the setup, it's the inciting incident. That's where we should start our story. We start there and then we get to bypass all of the preamble that we get lost in, we spend too much time trying to create a good backstory or we don't feel confident enough in to write anything at all. Let's just jump straight into the middle and start from there, so you're going to follow the exact same process. You're going to establish your characters fear and you are going to have them in an environment where that fear is going to be exploited either by an antagonist or some element of the environment. If your protagonist isn't in an environment that's going to create that friction? It's possibly needing little bit more conceptual work to get to that place first. But you should find it relatively easy to come up with a scene where basically we just do what we've already done, we give our protagonist an environment they don't want to be in and you start making things go wrong, just like before, make sure that you have an endpoint to really guide you through that scene. Once you get to the end, just like we did with our beat sheets, you can have the key therefore and bap moments mapped out the entire story if you want, or just even a section of a story. Then you've always got that guide in what you're scene is about and where it needs to go. You don't have to write an order either you don't have to write consecutively. I don't write a scene source in the middle, and I go all the way through to the end, I write a chunk of scenes and and then I skips somewhere else. Just whenever I move to that new place, I asked myself a couple of questions, I ask, why is my character here and how do they feel about that? What's the friction going to be? What is the thing that happens that sends our character in a new trajectory, on a new path that they probably don't want to be going down. Once I have those key things established, I can move forward, I can write the scene and then I can skip all over the place if I want. Then at the end, as long as you followed a rough guide as to the arc of your story, you're going to find that, it's only a matter of weaving the scenes together, and again, that is going to help you even more because you know you have your point A and your point B and you just going to get between them. Start with the inciting incident, don't start at the beginning, don't get lost and concerned about all the preamble, they probably going to cut anyway, just start with the inciting incident and go from there. In the next lesson, I'm going to talk to you about how to stay focused when you're writing, which is easier said than done, I know, but we're going to give it a go. 11. Staying Focused: One of the harder parts to writing a story is staying focused. How do we do that particularly in an age where we get notifications, we get emails, we get WhatsApp calls and the social media? There's is so much going on, this is so much noise. How do we actually stop it? I'm afraid there's no shortcuts to focus. It's all about just being disciplined, but making it easier for yourself by adding barriers between you and the distractions that you face and reducing barriers between you and the work. Just behind me you see a typewriter. I actually bought that to try and move my eyes away from the screen and have a bit more of a tactile experience. End result is, it's really loud, so I never use it especially within a block of flats is a little bit unsocial. But it did inspire me to keep going with that mindset of move myself away from a screen. That's hard to do that when you're actually writing. But when you're just coming up with the idea, when you're just thinking about the story, creating the beat sheet, that is something we can do so easily without a computer. My go-to technique is to use something called magic sheets. You just stick them on the wall and you write onto them. You can rub them off, you can reuse them and they're great because you can get up nice and close and stay in the detail and you can stand back and see the bigger picture. Work on a playlist that doesn't have lyrics and you'll be good to go. What I like to do is to create a playlist from different movie soundtracks that gives across the energy that I'm thinking of for the story. For instance, my recent [inaudible] is set in the 1960s jazz world. I put together a playlist of 1960s jazz. It's not rocket science. The key to staying focused is to focus on one thing only. There's an amazing book by Gary Keller called The One Thing and it's all about the myth of multitasking, about how interruptions they take us time to re-orientate ourselves and the best way to achieve anything is to do one thing through to completion first and then move on to the next. When I was entering the film market of screenplay contests with my scripts, I had a deadline that I had to hit. I made it that I couldn't work in anything else. I could only work on that. You have to be honest as well about your own failings. I find it really hard to stay off Instagram, so I delete the app for my phone and I go and work in a cafe somewhere that doesn't have Internet. Now, something that you can do when you are just, again, come up with a concept is going focus on a single activity that is so mundane, you can have your brain ticking over the background, is why I like to go for a run. I will go for a run, put on the headphones. For that half hour, one hour run [inaudible] gone, all I'm thinking about is the script, I'm thinking about that idea because running takes no thought, you're just putting one foot in front of the other. It's a similar story with driving. Now, yes, I did concentrate when I drive. But again is that time where you can't look at a screen? Is that time where you are just focusing on one thing and as a result, your brain does tend to think about the project you have in the background. It'll top tip for you in case you are wondering how to recognize if your idea is even any good. It is those ideas that stay with you. I've had plenty of ideas that I've just forgotten about, which means the economy is very good. It's the idea is that stay with you, that you can't switch off. There the idea is to follow up. In the next and final lesson, we're just going to look at how to bring authenticity to your work. 12. Bringing Authenticity to Your Work: The final lesson, how do we bring authenticity to our work. We should already have some authenticity there because we've based it off either people we know or things we've read. We've built up a world from our own experiences and contacts. But there are three extra ways that we can really make sure the work we are making feels true, feels genuine. The first one is infusing parts of us into different characters. As I mentioned before, one of the biggest stumbling blocks is we try and write every character from our own perspective. Whereas what we need to do is just infuse part of us into different characters, we need to spread ourselves out. Rather than a character just being us, it needs to be a case of that character has my fear of spiders or has my fear of failure. We can now start to play with internal fears as much as external fears. Maybe this character over here, it has your nervous tic or your annoying laughter, whatever it is, it has some part of you, some flaw of you. When we start adding parts of us into different characters, we build an ensemble of relatable people. In my pilot script, I put a different parts of me in each person. Mick is a very recluse person who's socially awkward, socially anxious. I brought that side to me, to that character. I kept him quiet in moments where there's a lot going on. Whereas Ray who's a showman, he's the front runner of a band. I brought the side to me that is a little bit more fiery. All those thoughts I have when I want to just Java back and I made him say those things. I gave him the liberty to speak his mind in that way. That's the first thing we can do, is we can put parts of us into different people. Don't put all of you into one character unless you're writing a biopic, just put parts of you in different people. You can also do the same and steal parts of other people and put them into the same character. Now the second thing which I'm sure you already do is research. I don't believe in that expression write what you know. I think is a bit more like know what you write. Rather than limiting yourself to the experiences that you've had, you can build beyond that. You just have to make sure that you know that subject really well. If you're going to set a story in a certain time period or around a culture, for instance. Do the work that it takes to understand that culture and you never going to get it completely right. But the more research you can do, the better prepared you are going to be for that story and any questions that may come from it. That's very closely tied with the third piece of advice, which is to make writing a collaborative process as much as you can. I know that many of us like to write independently. I myself, I don't like writing with other people, but what I do enjoy is a research stage of talking with other people. When meeting other people who can bring their insight. I also enjoy saying my scripts of feedback with the right people to make sure that the things I'm saying are genuine, are right. I really do think that writing is one of the kindest and most welcoming communities out there. That's because what we do is empathize with people. We have to know that no character sees himself as evil. Every character can justify what they're doing. We have to understand those different viewpoints. We have to empathize enough to create empathy. Engage with that community, whether that's here on Skillshare, with other people doing this class, or whether that's on Twitter or Instagram or in an actual place where you get to see people again. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help, ask for an opinion. But equally trust yourself and the research that you're doing and the expertise that you have. It's all about balance, but just make sure whatever you're doing, it feels genuine to you and authentic to the people and the situation that is trying to represent. 13. Outro: We have come to the end of the class. I just want to first off, thank you so much for staying through this process and being here at the end. I hope you found it, not just interesting, but it has also helped you get through that writer's block and really start finding a formula, a system, a process for getting stories up and running. Just want to leave you with a couple of points here just to keep you going in the future. The first one is one that I've already said throughout this entire class and is we are after improvement through trial and error, through attempt and analysis, not through the pursuit of perfection. Ideally, we want to write the perfect story, but we're not going to get there first time. We're always going to succeed if we just put ourselves out there and we keep writing and we keep writing. That is the only way to write a great script, is to write a lot of bad one's first. Secondly, you're very welcome to reach out to me anytime if you have any thoughts or any questions, or even if you have any ideas for another Skillshare class, you might want to see, any problems that you're having. I'd love to hear from you guys, whether that's a discussion on Skillshare or if you want to drop me a message on Twitter or Instagram or anything like that. I also have a YouTube channel where I offer some tips and advice, not necessarily just for writing, but just about surviving adulthood because as we all know, is a bit of a tricky one. If you are interested in following my non-fiction writing as well as my fiction writing, then I have a Medium account where I write articles once in a while. That is that, that is basically everything I have to share when it comes to getting free writer's block. I know it's difficult, but there's a community there struggling with the same thing, all supporting each other, all prepared to help each other out. I promise you most of it is in your head, you can do this, you do have the capability to write a great story. You just need to do it, you just need to follow the steps that we've put into place here and get that sorry written. I'm going to leave you with a bonus video just for those of you who are interested on how I actually filmed this class. But otherwise, I really hope you've enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing you in the next class hopefully and in the meantime, take care. 14. Bonus: Right. I just thought I would share with you a bit of bonus content by showing you how I actually film a Skillshare class. What I'm going to do is I'm going to move that camera and I'm going to put it somewhere where you can see the room, and I'll give you a good overview of the equipment I use, the techniques I use, and the general setup. I've moved that camera over there. Now, you can see a bit more of what's actually going on. I'll start with just the basic overview picture. Obviously, I have my main camera here, I have a second camera over here, and then this third camera was initially in the middle. Just give me that wider background where I can see some of that blue space behind me just to put some text if I want. Now, the look that I've got here, what I've done is I've first off, a big soft light here. Putting a soft light a 45 degree angle, it gives you nice bit of contrast on the face. It's soft, it's gentle, unlike a hard light which would be a lot more hard edge shadows. You do this by having some diffusion in front of the lights. Now, this is a big soft box which you can buy them pretty cheap nowadays, and the light is an Aputure 300D, which is quite expensive. All the equipment I use is professional film-making equipment because that's what I do, that's my job. But you can take all the principles and apply it to cheaper equipment, and it'll work just fine. I have one big soft light here, and then I have another one backup here, just by the edge of the lamp. The reason I've done that is to just give a bit of contrast on the background. That's what this one is doing. Then our main light is doing this. You can see, it does even add a bit to the background as well, it's not just me, and then I have a third light right over here. This light is just giving a bit more spread onto the background over here, just to balance the levels a little bit. Now, you might think that this was a wall behind me, it's actually just a paper backdrop up on a frame. I think you can see in that picture there where you've got the top of the role. Why would I do that? Why would I put a big backdrop right in the middle of my living room? The problem with white walls is they bounce light a lot. If you look over in the far corner, you'll see how bright that area is to even just the little cove in the middle there. When you have light bouncing, it becomes hard to control. You don't get the nice bands across the face, and when you have the background, it can be quite overbearing, and it's just not that pretty. I'm a bit of a sucker for a nice pretty shot, and that's why I went with this nice dark blue backdrop behind me. If you're curious what this is, I believe this is Oxford blue from WEX, W-E-X. That is a British site, but I'm sure you can get similar things in America or anywhere else for that matter. There's a really nice one from an American company called ultramarine, that's the color. I can't remember the company name that sells it, but they're quite famous. Moving on to the sound, I have a RODE NTG3 right above me. This microphone is placed just above my head, basically as close to the edge of the frame is I can get it so it gives me a nice, clean sound. You can use those little tiny mics. I probably would use one if I had a good one. But they don't sound quite as nice, and they rustle on clothes and you can get interference, there's a couple of issues. But if you're in a noisy environment, they do cancel out the background a lot better than these do. But if you have a controlled environment, a top boom mic will sound a lot nicer than a tie mic. I have the audio running through into this sound device over here. This is a Zoom F8. It controls different audios. I actually have it recording two channels at the same time, one is it a little bit lower so just in case I talk really loudly, I have that backup option. On my laptop screen, I have all the notes from all the lessons. I'll try not to look at it too much when I'm talking, I'll look at the notes, deliver piece to camera, works like that. Or if I can, I'll try and just do the whole thing without looking at it. But you want to make sure that you're delivering everything you wanted to get in there. I quite like having my notes there to refer back to, just to make sure I'm saying the right things. Now, I have a small monitor here which normally belongs over there by the main camera. I've put it here just so I can see what this camera angle was doing. Basically, this just gives me a reference frame. I always know what I look like but also just keeps an eye to make sure that all the cameras are still rolling. Because the last thing you want is to find out that you've lost half a take or you've forgotten to hit the audio, that's another annoying one. It's why I like to have the audio sound device up on the desk where I can actually make sure that it is recording. In some of my earlier classes, I kept the sound recorder down by my feet. I did a couple of takes but I forgot to hit record, and it is really frustrating. That's why that's there. That's the basic sets up. What I'm going to do now is actually run through the equipment in a bit more detail so you know exactly what I'm using. The main camera is a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K. I know it's a mouthful, but that is what I use for most of my work, and it's an expensive camera. It's not a camera that you need if you're just filming yourself. In fact, it's probably not the best camera for that because it doesn't have autofocus or anything like that. But it has 4K, obviously, which is great for me so I can punch in and get a close up. It just has really nice colors and I can play around with it a lot in post. I shoot everything in log which is like a flat profile. I can then play around with the colors and get it to a place that I want it to be. The lens is 24 mill 1.4. I have that set at I think F2.2. A bit of safety to make sure you don't drop in and out of focus, but still shallow enough to give me some nice look and also to keep it nice and bright. The second camera I'm using is a Fujifilm X-T3. This is just a small mirrorless camera. You can pick these up for about 500, 600 pounds now. But they're a great little camera. On that, I have a very old contacts size 50 mil, which is at about F2. Even though that camera does have autofocus, the lens doesn't, so everything is manual focus. This camera which was initially over there, that is a Sony FS 700 which is a nine-year-old camera now. It's quite an old one, but it's the first camera I bought when I went freelance, and it still does a great job of many things. The lens on it is a 16 to 35 mil, F2.8, a canon lens. Thus, it's really great because it gives me a lot of width. I can get quite a wide shot. The lights, we have an Aputure 300D, the mark 1, not the mark 2, and a very cheap Godox softbox. I've actually burnt part of the diffuser in the past. I think the inside is not the best, but it still works the trick. Just use what you have. I've used a shower curtain before to create a nice soft light, and that works really well. Any soft, translucent, opaqueish material will do a good job. Then up here, we have a Falcon Eyes 18T lights. This is a flat pack, flexible rolling lights, and it's great because it means you can get it in tight spots. I believe that will set you back somewhere around 150-200 pounds. But I really like here, I think it does quite a nice job because this light is quite short, it's quite flat, I can get it into really tight spaces. Whereas with the big light, it's really hard for me to use that in smaller spaces, even just being at home. There's not too many situations where I would go for that above that at home. That said, that is a more powerful lights, and something you can do is if you're in a dark room, you just point a line up at the ceiling and flood the room with lights. Once you do that, you can then bring in other more powerful lights to create the shape that you want but you still get the exposure from the big light that's pointing up. This light is a Quasar Crossfade or XY. It basically means it can go orange or white, tungsten daylight. I'll have that there all set to the same color. Thus, in an ideal world, what you want? You want all the lights set to the same color. Obviously, I have the lamp, a nice deep amber, and it's very tungsten that, but it does balance out really nicely because it's on a dark blue background. I think it works nice as an accent. But overall, it's really key that you have matching colored lights, and you also set your white balance on the cameras to a matching color. If you're not sure what that means, basically, in a camera, you choose how white or how orange it goes, and you do that depending on how white or tungsten the lights are. Now, different cameras have very slightly different ways of treating that, so you really want to set the white balance on each individual camera. Now, you can do that with either just a piece of white paper or card which is publicly accessible, or if you want to be pro about it, you can do it using a proper checker card. Now, this is great for when you're working with different types, different brands of cameras, because you can match them a little easier in post by showing them all this multicolored panel here. You can use some software that matches them all. Because that is the thing, we're using different brands of cameras. It's quite hard to make them look the same color. In an ideal world, if you're going to be doing this yourself with Skillshare videos and you know you're going to have two or three cameras, it's better to try and get two or three matching cameras, or at the very least, the same brand. Here, I have three very different cameras, three different brands, all with very different color spaces. This is a Spyder Checkr 24. But you don't need this, this is a bit overkill. If you were to buy three matching cameras, set them to the same color, the same profile, the same white balance, you'll be fine. Now, obviously, the last piece of the puzzle, because it's not just all the equipment that you see, it's the prep and the finish. Obviously, I've prepped the room, you can see about it a bit of stuff just to give a bit of flavor. But it's all the work you do beforehand. There's no point setting all this up if you're not prepared, if you're not actually planning through your lesson. That's the first thing you want to do. Before you start worrying about getting all this equipment, just want to make sure that your content is there, your content is delivering what you wanted to. Then start buying the bits of kit. But there's really easy ways to do this cheaper. Rather than using an expensive light, you can shoot by a window and have a bit of fabric in front of it. If you shoot on a bright day, but add a shower curtain in front of it, it will look the same. If you shoot on a overcast but bright overcast day, it will look the same just coming in through the window as is. You don't need to buy really expensive camera lenses. You can buy cheap lenses like that 50 mil. I say cheap, that one was about 150, but you can buy cheaper ones. That old manual lenses that you can buy adapters for or just buy a cheap kit lens that is going to have great autofocus and work well with the camera you're buying. The one area I do think is quite nice to put some thought into is the background. If you can't get a nice deep colored or a nice backdrop in wherever you're filming, what you can do is to shoot with a bit of depth. If you shoot with a bit of space behind you, it will look a little nicer than shooting right up against the wall. If you have a dark wall, then it does it really nice. But if you have a white wall, then it is often better to shoot into a corner or shoot into the room. Have that space behind you. That is just a bit of bonus content about how I film my Skillshare classes. Obviously, I have to go and edit it now, which is one of the least favorite parts of the experience for me, but it's part of the job. I am toying with the idea of doing a Skillshare class about filming, either filming a Skillshare class or filming for your brand, for your business. If that's something you'd be interested in, then please drop me a message and I will start throwing some ideas around in my head and see what I can come up with. If you're quite interested in this filming side, then follow me on YouTube because I do a bit more of it there. But now, it is time for you to get back to writing your scripts, your novel, whatever it is that you're working on. Thanks again for watching and until next time. I'll see you soon.