Learn Screenwriting By Writing One Scene in a Screenplay Format | Olaf De Fleur | Skillshare

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Learn Screenwriting By Writing One Scene in a Screenplay Format

teacher avatar Olaf De Fleur, Filmmaker & Creative Coach

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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

    • 1.

      Class Intro


    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Story Behind This Class


    • 4.

      The Frame


    • 5.

      First Version


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Reminder & Resources


    • 8.

      Next Version


    • 9.



    • 10.



    • 11.



    • 12.

      Location Research


    • 13.

      Character Intro


    • 14.

      Bonus :: Character Development


    • 15.



    • 16.

      Need vs Want


    • 17.

      Physical Expression


    • 18.

      Background Changes


    • 19.

      Screenplay Format


    • 20.

      Mini Course Screenplay


    • 21.

      Bonus :: Exposition Story


    • 22.

      Bonus :: Exposition Dialogue


    • 23.

      Get Ready!


    • 24.

      1st Draft


    • 25.

      Written in Stone


    • 26.

      2nd Draft


    • 27.

      Poster & Soundtrack


    • 28.

      3rd Draft


    • 29.

      Avoiding by Writing


    • 30.

      4th Draft


    • 31.

      Olaf's Scene


    • 32.

      Thank You!


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About This Class

Writing a Screenplay is hard - A great way to start is learning to craft One Scene in a Screenplay Format. My name is Olaf. I am a do-it-yourself filmmaker with a two-decade experience. In this class, I'll share all the tools that I've learned by completing over thirty full-length screenplays.

> Note: IF YOU FINISH this class, you're eligible for my free Film Seminar via Zoom every Saturday, visit my website in my profile for more information.

This class is for anyone who has written a story and wants to write for Film & TV. Regardless if you’re a beginner, or have just started screenwriting, this class will deepen your understanding and help you develop as an author.

Your class project is to complete ONE SCENE in a screenplay format. 

If you can master writing ONE SCENE, (I did the math) you can write MANY SCENES and complete a screenplay for Film or TV.

  • Fundamentals to write your screenplay
  • How to prepare for writing a film scene
  • Develop a personal writing strategy
  • The pace and structure of a film scene
  • The importance of on-page aesthetics 
  • Tons of tools that can spare you unnecessary agony

METHOD I’ve spent years developing and testing the METHOD for this class and I can’t wait to share it with you. The method is a gradual process of (almost) annoyingly slow and simple process, presented through a series of contained lessons.

This course will not only demystify the screenwriting process but also liberate your creative strengths and help you manifest your ideas. 

We will be chopping down blueprints, demystifying the process, tickling elephants, and talking about structure, rhythm, the importance of blank space, transitions, the limits, and the powers of writing in a screenplay format.

I'VE BEEN TEACHING writing for years and learned that it’s one thing to teach writing - but quite another of getting it across. Teaching writing is not about what I teach, but how I can invite you to teach yourself.

If you enjoy this class, please check out my other video classes here on Skillshare:

- Learn Indie Filmmaking by Doing a Short Film

- The Art of making Video Trailers

Meet Your Teacher

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Olaf De Fleur

Filmmaker & Creative Coach

Top Teacher

My name is Olaf de Fleur. I've made twelve feature films in my two-decades career as an indie filmmaker. I've worked with actors like Academy Nominee's Florence Pugh (Black Widow, Little Women) and Johnathan Price (Brazil), along with James Cosmo (Braveheart), Michael Imperioli (Sopranos), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Mandalorian).

I focus on teaching the building blocks, the fundamentals of visual storytelling. My passion is protecting and nurturing your competence by sharing my experience. For more FILM & WRITING resources, you can visit my website: www.defleurinc.com

I hail from a tiny town on the west coast of Iceland. Where I was taught manners by sheep and f... See full profile

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1. Class Intro: Whenever I'm working with a new idea, It's like opening a gate into a new world, or bringing that world into our existence is a phenomenal talent for me each time. With experience, I found that the ability to be able to write one thing at a time can not only tame your idea but also attain your creativity almost. In this class, we will demystify this screenwriting process by focusing on writing one scene. My name is Olaf. I am a filmmaker with over 20 years of experience. I've directed films and documentaries and sold original concepts to studios over the course of my film-making career, I've written over 30 screenplays. In this class, I'm going to share all my writing tools. We're going to learn how to write one scene in a screenplay format. After it, you'll be able to do it independently. You can just think one scene in a screenplay format. You write it several times and you got a screenplay. Learning the screenplay format will not only help you write for film and television, but because it is a little bit stiff, rigid, it has the ability to tame our creativity. This class is designed so you can gradually take in all the tools in it so that in the end, you can design your own writing method. The technique that we will be using in this class to teach you the screenplay format is all about the powers of limitation. We will be using a writing frame and many other tools to provide you with a hands-on manageable experience. Regardless if you're a beginner or you've just started writing your own screenplays, this course will help you deepen your skills as a storyteller. All you need in order to start in this class is to have a pen or a paper or something to write on and from there we will gradually start learning the screenplay format by writing one scene. I don't know about you, but I'm excited to share all my writing tools and to see what I take you bring into this writing class. So come on, let's go. 2. Class Project: Thank you for joining this class. Let's list out some of the resources and other stuff you need in order to take the class. But first, a quick overview. This class is divided into two sections. In the first half, we will focus on developing your take on the frame that we'll introduce. In the second part, we will work in the screenplay format. Right up in the middle, I will have a special section where I give you all the necessary information on how the screenplay format works. Every screenplay, big or small is made with the same process and what we're doing in this class, we're looking at the fundamentals. We're going to do a DNA version of a screenplay by mastering the art of doing one scene and we're going to do it really well, almost annoyingly slow, but the hope is that you gain confidence to start writing your own screenplay. Of course, writing a screenplay is complicated but, if you master the art of writing one scene, it's going to be a nice start. If you're not familiar with the screenplay format then later in this class, there will be a specific section just before we move into that format about how you format a screenplay. The method that we'll be using in this class is one of my favorite methods to do anything. That is, we're going to be exploring and using the power of limitation. Limitation works in reverse, like a paradox. The more limits we apply, the less limits, or they disappear, I don't know how to say it. What I will be doing is suggesting a frame or situation or prompt, where you will write in your take on a thing. Let's look at some of the specific limitations we will be using. We'll start with quantity. We're doing something manageable. We're only going to be writing one scene in a screenplay format and by that, learning the screenplay format. Duration; our scene cannot be more than four pages so, ideally, you would have two, three, or four pages, but not more because we don't want to overstretch it. Then it is my favorite limitation of all the limitation that actually sets you free, the frame. I will give you a frame situation or prompt, and it is in there where you will insert your take on it. The frame that we will be using will be about getting a person, your character, across a street. We'll dive into this frame more specifically when it comes time to work with it. Let's get specific on what you need for this class. You will need something to write on, obviously, a pen or paper or any kind of word processor. The philosophy behind this class is we're keeping things as simple as possible. It is important because we're going to end up in a little bit of a complicated place, which is the screenplay format. With this course, I have attached seven resources that you can download. Some screenplay examples, some examples, and blueprint for the exercises we're about to do in this course. You can download all of it. I also encourage you to go on the internet, find some free scripts that are open to the public, and study the screenplay format. All right, let's start working with frames and limitations and get unlimited. See you in the next lesson. 3. Story Behind This Class: I want to tell you the story behind this class. I've been writing for over 20 years and five years ago I got stuck on a little bit of overwhelm. I had this scene, it was about a person who had to cross the street. I had this person on one end to the street for about six months because I was always overthinking it. After about six months, I'm guessing here, for a long time, I realized that I couldn't even help the person across the street. I couldn't do simple. After that, I started using this situation for myself to encourage me not to stop, always keep going. Mainly it helps me remind myself that we get so often stuck when we can't do simple. So this course, it is a method with this particular frame about a person crossing a street that I've been using in my classes as a writing coach around the world, and I always put this frame on, like if somebody stack, I give them this frame, which is a person stands on one side of the street, and they ask people to get them on the other side. While it sounds extremely simple, we're always putting our own take on it. We just can't escape our own take on things. So that is why this clean frame is very powerful to unlock us. This class is also to help us through the experience of going through it, is recognizing our own power in doing simple. Because doing simple is the antidote to complexity, and like any good paradox, the ability to do simple allows us to create much more complexity. Taking this class will help you recognize the power of, if I can do simple, I can do complicated. That is why it's important to think of this class as it's a gradual process. Even if you skate through it, it's going to work so and so like if you go through the minutia of watching it in real time, and don't worry, I've edited, most of the science is out. But if you go through it, then you'll slowly feel the metamorphoses and the power of doing this simple exercise that you can then later transfer to your own work. 4. The Frame: In this section we're going to talk about the frame, the limitation box we're going to work in the situation. So the frame in this case is actually a scene. We'll call it a frame or a situation just for clarity, but it is a scene and the scene goes like this. This is just the raw outline. We have a person on one end of the street, they cross the street and they end up on the other side, that's it. This is the frame. Remember, we're going super slow, we're going super simple. Using this frame can be a little bit uncomfortable, but it really squeezes out your creativity and I promise you, you'll be really surprised how powerful this simple framework is. 5. First Version: In this section, we want you to create your own version out of this frame. We want you to help the person cross the street. This is your first attempt, and we'll do several. For this round, we will not be using the screenplay format. We are still developing the scene, and we'll only use the screenplay format when we work through it several times. As always, I suggest that you use a timer, otherwise, we can so easily fall prey to overthink. For this section, I suggest using 15-20 minutes, and write down everything that comes to mind. A couple of helpful maybe prompts, how would you let a person cross the street? Who is that person? How does the person walk? What do we see around them? I've told you about the frame. You're going to stop right here, and do your first attempt. 6. Check!: How do you go after your first try using this frame? Maybe it didn't go at all, but I do suspect that you quickly created a character who could cross the street. If you didn't, then try it again until you've found the right character that you want to use in this setup. 7. Reminder & Resources: Now we're going to move into the second step in our development of the frame. Let's remind ourselves what we are doing. We are over practicing writing one scene in a screenplay format, and for that we will need several rounds. If you master this course you will have known exactly how to write a great scene in a screenplay. Therefore, you can write a lot of scenes in a screenplay. Therefore, you can write a screenplay. 8. Next Version: Now that you've done the first attempt to writing your frame, the next step, the second step, is a little exercise where we're going to visualize the world you have created in your first attempt. In the next section, we will start the visualization. So let's prepare a little bit. This visualization is to show that you already know quite a bit about your scene, but you might not have noticed it in the first run because in the first run we're usually a little bit busy trying to know what's going on and we're busy writing. So we sometimes forget to look inside the scene itself into our imagination. In this exercise, it's about going into that imagination and just staying there for a little bit, for a few minutes. For this section it's all about noticing what is already there and then later on you can decide what you want to bring back into your writing. 9. Visualization: Let's start with the visualization. In this section, if it's appropriate for you, close your eyes. I'm going to ask you a couple of questions followed with the space of silence to give you a little bit of room to think. Let's think about the frame for the task. It is a person starting on one end of a street, ending up on the other end, and in the meanwhile crossing it. Notice what you imagine when you think about this frame. What do you see? What happens if you zoom in closely on something that you see? Can you zoom in even closer on that one thing you want to concentrate on? Do you notice texture? Now slowly zoom out. Maybe just moving up into the sky, look down. Look at what your imagination is showing you. It is giving you quite a bit of options and ideas. Linger in the sky for a little bit. As you stay up in the sky, what sounds do you hear? How many layers of sounds are there? Now I want you to zoom down back to the ground and move your imaginational camera in circles. What do you notice? What kind of street is it? What is it made of? Now stay in there for a little bit or as long as you like, and when you come back we're going to talk about how we capitalize on this exercise. Thank you. 10. Notes: Welcome back. After you've done this exercise, I'd suggest you write everything down, big or small, from what you saw in your visualization. Always, I suggest doing this quickly and not spend more than 10 minutes to do it, just to keep overthink and overwhelm at bay. Run through it, write everything down in no particular order. Just collect the information. 11. Overview: Now that you've completed your notes from your visualization, we're going to move into the third round of this development phase by visiting a location. 12. Location Research: In this section, we're going to visit a location. With location visit or location research, several magical things happen. When you walk into the footsteps of your character, you start to sense all kinds of new information that is lying there, hiding there when you're working on your idea. When you visit a location, it doesn't need to be exactly like it is in your script, you just have to have the same parameters, a street to cross, and so on and so forth. The most important thing is that you perform this act of research, like you actually go to location and you make the attempt. There's some magical things that happen there just because of the effort. With a set location, several magical things happen. When you visit, notice what do you feel when you begin, when you cross it, oh my God, I'm crossing, and when you arrive at the other end. People are looking at you funny when you're doing a writing course about somebody walking the street, that is part of the process. I will just walk away. With everything we've been doing, we're always contributing in little strange ways. It's neat there. We have this little frame of ours of somebody crossing a street. It's manageable, it's doable. It is something edible [inaudible] Have fun. When you visit the location, just cross the street safely. Notice what you're thinking when you stand on one side of the street and when you are crossing and when you are right to the other end of it. It is as simple as that. Let's remember simple is probably the most complicated thing in the world, so don't underestimate this practice. 13. Character Intro: In the next three sessions, we're going to talk about character. We're going to work on their backstory, check their needs and wants, and examine how we can convey their feelings through physical expression. 14. Bonus :: Character Development: Developing a film character. When we write a story and feel it's not quite complete, a good approach to enrich the story is to examine its elements. This could involve pondering the theme, the message, and so on. But another method is to focus on character development. Understanding your characters can elevate your film as it lets you see the film from their point of view. We often overlook that we watch films primarily for the characters, not just the plot. What was the last outstanding film you saw? Perhaps a more revealing question would be, who was the last memorable character you encountered in a film? If you're working on a film character, here are some techniques to delve into their persona. Step into the shoes of your character by simply imagining you are them. Before doing this, I recommend conducting as much research as you can. What major and minor life events do you know about them? In the following example, I've placed myself in my grandfather's shoes and imagined how moments in his life might have looked like during a random winter day back in the 1950s. After you've placed yourself into your character's shoes, write down what you have observed. Please note that there's a big difference between thinking about this exercise and just writing down what comes to mind. Don't confuse thinking and visualizing for this exercise, I decided to imagine a day in the life of my grandfather. He came from a farming community on the west coast of Iceland where I grew up. And I wanted to study his character and also just remind myself of where I come from. I asked my mother for insight into his life, her father, and she told me about a day, a winter day in the 1950s. Her description helped me re, imagine it for the sake of gaining a perspective into my grandfather's character. I imagined myself slowly descending towards the farmhouse where my grandfather and grandmother lived in a cold climate back in the day in Iceland. I settled into one day, I imagined that I would travel towards their house or a farmhouse. When I was inside the house, I felt the smell, smell that reminded me of my childhood. When I was in all these farmhouses, there was hints of smell of old leather dirt and also a hint of sulphur from their burning heaters. Placing myself in the footsteps of the character of my grandfather, I inhaled descent and looked out the window and outside the window because my grandfather was a priest, I saw a church. I would say about 100 meters from the house. I placed myself in the shoes of my grandfather, and I imagine being him. I dressed up in warm wool clothes and walked out of the house and into the afternoon twilight. I felt my cold fingers beneath the gloves where I removed the snow blocking the path I would lead up to the church entry. After I cleared the path, I was hungry and I went inside back to the house to find something to eat. I listened to an old clock in the house and the sounds of other people talking inside rooms. I ate the remnants of a sheep's head. It was pretty common back in the day, and I drank pitch black coffee with an overload amount of sugar as I looked out the window again, this time not to watch church, but to the farmhouse for the livestock. Boom, I'm back outside and I hear the sound of hard snow breaking under my feet. Then I see day given tonight. I saw my old Jeep car buried in snow and thought that I would have to pluck it out later and warm it up. But I doubt actually I could go anywhere at all because there was heavy snow all over on my way to the farmhouse, I squinted my eyes. During the harsh twilight transition, it made me think of people who had ventured to claim the North Pole. Now, I'm just in the mindset of my grandfather. When I was in the farmhouse working with the livestock and preparing food, I listened to the sheep and cows and I heard them chewing and breathing at the same time. Then I noticed a loyal dog had been following me the whole time, his eyes offering a hug whenever I would feel alone. I thought that my back would hurt with the constant strain of carrying the manure and food from the bar into the main house. I would also have to prepare a horse maybe, and settle in at the church. If someone in the community would die, want to get married After imagining this day, I know more about my grandfather because I placed myself in the shoes On a personal note, I appreciate my grandfather's resilience. I also learned how much I admire what he did for the community, the community where I grew up. This was a little character study, placing yourself in the shoes of the character. I just wanted to visit my grandfather and I encourage you to do your own study in your own terms for your film. 15. Backstory: In this section, we're going to think about the back story. What happened before we see the scene of a character crossing the street. We can think about what did they do in the morning? Where are they going? What relationships do they have? What clothes they wear and so on? This is not something we need to put directly in exposition in the scene, but it will help with the intangible work we're doing. We're doing all these small exercises just to add a little data each time before we start to write. 16. Need vs Want: If you're reading a book on screenwriting, you will come across this term, want versus need. What does your character want? Like a chocolate or what does your character need like not a chocolate. In our case, we have a person who wants to cross a street. In this scene, we don't know why they want to cross the street, or at least we will not know it out loud as an audience, but it is important for you or us as the author to think about it. You've already created this character so we want to think about what they want versus what's coming, what they need. It is just a little character exercise to keep in mind when you think about your character. 17. Physical Expression: A part of the intangible work we're doing with all these exercises can then manifests itself into something that we actually see, like in physical expression; how do they walk? How do they blink their eyes? And so on. Because that is the only currency we have. How do things visually manifest in physical expression? We might know the person is depressed, but we have to signal to the audience how the person is feeling depressed or happy. Do they have a spring in their step or something weighing them down on their shoulders or something? 18. Background Changes: In this section, we're going to work on the background of the scene. We know what is in the foreground, in the main action, that is a person going from one end of the street to another. There is the foreground beginning, middle, and end. We're now going to focus on the background, beginning, middle, and end. We all know when telling a story change is the most fundamental thing. Because change will help the audience sense that the story is moving forward. If something is a certain way in the beginning of the scene and then at the end of the scene it is changed the audience will mark the differentiation, and by that they will get the feeling that things are moving forward because they've changed. We have achieved this in the foreground already by having a person in one physical location and then go into another physical location, so there's a clear distinction, there is a clear differentiation appear, change. We're now going to move into the background. The idea is that the more change we put in the more things can move forward. When the scene begins what is something that you want to change in the end? You can change it in the end, and when you decides what it is the change, then you've got of course change it in the beginning. What is a good background example? I'm not going to steal your challenge of trying to figure it out. I think it's good to give a couple of clear examples. A good background change could be, for example, that in the beginning of the scene somebody is holding a cup of coffee. Then at the end of the scene, the cup can be empty, it can be broken and so on. Think about the exercise. What can be in one place at the beginning of the scene in the background and how can that thing be in a different place at the end of the scene? 19. Screenplay Format: Up to this point, we've been doing all kinds of different methods in collecting data, extracting things from our ideas, shaking our idea a little bit, and grasping all this data. It's time to move it into the screenplay format. In case you're not familiar with descriptive format then I've prepared a little mini-course that will get you quickly acquainted with it. 20. Mini Course Screenplay: By the end of this chapter, you should have recognized the main elements in writing in screenplay format. This is a crash course in screenplay format and we're going to do it pretty quickly. We're going to start with a scene header, when and where does the scene take place. Then we're going to go into characters, how we present them, what is uppercase, how do we say their age, and how is dialogue formatted and structured. We're also going to talk about the fancy little brackets that we can use all around the screenplay in parenthesis and descriptions, off-screen dialogue and voice-over, and we're going to wrap it up with the use of transitions. First things first, let's start with the scene header. In the scene header, we tell you an answer if the scene is inside or outside, INT or EXT, then we say the name of the location, where does the scene take place? Then we tell the audience what time of day it is. This is several practicalities in terms of production. It is good for the production to know when and where the scene take place. When we introduce a character, we say the name and usually, it's up to you, it's a little bit of style issue, it's nice to put their name in all caps in the beginning and then their age in brackets afterwards. As you probably know and we'll see in any screenwriting software, is that the characters are automatically centered in the middle with the dialogue. It is also good to keep in mind every line that you write it can be very helpful to think of it as a one shot. Right here we can see how one-shot is a one-line or paragraph, and this is the action section of the screenplay where we describe what is happening in the scene. Some of the little things around doing a screenplay are in these nifty brackets spread around the screenplay. Let's talk about some of them. Just after the character's name, before they speak, we can put in what is called the parenthesis, which is a little bit like an afterthought or explanation. So we can put in tonal voice and stuff like that. We just have to use it sparingly. Next up in these fancy bracket section is the OS, after character's name, which is off-screen. So when something is off-screen, it is happening in the scene. For example, somebody's walking and somebody yells, "Hey, come here." That is off-screen because it is in the scene, but they're not in the frame. Off-screen can also be used as, for example, there's a scene that took place a long time ago, we can also be listening to that scene. This is not to be confused with voiceover or VO. That is something we put in where the character is talking to the audience, like I'll always remember, blah, blah, blah. Keep in mind not to confuse these two. Off-screen is one thing and Voiceover is another. Let's go into transitions. It is very practical to put in cut to like you're in one scene, you write the scene and then you write cut to and then you're on the next scene. This is also a little bit of a style thing. You can choose if you use this or not. 21. Bonus :: Exposition Story: In this lesson, I'm going to reflect on the balance of exposition when you're writing your screenplay. When writing a screenplay, we're always wondering about how much information the audience needs to know in order for them to be intrigued. How much exposition explaining the plot does the audience need in order to be curious about that film and get the story? We don't want to have too much information or too little. Yes, this is as confusing as it sounds side to find the balance of how much exposition or information the audience needs. The best way, in my experience, is to listen to your gut instinct. And B, ask someone to read the screenplay to see what they get and don't get even after I complete my film. To make sure I hit the perfect balance of information and exposition, I test screen my film several times to a small audience and listen to their feedback. The question to your personal taste is, how much would you like to hide and how much would you like the audience to know? If you want, you can also decide to make your film so that no one gets it. That's fine. As long as you are exploring something you're interested in, how much we explain depends also on the financial structure of your film. If you have financers, then you might have to swallow some artistic pride. Let's continue and get back to the core question. How much information does the audience need in order to understand or be interested in the story? This question should haunt you throughout the writing process because it challenges you and in the end trains you to learn how to explain yourself. I'm fond of things being very clear in my first writing round. And in the second round I use the metaphor of the dark side of the moon because in the second round I start to hide selective clarity. This is not as robotic as it sounds, because I often write something I don't understand at first and then go the other way around and add clarity as usual. There is no right or wrong here. But the point of these words is to help you become more aware of playing with the balance of exposition. The metaphor of dark side of the moon. Playing with this balance is a wonderful tool. We want enough clarity, portioned with darkness. The aim is to invite the audience to lean forward to try and peek behind the moon, curious to see if they can see what lies within the darkness. 22. Bonus :: Exposition Dialogue: In this lesson, we're going to discuss the balance of exposition when you're writing dialogue in your screenplay. The primary goal in writing dialogue is to make it feel natural and authentic. If you find that the dialogue seems forced or awkward on the page, one helpful tip to act it out. A skilled actor can often bring even stiff dialogue to life, making it sound much more natural than it appears in writing. The key question to ask yourself while writing dialogue is, is it clear? Clarity doesn't necessarily mean full disclosure or exposition. In real life, people often don't explicitly state their thoughts or feelings. Instead they conceal them. Therefore, you might want to ask, is it evident that the characters are hiding what they're really thinking and are your intentions clear? As a writer, one method that I use is to write the dialogue with almost silly and obvious exposition, explaining the scene fully in dialogue. I then afterwards, start hiding the exposition. By doing this, I make it clear to me what the characters intentions are so I can hide them. This is almost like painting a wall. Instead of making it perfect the first time I do this layering for the first round, and then add the second layer to hide the first one. Through this, the audience starts playing cat and mouse with the characters. What is in the layer behind the conversation? Example, dialogue. Let's say a character is suspected of committing a crime and a police officer is interrogating them. Example, a layer one with bad exposition. Officer, where were you on the tenth suspect? I was at my sister's place. She can confirm it, but she is lying and covering for me. This was my first round of obvious exposition. Now, in the second round, I start hiding it. Example, layer two. Without exposition, the character hides what they're thinking. Officer, where were you on the tenth suspect? It's cold in here. Can I get something to drink? In this second example, I avoid answering the question, but the suspect hints that they feel cold, telling us that they are sensitive to heat. They ask if they can get something to drink. Trying to ask a question against a question, hinting that either they are actually thirsty or they're being tactical and trying to distract the officer. 23. Get Ready!: Now we've covered some of the basics of writing a screenplay, and it's time for you to write your first draft. Let's jump into it. 24. 1st Draft: In this section, you're going to write the first draft of your scene in a screenplay format. To help you with it, I have created a little blueprint outline template that you can download in the class resources. This is more like a guideline just to make sure in case you're in overall more getting lost, then you can use it as a frame of reference. Keep in mind that this tablet is just a guideline and nothing to be taken too seriously. 25. Written in Stone: One thing to keep in mind when we are writing in the screenplay format, especially after the first draft, is you'll notice that there's something about writing in that rigid structure that makes it a little bit hard to change the words. They get stuck like they've been hammered in stone. This is a camouflaged challenge. We don't think it is like that. We've written a script, yeah, we can just change it. Look again. It's going to be helpful to just be aware of it. That when you're writing a screenplay format, there's something in our brains interpreted as the words are poetry and you can't really change them. Just be aware of that because you can easily get stuck in one version and you really start struggling with updating your text or changing it. 26. 2nd Draft: Now that you've completed your first draft, in this section, we're going to move obviously into the second draft. One thing I would like to mention is that it's extremely important that you take breaks, pauses between drafts. Ideally, when you've finished the first draft, it's good to wait a day or two before we go into the second draft. By waiting, you'll just see things more clearly and you'll be quick to fix art and change. This second draft is all about adding meat to the bones. If you created the first draft and the second draft, it is about muscling it up a little bit, adding stuff, adding bits, removing bits and inserting new ones, and so on. There's a little bit of editing, but we're still adding stuff to it and checking out the architecture. How does it begin? How does it end? What is in the middle, and so on? While I'm giving you these tools, beginning, middle, end, and all that, I am simply trying to be extra neutral. By being extra neutral and thinking about the mathematics a little bit beginning, middle, and end, it is a little bit like creating or offering an airport for your ideas to land. They have somewhere to land. Often we have to use these simple parameters to offer that. Let's look at the template for the second draft. I cannot urge you enough to ignore this, remember these are just guidelines and frames that you can break. We have this street. Right now in the second draft, we could add details to the environment, like the weather. What does this sound? This is from the first template. Right now we can add details to how they look, how they feel. We don't necessarily have to see their face just yet, we could hide it. Stops by the traffic light. We would go again into surroundings and maybe there are other people around. Then we can go into what is our main character's reaction to surroundings or other people or environment? We wait, and then we can also go closer to inserting some reaction where we can read the reaction from the eyes or the mouth or something like that. Remember, physical expression. Maybe they're imagining something, so we could actually put in a little fantasy here if we want to, then they see the green light as they're crossing the street. We could also mention the environment again, and it just needs to be an escalation from earlier environment. It cannot be the same, we don't want to repeat things. You could also have voice-over in the scene if you want to. Then we can go into what if questions. What if they didn't make it across the street? What if something happened or happens? If something happens here, for example, you want to go up to the beginning and set it up. Always want to do these interconnected ties within the scene. Then we can edit may be like this or maybe we can do something else. Have fun in your second draft. 27. Poster & Soundtrack: In this section, I'm going to offer you a couple of more tools to get to know your idea a little better. These tools are soundtrack tool and poster tool. If there was music to your scene, with everything that you know about it, what would that sound like? You might have a song in your head, but you can also just compose something. Like do a little tune, whatever you want to do. With all the techniques we use to loosen up, there's a lot of stuff there. Like if you know the soundtrack, then you know the rhythm, and then you can strengthen that rhythm if you want. If you had to create a poster for your scenes in this frame, what would it look like? It's always helpful to think of a poster like a simple, it's almost like a traffic sign, almost. Using this poster technique is, you can find an icon. It can be nice to think of things that are in your daily lives, normal things like knife, maybe that's supposed to. An empty cup, a broken glass, I don't know, I'm just riffing here. A certain color, what's the color of the poster and so on. These tools, soundtrack and poster, that's meant to flex a little bit. We're always getting intricates. With every new technique we use, we're getting like little increments of new information. But maybe we'll use them and maybe we won't, but it doesn't matter. We're just getting to know our idea from a lot of angles. 28. 3rd Draft: In this section, we're going to talk about draft number 3 and some options on how we can approach it. Let's recap quickly on what we've done and where we stand at this moment. Up to this point, we've used all kind of tools, of course, in the development phase. Then we've moved into the screenplay format slowly and securely. You've written the first draft and the second draft. Now it's time for my favorite draft. The most playful draft, draft number 3. Draft number 3 is all about relaxing into it and massaging the text a little bit. In the first draft we did the skeleton or the blueprint of the scene. In draft number 2, we were adding meat to the bone. Now in draft number 3, it's about playing some jazz with it. Relax, enjoy it. [inaudible]. This is what I call the jazz version. In this draft, it's all about working with draft number 1 and draft number 2 and adding your character to it, like words you want to use, metaphors you want to use, dialogue you want to use. It's about building upon draft number 1 and 2. Let's go have a little fun with it because in draft number 4, we're going to go back into a little bit of a rigid mode, go over the spelling and the grammar and tie it together. So have fun and jazz it up. 29. Avoiding by Writing: One of the interesting things often with screenwriting when you're creating a story is that there are many ways that procrastination can sneak in. One of the craziest way that I found for myself personally, and that's very common with my students, it's actually fairly common, is avoiding your story by writing the screenplay. It sounds a little bit crazy, but it's very factual. For example, when you start your story, you're going through the outline synopsis. That is the short version of the story, you're thinking about the theme. Might be trying to handle a little bit of storyboarding. But that phase is fairly uncomfortable because it is paved with uncertainty. For example, you write the story, you cannot do it with a, get it over with attitude. Then when we've done that, let's say we're writing a short film, we write five or 10 pages and when we've done that, it inhibits us sometimes to revisit it. We think like, ''Oh, I've done that stuff. Why should I be going back to it?'' Be careful. I mean, there's nothing wrong with jumping in and writing your screenplay or snippets of it, but I would always say, jump between departments in your creative path. Like write a scene, go back, how does it fit into the context of your world? Write a scene, stop, let it be for a little while, and then check it later. It's important where you place all your creative elements. What I mean by place is that, keep the script in one place, development theme, and all that in another place and then you jump between. 30. 4th Draft: The 4th draft in this class is the master draft. This is where we master our scene. We're going to test our scene from all angles and keep collecting a form of data, but we also want to be careful not to overpaint our scene. For example, if you're doing a painting, how do we know when to stop? Well, there is one thing that can tell you that, that is if you check simply what do you want to say and have you said it and is it clear? In draft number 4, we're not adding much to the scene, we're just making sure that it is, you guessed it, clear. This is where it becomes important to use exterior sources, exterior measurement, because we've been so much into writing the scene and now we will need to test it. You would think that there are infinite ways to test your scene. Actually, I would say it's not, and it's very dangerous to think like that. When I say dangers, I don't mean real danger, I just mean the danger of over thinking it in narrow completing it. Just like with the message from your scene, the most important thing is to be clear about the process when we finish something. Here, I would like to suggest a method that you can use to finish your scene or even your screenplay. This is the process that I use. This is a seven step process and of course, you can create your own system out of this. I start by checking the spelling and the grammar, and when I'm done with that I read the scene out loud. I even record myself so I can listen to it or even better, I have somebody else read it out loud. After that I wait either day or a week or a month. After I've waited I have some trusted friend read it over and I listen to their feedback and then I apply common sense. The guiding light for me when it comes to feedback is to go again into the clarity thing; is it clear? Because we don't want to fall into the traps of fighting with opinions, the clarity thing is the most important thing. There's nothing wrong with a strange idea, but if the strange idea is indecisive or convoluted then we want to clear it up, we want to be clear about being unclear so to speak. After I've received some feedback I wait again. This waiting time is always a little bit of an X factor, sometimes I waited a day, sometimes a week and so on. But waiting is really important so the garden of the idea can grow without you messing with it all the time. After that I do what I call a read and feel. If I read it several times and I can sense or feel that I'm enjoying it then I know it's there. The final step for me goes into aesthetics. What I mean by aesthetics is I'm checking readability and just check how the scene looks visually on a page. I like to space it out a little bit just to make it a little bit more appealing and more easily digested for the reader. Have fun and please enjoy this precious period of the draft number 4; The mastering of your scene. 31. Olaf's Scene: In this section, I'm going to share with you a scene or a take, one of my takes on this frame of a person crossing the street, and then in the corner fitted out loud for you. But remember, this is just my version of the frame. Yeah. Just, I don't want you to get confused. It's all about your take. Because we've gone through several steps, at this stage it's okay for me to share a little bit of my take. So enjoy this phenomenal reading. Exterior. Street, day. Blue shoes on a pavement untied with coffee stains on them. Fingers enter the frame and tie the laces. Matching the blue color of the fingernails. We hear a constant stream of traffic outside the frame. We follow the fingers of a person's waist who starts walking. We stay on the fingers as they hit a traffic light button. The light is red. We pull out to see a group of pedestrians stacked by one end of the street waiting for the green light. Amongst them, we quickly spot the blue shoes again. They belong to Howard, who repeatedly half bites down on this lower lip, eyes moving without going left and right. Disoriented. We spot a young boy in front of him, also waiting for the green light to switch on. The young boy is wearing blue shoes. The young boy turns towards Howard. We should cross the street. At first, Howard ignores the young boy. Did you hear me? We should cross. Howard looks at the young boy, humors him. How do we do that? Cross it? We'll run. I can't run. Crawling will be more like it. I know. You're old but I'm young and I can carry you. I run, I don't crawl. I think you need to learn aerodynamics. We already did. Yes, but you haven't, not yet. Looser. The light turns green. Last chance? Jump on my back. Come on. Howard thinks about it. The young boy turns his back to him and offers him to step on. Howard climbs on the back of the young boy. For a split second, it looks like they'll pull it off. But then the young boy crumbles to the ground. Howard starts crossing the street. Half-way, he stops, turns, and looks at the young boy. Still on the ground. See? Crawl. 32. Thank You!: Congratulations on completing this class. It's hard to sometimes convey what it means for me to be able to share my tools, for somebody to listen, for somebody to create their own tools out of the experience that I've been fortunate to have. It's given me a second life in my personal writing career to be able to share the tools. It inspires me a lot. Even though it might sound funny, thank you sincerely. What I'm saying is important and I'm being clumsy, but that's creativity. If you're in the mood, please review this class. It just really helps spreading the word. Any kind of review positive. Please know that you can always reach out to me directly through my website. You might not believe this, but I generally thrive on using X amount of time into teaching and connecting with other filmmakers. It really gives me creative oxygen. What inspired you to become a director? When I was 20, I broke up with a girl. You discover all sorts of things about yourself and you start to ask yourself serious questions, and I found this answer to try to express myself through film.