Screenwriting Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Screenwriting | Brian Birmingham | Skillshare

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Screenwriting Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Screenwriting

teacher avatar Brian Birmingham, Screenwriter, Copywriter

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

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.

      Welcome to Class


    • 2.

      Exercise 1 - Write Down 5 Favorite Movies


    • 3.

      The Importance of Originality


    • 4.

      Originality in Practice


    • 5.

      Exercise 2 - What Interests You + Free Association Writing


    • 6.

      How to Find Ideas for Your Next Screenplay


    • 7.

      How Moral Truths Shape Stories


    • 8.

      Exercise 3 - Let Your Story Begin


    • 9.

      Developing Your Story Naturally


    • 10.

      The Premise


    • 11.

      Giving Your Premise an Original Hook


    • 12.

      Exercise 4 - Finalize Your Premise


    • 13.

      Who and what is the Protagonist?


    • 14.

      Who and what is the Antagonist?


    • 15.

      Who are the Supporting Characters?


    • 16.

      Writing Three Dimensional Characters for Your Script


    • 17.

      Exercise 5 - Create Your Characters


    • 18.

      Basic Story Structure


    • 19.

      What Happens in Act One?


    • 20.

      What Happens in Act Two?


    • 21.

      What Happens in Act Three?


    • 22.

      Exercise 6 - Write Your Synopsis


    • 23.

      Writing the Outline


    • 24.

      What Does a Screenplay Outline Look Like?


    • 25.

      Exercise 7 - Write Your Outline


    • 26.

      How to Format a Screenplay + Final Draft Tutorial


    • 27.

      Writing a Screenplay in a Free App like Google Docs


    • 28.

      Preparing Your First Screenplay Draft


    • 29.

      Writing Dialogue


    • 30.

      Writing Descriptive Action


    • 31.

      Exercise 8 - Write the First Draft of Your Screenplay


    • 32.

      Revising Your First Screenplay Draft


    • 33.

      The Fundamentals of Storytelling


    • 34.

      Character Breakdown


    • 35.

      Structure Breakdown


    • 36.

      What To Do After You've Written Your Screenplay


    • 37.

      Final Screenwriting Advice


    • 38.

      Thank You


    • 39.

      Bonus: Phil & Brian Chat About Screenwriting


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About This Class

You'll master the entire scriptwriting process & come away knowing how to turn your idea into a great screenplay.

You're here because you want to learn how to write a screenplay, right?

Perhaps you want to be a screenwriter in the film industry, or you have a story idea in your head and want to put it down on paper.

This is the right place for you to learn the entire screenwriting process.

We'll walk you through essential steps of crafting a great screenplay, including: how to come up with great story ideas, develop your characters, format your screenplay using free and professional applications, revise your draft, and steps you can take once you have a polished script.

Why take this course?

By the end of this course, you will have all the skills needed to write your own screenplay. Each section of the course builds upon the previous with new skills and practical activities. By taking action and doing these activities, you'll actually be writing your script as you take this course. So not only will you gain the knowledge and skills, but by following all of the course activities you can come away with a screenplay of your own!

Get instant access to everything you need to master screenwriting:

  • 3+ hours of premium video lessons

  • Downloadable guides and workbooks

  • Fun activities to help you take action

  • Instructor support and feedback

  • and so much more!

Course overview:

  • Learn the importance of originality

  • Find your unique writing style and voice

  • Develop a routine that makes you a productive writer

  • Create three dimensional characters, including your protagonist, antagonist and supporting characters

  • Write great stories with the 3-act story structure

  • Understand each act of storytelling

  • Write a synopsis for your screenplay

  • Build your synopsis into an outline

  • Write and format your script

  • Use Final Draft and free tools for writing your screenplay

  • Rewriting and revising your script draft

  • Advanced breakdown and analysis of films and screenplays

  • What to do after your screenplay is written

Who is your instructor?

The lead instructor for this course is Brian Birmingham, a professional copywriter who currently works in the film, television and gaming industry writing ad content, special shoot scripts, print copy and more. Brian has established himself as an incredible storyteller and writer, with several screenplays under his belt. Brian received his Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting from one of the United States' top film schools, Loyola Marymount University.

If you want to quickly and easily learn screenwriting, this is the course for you.


Brian Birmingham

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Brian Birmingham

Screenwriter, Copywriter


I work in the Film and Television industry as a copywriter, where I spend my days writing everything from print taglines and trailer copy, to special shoot scripts and additional film dialogue. I've contributed to a variety of high profile campaigns, ranging from Toy Story 4, to A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, to Black Panther, and many more.


I have always had a passion for film and writing. I received my Bachelor's degree in screenwriting from one of the U.S.'s top film schools, Loyola Marymount University. While there, I interned as a script reader at several production companies, including Jerry Bruckheimer, Happy Madison and DreamWorks. Ever since, I have dedicated myself to learning, understanding and refining the craft of writing, and conti... See full profile

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1. Welcome to Class: Hi everybody. Welcome to class. I'm so excited that you're joining me for this lesson on how to write a screenplay. I hope you can get something out of it. I hope if you have an idea for a script that you're able to use what you learn here to make it into something great. I hope if you have no idea for a script whatsoever and no idea how to write a script that you'll get a lot out of this and learn those lessons as we go. So let's start with a look at what we're gonna cover in this course. The first big thing is going to be the fundamentals of great storytelling. So every unique story is different. Every writer has a different approach, but every unique story follows the same core fundamental principles that make a great story. So whether it's a screenplay or a play or a novel, there are certain things that you must do to make sure that your story is successful in proving its point in doing the work that ought to do. We're going to look at finding your own unique style and voice. I think one of the most important things in screenwriting is originality in the screenplays that moved to the top in that get noticed are the ones that represent a really unique individual style and voice of the writers. So you've got a lot to say. You've got a lot of ideas and you just need to pull them out of yourself to really put together a story that's going to be unique and different from everything else that's out there. And just to kind of drive home these fundamental principles that we're going to cover. We're going to look at professional screenplays, analyze them, see how these elements were put into use in how they crafted the stories that they ultimately became. So hopefully that's helpful. And if you have any questions along the way, feel free to send me a message. So who am I? I'm Brian Birmingham. I graduated from Loyola Mary mount universities screenwriting program in 2013. When I was there, I interned as a script reader at several production companies. I worked at CBS after for awhile and got great insight into the inner workings of TV at a studio. And since then I've been working on major campaigns for theatrical releases as a copywriter, writing trailers, TV spots, scripts for special shoots, and all of that fun stuff, as well as screenplays, of course. So I'm really excited to share all my knowledge with you in this class. Let's take a look at the films that we're going to examine in this course and are examples. I think if you haven't seen any of these or if you haven't seen any of them for awhile, I would recommend going back now before we move forward in giving them a lot, just to refresh yourself. Because it'll, you'll get a lot more out of the lessons if you understand the story in each film. These ones with the stars next to them have spoilers contained in the following lessons. So if you don't want those films spoiled for you in, you aren't gonna get back to watching them. Just keep in mind when we get to those examples that we're going to cover story elements that spoil the story is so once again, if you can, I highly recommend going back and watching these films. So before we begin, I would highly recommend getting screenwriting software. One of these three final draft Celtics or movie magic are three of the best that you can get right now. And they are a little bit pricey. So if you wanna get a free trial to see if it's for you, then Final Draft and Celtics offer 30-day free trial periods. If you sign up. If it still is too much money for you and you don't want to spend the money on a software, then we will cover how to format a script in other programs like Google Docs or Microsoft Word. But once again, it's going to be a lot easier for you if you just use one of these programs to format your script as you go. So throughout this course you're going to see slides like this, which highlight key points that I believe are essential for every writer to keep in mind when crafting their screenplay. The first key point that I think is worth emphasizing is you've got to write every day. It's something that a lot of writers don't do. I think a lot of writers let other life obligations get in the way and it's obviously very easy for that to happen. So before you set out to write your script, make sure you just carve out that time for yourself every day. Get in a routine of writing in that time. If it has to be late at night or early in the morning, I personally prefer to wake up at 430 or five and write for a few hours before the day begins. Whatever it takes to, for you to get that writing done is essential because too many writers say they want to write a script in them, they never rate. So make sure you're staying on top of yourself. Having that discipline in letting yourself get to work every day. 2. Exercise 1 - Write Down 5 Favorite Movies: Alright, so welcome to the first exercise. And throughout the course you're going to see that there's going to be exercises after these lessons that I encourage you to take action and do because it's going to help you put the pieces together that's going to bring your script and your idea to fruition. So I highly recommend is pausing the video and taking the time to do these exercises. So this first one is a real easy one. Just write down five movies that inspire you, that speak to you, that motivate you to be better at it. These can be your five favorite movies. There could be five movies that are made. You see the world in a different way that have made you think differently, that just have elements of them that you like. But think of the five movies that have meant the most to you in your life and write those movies down. Keep that list with you because being able to think about these movies critically and why they speak to you individually is going to be important in defining what kind of writer you want to be in, what kind of ideas and themes in movies speak to you and what movies you want to rate. So take the time to do that and then once you have, we can move on to the next lesson. 3. The Importance of Originality: Originality. We're gonna talk first about the importance of originality. I think it's a very important place to start when you're beginning your story in just understanding what it means to tell an original story and how to set yourself up to go about doing that. So the first thing, as a writer, you should be able to distinguish yourself. You want to stand out from all of the other people who are also writing screenplays and want to be writers. And you can do that because you have your own unique worldview, your own voice, your own thoughts and opinions. So distinguishing yourself as a writer is critical in becoming a successful screenwriter. You should understand storey, so you should know what stories had been told before. What stories had been told today in, especially in film. Just if you want to write movies, I'm assuming that you loved movies and you've seen a lot of movies, and you should just give yourself an on-going education of film. Let yourself see what is coming out today and what movies are getting greenlit. And then go back and see what movies have been made before and see how different genres, different ideas have evolved over time in the course of cinema. Let yourself make those connections. Let yourself see how different stories have been approached in start thinking a little bit more critically about the movies that you are going back and watching. And then most importantly, pertaining to the first, you should just think about the way that you think about yourself. I think having a strong sense of self is one of the most important things a writer can have. And this is going to help you find your own unique way of telling your own stories, in representing your own worldview, in representing yourself in your writing. So we're gonna look at some of the core components of an original story. I think you'll see different variations of these three things in any books you read about writing, in any classes you take on screenwriting. In my personal opinion, these are the three most important things to have as you start your story that will determine the trajectory that your entire story takes. So the first thing we're gonna talk about is what I call a moral truth. In what this essentially is, is just what you hold the baby. A universal truth about people, about society, and about the way people act or should act. So this is essentially the writers worldview. I think choosing a moral truth that you aim to prove through your story is going to be the primary guide and crafting and original screenplay that is unique specifically to you. So if the moral truth is sort of the universal idea you're trying to get across in your story. The premise is a simple way of describing how you're going to do that. You can see premise described in several different ways. I think the easiest way to look at it is to just think of it as a one-line descriptor of what your story is going to be about. This is just taking that moral truth that you have in putting it into the context of the story you're going to tell. It's simply just going to tell you what kind of character you're going to have, what kind of conflict they're going to face in where this is all going to take place. And then lastly, I think it's important to think about an original hooked to your story. You can have a universal truth in a premise that you might have seen in a movie before. But what your unique approach to that will bring is what's going to set it apart from every other movie that's happened before. So what can you add to the story into this viewpoint that's gonna make it stand out and that's going to distinguish you from other writers out there. So this is where you make the story distinctly or own. It's where the writer's experienced personality and worldview come into play to shape this truth into a unique vision of that truth. So let's take a look at these three core components in practice. And I chose three movies in a genre that content to be rife with formulaic storytelling, with generic tropes and with things that you've seen over and over again. But these three movies, I think, among many others in the genre as well, really exemplify originality in storytelling. So in the Romantic Comedy, let's take a look at When Harry Met Sally, 500 days of summer and then Shaun of the Dead. 4. Originality in Practice: Part two, originality in practice. So let's start with When Harry Met Sally, the moral truth of the story, in my perception, at least in, in all of these, these aren't written by the writers themselves. This is my own analysis of the movie in this is just intended to show you how this can be found in every great story that you watch in once you start thinking critically about the stories that you watch, you can see how they all have these core components that build the story into what they are. So When Harry Met Sally, moral truth, a platonic friendship between a man and a woman is destined to end in love or failure. So remember the moral truth is the worldview of the story. That's the worldview that this story is going to aim to represent and to prove Premise. Tell the story of a relationship between a man and a woman over multiple years as it fluctuates between friendship and romance. Once again, the premise is just gonna give you character conflict in setting. You have that right here. You have the man and the woman in the relationship. The conflict is going to be the fluctuation between friendship and romance in the setting implies that it's going to be following standard relationship. Nothing's going to be out of this world featuring talking animals, anything strange or bizarre. It's going to be a romantic story focused on to modern individuals. So as you can see from that story, already gives you a sense of who the characters are and what the conflict will be. It's going to be the man and the woman. And the conflict is going to be this fluctuation between the friendship and the romance. And you can see how that pertains to the moral truth, which is a friendship between a man and a woman is destined to end in love or failure. So what makes the story original? This sounds like stuff you've probably seen in other romantic comedies before. But what I think makes this movie especially original, apart from just some great characterization, dialogue, and plotting, is that it hinges the entire story on one question, which is, can a man and a woman ever be just friends? By doing that, it allows for a completely deep exploration of male and female behaviors and relationships in, in friendships. And gives a broader perspective on the genre that can tend to be pretty narrow and once again, formulaic in predictable. This question serves as a basis for a deeper exploration of male and female attitudes and behaviors in friendships and interrelationships. In that allows the story to evolve beyond the standard conventions of the drama and tell a more unique, personal and original story. So let's look at our next example, 500 days of summer. Moral truth in this story, true love is always beyond our own control. The premise over the course of 500 days showcased the ups and downs of a relationship in which one person is more in love than the other. So that simply tells you, once again the characters, the conflict, one person being more love than the other. And how that's gonna pertain to this moral truth of true love being out of our control. What is great about this movie and what makes it original is of course, you have the timeframe which is established in the title and that lets the audience know right off the bat when the maker break point of this relationship is. And then what these writers do, which is really great, is play with time and tell the story in a non-linear fashion. To emphasize this moral truth of a lack of control and highlight that lack of control that one has in love. In this emphasizes the impact of Loves highs and lows as the story progresses. So it's not just a love story that fails. It's, it's a love story that showcases in a unique and original way how that failure can come to be, how it can seem out of our control by playing with time and telling the story in a non-linear fashion. It's a great way to just emphasize this lack of control. One hasn't relationship and emphasize the impact of Loves, highs and lows. And then lastly, we have Shaun of the Dead. Moral truth. No obstacle is too great to overcome for love. Premise, a hapless man nearing 30 must prove to his girlfriend that he can grow up and be a better man for her or else risk losing her forever. So once again, you can see how these two go hand in hand. You can see the character, you can see the conflict in, you can see where this story has the potential to go. What really makes this story original is pretty obvious. Sean ends up having to prove he is up to the challenge of being the hero lives needs him to be biased successfully leading Xi, their friends and his mother instep father to safety during a zombie apocalypse. So what the writer Simon peg, and Edgar Wright did with this story was tell a conventional, well-written and well-crafted romantic comedy in this completely insane and bizarre setting in it just made for this very original, very fun horror comedy that tells a great romantic story as well. So as you can see, a romantic comedy or any genre of film can be anything that you want it to be. If you're willing to put in the work to make sure it's, has that sound basis, has that moral truth, has that premise in, has your own unique personal spin on it. And I think that's a great way to start in storytelling. So learning from these examples, I think it's important to have a message. You need to make sure that you have something you're trying to say with your story in that this is going to serve as the basis for what you build upon as you write your story. Keep It Simple later, ONE voice gave your moral truth its impact. One vision of the same truth can be presented in a number of different ways. And that's what makes movies in storytelling in general so great. No one has the exact same view of the exact same thing. So what are you going to bring to the table of what you're saying to make it stand out from the rest and to make it unique to you. And that's where originality is so important and that's why the great stories are so original and have such a memorable, unique take on something we all take as a truth. Make it personal. I think it can be easy to want to follow trends, to want to try to do something that you think will get you ahead. But tell a story that means something to you. And this doesn't mean it has to be autobiographical or based on someone you know, it just means you should infuse elements of your own life and the way that you see yourself and your others in your friends into the story you're telling. Because when you're telling a story from a more personal place and you're more interested in what you're saying, then that story is automatically going to become more interesting in it's going to be stronger because of it. And then once again, make it original. I think this is a good way to ensure that you're going to tell an original story before you'd start doing the really deep diving into the writing that we're going to cover later on. I think a lot of new writers have a tendency to try to write a copy of a movie that they really like, even if they aren't aware that they're doing that, I think you just wanna make sure that you're telling your own story in doing something that hasn't been seen before, in trying something new and doing something different. In doing something that's unique to you and telling story that only you can tell. So key point, make it personal. I think that's the most important thing you can do to tell an original story is make sure that you're telling it from a personal place. 5. Exercise 2 - What Interests You + Free Association Writing: Alright, so part three, it's time to get thinking about your story with the second exercise. So the first thing we're gonna do is revisit that list of movies that you made it in the first exercise. And I want you to kind of think about what it is about those movies that really speaks to you and what makes you love those movies so much and come back to them and what drew you to them in the first place. And this can be genre. It could be a tone, specific character of theme, setting. Anything about it, just even a feeling related to it that it speaks to you. And so thinking about that, It's time to start thinking about the things that interest you as far as storytelling is concerned. So make a list about 25 to 50 different things. Just the first things that come to mind in this can be anything. It can be an idea for a character. It can be an idea for a setting. It can be an idea for a seam. It can be an idea of what you think is a moral truth in its own right. Something that bothers you, something that fascinates you, something that you want to explore deeper. Why do this? This goes back to kind of try and understand yourself better as a person and understand your passion and your worldview and the way you see yourself and you see others in the way you think, in the way you speak and the way you want to tell stories, because everyone is different. Everyone was raised different, everyone has different ideas. And channeling that is going to be the best thing to inform what kind of story you're going to be able to tell best. One more key point on this. This is related to what is called free association writing in this is when you literally just sit down and stream of conscious, but yourself just type away. Anything at all. Doesn't have to make sense. Certainly doesn't have to be grammatically correct. Just let your mind explode onto the keys and be what it's going to be. Sometimes in doing this, you're just going to find yourself coming up with ideas or thoughts you never knew you had. You're going to tap into something in yourself that you didn't know you had. And you can find a lot of ideas and a lot about yourself and doing this. So let yourself just, right for the sake of writing, it can be a bunch of garbage. You can delete it all after. But let yourself start thinking more loosely, more creatively and more about the way you see the world and about the way you see yourself in and make sure you get that list of 25 to 50 items and see if there's anything in there that you can start to glean from yourself that you can see coming into life in your story. And then we can move on to the next section. 6. How to Find Ideas for Your Next Screenplay: All right, this section is going to be about finding ideas. And this is obviously one of the most important and elusive elements of screenwriting that every writer encompasses, and it's not always easy, but there are steps to take that will make it easier for you. So let's look at part one, which is finding your idea. For one, I think it's really important that you have to build your story from the ground up. It's going to start from a very simple seed of an idea and grow into something better that will ultimately, ultimately become hopefully a great screenplay. So the first thing to start thinking about is what your script will be about and what it will prove. In other words, what your moral truth is going to be in the story. So looking at exercise too and that list of random stuff that you wrote down, start looking through there and seeing if you see any seeds of something that could serve as a moral truth for your story and something that could serve as a basis for the story that you want to tell. And so then you're going to select what that moral truth is. And even if it's a simple idea on the surface, you can express it in complex, unique ways that are personal to you, that are going to make it a story that has all your own having something to say as often misconstrued as being preachy or being sentimental are not something that you should see in films. I don't think this is true at all. I think if you have nothing to say, then it's just gonna be a waste of everybody's time. It's only going to feel preachy if the story is written poorly and characters are going around saying everything that you feel and not proving it through natural means, which we'll examine going forward. So I just think it's important to remember that you need to have something that you're trying to say. And that is the foundation on which your story should be built. 7. How Moral Truths Shape Stories: Part two, how moral truths shaped stories as we just touched on your moral truth is going to be a roadmap. So if you have a good idea of view that you want to express, your going to have an idea of what the beginning, in the end of your story is going to be. There's going to be two poles. And we're going to examine how that can be broken down and taken from a moral truth in them. That's going to be the driving force that shapes your premise and the journey that your protagonist is gonna take throughout this story. So let's look at some examples. We'll examine the moral truth in three films across three genres with bridesmaids, Little Miss Sunshine, and get out. And then we'll explore how those moral truths shaped the premise and the original hook that made that screenplays as Greatest there. So first bridesmaids, moral truth, true, friends will always ultimately bring out the best in you. Premise down on her luck, single woman is asked to be the maid of honor at her best friend's wedding, only to find yourself competing for the position with another bridesmaids. What makes it original from an idea of crafting and exploration of self through friendship, the story through a great execution of character plotting and dialogue became the first female ensemble comedy of its kind. So this moral truth, true friends will always ultimately bring out the best in you is not the most groundbreaking, visionary idea that has ever been brought to film before. But the execution of it is what makes it such a great movie. And it's an exploration of the self through these trials and tribulations that this woman goes through in the story. But you can see from this moral truth to that true friends will always ultimately bring out the best in you, gives you a sense of the two poles of the movie. You're going to have to show someone at their worst to show how they can be their best. So that is automatically a roadmap for the premise. Uh, down on her luck, single woman is asked to be the maid of honor to her best friend's wedding, only to find yourself competing for the position with another bridesmaids in through that competition, of course, is what leads to her becoming a better person and a better friend. Little Miss Sunshine. Moral truth, breaking free from conventional beauty standards and societal expectations is the only way to be a winner. Premise, a divided family embarks on a road trip to bring their young daughter to youth beauty pageant in California. What makes it original? Putting this divided family until one band and setting them on a journey to a beauty pageant. They are forced to take their own personal journeys and confront their own divisions, ambitions, shortcomings in questions of what it means to be a winner. This film also has some of the greatest characterization of any film in recent memory, which is another part of what makes it such a great original story. But once again, you can see from this moral truth that you have a sense of where it's going to begin, in, where it's going to end in what's going to happen in the middle, in that 2D shapes the premise. And let's look at one more. Get out. Moral truth. Racism is a horror. Unlike any other premise, a black man meets his white girlfriends parents for the first time at their country home, only to discover these people are not what they seem. What makes it original. Racism has been explored many great films through the history of cinema. But writer Jordan PL sets get out apart from others by creating a story that explores racism horrors in an actual horror film. By creating a protagonist who must escape or be captured and brainwashed. Pl gets the audience on the hero side and takes them on a suspenseful tents and terrifying journey as he tries to escape freedom. So once again, you can see from this moral truth how this sets up what could be a beginning and an end of a story. And it's only in its early stages right here. But you, as the writer are going to be the one to fill in that story and bring that idea to life in a way that is uniquely your own. The way that each of these stories has. 8. Exercise 3 - Let Your Story Begin: So that brings us to Part three. Let your story begin. The third exercise that we're going to do is reexamined the list. You made an exercise too. And you're gonna find the strongest idea or a combination of ideas that really speak to you that mean a lot to you that are personal to you because you're gonna spend a lot of time with this idea and you're going to spend a lot of time exploring this idea in other ways to get this idea across that are gonna make your story uniquely around. So pick something that really matters to you, that's really important to you and that you really care about. And then ultimately are going to rate your moral truth. So when you do this, be specific, be thoughtful, be clear, be concise. Narrow down what you want to say in your story into one concise, easy to digest sentence that suggests to pause and the story that gives you an idea of what a beginning and an end can be in that story. So put some time into this. Don't just rush into it and get to the next lesson and think of something that really means something to you. And then from there we're going to build your story and to what it will ultimately become. 9. Developing Your Story Naturally: So now that we've looked at what it takes to find your idea, we're going to look at what it takes to start developing the story of from that idea. In the first step in doing so is looking at how we can develop the story naturally. This means just not forcing anything, not taking any unnecessary steps in the process and letting the story build organically as you go through the steps and find the fundamental elements that will make your story uniquely yours. So as we mentioned in the last section, the moral truth is a roadmap to your story. It gives you an idea of where the beginning and the end of your story could lie. So knowing that, knowing where the beginning and the end may lie, you can start thinking of what your premise is going to be. This is going to be a character and a conflict that can take your story from one pole to the other in showcase, what you're trying to prove with your moral premise. And then it's time to start thinking about originality to in what you can do to that story, to make it uniquely around, into make it something that you care about and are passionate about in a story that you really love and speaks to you and represents you as a person and as a writer. So let's look at how we can go about doing that. 10. The Premise: Part two and premise. So as we mentioned, the premise is just gonna be a single line that's going to encapsulate roughly how your moral truth is going to be explored and proven in your story. Crafting a great premises. The first step in telling an original story, in setting your story apart from others, it's going to be your way of exploring a truth that might be universal. Or your way of exploring the truth that is, your own unique vision of the world that maybe other people don't hold and that you're going to try to argue how you're going to argue that 0.1 way or another is going to be unique to you and it's going to be the basis for your premise. So crafting your premise, let's say your moral truth is to be a true leader, hero must be willing to sacrifice for the greater good. How do you go about turning this truth into a premise? The first step is understanding what your molecule it tells you. So you need to find the two poles of your story. So your story is going to be about a protagonist who is going to go through a journey or a character arc that is going to prove that moral truth. So let's look at our example. To be a true leader, a hero must be willing to sacrifice for the greater good. Okay, what does this tell you? It tells you your story is going to have to focus on a protagonists blessed with great gifts and talents who becomes a hero. That's the beginning, only to face a battle in which they must be willing to sacrifice for a cause greater than their own self-interest. That's the end. So step two, finding the conflict. This is the other essential component of a premise in the central component of any great story whatsoever is how the conflict is presented, builds, and shapes your character improves what you're trying to say in your story. So your character is gonna go through change. That change is going to be brought about from the journey that your protagonist takes in. We're going to cover this a lot more when we get to character as well and how to craft an effective character arc. But the seeds of this conflict is needed to be present in your premise. And this unique source of conflict will shape the story you have chosen to tell. So, to be a true leader, a hero must be willing to sacrifice for the greater good. What's the conflict? Obviously the conflict and Platonist moral truth, or the internal and external forces which will drive the protagonist toward having to make some sort of sacrifice, simple as that. But that's a huge source of conflict that is going to take many different forms and shapes through the course of the story. But just knowing that that's what the source of conflict will be is going to be huge in understanding what kind of story you're going to tell. So step three, crafting the premise. Once you've considered a character and a conflict, you need to find a setting in which to set your conflict and prove your moral truth. This, by the way, does not always have to be present in the premise. Sometimes the premise is going to be a simple description of what your character will go through. It doesn't have to necessarily imply a time or a place or a location of any kind. But I think starting to think about that and know that is really important as you begin developing your story into what it will ultimately become. So let's see how our moral truth shaped three unique premises in three different films. Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the dark name. So once again, the moral truth that we're working with here is to be a true leader, a hero must be willing to sacrifice for the greater good. So in Star Wars, this moral truth was turned into the premise. A young farmer learns that he belongs to a rare order of powerful warriors and as such is the greatest hope. And the rebel forces fight against the oppression of the most formidable warrior of the same order to ever live. Notice that implies character, setting and conflict. Harry Potter, same moral truth. But the premise for this, when a young boy learns he's a wizard in assent to a seven-year school for others like him, he soon discovers that his destiny is to stop and extremely powerful evil wizards reign of terror at any cost. Once again, character, setting and conflict. And as you can see, this is a completely different story from the Star Wars one above, and the same with Dark Knight premise. Bruce Wayne's only hope at protecting Gotham from a terrorist rain is to ensure it any costs that the people in his city have a hero in which they can place their faith and belief in the greater good. Once again, character setting and conflict, and a very different story than the two that came before it. What do these have in common? Of course, the character, setting and conflict, as we mentioned, in what sets them apart, each tells a different story unique to the writers of each story, and thus has a unique impact. So it presents the same truth in a way that the other ones don't. That takes a lot of nuance and originality in creative thinking. In, presents things that we all kind of take for granted or take to be true in a way that sets it apart from anything that has come before it. And so original hook onto you have your moral truth in your premise. You can get creative with how exactly you want to tell that story and put those elements together and bring it all to life. 11. Giving Your Premise an Original Hook: Part three, giving your premise and original hook. Okay, so what is the original hook? This is where you as the writer take your premise to a new level and make the story uniquely around. This is where you get to be extra creative. The other two steps are pretty fundamental. This is where you get to present it in any way that you want to. You get to set a romantic comedy in a zombie apocalypse, for instance, you can do whatever you want to the story as long as you're still sticking to that moral truth and still sticking to a premise that proves that moral truth. So let yourself be creative with it. Think of fun, unique, interesting, different challenging way to tell the story that you're gonna really enjoy telling. How does it work? It creates a new story. Essentially, the three examples have the same moral truth, but they did not tell the same story. This gives your moral trip nuance and offers you the chance to stand apart from other stories that have been told before. So this also goes back to having an understanding of story in film and what stories had been told. You can take an idea that's been done before and turn it into something that only you can turn it into if you really put the thought and effort into giving your moral truth in original hook in a unique premise. 12. Exercise 4 - Finalize Your Premise: Alright, for the fourth exercise, you probably guessed it. We're gonna finalize your premise using the moral truth that you wrote in the last one and the lessons we just covered, Find a conflict, a character, or a setting that speaks to what you're trying to prove, speaks to your story and speaks to you that you want to get across. And then find a way to just make it uniquely around in this. As well as your premise can be succinct. It should be concise and tight and just serve as a basis of what your story will ultimately become. And take your time with us and be thoughtful with it and do something that you're going to really want to stick with. So one last look at our earlier example. To be a true leader, a hero must be willing to sacrifice for the greater good. Premise of former freedom fighter against the Nazi regime, gives up his one chance at love to continue to fight for his cause. Notice again, character conflict and setting. What makes it original? A worn down man who has lost almost all faith in humanity, has his life turned around? One is former love shows up unexpectedly at the cafe he runs in Casablanca. So as you can see, one moral truth, can you present it in a number of original ways, each impactful in their own unique rate. 13. Who and what is the Protagonist?: Alright, so now we're going to take a look at character. We're gonna start here with the protagonist. This is gonna be the main character of your story in the character who drives your entire story. So who is the protagonist? The hero of your story is the simplest way to put it. The main character, as a lot of people would say, to know where your story is gonna go, you need to understand the journey that your protagonist is going to take in the story. In this journey is what is going to shape their character arc. And a character arc is the basis of change that your character goes through in the story. And important thing to note with character, with story in general is change is the only constant in human nature. If you have a character who doesn't change in the story, then it's not going to feel realistic, it's gonna feel flat. And your story isn't really going to go anywhere. So you need to make sure that your character undergoes a significant in serious change that proves the moral truth that you are out to prove in your story. Key point, character needs to come for story. I think there could be maybe some debate on this. I simply put, characters dictate what is going to happen in a story in it's going to be impossible to begin a good story without an understanding of the characters. So make sure you know who your characters are. You have the idea of your story. And from there, you can build the story out further. But knowing the characters is the next step in knowing what kind of story you're gonna tell. Because the characters are going to dictate what that story is. Some things about a protagonist to know that are essential in any good story. A protagonist want something. The pursuit of this want what they're after is going to be what drives the entire story. The protagonist needs to be at a disadvantage. This is the only way that you're going to create conflict is if they have to overcome some significant hurdle, this is what's going to drive their art, is what's going to drive the conflict in your story and it's what's going to lead to the drama, that tension, the humor. Everything that you see in stories is going to be based on your character having to overcome these hurdles. You're protagonists should be sympathetic. I think this doesn't mean they have to be the most perfect, likable person in the world. But you need the audience to be on their side. Because if the audience isn't rooting for your protagonists than they have no reason to be invested in your story and then you've lost everyone. So make sure you craft a protagonist who people are going to want to root for as they pursued this want, or at least to watch them pursue this font. If they're not even a character worth rooting for, which is an anti-hero, which is a completely different type of protagonist, but follows the same principles. Nevertheless, your protagonist needs to be flawed. This kinda goes back to the not wanting a perfect character point. You need to have a character who's going to stand in their own way as they pursue this one. And then kind of overcoming these flaws and learning from what is hindering them is going to be a big part of their change as well. So make sure your character and your main character has a flaw that adds to the disadvantage that they're already going to be out when the story begins. And then I think one of the other most important things to keep in mind at the beginning of your story and throughout and when you're crafting your characters, especially at the protagonist, is they need something vital at stake. If they fail, then that needs to be, it can't be an option. They need to be at a disadvantage BY going after one thing and then know that if they fail, then they lose one way or another. They can't give up. So the best thing to ask yourself is who the best protagonist is going to be to prove your moral truth. So Let's look at an example and say your moral truth is, every dream is worth fighting for and you want to tell a great underdog story. So this already gives you a sense of what kind of protagonist you're going to need to create in your story in it's going to be an underdog who's at a disadvantage in has to overcome this hurdle to get what they need and prove that their dream is worth fighting for it no matter how impossible it is. So let's look at this example in gratitude. So Pixar, of course, is known for telling highly original stories with very well drawn protagonists. I haven't Remy, the protagonist of gratitude is perhaps one of the best examples of an underdog protagonists in film. So let's look at these fundamental elements that we just covered. Wants, Remy wants to be a world renowned chef. Serious disadvantage. Remy is a rat, so his dream of becoming a chef is impossible. Wisely sympathetic, not only erat seen as pests, especially in the kitchen of world renowned restaurants, which makes his dream impossible. But this dream is misunderstood by all those peers and makes him an outsider in the world. He lives in, in the world in which he aspires to live. But he's still can't give up on it. What's his fly? Ramya, so desperate for his dream that he's willing to put himself and his family in danger to achieve that dream. What does he have at stake if he's cart, of course, he could be exterminated. So it's a life or death situation for him as he perceives his goal. So key point, I think it's important to remember that protagonists, just like everything else in your story, should showcase originality. I think creating a central character of your story that is unique and different from any other character that has been seen in film is really important. So put a lot of thought into making a very different, unique dynamic. Protagonist, for instance, or rat in an underdog story, Who Wants to be a chef. So one more thing on protagonists for now, and we're going to be coming back to this a lot throughout the course of this lesson on writing. But I think a really important thing to do that will give your story another layer of complexity is to make the want complex. In the best way to do this is to separate what your character wants from white year character needs. So if your protagonist wants something in it's pursuing that through their character arc in their journey, they should learn what they really need all along to fulfill that arc, improve your moral truth. So you, as the writer should know what your character needs better than he or she knows for him or herself. So make sure you have those two distinct elements when you're thinking about what your protagonist is going to be pursuing throughout your story. 14. Who and what is the Antagonist?: Part two, the antagonist. So who is the antagonist? The antagonists simply is the main opponent that your protagonist is going to face as they pursue what they want in the story. So the conflict, a key factor in shaping your protagonist's arc and the narrative conflict is going to be the opposition they face from the antagonist. And then lastly, your protagonist, antagonist need to be locked in the same pursuit in, it's ultimately going to lead to the battle in the end, which is going to be the climax of your story, which we'll get to later. But to do this, I think it's essential that your antagonists, protagonists want the same thing, or at least a different version of the same thing, if they're not locked in the same pursuit than there's no reason for them to be coming into conflict in the first place and then the story has no basis of them stand together and driving your character arcs. So make sure your antagonist in your protagonists are after the same thing in your story. And we'll examine how that's done in a few examples coming up here. Are getting antagonist will bring out the worst in your protagonist. They're gonna make your protagonists have to shift plans, calibrate their goals in half to find new ways to overcome their obstacles. And in the process, they might do things that bring out their greatest flaws in bring out the worst versions of themselves so that they can become the better versions of themselves as the story goes on. I think there's a misconception that the antagonist is always this evil, all-powerful being, but that's not true at all. An antagonist is simply going to be a character in your story who is going to stand in the way of your protagonist getting what they want. So let's look at three different types of antagonists in whiplash, planes, trains, and automobiles, 500 days of summer. So as you can see here, with whiplash, we've separated the kind of key elements of the antagonists in the protagonists throughout the story. So the protagonist is Andrew uneven. The antagonist, of course is Fletcher. Andrew, the protagonist wants to be one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time. And Fletcher wants to discover and train the greatest jazz musicians of all time. So you can see the lines up there in that locks them in their battle. Andrews plan is to get into Fletcher's band at the conservatory. Fletcher's plan is to abuse in beret Andrew to push him to his limits and to his fullest potential. So the flaw that's exploited in Andrew at the in the process of doing this is his willingness to succeed at any cost. The primary attack that the antagonist lays on, the protagonist is the threat to replace Andrew. And then following through on that threat, Andrew counter attacks by having Fletcher expelled. This leads to the climax where Fletcher, the antagonist, sets a trap for Andrew and uses Andrews weakness to exploit it. Andrew falls into Fletcher's trap when Fletcher invites him to perform at JVC. And in the end. Andrew overcomes the trap and achieves his goal. For Fletcher, Andrew proves that he has had it in him to be one of the greatest drummers of all time. Planes, trains, and automobiles. This is another example of an antagonist that you wouldn't necessarily expect in the story. But as you can see here, the protagonist is Neil Page, played by Steve Martin and the antagonists as del Griffith played by John Kennedy. So Neil, the protagonist, wants to get home to his family and time for Thanksgiving. Dell wants to help me get home to his family and time for Thanksgiving. Neil's plan is to use any resource available to get home. Dels plan is to use every resource and connection he has to help. The flaw that is exploited in Neil is as short temper, his arrogance, and his constructedness. The main attack that del, lays on the, unwittingly annoy the crap out of him as he tries to get him home. Neil's counter attack is to choose to go its own separate way without Dell only to end up back in his presence and realizing that he needs him. The climax is when they make it to the train station or Neil can leave for home. In the end, when Neil learns at Dell doesn't have a family, he invites him to his home for Thanksgiving. In Bell, accepts Neil's invitation. So del is not an evil antagonist. Of course, he's not the type of villain or enemy you would typically see in a movie or, or imagine with an antagonist. But he stands in Neil's way of getting what he ultimately wants and in so doing becomes the main opponent he faces and drives his character arc which leads to him becoming a better person in the end, coming back to 500 days of summer, the protagonist as Tom, the antagonist is summer. Tom wants he and some are to be in love. Summer wants she and Tom to be casual. So as you can see, this is technically a different one, but it still pertains to the outcome of the relationship. And that's it locks these two characters and through the duration of the story, Tom's plan is to make summer fall in love with him. Summers plan is to tell Tom she does not want to be in a serious relationship. Tom's exploited fly is his love for summary clouding his judgment. Her primary attack as distancing herself from Tom, his counterattack is falling deeper in love. And in the end, the relationship fails and proves the moral truth of the story, which is that true love lacks control. So key point. Some writers talk about making their protagonists their own antagonist. I think this is a serious mistake in a story. I think you need to find a character who is going to be in opposition to your protagonist as they pursue their goal. Every protagonist should already be there own antagonist in a sense, every protagonist should stand in their own way of getting what they wanted to get. So having that coupled with a character who's going up against them is going to create greater conflict and ultimately create a much stronger story. So make sure you're thinking of both characters as you go forward in this. 15. Who are the Supporting Characters?: Part three, supporting characters. Who are the supporting characters? You're supporting characters are going to be orchestrated around your protagonist. So what does that mean? That means that they need to help or hinder your protagonists in some way. And just like the antagonists, they need to be locked in, in this mission that your protagonist is on, they need to have some connection to either the protagonist or the antagonist that makes it vital that they stay involved in the story and see it through to the end. Because if they can just leave, if they can walk away, then there's no point in them being in the story. So make sure they are essential to the main goal in the main character art your story is exploring. So they should have something vital at stake in the mission. This is one way to look at it. If the mission fails or succeeds, then it affects them negatively or positively. It doesn't matter, but they need to be locked in to that mission. And then make sure you're supporting characters have individual Rx2. I think a lot of mediocre, less good writers will make supporting characters who just sort of serve the story. They're either just funny or they're just kind of fair and they have no real purpose in the story. And I think you need to make your characters, all of your characters have an arc of their own. It doesn't have to be as significant as your protagonist, but it should still be there. They should still learn something from the mission and they should still have an arc that supports the moral truth that you're after in your story. Let's come back to route it to hear Alfredo linguine, who's the garbage boy, who is mistaken for a chef after Remy makes the soup that he has to take credit for, is promoted to cook. After that happened. So Remy now has a means of becoming a chef in fulfilling his dream through this garbage boy who can't cook but now has to cook and then collect another cook in the kitchen is ordered to oversee Alfredo's training to be a chef. So she gets involved in the whole ordeal. So now with the two of them involved, remedies dream cannot come to fruition without the two of them. Alfredo will be fired if not for Remy in Alfredo must keep Remy secret from Collette. So all three of these characters are locked into the story together. Creating your supporting characters. Make sure they're integral to the overall story. Make sure they're there for a reason. Every scene there in every line may have, needs to be important to the story you're telling as a whole. How are they going to help or hinder your protagonist on his or her mission? If they can be linked to your antagonist in some way. This is another great way to add conflict to the story, to lock your supporting characters in, to orchestrate them in unique ways that are going to help or hinder your protagonist on their mission. And what do they want? I think just like your protagonist, every supporting character needs to have something that they are after in the story. So here's just a list of some notable supporting characters from earlier examples we've covered, of course, Star Wars. Han Solo, Princess Leia, OB1 in Yoda are various central supporting characters in the Star Wars movies. Harry Potter, of course, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger are the most prominent supporting characters. In the dark night. You have Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Rachel, and Harvey Dent, who are essential in the arc that Bruce Wayne takes throughout that story. Little Miss Sunshine, you have Duan, grandpa and Frank, and get out. You have rows, Missy Dean and run, all of whom are essential in helping or hindering the protagonist on their mission. 16. Writing Three Dimensional Characters for Your Script: Okay, part for three-dimensional characters. So you've probably heard of three-dimensional characters before. And if you don't know what three-dimensions are, they are Psychology, which is how we think. Physiology, which is our physical makeup, and sociology, which is how we were brought up. So each of these elements have shaped every person who has ever lived. This is what shapes your worldview, the way you speak, the way you think of others, your attitudes, ideas, morals, everything. So it's crucial to know each of these elements for your major characters in the story, especially your protagonist. Because otherwise, your characters can feel flat, they can feel not fully-developed, one-dimensional. And you see this in a lot of bad writing or a character just doesn't feel like a real person. They just feel like they're there to serve the story. And that's not what you want. You want to know who your characters are inside and out. And this is going to also shape how well you're able to write them into the story and be able to write their dialogue and able to know who they are in the way they think and why they're pursuing, what they're pursuing and why they say an act the way that they do. So knowing all of these doesn't mean that you have to put it all in to the story. It just means that you have to know it as a writer and let it inform the way that you write these characters. So let's take a look at this chart, which you should fill out for each of your characters out. Highly recommend doing so just because it's gonna give you a better sense as you go of who these people are and you're going to find it as to go because you don't always know IT just off the top of your head. So why is this important to know their physiology and what they look like. They're posture appearance defects. Because all of this is going to affect the way that someone views the world. If you're in extremely good-looking person in you have everything handed to you. You're going to have a completely different view of people than someone who is born with any kind of abnormality or defect and has had to overcome physical hurdles in society as they've grown up. That's two very different upbringings. Two very different people to very different worldviews. So it's important to know these little details and know how they have shaped your character over time. The same can be said for sociology. And how we're brought up, someone who was brought up in a very wealthy family is going to be different from someone who was brought up in a very poor family. Their views, their attitudes, their jobs and education are all going to be affected by their upbringing. So it's worth thinking about where they came from, what their backstory is, who they are, and how they were raised in, how that has affected who they are today, in their place, in the community, hobbies, all of that kind of stuff. And then, of course, psychology is sort of a culmination of both of those things. And it is just the way that we think, the way that we see the world, what our morals are, what our regrets are, what our attitude towards life or philosophy is, whether we're introverts, extroverts. These are really critical things to know about your characters in it's going to shape their dialogue, that's going to shape their actions. It's gonna shape everything. So take the time to do this for your protagonist, your antagonist, you're supporting characters because it's gonna make a big difference in the way of it. You're able to understand and write them as you go along. Okay, so what do the 3-dimensions tell us? They tell us essentially the backstory of your character. They tell us how they were raised, how they were shaped in how they've come to be men or women. That they are. Understanding backstory is really important just in shaping the way that they go about their goal. But it doesn't have to all be included in the story. So let's look at how backstory shapes character, but examining Finding Nemo. When Marlin loses his wife and all but one of their eggs, an attack from a Barracuda. He becomes over protective to the point that his son emote rebels against him and ends up captured by divers. On Marlin's search to find the email he must overcome as extra cautious nature and come to terms with how his overbearing This has led to this predicament in the first place. So without this backstory, his personality and ultimately his growth would not be as impactful as it has in the film. That's an example of one moment that has shaped someone. But it was such a profound moment that it completely altered the way that he views the world, the way He these parenthood and the flaws that have come from it that he has to overcome in this story. 17. Exercise 5 - Create Your Characters: So the fifth exercise. This is a good time to start crafting. Your characters. Start thinking about your protagonist. Start thinking about your antagonist. Started thinking about the characters. That would be the best. People or animals or whatever you choose to go with the tell your story. So be creative with it. Put a lot of thought into it and start thinking about the three dimensions that make these characters up. And I would recommend using the form to just fill out each element of each dimension and get a sense of your character's backstory before you go much further with a story. And keep in mind too, this can change as you go. If you have an idea for a character who has won back story but then decided they needed a different one, then that's fine. But I think knowing who your characters ought to be right now based on your idea is essential before you can move forward with what the story will tell that they're going to pursue. 18. Basic Story Structure: Writing the story. So for the first part of this section, we're going to look at structure and just what structure means and how you can go about formatting your script in a way that's going to ensure that it flowed seamlessly from the beginning to the end and build along the way and hit the rate points that it needs to hit. So first, before we get into that, let's just recap what you should have before you start thinking about the structure of your story. Of course, we talked about the moral truth, the premise, and the original hook. I think having a firm grasp on what that's going to be in your story is essential before you can start thinking about how to structure out your story in the first place. You should also have a sense, at least of your protagonist, antagonist and supporting characters. And like I said before, these can kind of change and tweak and alter as you go through the process of writing the story. But having a sense of who these characters are now is really going to shape the way that your story goes. So I think I would highly recommend having a good sense of who those characters are and what those three concepts I. So a few points before we get to structure, I think these are just a few things that you need to insure are in your story that will keep it moving in a way that proves your moral truth and that keeps readers and viewers interested in what's going on. So the first and most important thing is just ever-present in increasing conflict. This means that your story is not hitting repetitive beats. It's not just spinning in place. It needs to keep building as it goes along so that your protagonist is being constantly challenged in your audiences, constantly engaged in their pursuit of what they're after. An orchestration of character and conflict that keeps the audience engaged. This goes back to what we spoke about before about the supporting characters and the protagonist and the antagonist are being locked in in this story and not having an easy way out. So everyone has something at stake. Everyone plays a role in the story and all function to tell a greater story as a whole. And then a sound structure, which is what we're going to look at right now. So a structure essentially is just gonna be like the foundation of a house in I think a good way to look at it. You're going to build everything off of this, but this will give you the supporting elements that you need to continue to build as you go. So the three-act structure is what's typically taught in most screenwriting courses, film scores, books, everything you read in, it's a good basis for how to format a screenplay. But you will often hear people talking about having what are called second act problems in that refers to generally when in the second act, which is the middle of the story, things slow down. People have a hard time finding out which way to go with their characters and how to keep the conflict increasing throughout. And so we're going to look at some ways to get around that and to make sure your conflict build steadily in that your story moves at a good pace as it goes along through the three-act structure. Like I said, it's worth using because it's just easier to understand. As you'll see, it ensures that you hit the red points at the right time and that your story can move cohesively from beginning to end. So when it's used with other structural techniques, it's going to be a great asset to you as you start putting your screenplay together. So the three-act structure, typical breakdown, act one is simply the beginning of the story. This is usually the first 30 pages in. It sets up everything that's going to happen. And we're going to cover all of this in more detail in the following slides. So the second act, which is what I just mentioned, is where a lot of people run into trouble, is the middle of the screenplay. It's the biggest part of the story. It's where the majority of the conflict happens. And it's a really difficult act to rate if you're not taking the right steps to ensure that your story moves naturally. So we'll look at what happens in a second act and cover that as well. And make sure that you know how to keep your story moving at a good pace. And then a third act is the final 30 pages generally of your story. It's where the climax occurs. It's where everything is resolved in your story comes to its conclusion. So as you're probably wondering, talking about pages one through 3030 through 9090 through 120. It's good to keep in mind that one page in a screenplay is generally going to equal one minute of screen time. So typically, a script will be between one hundred and one hundred and twenty pages. Sometimes they go a lot more, sometimes a little bit less. But generally that's the rule of thumb to keep in mind. So I think 120 pages max is kind of what I would aim for in a screenplay. 19. What Happens in Act One?: Alright, so potent to the first act. So act one, what has to happen? First? The most important thing is the protagonist is introduced in what the protagonist is after is also introduced. So they're going to be at the beginning of the story pursuing what they want and not knowing what they need, which we mentioned earlier when we covered protagonist. So this want that's going to kick the story often drive this protagonist mission is going to be introduced in this first act. You're also going to want to introduce the antagonist. And sometimes you'll see in a movie the antagonist doesn't come in in the first act, but there's still a sense of their action or they're doing or something that's going to lead to their revelations. So you need to make sure the antagonist in some ways introduced in the first act. I would recommend just making sure you can get your antagonist in those first 30 pages because you generally don't want to introduce major characters later than that anyway. And in addition to that, you want to make sure you're supporting characters are also being introduced in this first act. The primary characters in your story who are going to be with your protagonist as they go on this mission, need to be there from the get-go from the early onset of your story, just so your reader in your audience know who they're following as the story unfolds. You're going to want to set up what the storyworld is going to be, the location, the time, the tone, the setting in. This is really important too, so that a reader knows when they take your script and they opened it up and I start reading exactly where they are and what they're getting in for. And then at the end of the first act of your protagonist is going to reach their first major dilemma. And that's going to shift their whole focus in their whole plan for pursuing what thereafter in a completely new direction. So that's a lot of storytelling to do. Obviously in 30 pages in it's allowed to introduce and it takes a lot of work to get there. But there are certain beats that you can hit that will ensure that you stay on track and keep your story moving. So the first thing you should be aiming to hit is the inciting incident. This is the moment in the story where something changes in your protagonist's life that sets them off on their mission to pursue what they want. It's a moment, usually in about ten pages into the story of where your protagonist knows exactly what thereafter, they needed a change from the status quo. They need to have something at stake if they don't get it. In. This sets the whole story in motion. So by ten pages generally, that is what you want to hit. And then the first major plot point is that moment that we talked about at the end of the first act, where your protagonist starts off on their mission and then something happens that stands in their way and makes them half to totally redirect in find a new way to go about getting what they want in it changes the story and takes it in a new direction and adds complications to your protagonist mission. So by hitting these in about 1030 pages, you're gonna be able to keep your story progressing and moving and keep it from hitting the same repetitive beats. So the inciting incident, as we just spoke of as the moment that starts off the whole story and kicks off your protagonist's mission. So war examined the very well-crafted version of. An inciting incident in the social network. Ok, so we've provided you with a list of clips in screenplay links in an earlier lesson. So before we cover this, why don't you pause this video, watch this clip from The Social Network and read these first nine pages so you can see how the script translated into the film and then we can analyze how that worked out after that. So go ahead and pause now and then come back to this as soon as you've finished. So if you watched this first clip from the social network and you can see the screenplay pages here. It's the first nine pages of the script. You get an introduction of the character and the inciting incident on those nine pages. So you know from this scene that mark, who is the protagonist of the film, wants to stand out and distinguished himself among his peers. And at the beginning of the story, he aims to do this by getting into a finals club at Harvard. In so you'll notice that his want changes as the story progresses and it evolves with him as he evolves. So in these firstname pages, you get a sense of his one, you get a sense of who he is as a character which is smart, self-conscious, and conceited. And you get the inciting incident, which comes at the very end of the scene when his girlfriend breaks up with him. And then if you've seen the film, you know, that sets off the whole montage, which starts the whole story and leads to him creating Facebook. So this is exceptionally great screenwriting and storytelling and these firstname pages, because Aaron silicon isn't in a sound, an astounding screenwriter, and he's able to just pack a lot of information into dialogue. And we'll talk more about dialog later. But if you break down each line of these firstname pages, you can see the story being set up in built and see where it's going to go. So key point, as we said, Make the first ten pages count. This is the first thing that someone's going to see you when they read your script. This is the first impression and they're gonna get, if you're writing, this is the first impression they're gonna get of your story and of you as a writer. So you need to make sure that it, It's all the beats he needed to that showcases your originality and your voice in that it is exactly the way you need it to be to set up the story you're trying to tell. Alright, so the first plot point. Also, I want to just say here too, that I kind of have an issue with the term plot point. It's what a lot of people use to describe what happens at the end of the first act and the end of the second act. But technically every scene should be a plot point in its own rate, areas seem to change the story and move it in a new direction and escalate the conflict as it goes. So I think that's an important thing to keep in mind that this isn't the only time in your screenplay or when your protagonist is going to have to change their approach to getting what they want. But making sure that a big plot point happens around 30 pages is going to be a central to translate your story into that next phase and to move your protagonist into a new phase of their mission. So by this point, your protagonist mission has been introduced. Your protagonist needs to completely change course to achieve their goal, something arises that hinders their efforts to make them shift focus. So that's the big thing to hit with this first plot point is something unexpected comes in. In shifts. Everything that they thought they were going to be able to do to get where they need to be. So I think a great example of a good first major plot point is in Groundhog Day. Once again, I would recommend pausing this video, going back to that list, watch this clip from groundhog day, read the screenplay pages, and then after you've done that, come back and we'll talk about why that works as a successful plot point in this story. So if you're familiar with this film, obviously you know the story is a protagonist, a jaded field reporter named Phil has one desire to complete his job reporting of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Day Festival and then leave the town. So in this scene that you just watched, what is the end of the first act? This is a great plot point because obviously Phil wakes up in, realizes that his goal, which is to leave Punxsutawney is not going to happen because he's reliving the same day over again. So this obviously shifts the whole story into the great classic comedy than it is in, takes the screenplay into a completely different direction than it was going before that. I think something that's worth mentioning is that you shouldn't overreach with your plot point. Don't try to throw in a twist that's going to completely change what you've already established. The story is going to be, so make sure it's in line with the story that you're telling. Make sure it's natural. Make sure it's not something that's just trying to be jarring or different or to be unexpected. The reason that something as wild as the Groundhog Day example works is because it's perfectly in line with what fills goals, which is to leave town. And one of the best ways you can have someone not be able to leave is to make them relive the same day over and over again. So it all works in conjunction. It's not a complete out of the blue plot point. That means nothing to this story that's already been established. So make sure your plot point in your change of direction is natural in this point and every other point of your story. 20. What Happens in Act Two?: So part three, the second act. Act to what needs to happen. The conflict needs to increase as your protagonist pursues their goal and works toward proving your moral truth, the antagonists needs to gradually gained the upper hand. And I think that's a really important point that will help you built conflict is just knowing that as the story goes along, your protagonist is falling farther and farther behind in your antagonist is moving up it up. So it looks harder and harder for your protagonist. As they're moving forward in, they have a greater disadvantage to overcome to get where they want to go. That's just going to keep building conflict in make it harder on your protagonist and give you a better and more interesting story to tell, to prove what you're out to prove. So your protagonist change, which is the character arc we spoke of earlier, is going to be forced through this increase in conflict and threw them having to overcome what they need to overcome. And I think a good way to think about this is to think about a simple task. If someone has to walk from one side of a parking lot to another and say, a bully is going to try to stop them from doing so. How they react in that situation is going to determine what kind of character they are. Someone might wanna fight back in, they might lose that fight. Someone might want to retreat and be cowardly. Someone might want to be tactful and try to come up with a solution to reach an agreement. Really rudimentary example, but it still shows kind of what people will do in different situations, how they'll behave and how that defines who they are as a person in what they're gonna do is problems continue to add on top of that and stand in their way. And how they're going to find solutions to those problems. Going off of all that, a lot of second acts often fall flat because stories will hit the same beats over again. The protagonist will not be put in more danger and having to overcome more conflict. I think it's important to just remember that these obstacles that they have to overcome have to increase in intensity. And that's the only way to ensure your story moves forward. It doesn't become repetitive. So I think a good way to think of doing this is to consider at least five maybe more major revelations for your character and, or the audience that reveal new information about the antagonist in about their pursuit of their goal. Ensuring that you have these character revelations is going to be essential in making sure that your story is building naturally. In that the conflict is gradually increasing as your protagonist goes along. So we're going to look at how this is done as well. But in it's, it's a little bit complicated to grasp. But I think, just think of this as things that your character, your main character's going to learn as they go along and how that learning is going to shape them. Or something that the audience is going to learn. And that's also going to shape the way that they view your protagonist as they go along. And so all along this escalation of conflict, you need to make sure this is following a road towards proving that moral truth that you set out to prove in the very beginning of finding your idea. So where is your second act leading? I think this is, it's important to think that this is going to lead to the second major plot point, similar to that first one, it's going to be a big change in the story. This is going to lead your protagonist and your antagonist into their final confrontation and what will become the third act of your story. So everything that happens in your second act needs to lead towards what that ending is going to be. So once again, I would recommend watching the eclipse for get out and reading the screenplay pages associated with these clips that I'm going to mention in the following slides. So pauses do go read as you go, watch the clips as you go. And this will help you understand how the revelations in the story of build and make it more difficult on the protagonist as he tries to achieve his goal. Okay, so if you've seen the movie Get out, you know that the first plot point is going to be the moment when Chris is at dinner with Rose and her parents and she forgot to tell him that the big family gathering was that weak, which is not a huge plot point, but it's coupled with Georgina, the housekeeper acting really strange. Him learning that Missy roses mother does this hypnosis therapy and that these people are just generally kind of off and weird and something seems to be going on here in his suspicion that something is going on is what shifts the story into the second act when he starts to question everything that he's seeing as he goes along. The end of the second act is when he learned that the family is hiding something there, brainwashing black people. And he had been brought there under false pretenses, and now he has to escape to survive. So let's examine Chris's biggest revelations in the second act, which naturally connect these two major plot points in lead the story towards its natural conclusion. Okay, so looking at the second active, get out, I think once again, if you haven't watched the clips and or read the pages yet, pause this slide, Pause the following slides and make sure you do so as we go along so you can follow the revelations I'm covering. So the first revelation, this IS when chris sneaks out of the house to have a smoke at night and he sees the housekeepers, Walter and Georgina acting strangely. If you remember in the movie, Walter is running around the property and sprints right towards him and Georgina is staring absentmindedly at OUT a window, slash at her own reflection in the window. And he notices that as he was beginning to suspect at the first plot point that something is off here. The second revelation is when Misty is awake and finds him and performs hypnosis on Chris and sends him to the sunken place, revealing she has the ability to leave him in a state of complete paralysis. So this is a pretty major revelation in which we learn the power that this woman has with her hypnosis. And obviously that plays into this story later. And it plays into chris understanding that things here are potentially not what they seem. The third revelation is at the gathering, Chris sees someone he thinks he recognizes and he's completely changed, his acting strange and he's width and older white woman. Once again, small escalation in what's been happening, but adding to his suspicion that something strange is going on here. The fourth revelation, Chris has a strange encounter with Georgina when he's in his room. Her response after he says being around too many white people makes me nervous, begins to validate his suspicions that something sinister is happening. When she starts to cry and act like nothing is wrong. The fifth revelation, when his suspicions are validated, he tries to take a photo of Andre to prove that something is going on in after snapping the photo, Andrea is snap from a stupor and yells for Chris to get out. So you can see how each of these revelation to slowly building and building and getting more tense as it goes along. And then the sixth revelation is one in which the audience gets the revelation first before Chris, When we see the family bidding on Chris and see that rhos is telling him that nothing is going on. And then this leads to the end of the act which we discussed earlier. When he discovers who Andrea was in, that Rose has lowered other victims to this house before. In this leads into the very intense, suspenseful third act in which he must escape to survive. Why does this work? Every revelation builds and intensity. There's no repetition. No beats are equally conflict driven than the one before it. Each one gets more and more dangerous inputs, more and more pressure on the protagonist. The antagonist who is the family, gradually gained the upper hand as Chris gets trapped deeper and deeper as this goes along. And it makes it harder for him to escape along there that he's there. So this is just what we're talking about when we say that a story has to move in, build in the conflict has to build, and the audience has to gradually piece all this together along with the protagonists to know what's going on. So on that note, I think the best way to think about this too, is to just control your revelations. It can be tempting when you have the whole story in your head to reveal everything at once. But I think the more you can disperse the revelations you wanna give the audience through the script to build conflict. That is where great storytellers do. So make sure you are holding back when you need to in giving the right information, when you need to, to let things build naturally into flow organically as they go along. 21. What Happens in Act Three?: Part four, act three. So what needs to happen in the third act? You need to bring your story to its natural end, prove your moral truth, complete your character arcs, and establish a new status quo. So as we mentioned in the beginning, your protagonist's needs to get away from the status quo in which they are currently stuck and get into a new situation by pursuing what they want and getting ultimately what they need or not getting it if you're writing a tragedy. So either way, your story has to prove your moral truth. It has to show your character going through a change and establishing a new status quo in the end. So the third act, Obviously it just routes all of the sudden. So the key moments in the third act are the climax and resolution. These are the most important moments, but they're not the only moments as we're going to look at in the next slide. But the climax is basically the ultimate confrontation between your protagonist and your antagonist. In the resolution is the outcome of that confrontation in what the audience or your reader leaves with when they finish reading your script or watching your film. So let's look at these four points. These are four things that I think are essential and making a third act effective, your protagonist should reach a point of no return. This is essentially a when it looks like the antagonist has one. They've gradually gained the upper hand all throughout the second act. And then at the beginning of the third act, it seems like they've finished your protagonist in, it's over and there's no coming back, no matter what your protagonist's does from this certain defeat. After that, your protagonist makes a choice. And that choice is what is going to lead to the climax. This is going to be their most defining moment in the story and probably the most important moment in their entire character arc because it's going to define where they take their trajectory and what they choose to do in the face of defeat. In how will that show what your protagonist has learned or not learned? The climax, like we said, is going to be what follows that choice. And it's the final confrontation between your protagonist Andrey antagonist in the resolution is the outcome of that confrontation. So let's look at how successful third act was executed in whiplash. This is one of my favorite movies. I think if you haven't watched it, you should certainly pause this and just go watch it in. Definitely pause it and watch the links in the following slides as we go along so you can see how this third act hits these final moments of the story. So the second major plot point of whiplash is when Fletcher, after having lost his job at the conservatory, encounters Andy at a jazz club. They touch base after a long separation, and then Fletcher invites Andy to join, has been at the JVC Jazz Festival. And we know that this is the exact type of moment that Andy has dreamt of having ever since the story began. And he wanted to be one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time. And this is a prestigious stage on which he can showcase his talent and elevate himself to that next level. Fletcher tells him he can think about the opportunity if he wants to in andy accepted on the spot. So what needs to happen from this point to the end of the story? Andrew needs to face certain defeat at the hands of Fletcher, which is the point of no return. Andrew must make a choice in the face of that defeat that will define his growth. This is the moral choice. The protagonist and antagonist, Andrew and Fletcher, must have their final battle. And then the story much reach its final conclusion. Have a resolution. So let's look at this first. Andrew needs to face certain defeat at the hands of Fletcher. Onstage right before the performance at JVC, Fletcher tells Andrew that he knew it was Andrew who got him expelled from the conservatory. We learn as the audience, as Andrew learns that Fletcher has sabotaged his chances when he reveals that there are going to play a different number than Andrew has the number four and that it's a number Andrew doesn't know. And this is gonna make him bomb on stage. He does, he plays terribly. The audience barely claps And he has to run off the stage and humiliation in defeat. It looks like at this point Fletcher has pretty much one. His battle with Andrew. He got even with him. There's no coming back. Andrew runs off the stage and after Fletcher tells him that he doesn't have it, the second part of the third act, Andrew must make a moral choice in the face of this defeat that will define his growth. This happens when he runs off stage and sees his dad, and then decides to walk wrote back onto the stage as Fletcher's introducing the next number in, this leads to the final battle, which is when Andrew starts playing and cuts off Fletcher's, he's announcing the next piece. This is a big decision in part of the moral choice as well, because left on the stage, Fletcher has no choice but to let it happen. He's in front of the audience and he can't stop Andrew from playing even though he tries to discretely. This is the climax when the protagonist and the antagonist are facing off against each other in the end. And then finally, the story must reach its final conclusion. Fletcher becomes impressed with Andrew as he watches in play on the stage. He takes his place as the band leader and leads the final number into what it ultimately becomes, which is this explosive, incredible, unbelievable drum solo that Andrew plays that Fletcher in the audience have been Winder watch throughout the course of this film. Andrew's final revelation is that he did have it in him. He just needed to be pushed to that extreme. And we think this might have been Fletcher's plan all along. So as you'll notice with the end of whiplash, the antagonist doesn't always have to lose or the protagonist doesn't always have to lose. You could argue that they both won at the end of this story. I think what's important is that the story proved its moral truth and that it had a successful resolution that left the audience feeling immensely satisfied and it paid off the story that was built from the beginning. So Fletcher wanted to push Andrew to be the next great jazz drummer. Andrew became the next great jazz drummer. That's a great ending for a story. And then on ending, I think it's really important to know your ending before you begin. I think if you know the way you're going to understory as you start writing it, you know exactly how you're going to be able to build towards it. You know, how you can control your revelations, you know how you can build tension, and you know how you can reach that final conclusion. That is going to leave your audience in your reader feeling satisfied and fulfilled at the end of your story. 22. Exercise 6 - Write Your Synopsis: So the sixth exercise, this is a good point to start writing your synopsis. I think it's synopsis can range from whatever you want it to be. It can be a few paragraphs, it can be a few pages. But just start kind of jotting down a rough sketch of what your story will be. So this is essentially a more fleshed-out version of your premise and your original hook. It's the way you are going to prove your moral truth. It's a rough look at the journey your protagonist is gonna take in just a very rough summary of what this story could be. So it's a good way and start thinking about what it will look like, how it's going to feel, what the tone will be. So I would recommend breaking it into these three acts. Make sure you find that the major plot points you want to hit. You won't find the inciting incident, the climax, the resolution, and the revelations throughout and start shaping it, changing it, let it become what it needs to become and don't be afraid to start over and keep molding it until you have a rough look at what you think will be a good story. So take your time with this. Envision the story you want to tell, how you want it to look in. Then we can move on to the next step, which is writing the outline. 23. Writing the Outline: Writing the outline. So what is an outline? And outline is essentially just a scene by scene breakdown of what your story is going to be. And this is going to be essential to have as you begin your first draft because it's going to be an exact roadmap of white. Your screenplay is going to look like scene by scene. So I think the important thing that you need to accomplish when you put an outline together is to ensure the structure is sound. Track your character are extract the revelations, tracker character orchestration, and make sure everything is working cohesively or seems to have a framework in which it can work cohesively. And then also ultimately make sure you're proving the moral truth that you set out to prove when you started writing the story. So make sure that all of these things are head. It's a lot to ask, but as you start to put it all together, you're going to see all the pieces that you've been building so far come together in work cohesively after you take the time to make them work cohesively as a story, at least. So it's a big ask, it's a lot to do. I think a great place to start before you start writing scene by scene. And what to do is to just hit the story beats that you need to hit. And I think looking at your synopsis, you have a rough idea of the points you need to get to as you go. So just start thinking of moments that can connect those points are scenes you would like to see in this could just be one sentence, a few words, things that can happen that will move your story from plot point, plot to plot point in Revelation, Revelation. And just help you along the way to connect all of these pieces and make them flow seamlessly from the beginning to the end. In this, I think you can be loose worth, you can rate a 100 beads in code, 50 of them. You can write 200. Just let yourself kind of go wild the way that you did when you were writing those first 25 to 50 ideas. And just think of things that you would like to see in your story and things that would fit into the story you're telling. And that would make your story move that in the way that you want it to move. So what is a scene? I think this is essential to understand, especially writing an outline. But obviously in just any storytelling, knowing what your scenes are to accomplish is going to help you rate a better story. So the most important thing is cmd does is it moves the story forward. In a lot of bad writing, you'll see scenes that don't serve any purpose in the story. They slow down the read. They don't really take the protagonist from 1 to the next, and they're just kind of there, taking up space and time in the story that your reader should be invested in. So make sure that your outlines are all moving the story forward as you go. And make sure that your scenes are revealing new information to the audience, to the protagonist, to the supporting characters, the antagonist, whichever character is central to the scene. Some new information needs to be gleaned by us watching or reading your story. That needs to compel what's going to happen after and what's going to move the story to the next point. So every scene is going to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Just like your story does, the scene has to start setting the stage for what is going to happen. There has to be conflict. Usually this is just through dialogue in an average short scene or through something and made it your, if it's a big revelation tape scene, wherever it is, there needs to be some sense of conflict in the scene. And that's also going to move the story forward in, in the end, we, as the audience need to have a sense of what's going to happen next or have an invested interest in what's going to happen next once that scene reaches its conclusion. Alright, so now we're going to look at two very different scenes from two very different movies. We're going to look at a scene from Inglorious Bastards in a scene from little myths, sunshine. So once again, before you watch the following slides, I would recommend pausing the video, go into the script, going to the clip, reading the script, watching the clip, seeing how they come together. And then we'll talk about how each of those scenes work in the story. Okay, so first we have Inglorious Bastards. This scene is extremely long and I would never recommend to a new writer writing a scene that has 17 pages. However, I included it because I just think this is a very well-constructed scene in which the conflict builds throughout, through the dialogue, gives us a sense of who this character kernel Lambda is, who we will be following through the whole story and lets us know how ruthless he is in that he needs to be stopped. So the scene begins very broad and he starts the conversation off rather innocuous Lee and builds in his questioning and builds the tension throughout until it reaches the end. When he delivers his line, you're sheltering enemies of the state are unite. And then that sets the whole story in motion because we now know who this character is, what he's after in this story is going to follow. This is a great example of a scene with a beginning, middle, and end that has excellent conflict built into it. And that leads to a point that keeps us interested in what's going to happen next. So a little more sunshine. This is obviously a much shorter scene, a much shorter clip. It's only two pages in the screenplay. But this short and sweet seen encapsulates the entire moral truth of the story, which is, as we established earlier, breaking free from conventional beauty standards and societal expectations is the only way to truly be a winner. So in this scene, all of his obviously feeling so pressured to be beautiful and to be a winner that she starts crying. And that leads to this conversation which she has with her grandfather. And if you break it down by each line of dialogue, you can see how the dialogue builds intention and complex until she says, I don't want to be a loser and starts crying in her grandfather has to comfort her. So the end of this scene moves to the story further along because it gives the protagonist a better understanding of what she has to learn, which is essentially what this moral truth is trying to prove that you don't need to follow societal standards to be a winner, you'd need to just have confidence in yourself and your family and do what you want to do. So it's a really short seem like I said, but I think that is just a great example of dialogue that encapsulates what the story is about. It fits well into this story and it moves the character along more than it moves the story along necessarily, which is as essential as anything in your story. 24. What Does a Screenplay Outline Look Like?: So what does an outline look like? So here in Google Docs, you can see a rough example of what an outline for a screenplay would look like. This is just an example of two scenes summarize with one sentence. Obviously these are just written as examples and not cohesive scenes should never exist in a real story. So you'll see here as you are seeing and other scripts you are reading this slug line, which is interior or exterior. Interior means, as it implies that the scene is going to take place indoors. Exterior implies that it's going to take place outdoors. So the next line in the slug line is the specific location in which the scene is taking place. So here you have interior bedroom, here you have exterior Park. And then after that you have a dash which tells you the time of day that has happened in. Usually this is just day or night. Sometimes you'll see morning or evening. But I generally like to just stick with a simple day or night unless it's pertinent to this story. This also formatting wires can be seen other ways. Some people bought it, some people don't underline it, some people do both. I prefer to just underline it to keep it clean and separate from the rest, but just, I would recommend doing what feels right to you after you read more screenplays on your own. But the point of this is to show that an outline is just gonna be a connection of scenes as they're going to appear in order in the story. These can be one-sentence, there can be a paragraph, whatever it takes for you to have a sense of what needs to happen in the scene. I recommend being concise because it helps you to kind of know what you need to build out when you get to writing the screenplay. If you have too much information there, it can jumble the read of your outline. It makes it harder to identify what is happening in the story and when gives you a more off put sense of pacing. So just try to give a simple description of each scene, what's going to happen. You have to know how it's going to move the story forward in where it's going to take place. So as you begin your outline, remember that you need to gradually reveal information to the audience and escalate conflict as your protagonist follows their character arc, your protagonist must pursue one desire throughout the story, but his or her views on that desire must alter as the revelations progress. In this shifts, the desire from a want to or need. The antagonist must make your protagonist's journey progressively more difficult until the final act, as we discussed, where you're antagonistic gets the upper hand until your protagonist makes them do or die. Choice of what to do in the face of that defeat. And you're supporting characters must be linked to your protagonist pursued in a way that it's impossible for them to escape. The important thing with having an outline is you can see your story come together without having a 120 pages in front of you. You can have anywhere from eight to 20 pages of a story outline that gives you a sense of the pacing, of how it builds, of where it's lacking, where it needs more, where it has too much in. It's a lot easier to tweak and change the outline as you go along than it is to tweak and change and entire screenplay. So as you begin your outline, don't forget what you're aiming to prove in what your protagonist will ultimately learn. Your protagonist and antagonist must always have something at stake in their pursuit. This is going to be as a central in creating conflict as anything else. If they fail, then something terrible happens to them. So they have to succeed or suffer some sort of consequence. 25. Exercise 7 - Write Your Outline: So for the seventh exercise, I would say beginning outline only do so if you have all of the other parts of the story that you'd need, everything that we've covered already. And take your time as you do this because it takes a lot of time to craft a great outline and a great story and to know where the scenes need to fall as they go. So build it naturally. Make sure that your plot points connect your revelations, connect, build it just from the ground up and let it kind of become what it ultimately needs to be in. Let yourself make revisions, make edits, let yourself cutscenes, add scenes, do whatever you need to until you feel have, you have an outline that represents a full story. So key point here, as we just talked, patience pays off. Outlining can be tedious. It's a lot harder and it's a lot less glamorous than actually writing a screenplay. But doing so will help you to understand the story you're telling. And when he ultimately get to writing your first draft, you'll be in a much better place than if you didn't have one. I think if you don't have an outline, you can end up with a huge mass that is really difficult to go back and revise and change. So there's no set time on how long it should take you to put an outline together. I think if you don't get to it before we finish this class, that's fine. It's not something that should be rushed. You don't want to get just from 1 to the next. You wanna make sure you're putting together a story that you really care about. And I think writing an outline is one of the most difficult parts of the writing process and it can be the most time-consuming as well. So make sure that you're just doing this at a pace that you feel comfortable with, at a pace that you feel you are working towards the best version of your story that you possibly can. And don't rush through it just to get to the next section. So make sure you have all these components in width that take your time and particular the outline that you need to tell your story. 26. How to Format a Screenplay + Final Draft Tutorial: Okay, so we're on to writing the screenplay. So the first thing we're going to look at in this section is formatting, which is very important. And there's a lot of rules of formatting, but we're going to cover some of the basics of what a screenplay is going to look like. So we're gonna take a look at what it looks like to format a screenplay and final draft. Once again, I highly recommend doing this or at least trying that 30-day free trial to see how you feel about using it. If you're not going to get a screenwriting software, I would still recommend watching this lesson. And then in the next one, we'll look at how you can do this in something like Google Docs. But knowing these fundamentals are going to help you see what a screenplay looks like and how to go about formatting it the way that it needs to be formatted. So let's take a look at final draft. So as you can see, this is just what the first page of your script will look like. And the great thing about final draft is that it's very interactive. It understands what you're doing in once you learn how to tab over it will predict the elements, the character names, and everything that you need to write your story more efficiently. So as you can see, you're going to start with a blank page. And then as you go, final draft is going to intuitively format the scripts for you as you start writing. So let's start with a slug line, which we covered in our outline section. So we'll say interior. Brian's classroom day. So you have your slug line. You know, we're in a really cool setting and it inside and it's the daytime. Brian types into final draft to show his students the joys, formatting screenplays. Okay, so we have our setting in our descriptive action. So now we're going to hit, we're gonna hit the tab button and now are in character. So you can see right here, you can change the elements by clicking this button. And that will lead you to a list of action, which is descriptive action scene heading, character dialogue, parenthetical transition. So this will do it for you, but if you need to change it, that's the way you do it. So we're on character. So we're gonna tape brain class. Today. We're going to continue to talk about screenwriting by utilizing the functionality of final draft exclamation point. And so let's say a student chimes in and says, is final draft easy to use? And I'll say just watch. Because now that I tab over, you can see final draft is predicting that I'm going to have the next line. Yes. And then it's gonna predict again, student has an excellent, fantastic Bryan and this student high-five. So you're gonna see in a lot of scripts there's going to be transition chart till C fade to cut, to smash to anything along those lines. I think ket two is something that is useful if you need to do a hard cut from one scene to another for dramatic effect, for comedic effect, for whatever it is. I generally would avoid using edges between every scene because obviously each scene is going to count from one into the next. So let's say you need to change your scene. If you just hit Enter, you can scroll down to transition type, fade in your C is going to give you predictive texts for what's next. Fed to. Exterior. Park. Day. After Brian's lesson. Here is treated himself to one dozen doughnuts, which he will it alone, on a park bench. And then a whole new exciting scene can begin from that. And just from there you're going to build the story into whatever story is going to become. I'm pretty interested to see where this is going to go, but unfortunately we aren't going to know so you can use your imagination for the rest. And then one other element that you might notice in other screenplays and notice is an option here is the parenthetical in this is when you give some direction to align that it's been said, oftentimes, more often than not, it's going to be implied in the context of the scene itself. But sometimes if you want to give a better sense of the way your character is saying there line, it's good to give a parenthetical. So for that, we're going to do is you just put the cursor next to the character name, hit return, and then hit the tab button. And that will give you this option. So then you could say how Brian will say the following line, which is maybe too loud or too quiet or slightly. Whenever it is. I think that's just an important thing to keep in mind when writing. You can also do this in the middle of a lion. So if I started out saying high-class and then he wanted to separate the rest and do a parenthetical. You could say Briand speaks Minot and honestly. And then that will determine what is said for the remainder of the lime. So I would try to avoid overusing parenthetically. I think there's something that are important to use only when the situation calls for it in when you need to really emphasize the way align is delivered so that the audience has a better sense of the context of the scene at hand. So these are essentially the basics which you will need to put an entire screenplay together and you don't need a whole lot more than that. However, found rafters have other options for you. For instance, if you wanted to do a scene view which is similar to basically an outline of your story. It's a list of your slugs and the descriptive action that follows. So you can see your story, build this way and see it simpler in that can help you with revising. You can break it into index cards, which give you a sense of each scene in a sort of similar way. Honestly, I never personally use those functions. I think some people find them helpful depending on how you visualize different things, how you learn whatever is useful for you, that there's a whole bunch of features in file dropped that make it easy to see your story in a different way and to help you as you read it, change it, and do what you need to do. And then lastly, I think an important thing is the title page, which as you can see, is right there next to the scene elements in this is where you get to rear script title so you can iterate. Spring rating, masterclass, written by and Birmingham. The based on if any, is essentially if you're writing an adaptation, if you're basing it on a novel, a player, anything else? This is where you'd mentioned it here. But if you're writing an original story, then you just leave it as that. And then address and phone number. It's up to you. You'll see different stories. You'll see different screen plays. A lot of them have Manager, agent info here or nothing there or a date there. This is just kind of if you're sending it out to people and we're going to talk about this at the end of the course. This is an area where you can give some contact information and some background about yourself in a way to get in touch with you. If someone really likes your story and wanted to reach out to you. So that is the basics of using Final Draft. And once again, I would highly recommend this if you're going to be a screenwriter, if you want to write stories, this is just going to make it that much easier for you to do so. So if you have any other questions, once again, just reach out. 27. Writing a Screenplay in a Free App like Google Docs: Okay, so now let's just take a look at how to format a screenplay if you're not going to use Final Draft or any screenwriting software, if you want to use Google Docs or Microsoft Word Pages, it's all going to be the same. So let's take a look here at how that will be done. First, you're going to want to make sure you have the ruler on the top because this is going to dictate the way the dialogue is broken up. Next, you're going to want to choose career for the font. So generally it's not down in the typical list of fonts. So you'll want to click More Fonts. Find it here, click it, click OK, and then you'll be in carrier. So let's take the same scene that we typed in the final draft example. This is a real minority size 12. So interior classroom day tapes. Well, Brian types and all caps. Brian tapes into Google Docs to show students the joys of order that in screenplays. So this is pretty self-explanatory. It's just like typing anything else where it's going to get. Finicky is when you get into character names, end dialogue. So for character names, you're gonna wanna start all the way left justified and then tab over five times 12345. And as we annotate the cache name, brand, enter. And then for dialogue you're gonna want it to start tabbed over three times 123. Hi class. And then this is where it gets very tricky. You're gonna want it to stop somewhere between the five to 5.5 Margaret here to get it to look as close to a screen players possible. So today, we're going to continue as you continue kinda purchases it. So we're going to want to take continue down to the next line. And of course you can do this after you've written your lines. You should do it after you've written your lines. Continue to talk. So I'll show you about screen reading by utilizing the slightly more arduous functionality of Google Docs. Period instead of an exclamation point this time. So you can see where we're going to want to make the breaks. I would do it like this. And as you can see, it's starting to resemble screenplay here after a little more work. So then we have the next student line. We're just going to be tabbed over. Student. Is Google Docs easy to use? Brian? As easy as final draft and student. And the student and are currently or a moment before the student walks away. And then of course, we're going to feed to the next scene because this setting calls for it. So we're going to want to switch all the way over to rate justified, type feed two, colon, go down, switch back to left justified, and then start our next scene, exterior, Pirate Day. And then you can see where it goes from here. And then lastly, if you're gonna do pant pedicles, you're gonna wanna go over n tau over four times 1234. Start your. And then for this one, you're going to want to come no further than the four. So start your parenthetical. This makes no sense to the lime, gives you a sense of how to format the parenthetical. So hope that it's helpful. So as you can see, this is a lot more work. You can rate the screenplay unformatted to get through the lines quicker and then go back and format it later. But you're just giving yourself a lot more to do with revisions and changes. It's going to be hard to keep up with into make it look as presentable and polished and professional as a screenwriting software. Well, so I know it's expensive. I know it's a lot to buy into. I think it's worth it if you don't feel it toward that and you don't want to try it. And you do the 30-day free trial and you think it's not quiet for you, then just utilize what you learned here to at least put your script together in a different program and make it still look like a presentable screenplay because it's not impossible to do. So. Keep that in mind and make your decision accordingly. And then we can move forward with the next steps. 28. Preparing Your First Screenplay Draft: Preparing the first draft. So let's just look before we dive into writing the first draft of your screenplay, everything that you need to make sure you have an understanding of, everything you know and everything that you've pieced together so far throughout following this course. So of course, there's the core qualities, the moral truth, the premise, your original hook. You should know by now very firmly what these are. You should know what you're proving. You should know what makes your story different from every other story out there and how you're gonna make it uniquely your own screenplay. You should have a great sense of each of your characters, especially the protagonist, antagonist, and major supporting characters. This means knowing their three-dimensions, their backstories, who they are, the way they speak, the way they think, the way they act. Having a good sense of each of these characters before you begin writing is going to inform everything they say, everything they do. It will come a lot more naturally once you have all this together and you know how each character is connected to the other. Why they're orchestrated the way they are, why they matter in the story, and how they're connected to your protagonist's pursuit of their goal. Next, of course, you should know the plotting. You should know the major points you're going to hit. You should know the 3x, you should know all of the revelations that your protagonist is going to have revealed to them as the story progresses. And then you should have a good firm understanding of each individual seen. Make sure once again, before you start your first draft that each scene is essential, that it moves the story forward, that it feels like it has to exist in the screenplay. This is going to help you out immensely as you dive into your first draft. Having all of these pieces together, assembled in your outline, knowing everything else you need to know. You have all the pieces that you need to start writing the first draft of your story. So get ready and we're gonna take a quick look at other parts of writing the first draft dialogue, descriptive action, and then we will dive into doing just that. So let's move on to dialogue. 29. Writing Dialogue: So part three, dialogue. Dialogue, I think, is something that's really tricky for a lot of writers. It's not something that's easy to do. It's not easy to do it well, to tell the story, to reveal the information that you need to reveal, when you need to reveal it, to reveal characterization, it's something that essentially just going to take a lot of practice in the more you do it, the more you're going to know your characters, the more you're going to know the way they speak, why they say what they say, why they do what they do in how their entire being informs everything that they say. So dialog is gonna take practice, be patient with it, be willing to just dive in, write stuff, deleted, start over, do it every half to do, but it takes a lot of work. So some key points to know to help you get your dialogue going in the right direction in your first draft is to just think that you should distill your dialogue. A lot of people try to write the way that real life sounds. If you try to rate the way people speak in real life, it's going to be over fall. It's going to be four of ums and, uhs and incomplete sentences. You need to distill what your characters are saying to the essential points that they are making. So think of dialogue and a movie as the essence of life, but not a replica of life itself. Even if you're writing a very realistic movie, the dialogue is still going to be on point to what is happening in the story and will feel natural based on the way it's written. But it won't be a re-creation of the way people actually speak. Make your dialogue count. Obviously this is important. Don't fill your script with unnecessary lines that don't contribute to the story whatsoever. Just like each individual is seen, each line of dialog needs to matter in the story. It needs to have a reason to exist on the page. It needs to reveal more about the character and their mission and what's going on. You can't just have a bunch of random minds about nothing without moving the story forward, without your reader getting bored or losing interest in what's happening. So make each line count. Make sure the tone of the dialogue that eroding for each of your major characters is inline with the tone of your movie. And we're going to examine this a little bit more in the examples in the following slides. And then, as I mentioned, just practice does, do a lot of writing, relentless writing. That's what it's gonna take to get great at writing dialogue and finding your own unique voice when it comes to dialogue. So approach. Let's look tonally at how these different movies have approached dialogue in different ways. We'll examine a realistic example, a slightly exaggerated example, and a comical example, and see how the dialogue is different in each of these films. So no matter what the toner is, you'll see that each of these reveals character in matches the tone of the story and says the setting for the story as well. So once again, like we said before, if you just want to pause right now and familiarize yourself with the following. Screenplays. Unfortunately, there's not a screenplay available for padding ten. But if you haven't watched the movie, you should just go watch that while you're at it too, because it's a fantastic, fun, wonderful movie. And once you've done that, we can move on to the next section. Okay, so the first example we're going to examine is the clip from Lady Bird, which is the beginning of the story. I think this is a good example of a movie that uses very realistic dialogue in a very controlled and contained way to move the story forward without making it feel forced and without making it feel like the dialog is unnatural. So I think this first scene between the protagonist and her mother is a great example of dialogue that feels very realistic. But if you break it down line by line, you'll see that each line is essential and revealing character story in moving the scene towards its natural end, which is when she jumps out of the car and her mother freaks out. So this is just distill dialogue. It's taken out of real life in put into the context of this movie in utilized in a way that makes it feel realistic but feels tight in contained, in moves the story forward as well, which is why it only exists in the first four pages and gets a lot of information Cross in those four pages. The next example is from Fargo, which is written by the Coen brothers, who were obviously great with dialogue and their films. And they've written a lot of funny, weird, dramatic, offbeat, strange dialogue and their whole array of films which they have written in this clip from Fargo. I think this is a great example of slightly exaggerated dialogue. It feels realistic in the world of the story and it's a great example of character revelation, of story revelation. And you see what's happening externally and internally, especially with Mr. Lunda guard in this scene as he is panicking, as he's being investigated in trying poorly to stay calm. It brings out his dialogue and for forest and adds to some of the offbeat comedy see in this film. And then lastly, we have this clip for padding Titan, which is a great example of comical dialogue utilize in the story that lets you know right off the bat what kind of movie this is going to be. They see a talking bear in the train station and their first reaction is to keep walking because the father thinks that he is a con artist. So, you know that this is going to be an exaggerated world. You know, this is going to be a funny story. You know, who each of these characters are by the way, that they interact with each other. In this just reveals a lot about the world, about the characters and about the story itself through the use of this dialogue, which is very effective, very distilled, gets the tone in the meaning across in a very distinct and unique way. So some final thoughts on dialogue. I think generally you're going to want to try to avoid character saying explicitly what they want. Obviously it's impossible to do that all the time. We talk about what we want as people all the time. Characters are going to talk about what they want in movies. The key is to try to just not make it feel forced in that trade and make it feel like you're trained to be deliberately subtle. I think trying to think of the most natural way to get information across is the best way to do it. A big point to is to not have characters say explicitly what they've learned. I think this is what gives having a moral truth that or meaning and a story its bad reputation because if a character learned something, says what they've learned, then it just feels preachy. It feels awkward and strange and doesn't quite add up to what the audience is after in the story. You want your audience to be able to piece everything together for themselves and come to their own conclusions in your characters to say what they need to say in that what you want them to say. Obviously, your protagonist should have more lions in your story than any other character. They're the main character. They're the ones who are on this journey. Everyone else's more or less along for the ride. And even though they're all playing an integral part. So you need to make sure your protagonist is the one who's delivering the bulk of the lines in your story. This will generally just happened naturally based on the construction of your story itself. Once again, I think you're going to want to just avoid hyper realism. It's going to slow down the read. It's not going to feel rate. Distill your dialogue into the most essential elements you'd need to get your points across. And then lastly, as we said before, just make sure you have fun with it, change it, alter it, let it evolve. As you go through subsequent drafts of your script, you might not get it quite right on the first pass. You might see things that you like or dislike in, altered accordingly. I kinda like to think of it as when you watch an early episode of a show that you like in one of your favorite characters is maybe not necessarily the lovable or hateful or whatever character they became. Later on. Those characters evolved as the writer's evolved with the show and got to know the character better in a similar way, you're gonna do this with your story and through your rewriting and through getting to know these characters, through writing their lines, changing their lines and seeing who they are, who they're going to become. In your story. 30. Writing Descriptive Action: So part for descriptive action. Descriptive action, as you've seen from the examples you've read, is simply the parts of the script that are not the dialogue. They tell you what's happening, who's in the scene, where they are, what is going on. And I think this is a really tricky thing for a lot of writers to do well, because it's easy to overwrite descriptive action. And in so doing, slow down the rate of your story and throw off all of the other great writing you're doing. So it's important to take your time with descriptive action and make sure that you're using it as effectively and efficiently as you possibly can. So some things to keep in mind when you're writing descriptive action. Make sure what you're saying is clear. It should just put a picture right into your readers head of what is happening in the story. Make sure it's as concise as it can be. Get your necessary information across and make sure that there's little else in there that is not necessary. And then let it, let the reader envision the story as they read through it. And so as we mentioned, descriptive action is going to let the reader envision the story as they're reading it. This kind of lets the person with your script C, the story that you're telling in their head. It's going to showcase you as a writer. It's going to showcase your story. So you need to really make it count, is going to introduce each character as well. What you're gonna see from the examples that we've read is really important in giving a sense of who these people are before we get to know them as they start saying their lines and going through their journey. So make sure you have an effective, efficient description of each major character as they arrive in your story. You should describe the setting in which this is taking place. If it's a bedroom as we have looked at or a park, what does that look like? What kind of day is it? Why is it the way it is if it's a messy bedroom? Is this a reflection of your character being a slob or is this reflection of a roommate who was in their rummaging around. You need to know why things are the way they are in the world of the story and how that's going to affect the characters who are interacting with that environment. So make sure you're giving a sense of what things look like without overriding what they look like in missing the point of the story in this like dialogue comes down to just distilling the most crucial information that you need to get across. Something that writers should never do is give directorial directions in the descriptive action. If someone takes your script in his seeing pan up, zoom in, crane shot, drone shot, it's going to take away from the rest of your story. It's not your job to tell what each shot needs to do. It's your job to tell the story, so make sure that it can be envisioned, but leave the direction out of it unless it's very pertinent to the part of the story you're telling. And then lastly, make it unique and make it reflect your own voice. It doesn't have to be entirely mechanical. It can be if that's the best way to, for you to get your information across in the most concise way. But you'll see a lot of great writers take the descriptive action and used the way it's written to give you a sense of what the story world is and what is going on and why it is the way that it is. And that's something that just like dialogs in practice. It's going to come with reading screenplays, reading novels. It's going to help you establish your voice as a writer and telling the stories you want to tell the way that you want to tell them. 31. Exercise 8 - Write the First Draft of Your Screenplay: Alright, so the eighth exercise, this is like the outline, right, your screenplay. And this is a difficult exercise to say that it's something that you need to do right now before moving on because this can take whatever amount of time it's going to take you to do. Some writers write really fast, some, right? Really slow. What's important is that you go at your own pace and do it at a pace that makes you feel comfortable and makes you feel like you're making progress the way that you want to make progress. So make sure you have all the elements that you need. Make sure you keep in mind everything that we just covered. And then once you have a good sense of all that, take the time to sit down every day and just work on your screenplay and let it build into what it can become. So a couple things to keep in mind before you begin. I think it's important to not edit your screenplay as you go on the first draft, it's tempting to write, read back, edit, read back edit again. I think the best way to write an effective first draft is to just go all the way through, let yourself right? It don't self-edit. Don't worry about making it perfect because your first draft is never going to be perfect. It's never going to feel exactly right. And you're going to have to make changes even if your outline is flawless. So let yourself tell the story the way you want to tell it. Let yourself get immersed in the story and invested in it. And not hung up on nitpicky details because you can rewrite a scene eight times as you're writing your first draft and then end up having to cut that scene later anyway. So for efficiency sake and just for the sake of telling a better story, I'm highly opposed to editing as you go along. So as we mentioned to, your first draft is not going to be perfect. And this isn't an excuse to try to just rush through it and do a sloppy version of it, but it's just knowing that you're gonna do your best shot. You're gonna give it everything you have in it's still not going to be white raid and that's fine. That's what a first draft is, four. So let yourself write it the way you want to write it, the way I see it in your head. And then after that, you can decide what you want to change and how you want to improve your story. And then lastly, of course, just make sure you're enjoying it along the way. Because if you want to write and you care about writing, It's going to be difficult at times, it's going to be trying. It's gonna take a lot of patients in tedium and work and thought. But ultimately it should be a satisfying experience in if you can put all this together and bring it all together in a first draft, and that is an accomplishment in itself. So enjoy the process. Be satisfied with it. Take your time and write the first draft of your screenplay. 32. Revising Your First Screenplay Draft: Revising the screenplay. So just some facts before we get started. I think as far as looking at movies that have been made before and had been successful before, it's important to know just a few things. Michael aren't wrote the first draft of littleness sunshine and three days, powered it out and then spent four years doing over a 100 and subsequent drafts of it before he ultimately sold it and went on to win the Best original screenplay Oscar. So it can take that kind of time to get your script to where it can be. The sappy brothers took even longer with uncut gems and spent over ten years in a 150 drafts on that one. And then people like John Hughes, I've written an exceptional amount of movies, had been known to write them in an extremely short amount of time. Classics like Ferris Bueller is day off and Breakfast Club and planes, trains and automobiles are said to have been written somewhere between four days to a week from start to finish. So the point is, is it just depends on the person. It can take use. It can take days. It's all up to you as the writer to decide when you've taken your script from the first draft to the very best version of it that it can be. And I think another thing to keep in mind too, is sometimes it's good after you finished the first draft to just take a little bit of time away from it. Give yourself a week or two off to do some other writings from journaling, some reading just to get away from this story, you've put so much effort into and clear your head a little bit before you can come back to it. Refreshed and ready to make the changes that you need to make to get it to the place that it will ultimately get to. So where to begin revision, It can be difficult to know what to change, how to change it, and how to make your script a better version of itself. It's a pretty ambiguous question and it takes a lot of thought and effort in analysis to know what you need to do to improve your story. So I think something that's important to keep in mind as you read the first draft is to ask yourself the following questions. So the first obvious question is where the story is slowing down. You're going to find when you read it, sometimes you'll hit sections of your story that feel like they are hitting the same beats over again. They're repetitive and redundant and they can be fixed either with cuts or replacement scenes or whatever it takes to keep the pace moving from the beginning to the end. Whereas the dialog telling me what's happening, where it could be showing. This is really important if you have characters talking about something happening instead of showing it happening. That's going to be a lot less interesting for the audience to ultimately watch into currently read in your story. So make sure the characters aren't just explaining everything that is happening in the story. Makes sure that we're seeing the story unfold as well. Can any of this dialogue be cut or altered to better certain story? This goes back to what we were talking about dialogue. Just make sure it's all tight, concise in fits the story, the way it ought to fit the story. Are there any revelations that do not build and therefore make the story feel like it's hitting the same beat over and over again. This is probably the biggest issue a lot of writers run into is there revelations are all equal in measure as far as conflict? So when you're reading through, really ask yourself if it's continually getting harder on your protagonist or if they're in the same place they were when the act for that began. Which leads to the next question, is the mission too easy for my protagonist? Once again, this needs to be a difficult journey. If it's easy for your protagonist to get what they need, then your story is going to be a lot less interesting to read. And it's going to be a lot more difficult to prove what you're ultimately out to prove. So make sure that it's really a challenge for your protagonist. Add those challenges wherever you can, make them natural, make them feel real, and find ways to increase the opposition your protagonist has to face. Does my protagonists learn what he or she is supposed to learn? That's a pretty big question. And if you don't feel like they've learned what they need to, then that's going to take a major redirect to make sure they get where they need to get in there. Ahrq. Do these feel like real three-dimensional characters, if not than life? If they don't, then go back to your form, see if there's anything in there that you wrote that you could work into the story, see if there's any way to expand upon it. See if their dialog is to one-dimensional and not fully representative of who they are as a character. So make sure you really know your character as well and you're going to get to know them better as you keep going through the story. So think of how your audience can get to know the fullest version of them as well. Are any of these characters more interesting than the protagonist? If you have a supporting character who is more interesting than your protagonist, I would recommend revising your story so that character is the protagonist. Your protagonist really needs to carry the story. They need to be the one who we're rooting for, who are watching and who we are witnessing, go through the ultimate change. If you have a supporting character who really steals the show and is learning more and has a greater arc, then maybe the story should be centered around that character instead of your protagonist. Are my plot points impactful enough? So essentially, at the end of each act as it feel like your story is moving in a new direction in making everything more challenging on your protagonist. Is it moving it from where it is to where it needs to be? These are the things you need to make sure that you're hitting at those essential points in your story. And then ultimately, is my moral truth proven in the end? This is the first thing that we came up with. It's the seat of your story. And if you've lost it entirely in the story, you need to try to find it again and make sure your stories on a track that actually mean something and says something is unique to you. So make sure that what you set out to prove when he started this screenplay. Is exemplified in this version of the script or is exemplified as best as it can be in this version of the script. So starting their revision, one of the hardest things to do is to kill scenes that you've written, especially if you really like them. But you might find something in the story that you really enjoy does not serve the story as well as it should. So if you have to cut something, you have to be willing to cut it. That's just a core element of writing that hurts spread is really important to come away with the best possible version of your script that you can. So nothing is off the table. Be willing to cut out anything you need to revise, anything you need to. That's just part of revising. Don't be afraid to make big changes. This can be huge structural change. It can be, as we mentioned, creating a new protagonists out of one of your supporting characters and altering the story around it. You're gonna find as you write and revise, the best way to tell the story that you're telling. And it's easier as you go along, but it takes a long time to get there and to know what the best version of that story can be. So don't be afraid to make big changes. Think outside the box. Let yourself explore all the possibilities your story lends itself to and see what you can do to improve it and get it to the best place it can be. And then ask for honest feedback. I think a lot of writers have a tendency to write a script, send it to their parents or their best friends and say, do you like it or not? And if you're doing this, you're gonna get answers generally from your friends, unless you're friends or honest or just not very nice that it's great. So I think a better thing to do is make sure you're sending it to people who you trust, who you rely on, who are going to give you honest feedback and ask them where they got bored reading it, where it's slowed down for them to try to be specific in your questions because this is how you're going to get to the root of the problems of your story. So asking if it's good or bad is not very effective, but asking if they thought this part dragged or fist change the pace or where they lost interest, you're going to get a better sense of your stories weak points, and know what you need to do to attack and address those weak points and make your story better. So key point, obviously, writing is rewriting. The majority of script writing happens in rewriting. It's just the way it goes. This is where the story is going to find itself. It's gonna take a lot of effort, a lot of time, a lot of changes, but this is the only way to make your story create. So in our next section, we're going to break down the feature film Fantastic Mr. Fox. And I would recommend going back to that document we gave you earlier. Read the screenplay, watch the feature, and then move on to this next section and we'll see how all of the elements that we have talked about in this class come together to create the screenplay and then ultimately the feature film that it became. So take the time to do this and then come back and we'll break down. Fantastic. Mr. Fox. 33. The Fundamentals of Storytelling: Feature film story breakdown. So first things first, you just read the script and watch the film for a Fantastic Mr. Fox hopefully. So in this next section we're gonna go over everything that we've covered in break down how they come to play in this film. So if you'll notice in the workbook that you have, there's a document that asks questions that I'm going to answer in the preceding slides. So if you'd like to, you can pass this now, answer those on your own and then compare them to what I'm going to say in the following slides just to sort of see if you can get this on your own. And if you have any questions that come up along the way as well, then you can feel free to ask those. So feel free to pause now if you want to do that and try to answer on your own. And if not, then we can just go right ahead with the next section. So first the moral truth, this story I wrote as only by acknowledging and overcoming our worst instincts, can we find our strengths and become fantastic? So you'll kinda see as we go over the next sections, how this seems to be the underlying theme of the whole story in white is ultimately approved in the end by Fox's character arc. So premise, a fox, following his instinct to hunt birds, pushes it too far and put himself and everyone he loves endanger. That's basically what happens in the story. That's the crux of what everything pertains to In the story, all of the supporting characters, the antagonists, the following actions in Fox's character arc. That's the simple line that sums up how the moral truth is going to get from point a to point B. Ok, and what makes it original? I think one of the big original hooks in this story as far as having a family for whom he has to grow up and be the truly fantastic version of himself that he wants to be. His version of what this is, is obviously different from what it needs to be, which is what he learned in the end. So his struggle will IV is passed behind for the sake of his wife, child and nephew gives this whimsical clever story about talking animals are very emotional and human element. And I think that's another important thing to keep in mind is that by having these moral truths and these effective premises, you can put any story that you want out there and give it a more genuine human emotional connection, no matter what's happening in the story, as long as it's grounded in something that you view as a universal truth. So with these three premises in tact, let's take a look at how Wes Anderson and no bombard took this story and put the characters to work, put the revelations to wear it, the antagonists to work, to bring the screenplay to life and make it the movie that it is. So first, we're going to look at characters in the next section. 34. Character Breakdown: Part two, character. So obviously the protagonist of the story is Fox. Why is faster best character to prove the moral truth? Thoughts is clever encoding which makes it easier for him to push his limits too far. He can get away with it. He can lie, he can sneak around and do what he wants to do without suffering the repercussions, or at least so he thinks in the beginning of the story, in, once again, if you remember, the moral truth is overcoming your worst instincts is what ultimately leads to finding your strengths and becoming fantastic. To become the Fantastic Mr. foxy aspires to be. He must overcome these instincts and save his family. Naturally. That's a perfectly crafted protagonists to prove what this story as a whole sets out to prove. What does he want? He wants to hunt birds and be a wild animal. Only in so doing does he believe he can be seen as fantastic. This is set up in the first scene, if you'll remember, when you see Fox and his wife when they're young before their made, before they have kids. And he's taking this adventurous route and he's hunting birds and then it cuts to him grown up and settled down and he's having a hard time adjusting to that life and wants to relive his wild instincts in be the wild animal he believes he is in. That leads to the central conflict of the story. So his wanton, the beginning is just to go back to what he does best in what he believes his strongest instincts are and what he believes makes him great. What does he need? He needs to put his hunting instincts aside and look out for his family more than he looks out for himself. This obviously implies growth that he doesn't know he needs to find yet, but he's gonna find through the course of the story as the conflict unfolds. So as you can see, having those two distinct wants and needs as he pursues, this is what's going to lead to him growing as a character, proving that moral truth and providing the source of conflict that will carry the story all the way through from the beginning to the end. What is his central Florida? He's cunning and deceptive. He lies to his wife so he can continue to live as a wild animal and instinct he does not believe he can overcome and remain happy. So he's naturally in this narrow mindset, or he doesn't believe he has the capacity to change the way his wife needs him to. So he thinks by lying, that's the best way he can be happy and get the best of both worlds, which is a pretty obvious central flaw. What is at stake? Fox puts himself, his family and everyone he loves at stake by breaking into the farms of Bogost bunts in being, this is what leads to them hunting them down and having to change their plans as the story progresses. So antagonist, obviously, as we just said, Bogost Bunsen being at the main antagonist. They're the ones in the way of Fox doing what he wants to do, which is to be a wild animal, the Huntley's birds. And they're the ones who are going to do everything they can to stop him from doing that because it's their livestock in their farms and they're out to kill fox. And then when they find facts as home, they're out to kill his family and all the other animals who live around there. So that's a pretty solid antagonist. That puts a lot at stake for the protagonist. And you can see that these two still want different versions of the same thing. They want the chickens that are in. Farms of Bogost bunts in being. So by both having a different desire to get to them and to use them, that's what causes this conflict and creates the whole central problem in the story for Fox, I think it's also worth noting that rat as a big antagonist in the story. And he serves a bigger purpose than the three main antagonist and that he shows fox what his life could be like if he pursued the life that he was going down, he became obsessed with getting his hands on cider. And that led to him living in the sewers, living this sort of renegade, outlier lifestyle where he doesn't have anything but himself in his obsession. And ultimately that leads to his demise in the end. So it's kind of a warning for Fox that if he continues down this route, this is the life that he could find himself living unless he makes a change. So that's also a really strong antagonists that brings out a side of your protagonists that you wouldn't see brought out otherwise. But the main thing to think here is that Bogost Bunsen beam are the obvious main antagonists of the story. So how did they put pressure on Fox's Gore, attack him and exploit his weakness. They do everything possible to kill Fox and his family and then successfully captured Christopherson whose foxes nephew and hold him hostage. So that's obviously big pressure when someone's relentlessly hunting you and trying to kill you, it doesn't get any more animalistic than that which works in this story. Because generally back would be a kind of simplistic goal and conflict in a story. But the way it's built, the way it unfolds in this story, makes it very effective and compelling and fits the overall tone of the story. So by relentlessly hunting them down, they're exploiting foxes weakness because he is the one who got them into this. And he has to use his cunning and his intelligence and his wit to get them out of it now. And to do that, he has to overcome everything that he has to overcome in the process. So that adds a layer of depth to the antagonist pressure that they put on Fox and his family supporting characters. So who are the primary supporting characters? Obviously, missus Fox is the biggest supporting character. She is the biggest factor in fox changing throughout the course of the story. Ash, his son as a big supporting character, Christopherson, his nephew, and Kylie, his friend, the opossum. Each of these characters plays an integral role in the story and in foxes development as a protagonist, his wife, Mrs. Fox, puts the pressure on him to change and to be better and threatens to leave him if he doesn't. His son is continually a disappointment to him and he doesn't realize it until the end that he's not being the Father to him, that he needs to be. Christopherson is helpful and along for the ride and honest and good, shows Fox the error of his ways through his own values and virtues. In Kylie is just a great, funny character in the story. He is essential to help Fox on his mission. He's an enabler, he's willing, he's too nice to say anything else. So each of these characters affect Fox in a completely different way in, in so doing, they add to his development as a character, to his following his ark in each of them has their own unique story in this movie as well. So those are the other ones. Obviously the other animals are important in the story too. But I would say these are the four most primary supporting characters. How are they linked to foxes mission? So as we've just touched on, quite simply, fastest favoritism for Christopherson puts ash and Christopherson at greater odds and ultimately forces asked to do the dangerous mission that gets Christopherson kidnapped. In once Kristofferson Is kidnap, the fox realizes especially the full extent of the damage that he's done in the trouble that he has gotten everyone into with his own actions. Mrs. Fox is essential enforcing this change. As we said, this is just seeing in all of her lines throughout the story. She calls him out. She knows when he's lying, she knows when he's being deceptive. And she threatens to leave him and tells him that he's not the fox who she thought he was when they first got married. And then Kylie once again aids Fox in each step of his journey. So now that we've looked at all the characters, let's take a look at how the story is structured. 35. Structure Breakdown: Alright, Part three, structure. So let's look at the first act and consider everything that we've learned about what needs to happen in the first act and see how it comes into play in this movie. So introduction Foxx gets he and Mrs. Fox trapped because of his own adventurousness than learns she's pregnant and that he will have to be a father, a fact about which he is happy. So this is a very short moment in the beginning of the movie, but it tells you almost everything that you need to know about Fox in who he is and what he is after. He likes adventure, he likes to be daring. He and his wife both used to be these wild foxes, these wild animals. She wants to change after they get captured. He is happy about it. He says he wants to, but you can tell that deep down within him, this is not his character. This is not going to be an easy change forum, but he's also not a monster and he's very happy about having a family with this fox who he loves. So then we see foxes are older. He's newspaper writer. He thinks no one reads as column. He feels he's not living the life he wants to live, and he doesn't want to live in a hole either. He wants to have a house above the ground with these great views and you see that they're not as well off as they could be, but according to Mrs. Fox, they're happy. So once again, this is just right in the beginning of the story and you're getting a sense of who they were, who he is now in its setting, the seeds for what he's going to do and what the story is going to follow. And then ASH learns that Christopherson will becoming to stay with them. That brings that character. And in this all happens in the first seven pages of the script. So you can see how efficient screenwriting can happen. If you just distill the information you need to distill, find creative, clever ways to just get these characteristics across industry. Do so through dialogue, through action, through setting, and just get it as tight as you can to get those key information points across so that you can get into the main exciting, fun part of your story. And this also obviously draws the audience, right? And because this character wants something he's sympathetic, it has all the seeds of everything that a good story ought to have that we spoke about earlier. So what is the inciting incident? After deciding do something about his situation, being in the hole and not living the life that he wants to live. Fox learns about the mean. We nasty farmers, Bogost buns and bean, and then decides to buy a house after his lawyer tells him that he can't afford it. So he's risk-taking. He still wants to have that adventure and he doesn't think things through quite all the way in his wanting to break into these farmers farms is the moment that sets him on his journey that will lead to the rest of the story. So the first plot point at the end of the first act, after devising a plan to steal from Bogost Bunsen being in a successful first go of Kylie Fox, Kylie and Christopherson, whom Fox has recruited and has thus caused a greater divide between his son and his nephew. Nearly get cotton beams site or seller first by rat and then by Mrs. bean. And then this is all after line to Mrs. Fox and neglecting ash. So he starting to be a less good husband and father and following his animal instincts, which he doesn't believe he can overcome. And it almost gets him and his nephew and his friend into trouble. So this is when you get a sense that the farmers know who he is. They know that he's coming in there and they're gonna go after him and tried to get him. That changes the story, that puts it in a whole different perspective. In sends everything in a new direction, adds a vital element to the steaks that Fox has gotten his family into this predicament. Alright, so for act two, we're going to just break down some of the big revelations that happened in the story after having read the script and watch the movie, you're kind of going to be able to piece together how these moments have affected the story as a whole. And hopefully you can see to how these all build an intensity. Move Fox along on his journey and move him closer to proving what the moral truth of the story is all about in the first place. And then as you can see, I've noted the script pages here in case you want to go back and follow along and see how these play out in the screenplay. The first revelation, biogas Bunsen being a found foxes home, fast, loses his tail after they shoot Adam in his family discovers that he has been secretly stealing chickens. This causes the first big rift with he and Mrs. Fox. So this is a revelation that now they know where he lives and they're in trouble and they're trying to kill him. Second revelation, Bogost Bunsen being are not going to stop until they find and kill Fox and his family. Facts must dig them to safety. So this is the scene when he digs down into house and brings a whole family along with him, the farmers start digging out for them and they know that they're not gonna give up on them unless they escape safely. Revelation three, misses fox attacked Fox for lying to her. He learned that his go-to excuse, which is, I am a wild animal, which pretends to the moral truth of the story, does not justify his actions in, unless he changes, he and everyone that he loves is going to diet. The fourth revelation, Fox, after meeting up with Badger and the other animals in the tunnels, comes up with a plan to escape Bogost Bunsen being by digging into their farm. And that's a big moment in the story because that's a big shift in his character change, but it's also one that makes sense based on what we know about him so far. Revelation five, when Fox believes he is beat the farmers and holds the feast with the other animals. They are washed into the sewer by cider and Fox realizes that Christopherson has been captured. So this is the biggest built-in intensity yet. They think they're safe, they get washed away. And because of his actions, his nephew has been captured by the farmers. And now they're in even deeper trouble than they were in before at any other point in the story. Revelation six, Fox doesn't believe he has the capacity to change. He's sorry for not having done it sooner and apologizes to Mrs. fox into ash. He now believes the only way to save Kristofferson and everyone else is if he turns himself over to Bogost Bunsen beam. So once again, in two revelations ago, he had the first change of plan where he's trying to help out everybody else. It started with his family. Started to help out all of his friends, and now he's willing to turn himself over for the good of everybody else because he sees that he has got them into this mess. He doesn't believe he is good enough to change. And as such, the only option it seems is for him to sacrifice himself to help everybody else. In the seventh revelation, which ultimately serves as the second plot point and starts off with third act, is when Fox returns as he's leaving and he hears rat threatened his family, he kills rat, learns rat did everything that he did to get more cider, which comes back to what we were talking about with rat as an antagonist, foreshadowing a life Fox kid have had if he didn't give up what he was doing and if he didn't have overcome those instincts. So after killing rat, heater saves, the only way to truly save everyone is to utilize each animals natural strengths and weaknesses to stage a rescue mission. So this is the biggest revelation. It's that being a wild animal isn't always a bad thing. It's that there's good and bad sides to your instincts. In when everyone works together as a team, not as an individual. You can put those strengths to use in do something great. In the only way he can truly saved the day is if everyone overcomes their weaknesses, finds their strengths in stages this rescue mission successfully. So after that's decided and everyone is on board, that leaves into act three. So act three, you'll remember the four points that we talked about earlier. There's the point of no return, the moral choice, the climax, and the resolution. So let's look at how all of those play into effect in the third act of this movie, the point of no return, Kylie, ash, and Fox come around the side of the building after having rescued Christopherson to see the gate bolted the helicopter above them and Bogost Bunsen bean or waiting for them. In this moment, it seems are trapped. There is absolutely no way they can escape and they're all going to be killed by these farmers who have finally captured them. So the moral choice in this story is made in an interesting way because Ash makes the choice to make a run for it to save them. But in so doing, given the relationship that Fox and Ash have throughout the story, this choice is as much a part of Fox's character arc as it is of Ashes. Ashes willing to stand up for himself to be a hero and to not be this sort of grumpy, frustrated, loner he has become as a result of his father's negligent parenting. So Him to saying the save them as a result of Fox being a better Fox in himself and then giving us the confidence to do this. So this is a moment between the father and son, were they really bond in that leads to the ultimate climax of the story. So the climax is when Fox, Kylie and ash make their escape, they outsmart Bogost and beans. Ash six, the rabid dog on them. This causes the diversion that allows them to get out of there safely and alive. So it's a pretty funny, chaotic, exciting scene in the movie. And then after it's done, they're gone in there, safe in Bogost Bunsen being are left in the dust. So the resolution fast is found everyone in new home where they have access to a grocery store. And this is him completely overcoming his wild animal hunting instincts because now he's going to provide for everyone by giving them a place where they can go into a closed grocery store at night, take all the food they want off the shelves. Even though it's our official it's not as good. It's safe and he can be there for his family and be the better man that he has needed to be throughout the entirety of the story. So Mrs. Fox tells him that she is pregnant again and calls him a Fantastic Mr. Fox. And then it ends with that moment of everyone dancing in the grocery store. And so this brings it back to the key point. How is the moral truth proven in the end? So once again, we establish that as only by acknowledging and overcoming our worst instincts, can we find our strengths and become fantastic? So far has had to learn throughout this story that he could not continue to be a wild animal and a father. He had to learn that courting danger does not make someone fantastic in successfully leading his friends and family to safety and risking his own life in the process of doing so, he became the fantastic version of himself to which he always aspired. So as you can see, this story is a perfect example of a protagonist wanting something in the beginning, pursuing that want, and then through the pressure that's put on them by their antagonist and through the revelations they find in the process, they change and grow to find what they need in, in that change and in that arc in the story that follows it in, in the supporting characters who go through their own RX alongside your protagonist. And in so doing, your moral truth is proven in the end. In once again, I would never say that this is a preachy movie, that it's trying to have a message or that it's trying to say something big. But just by framing it on that one idea in, on that one universal truth that the writer saw. They were able to craft this great story around it and give us this fun, whimsical, clever, strange comedy and make it a really compelling story along the way. So you can see how it sort of serves as a way to tell your story into have a guide for your story and to build off of that initial idea to do something that's unique and original and special to you. 36. What To Do After You've Written Your Screenplay: Conclusion. So what now? I think this is the biggest thing a lot of writers wonder is what to do once you have a completed version of the screenplay. I think one of the best things to do is just network, talk to family, to friends, to people you know, who might know someone who can connect you to someone else. So much of writing and getting ahead just comes from telling people you want to write and making sure that you're letting people know you're out to be a writer and you're willing to meet with and speak with and learn from whoever you can. So just let people know, put your work out there to your family and friends. Look for honest real feedback. Ask those questions. Keep making your scripts the best they can be. And then just try to see if anyone knows anyone, if that's something you want to pursue. If you're pursuing representation, just talk to people. You just never know who might be able to connect you with the right person. Competitions are always a great way for unrepresented writers to get their foot-in-the-door. You can submit to them for usually not too much money, especially if you do and earlier deadline. So these fiber to some of the biggest out there at the nichols fellowship is probably the most prestigious as well as the Austin Film Festival. But the launchpad has a great feature film writing competition. Screen craft has several different competitions depending on different genres. So that allows you to sort of be in more of a niche with what you want to write. And slam dance is another great one. There are a lot of competitions out there that I don't think are necessarily worth submitting to. So just make sure you're doing your research to know that you're going to submit to one that is more beneficial to you. And that's going to actually give you a chance at progressing your career as a writer. Query letters. This is a very old school way of connecting with agents and managers. One thing to note for sure is that you can never just send your script unsolicited to an agency or a management company. They're not going to read it for legal reasons. It's gonna go in the trash and it'll be a waste of your time, you're postage and everything else. But if you find managers and agents who represent like-minded writers, you can send them a letter or an email. Tell them a little bit about yourself. Ask if they're interested in reading what you have. You never know if you're going to get a response. It's they're very busy people, they represent a lot of people, but putting yourself out there in that way and letting people know you're willing to show them your work and you're willing to put in the work and you're doing the research to find managers and agents who represent writers like you is going to benefit you in the end. And then lastly, the obvious option is to just produce the project yourself. If you're interested in directing, if you're interested in making short films, find actors, find a crew, raised the money, do whatever it takes to use whatever resources you have to make your movie. And now we live in a digital age when everything is so accessible, you could literally film a movie on your iPhone if you wanted to. So if you feel so compelled, feel free to put the work into making your movie come to life on your own. And then you can submit it to independent festivals and go through that route of getting your work out there. So the last key point I'll make as far as what to do next. Make sure you're always putting your best foot forward. If you're putting a script out there, make sure it's something that you feel very proud of. Make sure it's something that represents you as well as any piece of writing can. And make sure you're doing the best you can. You might write three or four or five scripts that you don't feel or up to the standard you want to reach. And if that's the case, then just keep writing until you have one that you feel that you've nailed that you feel gesture, right? And that you feel it's going to be the best shot of getting yourself out there and getting a good representation of you as a writer out there to the world. So always, always, always remember to put your best foot forward. Don't just write something to submit it, right? Something that you care about and that you believe in, that you think is truly great. 37. Final Screenwriting Advice: So final advice. First thing is keep writing. The first key point we made was to write every day. It's just gonna take a lot of work. It's like anything. It's gonna take a lot of practice. The more you do it, the better you're going to understand it, the better you're going to get at it. So just keep at it and keep writing. Write stories that matter to you. I think we talked about that a lot in this course, and I just can't emphasize the importance of it enough that you should be writing stories. You want to tell him stories that you feel only you can tell. So don't try to just write something to impress one specific group or to try to fit a niche, right? It's something that you believe is a good representation of yourself, of your originality, of your voice, of your storytelling. In write stories that you want to tell it in that you want to see, Take your time. It's easy to just feel like you want to rush through a project that you want to have this perfect polished script that you can send out there and start your career. But it's just good to make sure you're taking your time, letting your stories develop the way they need to develop and letting them become as great as they can be. So just don't rush it and always remember to just keep going at your own pace. Accepting rejection is just a part of the game. It doesn't matter who you are as a writer, every professional writer has to deal with rejection. Even as professional writers, it's going to be part of the craft. You're going to spend all this time and all of this work on the stories. You're going to put everything together and spend months on them. And a lot of them are going to get rejected. No one is an overnight success. Even the writers who come seemingly out of nowhere, you usually have a huge stack of script somewhere that have never seen the light of day. So it's just something that's going to happen. It's going to be frustrating, but it shouldn't be discouraging. So just keep at it. Know that it's going to happen. Let yourself keep writing and keep improving, keep watching movies, and keep reading stories. I think continuing to give yourself in education of the films that are coming out there, of seeing what is being made, of seeing what you resonate with and what you really enjoy is really important. So just keep giving yourself that on-going education. Reading screenplays, watching films, reading books. Let yourself just immerse yourself in that world and enjoy it and enjoy the process and continue to always be learning new things. And then it won't always be easy. I think this is just an obvious fact of the craft, is just not going to be an easy thing to do. It's something that takes a lot of time. A lot of patients, a lot of practice and a lot of rejection and a lot of work. So just stick with it if you love it. Keep improving, keep getting better, keep letting yourself improve. And accept that you're gonna get a rejection. It won't be easy. But the more you do it, the better shot you're giving yourself at getting ahead. And then lastly, I think you're gonna hear a lot of people who write in, a lot of people who want to write, say about any given movie that they could write a better story than that. And I think that's a really dangerous and unproductive way of thinking. If you want to be a writer, you shouldn't be looking at the movies that you think you can do better than you should be looking at the movies that you think are at a level, you need to work to get to the ones that inspire you, impress you, even discourage you and make you think you'll never get to that level. That's the standard you should be holding yourself to try to be as good as the best writers out there, not better than the worst writers out there. So keep looking for the great stories, the ones that keep you up at night that keep you thinking, the ones that amaze you and inspire you and hold yourself to the standard to get to that level, not to rise above something that you view as mediocre. 38. Thank You: Alright guys, thank you so much for taking this course. I hope you got a lot out of it. I hope that I covered everything that you needed to know, but if I didn't feel free to send me a message, let me know if you need clarification on anything. If something wasn't clear, I'll be happy to try to clear that up for you. But I hope you learned a lot. I hope you got a lot out of this. And if there's more, you'd like to learn about screenwriting or any facet of writing. Let me know if you'd like to see a class about it. I'm open to suggestions and I look forward to what comes next. So thanks again and good luck with your first screenplay. 39. Bonus: Phil & Brian Chat About Screenwriting: Hey everyone, fill up. Enter here with Brian Birmingham, the lead instructor for the screen writing masterclass. We're super excited to come together today to have a little chat conversation. We're going to dive a little bit deeper into some of the topics that he covered in the class. You're going to get to know Brian a little bit better. I have some questions just quick. Q and a. That kinda help you get to know Brian a little bit better. I think these kind of sessions are fun for students, for potential students. So if you are in this class, we hope you really enjoyed the class. And in this video, we're just going to kind of recap some of the things we've covered. I'm going to ask a couple questions just to go a little bit deeper. And if you haven't enrolled in the class, while hopefully this gives you a sense of what this screenwriting master class is all about. But brand, how, how are you feeling, feeling really good about the way it turned out? I think, yeah, no, I haven't watched any of it yet, so I think it's going to be a great class. I mean, I am not a screenwriter. And I'm kind of itching to write a screenplay now on really happy here that I think I really wanted to try to cover it just all of the major bases that occurred for what the fundamental elements of a story iron. Obviously with screen reading, each lesson in the course could be its own class in itself. There's so much to unpack and so much to know about ratings. So it's hard to kind of make something comprehensive, but I feel like what we came away with is something that touches all the bases people need to know. And it gives you the rate setup to dive into writing a screenplay and to be able to self-assess your own work and kind of watch movies in a way that makes you see them differently. And think about the way the stories are written in told him. Think about the way you think about your own ideas and everything along those lines. And yeah, so I've got a couple of speed round questions for our students to get to know you a little bit better. So no thinking, just first things that come to mind. Okay, Brian and Brian, depending on when you watch this video, he's either going to be my brother-in-law or right now he's my future brother in law. That's right. Which is pretty crazy. So and we also went to Loyola Mary mount university together. So that's first how we met him back. And so yeah, pretty cool stuff. But anyways, Brian, I might know the answers to some of these, but I will see what are your favorite activities outside of screenwriting? My biggest outlet outside of screenwriting is surfing. That's the one thing I like to do to escape, to get away from work, to get away from thinking into just get out and do something that's not tied to my computer. One that I love to draw and paint and play music. Just having other creative outlets, I think is something that's always been important for me as far as focusing on one creative outlet, I'm focusing on something like rating. It's good to have other things you can do and feel like you can be terrible at something and it doesn't matter with screener anything or put more pressure on myself. So having these other things to do, like music or art is just a nice thing to do for myself and. No care if it doesn't come out oil. And you mentioned surfing. Where did you grow up? I know the answer, but I grew up in Enceladus, which is a small little town just north of San Diego. I spent my whole life growing up there and moved to Los Angeles when I was 19. So I've been by the beach in Southern California for quite a long time now. And yeah, pretty cool. Okay, let's see. Favorite food. Oh geez. I may say array now, which I've been, I'm just gonna say Mexican food is probably doesn't surprise me. It's I love Mexican food, I love tacos, burritos, all of that stuff, which is probably a result of the San Diego upbringing. And it just sounds really good right now. Where's your favorite place that you've travelled? Man? I think my favorite place that I've traveled that was Ireland. I just think that was a very cool country to see. Stayed in Dublin. There was a city unlike any other, and I would highly recommend visiting Ireland for anyone who has never been there before. It's very cool, very interesting, unique city with a lot of history and a light to one of literary history to, if you like writing. Dublin takes their Irish raiders various seriously. Doesn't mentions of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett everywhere you turn. So that's kinda fun for Rubin to Ireland. I've actually never been to the UK or Ireland. I would love to go there someday. It's easy because they're speaking which do so? Yeah, I only know English, so that helps RA Where do you ever favorite children's book? Hm. Or one that as a kid you was one of your favorites. I think I really loved where the wild things are. When I was a kid, I think it was just a very cool it's very we just run that book tonight. The Boyer's signs. Yes, I missed it. And I think that's a good, that's a great book. Is esta kind of dark and weird and imaginative. And yeah, I haven't read it for a long time, but I needed to dive back into that one was apparent. Now, reading some of those old books you look, you see like how the writing is and some of them are so simple as dig, but like that book is so good that the writing and it's a really good one, how they actually tell the story and bookended. And as a kid, you don't I don't know. I didn't think it. I don't even know if I really knew what the story is where as a kid I just saw the pictures and kinda knew the characters. But like, yeah, as an adult you start to see like, wow, some of these stories are pretty actually, yeah, it seemed like a lot of Dr. Seuss ones. There's always some kind of Western and all of the weirdness I think I liked all the characters in those books. Yeah, creatures and such. Move onto. Now last question, last speed round question is where is do you have a favorite like Current TV series that you're into? Men? Current. It's harder to say I'm not very current on TV. And you're like and you would pass like five years and the past five years I've been Breaking Bad Is the best show I've seen. The longtime MS. That ended in 2013. So technically an hour seven years. Hi guys, it's crazy, but that one has stuck with me for a long time. So yeah, I've got to re-watch that one. It's about time. Yeah, I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it, just excellent storytelling from start to finish, from the first season to the sixth. Yeah. I'm sure no one has recommended Breaking Bad to you before? I've never heard about it and it got a check. Is a moving more to screen writing. I wanted to ask you more about what your experience at Loyola Mary Mallon in the film school was. Obviously, this class. Can't, it's like a completely different experience from a film school experience. But I often like kinda talk in my class is more on video production about how like you can learn. A lot of what I learned was outside the classroom actually, and that's kind of what I've tried to pare down into like my online courses, but I don't know how it was like in the screen writing program and kinda like what was that experience like? And I guess if someone's interested in like, you know, they're taking this class and they're like, oh, I wonder what actual film school would be like. I don't know. Maybe you can share like kind of what a screenwriting program was like. Yeah, absolutely. I think it's really a lot more of what was just covered in this lesson. A lot of the fundamentals that goes into more depth. And obviously you touch on more advanced techniques in railing and all that kind of stuff. But a lot of it, it's like he said, a lot of the learning takes place outside of the classroom with any creative pursuit, you have to know all the basics and haven't mastery over it, but you also have to have that practical experience in you have to put yourself out there and make yourself learn how this works in the real world and how it works with the way you think and the way you are and who you are as a person. So you can't necessarily tell someone how to rate the perfect screenplay, but you can tell them what steps they need to take in. Then they have to sort of connect the dots and put themselves into it and follow those steps and then use their own originality and voice and things they've learned to make that as good as it can be. I think a big learning experience for me was interning at different production companies because you get a sense, not only of the rating cuz you're constantly reading scripts that come in and doing coverage, which is essentially just writing a two page summary of the script so the executives can know what's y without having to read a 100 pages. So reading it as our Using isn't internally just reading scripts to yeah, kinda that end. V them Washington dogs and failing and coffee and all this stuff that enter into scared to do. Yeah. But that's the most hands-on thing that was really cool. And you also just get a sense of what goes into the production. And it makes you think about the way you rate when you see how that has to translate into a shoot mineral that has to translate into production because you could write something and seen on the page, but then someone's gonna have to figure out, okay, how are we going to get all of this together and make it work? And so kind of having those different elements and understanding what actors and directors have to make a script. And understanding the sort of cohesiveness of it all is really important. So. I think learning screenwriting is great in film school does a good job of teaching you what those other elements of making a film are. Many, what that means for each different persons role. And I think it's hard to be a great writer if you don't take the time to understand what your work means for the other people who ideally are going to be involved in getting it made. And yeah, yeah, I think yeah, adds a film production major. Yao Dao is kinda one of the best things is like going through all the different roles basically on a set. And I mean, I had to take a screenwriting class as a production manager. And we're most classes, I guess I'm trying to think like you were in school for four years and learning like the format of a screenplay is pretty simple to cover in like one class, right? So what was, most of you are like screenwriting classes just like more about like, I don't know. Was it like specific like character classes or story like a lot about story or like zinc, different types of film genres or what were the actual classes like? It was like a lot of that and there's a lot of like cinema history. So you could take out one director or one genre. The other thing I forgot to mention that was really big about film school is the collaborative aspect. I'm not a very extroverted person when I work on my work, I like to just dive in and do it and not be distracted. But having professors who can read your work and give you the feedback that you're not gonna get from a friend or from, you know, your parents is really crucial. And then seeing where other students are as well, I think is really important and seeing what other students are bringing to the table and doing in their writing and seeing the different ideas that are being generated by your peers, I think is really valuable to get a better sense of where you stand as far as your own voice and style and what you bring to the table that's different and unique from all that. So I think if you're not going to film school, if you have friends who are writers or who want to be writers, absolutely share your work with them and just find people who can give you that feedback where you can collaborate with and share worth because it's gonna help you out in the long run to get different perspectives on your stories. And I think to the thing to remember is it's just like at the end of the day, it's your script. If someone gives you a piece of advice that you don't like, you don't have to do it. But it's still good to kinda see what other people think about it. So yeah, and I think like you kind of touch on, but just like meeting people who might be like a producer or director from film school, that was one of the best benefits for me. So like post school, like all, kinda like form these groups and people I did there on productions together. And I think that's hard if you're taking an on line class, screenwriting or whatever, but that's probably a good piece of advice is surround yourself with non screenwriter friends to try to meet people who actually produced video and Because you mentioned in the course, like, you know, people have shot Hollywood movies on iPhones now and maybe more as an experiment. But still like the quality of cameras like every I have this conversation with my friends all the time. Like we can just like make such a high-quality film with like basic cameras now compared to like, right when we were in film school, it was kind of a transition to digital cameras that are DSLRs that had like the cinematic look to them. But now like you can get those cameras for relatively cheap and just self-produced. It that I mean, that just sounds fun. Yeah, and that's just an advantage you have as a writer now because I think even if you don't necessarily have a big interest in directing your studying, you can record it with some friends who you lower over to and make them read your lines and see what it looks like a red yet. But I think even just when I was growing up, I'm not like battled the camera or the tapes and everything. And yet you actually had tape. It was like a little concerned predator. The kids done rewind and stuff. Gosh, I sound like an old person who yeah, anyway, it's great to be able to just shoot a movie on your phone goes. It's kind of just, I think it gives you a different perspective on what it's like to see your words come to life because when you're just reading them on the page, it's a lot different from when you hear them delivered. You might have written something that's a lot funnier than he thought it was, or that's a lot clunkier than you thought it was or whatever it is, it's good to kind of be able to hear it. Yeah. All right. Let's see, what's my next question? One question we got from a follower on Instagram was, how do you get inspired? And I think probably what they're asking is like, how do you get inspired to get up in the morning and start writing or, or how do you, how have you found like story ideas? I think as far as being inspired to get up in the morning, you wanna be a writer. It takes a certain sense of discipline. And I think all of us, not just as writers, but as people can struggle with that. And it's just so easy to procrastinate and to sit down to write and then find something else to do for a while and realized an hour has passed and you've written like one word. So I think just discipline is more important as far as finding the inspiration to sit down and work in this kind of setting, that mindset of like, okay, this is what I'm gonna do. When I'm gonna do it in. I'm just going to stick to it. It's like once you have a plan, if you don't stick to it, you feel like you've let yourself down and it makes it easier to be productive. And I think as far as inspiration for Ideas ago. It's just so it's not a very tangible thing. I think it's hard to, you can't say like these are the steps to getting inspired. I think obviously looking into other forms of art, paintings, music, movies that are coming out, books, conversation. Just these were the kind of things that can spark ideas. And when you have that sort of awareness that you're looking for, something that you want to write about. Ideas tend to come to you a little more naturally because you kind of have that, that rate are going in the back of your mind. So I have literally had ideas for stories. Just driving in my car out of nowhere. And then like, Oh, that's just it's like inspiration strikes. Sounds so pretentious, but it's just, I have never exactly like sat down at a blank period and been like, what am I going to register an inspiration? Exactly. It just, you kind of have to just let yourself be open to it. And I think as you do that more, you kind of recognize what ideas are worth pursuing and what ideas are kind of, you know, maybe not quite as inspired as you would hope for them to be. And yeah, and I think that's a solid answer. Ok, so speaking of like, more like some of the stuff we covered in the class. Obviously there's a big the characters and the idea of like a protagonist versus an antagonist is like crucial to storytelling. I guess. As someone who's I maybe new to, to filmmaking or screenwriting. Like is that is, they're always going to be, I think people confuse maybe an antagonist as always like an evil villain or like a person that is like, Yeah, like an evil villain. So I guess maybe can you like, unpack this idea that like in antagonists can be more than just like an evil villain. And I guess it is there, is there always an antagonists like in a good story? Yeah, I think it is really difficult to sort of, it's just easier to say, Oh, you need a good guy and a bad guy. That's what it sounds like when you say a protagonist and the antagonist. And it's not what it is at all. And it's a lot more complex than that. I think, I think every good story has some form of an antagonist. And it's just going to be form of whatever character is putting the most pressure on your protagonist to get where they want to be. And so if you have a movie like Harry Potter, Star Wars or, or any of these superhero movies, you haven't very clear heroes and villains. You know who the good and the bad characters are in. That's not a bad thing to have in a story at all. But I think in movies that are a lot more character-driven, like little miss sunshine, which we spoke of the antagonist and that movie I would say as her dad, because he's the one who's putting that pressure on her to be a winner. And in building that tension and stress as the story unfolds and also dealing with his own failures as he goes. That's not necessarily a typical antagonist, but that is a character who is standing in the way of your protagonist, getting what they ultimately need. So is there an example? I'm trying to think of an example of where the antagonists isn't like a person, but more Blake and idea. Or the alligator thought that's holding your protagonist back? Or is that not a thing? I mean, I wouldn't say it's not a thing. And I think it's hard to think of an example right now. I think there's gonna be a lot of things that stand in the way of a protagonist. And I'm sure if I thought about it, I could find a movie where maybe there was more of an element like time or some pressing situation that's certainly more opposition than any physical character could. So yeah, I can't think of anything off the top may have that sort of operate in that way. I think one exercise for students to do though, is like now when you're watching movies is just like think about this. Think about, oh, like the protagonist prior is pretty easy. And in some movies the antagonist is two. But like Little Miss Sunshine, that's, that's not necessarily like an easier one to pinpoint. So like and same with the structures. Like try to watch movies and see when are the structures, when are all these points you talked about another question I had kind of following up about protagonist. You kind of mentioned in the class the idea of having multiple protagonists. And if that's the case, maybe it's best to switch the main protagonist to the secondary character. But I guess my question is like, are they're movies where there are equal protagonists? Like I guess I'm wondering like the first thing that came to mind is like the avenger movies. Like are those obviously like some of the vendors don't have equal roles. So is like Iron Man, always like the protagonist? Or does it depend on the film alike? I think with those ones in an admittedly night scene of the adventure movies. So there are other things that we're going to get so much heat for. Poorly of the adventure is. So I will not. I think it's like each of those films probably has one character that's a little more central in the story being told them, the others. Yeah, I think that's kinda the same for any ensemble. There obviously plenty of movies where there are multiple people who are involved, who are equal characters. And that's fine too. You can have multiple protagonists. Essentially, my advice would be to make one just a little bit more central. Tried to focus on one story a little more than the others because that's going to give you a little bit of an easier time finding that drive and that, that linear narrative. I think it's a lot more difficult once you add more protagonists. Anterior menu story couldn't go and all these different directions away from what you're ultimately trying to do with the story. So try to pick one even if you have an ensemble. That protagonists, like antagonists, are very nuanced and complex and they don't always have to succeed in the end. It's just depends on the story or telling. Or if you have a movie like make crawler and you have. Or a show like Breaking Bad, you have an anti-hero who you're watching pursue a goal that is really hard to root for it because they're heroes, they're terrible people. But the way the stories are told, you're rooting for them. Yeah, you can't build that sympathy Bessel lot more challenging to do. Kind of like when I was watching markers and then legs and I'm like rooting for Parlow, Alaska. Exactly what this is. It's a really hard thing to do, but I think great writers who can rate great anti heroes are able to build that sympathy and they do all the other things that a protagonist is supposed to do. I hit all the beets, they have those renovations, they are pursuing what they want. But they're bad people instead of good people, I, a movie just popped into my mind that I want to see. We're filming this in the midst of baseball post-season. You remember the movie, The Rookie? Yeah. Dennis Quaid. Who is the antagonism that oh, mad. Or is it like himself or his like pass or either another I can't remember if there's like another character, his dad or something that like is hot, holding them back in, pushing him to Lake. Prove themselves. Don't have to watch that again. But a talent because there are movies like that where you're like, I mean, our I remember who can stand in his way. Yeah. And I think the challenge is like he was like he's like a washed up like baseball player who never made the majors. And then he was teaching high school and then realizes he has his chance because he still is pretty good at pitching. And I'm just trying to think of like the thing or the idea to me that like is like against him is more like his past are himself almost like holding himself back. But maybe there's I don't know, maybe I would have to watch it again to I wouldn't do it. But it's a good point. I think there are a lot of examples that you can point to where there's not one character that's in the way. And I think sometimes you have multiple characters and elements that stand in the protagonist's way. Yeah. So yeah. If you guys have any idea examples, let us now. Yeah. Alright, question about three-act structure. This is like the main kinda storytelling structure you covered in the class. But I guess I'm wondering is, is there a non 3x structures that is not like an interesting story? I think there, there is, there are all kinds of different ways of telling stories. There's something called the sequence structure, which I've never used, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's just a sequence of Miller events. I think if you watch movies like Pulp Fiction, it's really difficult to identify the 3x because the time is so non-linear and there's a million movies where the time is altered in the story. I think the thing with the three-act structure that's good other than its flaws, which I pointed out in the video, which it really doesn't give you a roadmap for the second act. It really just. A good way to keep yourself in line and keep yourself focused on hitting the changes you need to hit when you need to hit them. Because especially if you're writing the first draft and I'm not sure if you've started writing and art, but sometimes I'll write a first draft and not worry about the page numbers and just try to write it. And I come away with a 160 page story and realize I need to cut 60 pages out. And then you read through it and you find those points that you're like, oh, this should be moved up, British would be moved back or it just kinda helps you put the pieces in place. I think especially as you're finding your footing. Yeah. I think one thing that I learned, watching you teach this class is like at least the process you're teaching is, I don't know for some reason I thought like as a screenwriter you would just like start writing your screenplay and his right here screenplay. But like, you know, the outlining all the scenes and the I, the ax. And then seems like it's a lot of work before you actually start writing out who your characters are. I mean, it totally makes sense that that's the way that you should write a screenplay. But I don't know, I guess I just imagine like you and other screenwriters, like just sitting down starting with like scene one and is like writing dialogue and just going from there. And I think some writers can do that. Some writers can operate in that way. And that's something I didn't really touch on in the course, but every process is different. You could read three different books on screen writing and you're going to get three different versions of how around a screenplay. Yeah, it's going to be unique to the person. But I think for me, I don't see any better way then kind of knowing what you're doing an organizing yourself and your thoughts and your ideas before you actually start on the first draft. Yeah, because I've tried to write screenplays that way too, and maybe that's just me, but it's generally tends to fall apart or you get lost. I guess I'm not like a fiction writer, so I'm wondering for like people who are like novels, do you think a lot of them do the same where they like? Outline the story and then go back and write the whole story or do people just I guess like you said, people pray, Just do it every way. Yeah, exactly. But I'm sure I've heard of a lot of novel writers who outline their stories, especially with something like that or incoming or a hundreds of pages. You don't want to make those mistakes where you have to go back and keep, you know, the revision can just be a huge mess if you don't have organized. One other question I have is, I remember this from my screenwriting class and film school was this idea of like staying away from too much direction. And you talked about like camera moves are wide shots or whatever. But when people are like describing in their in their screenplays, Do you think it's okay for people to highlight, gave light intricate details about like say it's like a bedroom setting and Certain like posters on the wall and things like that. As a screenwriter, do you think like the screenwriters thinking about that and including it in the screenplay or it is a lot of that. Just like after the screenplays written, the director kind of comes up with that by themselves, or maybe in collaboration with the screenwriter. They kind of work out those details. I think it kinda depends on a lot of things that it depends on the writer and it depends on the context of the scene. So if you're introducing a character who's, you know, has a ton of posters on the wall. A kid walks into his bedroom and there's all these rock music posters on the wall. Then I think that's an important fact to include because that tells you right away what kind of kid that says before he can even say a word. So sometimes it can really give a lot of context and subtext to what's going on. Sometimes if it's just a general a patient, if someone's walking through a park, you don't need to describe everything that's going on at the park because it's just there's a tree on the left side of the pathway or whenever 145 degrees ahead of him? Yeah. I think you just need to be selective with what you choose to include a new story, because every word that you write in the script needs to be there for a reason. It needs to be there to either set the tone, set the scene, tell the reader some piece of information that they need to know. And so I would just recommend reading a lot of screenplays because that's a good way to see how different writers approached their scripts in yeah. And like watching the movie and comparing you into the screenplay lake where it turns into Exactly, yeah. And I think to our recommend, unless you want to direct, read a bunch of screenplays no matter what, but pay attention, especially to the descriptive action in the scripts that are not written by the director. Because those directory as well put directorial notes in their screenplays sometimes, or leave a ton of information out of a descriptive action if they kind of know what the scene is. Yeah. So it kinda alters the way the screenplay has written that I don't think enough to make a difference, but I think it's just something to keep in mind if you're like, well, why Sanderson has all these directions and his Desi and actually a lot of them, yeah, and I would imagine I mean, his films are solely specific and stay out. Very intricate. Specific. Yeah. So I think just makes sure what you're putting in there matters to the story you're telling and the fundamental rule to keep in mind on that one? Yeah. All right. My last question, I don't know if you know the answer to this, but I think people may be interested. Do you know like way and I'm sure there's like a giant range, but do you know what the going rate for like a screenplay in Hollywood is or anything close. Yeah, it's a very broad range. I think some writers can sell a small screenplay for anywhere from ten to $50 thousand. Or if you're someone like Erin silicon or one of these top-level writers, you can sell a script for a million dollars or more. Yeah. Let's face it like panic room. The Jodie Foster movie written by David cap, I believe sold for $4 million. Law. So 10 thousand to 4 million. That's the range. Yeah. I would just say to you, I think, you know, if you like not to sound like your coach or something, but if you're in it for the money, only, you just not gonna get a lot out of it. You're not going to enjoy it. Don't think you'll ever get as good at, at, at, at, as you could be if you just wanted to do it because you enjoy telling stories and you want to find new ways to approach storytelling and film. And you know, the money isn't nice aspect of being a professional screenwriter. But you know, at the end of the day, that's never what it's all about. Yeah. I think that's a great way to end it. While we hope you've enjoyed this video, this chat, we hope you've enjoyed the class. If you are in the class, make sure you let us know if there's anything we can do to make it better. We're always willing to update it and try to make it the best it can be. And if you enjoyed the class, make sure you leave a review. Those really help us and the class and other students know if this is the right class for them. So please do that. And if you're not in the class, check it out and we'll leave links in the description of the video so you can enroll and learn the entire screenwriting process. So, right, and it's been good chatting and we'll see you guys in another video or maybe in another class by everyone.