As part of our new Screen Experience initiative, screenwriter James Janowsky will be teaching Introduction to Screenwriting beginning June 21! This six-week intensive covers the basics of the screenwriting format, as well as character development, genre exercises, and story synopses.
“For me, teaching screenwriting, especially an introductory class, is about teaching the students the fundamentals of the medium and then continuing to reinforce those fundamentals throughout each class. Ultimately, you want your students to be able to make informed creative storytelling decisions with their writing, and consciously understand why they made those decisions,” says James.
“Too often introductory screenwriting classes are about creating a project to shoot, rather than focusing on learning how to write a screenplay. In my class we will be focusing each week on different screenplay aspects–the first ten pages, scene versus sequence, etc. The other cool thing about the class is that each exercise will focus on a different genre. The hope is that each student will gain a better understanding of each genre, and from those five or six exercises they will want to expand one of their ideas into a feature length screenplay.”
As with any other form of writing, there are many myths, misconceptions, and dodgy advice on how to do it right. With this class, James hopes to demystify and simplify your approach to writing for film and TV.
James says, “I often hear people discuss that secondary characters in a movie have or don’t have an arc. The only character in a film that should have an arc is the protagonist. There is only so much time to tell a story on film, and to give numerous characters’ arcs diminishes the overall investment you should have with your main character.”
“What I really think they mean is the secondary characters should be fully fleshed out and not just cardboard cutouts or characters that are only there to serve the plot,” he explains.
“Film language is an important tool to screenplay storytelling. It is often overlooked because it seems more associated with directing or even editing rather than screenwriting. But if a screenwriter understands and is able to capitalize on the power of film’s language in their writing, the better and more effective their screenplay will be when a potential producer reads it. And as luck would have it, I will be teaching film language and its importance to screenwriting in the Comic Experience Advanced Screenwriting class being offered next year.”
If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you’ll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!
Posted by Meredith Nudo