Streaming and mobile devices have forever altered how we create, deliver, and view narrative content. As screenwriters, we have to adapt to this changing environment without losing sight of a compelling story and engaging characters.
That’s where I come in.
Book to Script
An Introductory Class on Adapting Your Work for Hollywood
Saturday, February 25, 10 a.m. – 12 noon PST
Turning a book into a screenplay is never easy. But when the book is yours, it can be even harder – especially if you’re a first-time screenwriter.
In this short online class, veteran Hollywood scribe Randall Jahnson (The Doors, The Mask of Zorro) offers an overview of the unique challenges book writers face when adapting their work for the large and small screen.
Randall will take the mystery out of the process by examining the narrative differences between scripts and books. You’ll learn about the limits of time and space placed on all screenplays, and examine the essential elements of cinematic storytelling, showing not telling, and how to reveal character, not build it. And, of course, the fundamentals of the screenplay format will be covered.
The takeaway is a deeper understanding of the screenwriting process so that when you begin the journey of adapting your own book you’ll be prepared for – not intimidated by – the creative and practical do’s and don’ts.
This two-hour interactive class will be presented on Zoom on Saturday February 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The cost is $50.
To register, simply fill out the contact form here. Payment info and confirmation will be sent you.
8 x 8: Advanced Screenwriting
WHEN: Thursdays 6:00 – 8:30 pm, January 26 – March 16
WHERE: On Zoom
In this class you’ll get in-depth instruction on something I feel very passionate about – closing the gap between the screenplay and the finished film.
As screenwriters you will learn to employ the skills of other filmmaking disciplines in order to bring more immediacy to your pages. You’ll write like a director directs, a DP shoots, an editor edits. The goal is to create a more complete cinematic experience so that when readers finish your script they will feel they have not read a screenplay but have “seen” the movie or series.
Visually-driven. Immersive. Visceral. These are terms you will hear a lot – along with my continued proselytizing about character revelation, the power of POV, and sequences.
Speaking of sequences, the focus of this session will be on the sequence approach to a script’s structure. The sequence approach posits that all successful feature-length films are composed of eight 10-15 minute sequences. A sequence is a succession of related scenes, which, when clustered together, form a kind of “film within the film” with its own beginning, middle, and end. The opening of “Raiders of the Lost Arc” is an iconic example.
Each week of class will correspond to one of the approach’s eight sequences with the overall objective being a completed draft. And, of course, you’ll also get my notes and feedback on your work each week.
This is not a beginning screenwriting class. You will get the most out of it if you come already armed with a script idea you’re ready to write or planning to rewrite an existing draft.
Enrollment will be on a first-come, first-serve basis limited to 8 writers total.
This class is currently full. Contact me to be notified of the next class.
Now What?: Guidelines for Getting Your Script to the Screen
WHEN: Next class coming soon
WHERE: On Zoom
Almost as soon as “The End” is written, every screenwriter is confronted with one inescapable question: Now what?
This class explores the multiple routes – and a few shortcuts – aspiring screenwriters can take to get their work – and themselves – noticed. As Edna Mode states in The Incredibles, “Luck favors the prepared.” And that’s what this class will do: prepare you with the practical knowledge and knowhow to make informed decisions for when you usher your script into the Real World.
How do you protect your work? What is the WGA? Should you enter script-writing contests? How can you get an agent? What’s the difference between an agent and a manager? What’s an option? These are just a few of the topics we’ll cover in the 8-week course.
And, yes, there will be homework. You’ll create a set of effective log lines for your script along with verbal and written thumbnail pitches. Also, particular focus will be spent on developing a pitch deck.
Contact me if you’d like to be notified when enrollment for the next class opens.
The Writer-Actor Workshop
“This ain’t no Zoom class! This ain’t no table-read! This ain’t no foolin’ around!”
WHAT: A creative workshop bringing writers and actors together to test-drive original material
WHEN: Coming again in 2023!
WHERE: Rooney/Totman Studio, 305 SE 3rd Ave, 4th Floor, Portland, 97214
CO-INSTRUCTORS: Screenwriter Randall Jahnson and actor Ted Rooney
Tired of mouthing your own dialogue to yourself? Going crazy with all those voices in your head? Wonder what it’s like to have talented actors embody the characters you’re creating?
Then this class is for you!
In this studio setting, you collaborate with actors to stage selected scenes from your finished screenplay or work-in-progress.
Whether you want to direct your own script, learn how to communicate with actors, or inject your screenplay with fresh energy before submitting it to competitions, this class is an excellent opportunity to get your work off the page and into the hands and mouths of talented performers who can bring it to life. Not only hear your dialogue, see it performed; discover what works and what doesn’t; receive on-the-spot feedback from both instructors and your colleagues; make real-time adjustments; and run it again.
Each week half the class will present their scenes while the other half observes and offers input. The off-week writers will also receive notes from me about their scenes, which must be submitted the week before they are staged.
Instruction will also be given on how to diagram a scene – breaking it down into “beats” and identifying character objectives and actions. This can also sharpen the focus of a scene as well as create pathways for deeper understanding, exploration, and experimentation.
And it’s fun. That’s right, folks, we strive to keep the “play” in “screenplay.”
All scenes will be filmed.
This is not a beginning screenwriting course. If you have not taken a class from me before and I am unfamiliar with your work, please contact me immediately so I can discuss your work.
Also, out of consideration for your classmates, we ask that you be fully vaccinated for COVID.
Questions? Details? Give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.