Expo Screenwriting Lesson Notes-3
Karl Inglesia- Second class
1. Your idea should have a hook to be good
2. Offers something new
3. Ghost extermination business
4. Highlight the hook in your concept
5. High concept: easily understood idea
a. One sentence
c. Has legs without actors
d. Fresh- highly marketable]
e. Original twist to an already successful idea
f. It helps the selling process
g. Not all idea are high concept: American Beauty had no hook
h. Even a weak script can succeed
i. Yet, scripts sell with they have a hook
j. Idea should be familiar : means human emotions are familiar-
k. Idea must promise conflict- A bridesmaid has five days to break up a wedding when she realizes she is in love with the groom
l. Conflict CLEAR in your idea
6. How to excite your ideas
a. Find the unique hook
b. What is it about your story that excites you?
c. Interesting Inciting Event in your story?
d. What’s the worst thing that happens to your character?
e. Contrasting characters
f. Flip traditional story elements
g. Cliché reversals- “Ruthless People”
h. Add key word or element to your idea
i. Add second idea
j. Magnify a unique setting
k. Time limit
l. Test your concept with people
b. clever, fun, cool
c. easily understood premise
d. Is it a movie?
e. Is there an audience for this?
f. Are you passionate about this?
g. It is visceral? Generate any reactions?
h. Bottom line: Excitement/fascination/curiosity/anticipation/intrigue
8. Compelling Logline:
a. “A dramatic story in the most abbreviated manner”
b. set up, conflict, resolution in logline
c. (title) is a (genre) about a (hero) who after (Inciting event) wants to (outer goal) by (plan of action).
d. Action film: (Title) is a (genre) about a (hero) who must (goal) or else (dire events)- ex:
e. ET is a fantasy about a lonely boy who must help an alien get back home or he will die.
2. Compelling goals of your main character make good movies
3. Heroes who are pursuing a finish line and we should want to them to
4. “As Time Goes By” is a drama about Rick Blaine from Casablanca who after WWII ends must travel to Ilsa’s grave in Prague to free himself to go on with life.”
Ted Elliot/ Terry Russo
2. Have CEMIMATIC MOMENTS: individual tasks- unique- Dorothy must go get the broom- Oger has to get Donkey out of his house-
3. How do you do this? Come up with cool stuff-
4. Have cool TRAILER MOMENTS
a. skeleton in the moonlight
b. coyote/ bugs bunny- character becomes set
5. CHOSE the right idea from a whole list of them-
6. NARROW it down –
7. PHASE BASE (math term)- each decision narrows it down to this base- then it can not be distorted
8. (or Phase space)
9. where you are allowed to go- your point of view- becomes set
a. a character EMBODIES A POINT OF VIEW
b. that character has a theme
c. each character is different
d. all should be characters in conflict
e. Will Spring: what does it mean to be a good man?
f. Pirates: outcasts
g. Elisabeth: any body outside the law is great
h. Protagonist: Will
i. Lead: Johnny Depp
10. Treasure Island: How will Jim Hawkings judge?
11. Let the VILLIAN STATE THE THEME
12. THEME’S ARE TRUTHS
13. Villain always tells the truth of what he is
14. Is a Pirate a good man?
15. METAL REALESTATE- WHAT IS ALREADY IN PEOPLE’S MINDS IS OF VALUE
16. What is already in people minds is of great value to tap into
17. They see it as familiar- “I’ve heard of that.”
18. STRANGE FACTOR
19. IMPRESSIVE FAILURE- LEADS TO A SHIFT
20. A GOOD DIRECTOR treats writers well because he has confidence in himself
21. Ideas Battle not the writers-
22. “Proceed to Production Clause”- a good idea for the contract
23. “ No rewrite not under the supervision of the director.”
24. Will the thing I am fighting for really make a difference? If it does, then calmly explain why-
25. Be ambitious with character- write HUGELY IMBLALACED CHARACTERS
26. ASK YOURSELF: Will my character pale to others?
27. Invent yourself as a writer-
COMMON MISTAKES WRITERS MAKE- Saturday
1. Questions you should ask yourself about your idea
a. do I like this material?
b. Do I really love it?
c. Will the story be interesting for two hours?
d. Is it something already being done on TV?
e. Will it open work for actors/directors?
f. Will it be interesting in two years?
g. Will the public pay to see it? Will the audience want to see it?
h. Is it better than a TV movie?
2. Famous quote: Always listen to criticism but never take advice.
3. Another quote: There is no way to assure yourself that what you are doing is self delusion.” The writer of My Favorite Martian.
4. Do a better job on an idea that has been used before.
5. Big mistake: no characterization
6. American Graffiti had good characters
7. Following the paradigm too closely can be a problem- plot point exactly on page 30
8. NOT REWRITING is a huge problem
9. Don’t use anything in a scene you do not need.
10. Good writers grab the reader right away- you can tell
11. Why? The reader sees the action-
12. 100 pages is currently an expectable script
JACK EPPS- writer of Top Gun
1. Second act is the worry area of a movie- lets fix it
2. Ist act you get your guy up a tree, second act you throw rocks at him, third act you get him out of the tree
3. FIRST THING: cut second act in half with a plot point
4. Make it emotional- in Top Gun Goose dies- make it something dire, something improtant
5. Put four 0000 in the middle of the second act box- we will call these major scenes- each of these 0 is filled with the words (scene, scene, scene)- denote a progression of actions to accomplish a single goal-
6. Another things is that through the script there must be a jagged mountain range of emotions experienced by our protagonist
7. A sequence is a series of scenes: S
8. Sequence one- first act
a. Establish the world of the characters
b. What, who, when, where
c. Status quo of that world
9. Sequence 2- pages 16-25
a. Establish main story problem
b. Set up main tension
c. Oppositions Forces
d. Characters may thing the problem can be easily solved at this point
e. So, don’t go too high at this point- usually
10. Sequence 3
a. It’s not as bad as it looks
b. Main character makes attempt to solve problems and fails
c. Introduce sub- plot
d. Character locked into story
e. May solve immediate problem- which lead to bigger ones
11. Special note: Main character must be in each scene
12. Subplots to Tootsie
a. Michael falls for Julie
b. Michael – job form Sandy
c. Less asks Dorothy to marry him
d. Van Horn is infatuated with Dorothy
e. Power struggle with soap director
f. Roommate complications
13. All subplots converge at the third act- but all are not necessarily resolved
14. Why not? This is the main character’s movie
15. Sequence 4
a. things get worse
b. increase of obstacles that lead to the mid turn point
16. Sequence 5
a. there is now a major problem
b. wave in the plot moves up- it’s worse than I thought he says
17. Sequence 6
a. If the character had succeeded the movie would be over now- but he didn’t
b. Highest obstacles leads to the lowest point
c. Does the main character have what it takes to succeed?
18. Sequence 7
a. preparation for ultimate test of the character and his will
b. Unexpected consequences can happen
c. Resolution of important subplots
d. The stakes are still high
19. Sequence 9
a. the resolution
b. the problem is solved
c. wants and needs are satisfied
e. develop a ticking clock
f. use suspense- keep the outcome in doubt
g. revisit the main problem again
h. main character fights change
j. resolve subplots
k. all audience to come down emotionally at the end
20. Complication is a small problem- Obstacles are a bigger problem
21. Obstacles lead to more complications-
22. REVEALS- ARE WHAT WE DON’T EXPECT
23. REVERSALS- THINGS NEED TO ALWAYS BE CHANGING
24. WEAVE THE PLOT THROUGH THE CHARACTER’S ACTIONS
25. SECOND ACT
a. Story set up in first
b. Clear character story
c. Clear and difficult goals to achieve
d. Strong opposition forces that create endless conflict
e. Establish a good cast of supporting characters
f. Keep all subplots connected to the main character-
g. Main character flaws create more problems
h. Reveal secrets about main character
i. Reversals- instead of things getting better it gets worse
j. Rising and falling action
k. Mid- point plot twist
l. Develop a tricking clock- make the story immediate
m. Use suspense- keep the outcome in doubt-
1. The inner truth of self, the collective conscience is behind the decisions made-
2. Things comes from your collective conscience
3. A RECORD BURIED DEEP INTO THE UNCONSCIENCE
4. This plays a major role in story- what it is – why it works for humans
5. Great stories bring hidden wisdom into play
6. The golden paradigm-
7. Patterns: see chart in book that is circular
8. There is a value being pursued- it is trying to avoid to opposite
9. In story there is first THREAT, ALSO, ANTITHREAT
10. There is not story without a problem or change of fortune
11. Yet, there must always be a solution
12. Solutions must have complications
13. There is a central event
14. EVERYONE in the story is involved in the story
15. Shreck: Fairytale creatures have taken over his swamp
16. Resistance: creates complications
17. 911- Ben Laden was threat, attack on US the problem, resistance: solve the problem/find the guy
18. Villain creates the story.
19. The Iceberg in Titanic set the story- without it we would know very little of the maiden voyage
20. The Thing: threat: the caveman/ problem: what to do with him?
21. High Concept: something intriguing/ stated in a few words/ understood by everyone
22. Frame you idea: make it as marvelous as possible