Last week I attended a screenwriting workshop sponsored/organized by the Italian film company I sold a project to.
The exec I work with received her Masters at one of the best film schools in the U.S. One of her former professors held the workshop. This professor also teaches at the top film school in Paris.
The class was in English but I was the only American writer. I really enjoyed the workshop and it was fun to meet some of the Italian writers and writer/directors.
The main things the class focused on was structure, themes, and characters. Writing a script is so different from writing a novel. You might start a novel not knowing your ending. For a script if you don’t know the ending, you will go back and rewrite the beginning after you figure it out.
We watched films that couldn’t be more different (Sideways, The Elephant Man, The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, Billy Elliot, Notting Hill etc.) and yet they all had the same structure.
I’ve seen all the films we watched and there were things the professor pointed out that I never noticed before. This workshop will definitely help me with my writing.
We also talked about the “industry.” Hollywood is in a strange place right now. The system is broken. Everything is so geared toward young teen boys, other audiences are underserved. That is why everyone freaked out when a study came out a few years ago saying teen boys ranked going to the movies below playing video games and being online as the things they liked to do for entertainment.
Film critic Jeffrey Wells ha a website called Hollywood-elsewhere.com which is a great read. Currently it’s heavy on politics, and he can get down right cranky sometimes. Anyway, he was talking about how fear in Hollywood is ruining the business. He complained most of the powers that be don’t seem to have any love of film. They are operating from fear and that is why so many mainstream commercial movies suck.
I agree with someone who left a comment saying if you work in film and never get that goose bump feeling before a movie starts, perhaps you should do something else for a living. Several execs have told me they hated writers. Umm okay, why stay in Hollywood? There are other, easier ways to make money.
We will be seeing more comic book movies (there are a bunch in development) and more remakes coming out of Hollywood. I love comics as a child but enough already.
What genres are you sick of and what types of movies do you want to see more of?