Visiting Artist Lab: Writing the Short Film

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| 3 credits
Course Type: Production
Professor: David Riker
This class meets See description in HN 544 / Black Box Theater
Full Course Description:

Workshop Dates

Part 1: 4 sessions: 9am – 1pm,  Thurs Sept 28, Fri Sept 29th,  Mon Oct 2nd, Tues Oct 3rd

Part 2: 4 sessions: 9am – 1pm, Tuesday, November 7 – Friday, November 10

Part 3: 3 sessions: 9am – 1pm, Wednesday December 13 – Friday, December 15

Workshop Description

It’s often said that every film is written three times — first on paper, then on set, and finally in the editing room. But while the editor begins with filmed scenes, and the director with a screenplay in hand, the writer alone begins with a blank page. An awesome — and sometimes frightening — starting point.

With a focus on writing a screenplay that can serve as a foundation for a short narrative film, this class will introduce students to the fundamentals of dramatic storytelling, guide them through the writing process from initial idea to completed shooting script, and culminate in a Writers’ Lab where students will workshop their stories in a supportive environment, and learn an often overlooked aspect of the craft — to become a good writer one must also learn to be a good reader.

The class will be organized in three separate parts, scheduled at the beginning, middle, and end of the term.

Part 1 will focus on Story Fundamentals, covering the essential elements of story with special attention given to cinematic storytelling and questions specific to the short form.

Parts 2 and 3 will be structured as a Writers’ Lab, applying what we’ve learned to the needs of each student’s work. Part 3 will also focus on transitioning from script to screen, with the goal that students can subsequently film the scripts they produce in the Lab.

Prior to the first class, each student will read an assigned feature length screenplay, and generate several story ideas for a short film. One of these will be chosen to develop over the course of the term — a first draft to be completed before the start of Part 2, and a second draft (a shooting script) before the start of Part 3.

Throughout the class we will screen and study a variety of successful short films — an art form in and of itself.

Permissions: Cleared after advisement with IMA Director and Program Coordinator.