A week from today, “The Quest” begins [for background, go here]. What that means has evolved in the 7 weeks since I launched the initiative.
What I intended was to create an opportunity for four writers to participate — for free — in a 24-week intensive screenwriting workshop I offer through Screenwriting Master Class [you can read about The Quest here]. Literally thousands of entries and loglines later, I am just now working my way through phone calls with all of the finalists. I will be sending out notifications about what I’ve decided no later than Thursday. I will announce the names of the participants in the inaugural edition of “Go Into The Story: The Quest” on Friday.
Here’s how things have changed.
First I may increase the number of participants to five, maybe even six. That depends upon several factors, but the main thing is to extend this opportunity to as many qualified writers as possible while creating the best possible group for a workshop environment.
In addition, it is likely I will take on at least one and maybe more in a private version of The Quest, also for free. Why? Again several reasons which I will explain on Friday, but the main thing is this: This process has surfaced some terrific people from all around the world. Talented, passionate about writing, deep love for movies, great personalities, and working with a strong story concept. Depending if I choose to take my life-schedule from pretty insane to totally insane, I may expand into some private versions of The Quest with members of this inaugural group.
In fact, I will be exploring other ways I may support the creative efforts of those who do not get selected for “The Quest”. As I have been telling this group in our teleconferences, this is the beginning of an ongoing conversation, irrespective of what plays out regarding “The Quest.”
So “Go Into The Story: The Quest” has evolved and likely will continue to do so through the end of the year.
However the biggest possibility to emerge during this process has been something that the GITS community inspired: Go On Your Own Quest [GOYOQ], the opportunity for anybody to use the structure of “The Quest” to explore screenwriting theory, prep an original story, then write the first draft of a script, all in the same 24-week time-frame.
Which means that starting next Monday, you can begin your own version of “The Quest”!
I will announce more details about that this week, but let’s start here. Every day at 6PM Eastern / 3PM Pacific [U.S.], I will post Countdown to “The Quest”. Here are the subjects of those posts:
Day 7 [July 9]: Overview
Day 6 [July 10]: Story Ideas
Day 5 [July 11]: Screenwriting Theory
Day 4 [July 12]: Screenwriting Practice
Day 3 [July 13]: What are my strengths as a writer?
Day 2 [July 14]: What are my weaknesses as a writer?
Day 1 [July 15]: What are my “Quest” goals?
In effect, what I envision with this series is a chance for you to prepare yourself to Go On Your Own Quest. The first eight weeks, we will focus on eight essential screenwriting principles, mirroring the content of what the participants in “The Quest” will be learning. The content I present publicly won’t be nearly as in-depth as that in “The Quest” proper, but the subjects and some of the ideas will be the same. What I’m hoping is that each week as we work through these eight subject areas — Plot, Concept, Character, Style, Dialogue, Scene, Theme, Time — the GITS community will engage in a wide-ranging conversation that will deepen and perhaps even change your understanding of screenwriting theory.
During this phase, I will be challenging you to do two things: (1) Generate story concepts with the goal of coming up with a killer idea for you to write as you Go On Your Own Quest. You may think you have a good idea now. Fine. Use these next eight weeks to come up with a better one. (2) Read scripts and watch movies that are similar but different to the story you want to write. This is not only about research, it’s also about priming your creative juices and centering your energy in that specific story area.
Here is the schedule for the first eight weeks of Go On Your Own Quest:
July 16-22: Plot
July 23-29: Concept
July 30-August 5: Character
August 6-August 12: Style
August 13-August 19: Dialogue
August 20-August 26: Scene
August 27-September 2: Theme
September 3-September 9: Time
Then on September 10, you can move into the next phase of Go On Your Own Quest, where you spend six weeks prepping your story.
And on October 22, you can type FADE IN, then over a ten week period write your first draft.
For the Prep and Pages part of the process, I am working to create public message boards here on GITS where you can discuss how things are going with other GOYOQ participants. I am also exploring private forums where people can post pages for peer review. More on that soon.
What does all this mean? Simply this: You have a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the craft of screenwriting and use that knowledge to write a new script, all with the support and involvement of participants from within the GITS community. And of course, I’ll be hanging around as well to chime in with my thoughts and observations as well.
How does that sound?
Onward and upward!