Some call it breaking a story. Others cracking a story. I prefer wrangling a story. Whatever you call it, you have to do it… figure out the story. What goes where. Who does what to whom. And for most writers, the ideal time to do that work is before you type FADE IN.
What we call prep-writing.
Of the many things that can go wrong with a screenplay, perhaps the most frequent contributor to a project’s crash-and-burn is the writer not spending enough time in prep wrangling their story.
Conversely if you do spend sufficient time in the prep-writing phase of the process, you significantly increase the chances you’ll not only finish your script, but produce a draft that will be much closer to realizing your goals.
When Tom Benedek and I launched Screenwriting Master Class two years ago, the very first class we offered was Prep: From Concept To Outline. We created the workshop precisely because we believe so strongly in the value of prep-writing combined with the fact there is nothing out there remotely close to the approach we had in mind.
Prep: From Concept To Outline is a 6-week online workshop in which you start with your basic idea and your story’s Protagonist, then through a series of weekly writing exercises, you develop and build your story’s structure. Not just the plot, but also what’s going on in the emotional and psychological world of your story universe.
Character work. Brainstorming. Plotting. Subplots. Connecting the dots. Mapping your narrative. In the end, you have a detailed outline providing you a foundation upon which you can craft a first draft.
What’s more, you can adopt this approach — and adapt it to your own unique skills — for every future writing project.
Tom will be leading the next session of Prep beginning January 21. So if you have a great idea for a movie and want to learn a professional approach to wrangle it, sign up now for Prep: From Concept To Outline.
We look forward to the opportunity to work with you!
For more on Tom Benedek’s 30 year career in Hollywood and experience as a teacher, go here.
Upcoming Screenwriting Master Class courses:
January 14: Pages I: The First Draft (Scott Myers)
January 21: Prep (Tom Benedek)
January 28: Introduction to Screenwriting (Tom Benedek)
January 28: Craft: Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling (Scott Myers)
February 4: TV: How to Write a One-Hour Spec Pilot (Tom Benedek)
February 11: Craft: Handling Exposition (Scott Myers)
February 18: Pages II: Rewriting Your Script (Tom Benedek)