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Writing a Successful Screenplay

2-Session Hands-On Weekend Workshop

Saturday, December 12, 2020 - 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0494
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Please Note: This program has rescheduled dates (originally March 21 & 22, 2020).

You’ve got a brilliant idea for a terrific film. Your next move is to master the steps in turning it into a reality on the screen. Spend a valuable weekend with Marc Lapadula, a screenwriting professor at Yale University, as he analyzes the key ingredients of a successful script.

Over two days, gain the practical foundation to develop your own cinematic narrative (regardless of genre) and learn how to create delineated, multidimensional, and memorable characters to tell that story. Lapadula covers the necessary screenwriting components of a professional script: plot construction, character development, creating cinematic dialogue, conflict, dramatic pacing, foreshadowing, the element of surprise, text and subtext, plot points, and visual storytelling.


DEC 12

9:30–10 a.m.  The Essentials of a Screenplay: Assessing Your Objectives

What level of dedication does it take and what’s in store for you if you commit yourself tp creating a professional-level screenplay?

10–11:15 a.m.  It’s All About Story

Learn to devise a logical narrative; the importance of tone for sustaining suspense or achieving comedy; how plot points create an exciting storyline; outlining the full narrative in advance; and what you need to know about the resolution that ends your story.

11:30 a.m.­–12:30 p.m.  Lunch (participants provide their own)

12:30­–1:30 p.m.  Character Matters

What makes characters truly memorable, compelling, and a lure for professional actors to desire to bring them to life? How can you delineate your characters from one another and create unique, captivating individuals on screen?

1:45–3 p.m.  Analyzing Great Screenwriting

Dig into a close analysis of a wide range of powerful, clever, and iconic scenes from classic films. Clips include I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, Citizen Kane, On the Waterfront, Rebel Without a Cause, Some Like It Hot, The Birdcage, The Graduate, Blade Runner, Lady Bird, and others.

DEC 13

9:30–10:30 a.m.  Creating Believable Dialogue

Examine strategies to develop, capture, and differentiate your characters’ distinctive voices.

10:45–11:45 a.m.  Putting It on the Page: Proper Screenplay Formatting

How your screenplay appears on the page is of paramount importance in having it taken seriously by agents, producers, directors, and actors. Learn the rules of professional screenplay formatting and the logic behind them.

11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.  Lunch (participants provide their own)

12:45–2 p.m.  Lessons from a Master

Take an in-depth look at how Joseph Stephano’s screenplay for Psycho provided Alfred Hitchcock with the foundation for one of Hollywood’s most iconic thrillers and how the film’s groundbreaking narrative structure revolutionized modern cinema.

2–3 p.m.  Marketing Your Screenplay

Your script is polished and ready to go. What happens next? Get an overview of the current marketplace in Hollywood and how to maneuver its obstacles as a screenwriter.

2 sessions

Other Connections

About the Presenter
Marc Lapadula
, a senior lecturer in film studies at Yale, previously taught screenwriting, playwriting, and film analysis courses at Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Graduate Film School at Columbia University.

His former students have written screenplays for films including (500) Days of Summer, Ocean’s 8, The Disaster Artist, The Hangover, 30 Minutes or Less, Olympus Has Fallen, Our Souls at Night, The Break-Up, The Spectacular Now, and Expendables 3. Others have created teleplays for series such as Family Guy, Law and Order: SVU, Scrubs, Channel Zero, The Agency, Hannibal, Believe, The Last Resort, and Benched. They also have produced award-winning films including La La Land, The Spectacular Now, The Disaster Artist, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and many others.