Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wanna Write for Hollywood? Don't go to College, watch Video Blogs!

For the two or three people that have followed me since the beginning of PhilAsify, you would know that I aspire to be a lot of things that I have yet to venture towards. One of those pipedreams is screenwriting. My passion to read as well as craft compelling stories led me to take a great interest in screenwriting while in college. I took a course on it and have read a few books that ignited my affection and respect towards this skilled art and made me feel that this may very well be my calling card. I still think it can. Looking back, I wish my study of screenwriting would have lasted more than a semester and that the class (though I'm not knocking my professor, Sam Havens, as he was a brilliant, funny and blunt teacher) would have been more extensive and hands on. 

Thankfully, there's no need for me whine about the wasted value of that expensive $2000 course because the internet age has allowed talented, proven screenwriters to share with those that dream of writing a blockbuster film their philAsify (hehe!) on how to properly assemble a narrative for the big screen. One of those brilliant men is John August. He's been credited with writing such films as Big Fish, Go, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Prince of Persia and Corpse Bride just to name a few so he knows his stuff! His blog is something I stumbled upon (using StumbleUpon no less!) and I made sure to bookmark and follow him right away. What stands out is that he not only writes about screenwriting. but conducts video blogs of him writing and editing scenes on the screen in REAL TIME. You basically follow him and get his thought process on-the-fly as he crafts scenes for unproduced movies. For a story nerd like myself, that is Awesome with a capital A (as you saw right there a few words ago).

The video below is of him rewriting a scene of a screenplay written by a young green screenwriter that had been working with a Sundance labs (a sort of workshop where young up-and-coming screenwriters submit their work to bigtime Hollywood writers that act as mentors to them). The video is a little lengthy at 18 minutes but to put it bluntly, those 18 minutes piss all over the course I took in college for a semester! (Sorry, Prof. Havens.)

If you are interested in seeing how a bigtime Hollywood writer can take scenes from good scripts and make them better, take a look.

Writing Better Dialogue from John August on Vimeo

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