Ten Weeks to Your Feature Film

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The world of the feature film is booming and you are gushing with ideas. This workshop will give you the tools to get the ideas out of your head and into a completed screenplay by introducing you to the methods that professional screenwriters use to write under deadlines.

If you have been sitting on an idea for a feature film, this is your chance to complete a draft of your screenplay in just ten weeks, with expert feedback at every step. Whether you have finished a dozen screenplays or are working on your first, this workshop will give you what you need to get you writing and keep you on track to finish your script. Don’t waste your time with wrong turns that could eat up weeks or months. The expert guidance offered in this course will help you see the big picture of your story even while you are deep in the trenches of writing. By the end of this workshop, you will have a first draft of a feature length screenplay.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to develop a strong premise that helps you define story arc and beats
  • How to exploit genre to find well-worn paths — while still surprising your audience
  • How to write a simple treatment that’ll keep you on track throughout your journey
  • How to have a clear Outer Desire and Inner Desire for your Protagonist
  • How to make sure each new scene builds upon the last
  • How to avoid the dreaded ‘Act Two slump’
  • How to mine Act One for a more satisfying Act Three

Session One: The Idea Becomes the Treatment

  • Introduction to the course
  • What’s your genre? Use it (or lose it)!
  • There are no bad ideas…just bad executions (The Seven Basic Plots)
  • The fascinating Protagonist: Inner VS Outer Desire
  • The perfect logline
  • The five-paragraph treatment

Session Two: Writing Act One

  • The first ten pages: the Ordinary World to the Inciting Incident
  • How do Setting and Mood help you expand and deepen your scenes?
  • Do you need Campbell’s ‘Refusal’? Or ‘the Mentor’? Are there substitutes?
  • What is a true Turning Point? (Or, have you arrived at the end of Act One yet?)

Session Three: Writing Act Two, Part One

  • Once the Protagonist has crossed the threshold, the planning begins!
  • But you know what they say about ‘the best laid plans…’ (Complications ensue.)
  • What is a true Midpoint? How do you know you’ve reached it?
  • A quick look back: breaking down a script into ‘ten’ and then ‘ten’ and then…

Session Four: Writing Act Two, Part Two

  • The Enemy doubles down! The Protagonist pushes on!
  • Now there’s even more to lose! (Or, back to Act One for Act Two’s sake)
  • Right about the end of the second middle (!)…a Major Setback!
  • The Greeks and their Orthodox World View might come in handy about now…

Session Five: Writing Act Three

  • You’re almost there….so why is your Protagonist so exhausted? (Piling it on.)
  • Twists and turns: Can an Antagonist become a Friend? Or a Friend an Antagonist?
  • The Climax
  • The Aftermath (this is more essential than you think!)

Session Six: Re-reading, Rewriting, Foreshadowing

  • Script versus Treatment
  • Killing your darlings (good lines that don’t work)
  • Seeding Act One. Seeding Act Two (Payoffs)
  • Minor characters want a life too!
  • Inside versus Outside

Paul Peditto

Paul Peditto is an award-winning screenwriter and director. His low-budget film Jane Doe starring Calista Flockhart won Best Feature at the New York Independent Film & Video Festival. Six of his screenplays have been optioned including Crossroaders to Haft Entertainment (Emma, Dead Poets Society). He recently wrote and produced the micro-budget feature Chat, currently being distributed by SG Global Media.

Over the past decade, Mr. Peditto has consulted with over 1,000 screenwriting students around the world. He has been Featured Speaker at Chicago Screenwriters Network, Meetup.com, and Chicago Filmmakers. He has appeared on National Public Radio and WGN radio, and reviewed in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, L.A. Times, and the New York Times.

Peditto is an adjunct professor of screenwriting at Columbia College. Under his guidance his students have written and produced films that have appeared in major film festivals, have semifinal placings at Nicholl Fellowship, and have won awards and screened at film festivals around the country. His new book, The D.I.Y. Filmmaker will be available through Self-Counsel Press early in 2015

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