Essential Screenplay Structure

About This Activity

What's in a hit movie?  How do you write one that sells?  Learn how successful film screenplays are structured.  Most well-known successful movies share the same structural foundation.  We'll examine great structure in a range of screenplays from commercial Hollywood movies to indie and art house films--and discover an unexpected similarity at the foundation.  Students will learn how to structure their own ideas by analyzing and experimenting with the structural choices from classic screenplays ranging from Chinatown and Social network to the 2012 Iranian Oscar Winner A Separation.  Selections from screenplays we discuss will be shown and analyzed with the scripts.  Students will begin with their own premise and learn how to write a "beat sheet," following the structural example common to the classic films we'll examine.  By the end of the workshop, students will have created a two page structure that can be the foundation for writing a successful feature-length film.

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