We're back for week two!
We’re back again with the Free Screenwriting Seminar: Week Two. My goal is to help you write a feature-length screenplay in 10 weeks. That’s about 1.42 pages a day. Can you handle that?
I bet you can.
This week we’re going to talk more about setting up the world, protagonists, and how pages 10-20 in your script will make a promise to the audience.
Let’s get going!
The Free Screenwriting Seminar Mission Statement
Most people access No Film School because they want to get free information about cameras, gear, and storytelling. We’re aware that the luxury of attending film school is not available to most of the world, so we do our best to keep you all up to date on what’s out there and how you can shoot and create with your utmost potential.
What’s at the root of all filmmaking? Storytelling.
How do you write the kind of protagonist that leaps off the page and drives a story forward?
Sure, it’s easy to pick out the main character of a story, but the protagonist is so much more than who’s on screen for most of the story. The protagonist is the embodiment of your story’s theme. The person the audience needs to latch onto, and frequently the reason for the story to happen.
So, how can you write a compelling protagonist?
Today we’re going to go over protagonists. We’ll learn the protagonist definition, protagonist personality, view protagonist examples, and check out some creative ways to make your protagonists pop off the page.
Alright, let’s get your protagonists from the page to the screen!
What’s A Protagonist?
The protagonist refers to the main character in your tv show or movie. It’s the person whose story we follow, and the audience’s window into the world.
The protagonist propels the story forward. Their actions have consequences, and those consequences deliver the stakes of the story at hand.
Most of our favorite movies also coincide with our favorite movie characters. But how many of us remember the way each of these characters is introduced?
Great character descriptions are a crucial part of any screenplay, and a meaningful way to get your leads to stick out.
How you introduce a character on the page will have a huge effect on how the reader experiences the script. It could be the difference between a sale or a pass.
Today we’re going to go over what makes some character introductions better than others, and how you can write the best character descriptions for your screenplay.
What is a Character Description?
When you first meet a character in a screenplay, a character description tells the reader how they should picture that person in their mind.
What are they wearing?
Where are they going?
How do they carry themselves?
And what’s happening in the scene?
The first time I saw the Larry Sanders Show I was in college and it blew my mind. The jokes came so quickly, the self-deprecation was so harsh, and everything felt so nuanced that it was impossible to turn it off.
I quickly became a huge Shandling fan, so it was shocking to hear he passed away in 2016, at the age of only 66.
After Shandling passed, Judd Apatow began creating a two-part documentary on Shandling’s life. It was full of buddhism, jokes, and one surprising thing...
....A weekly basketball game...
It turns out that for the better part of thirty years, Shandling held a pick-up basketball game with his friends every Sunday.
Comedians like Sarah Silverman, David Duchovny, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay were regular attendees.
Recently, ESPN did a story on the game, and the quotes about play are amazing!
You've thought about writing a screenplay and we're here to make it happen.
Many people come to No Film School because they want to get information about cameras, gear, and storytelling. We’re aware that the luxury of attending film school is not available to most of the world, so we do our best to keep you all up to date on what’s out there and how you can shoot and create with your utmost potential.
But what’s at the root of all filmmaking?
And before you can start telling the story on the screen you need to tell it on the page.
So over the next ten weeks, I’m going to give a free screenwriting seminar.
You're going to learn ALL the fundamentals of screenwriting, we'll coach you through ten-page sprints, and answer your questions about how your story can move forward in the comments section below each week.
We’re going to release one lesson every Friday, so if you’re joining late, take this link back to week one. That link won’t exist if you’re ready week one. We’re cool.
Given how many scripts there are out there, how do people decide which ones to read? Script coverage.
There’s nothing more satisfying than typing “Fade Out,” but how do you know if your script is any good?
Each year thousands of people turn to script coverage services to get read. Who reads them? What are they looking for? Welcome to understanding script coverage.
Today we’re going to learn how to write script coverage, we'll grab a script coverage template, plus get some tips as to how you can entertain the person doing your script coverage.
Let’s fade in on this topic.
What is Script Coverage?
Script coverage is an assignment given to script readers. Coverage is a document they prepare that summarizes your screenplay and gives the company advice on how to proceed with it. Script coverage is standard all over Hollywood. Agencies, management companies, production companies, and contests all use script coverage.
How many Rocky
movies are there? And which is the best? We find out...
Are you ready to go twelve rounds ranking the Rocky movies? I know what you’re thinking, how can we possibly rank the Rocky movies?
Each one offers such a fun experience, a unique rocky opponent, even different rocky trainers!
But we’re going to the mat on this official Rocky ranking, and if you want to dispute it? Take it to the comments.
Let’s trade punches!
Ranking The Rocky
In order to rank the Rocky movies, I went over what I loved about each, and how they informed me as a screenwriter. I tried to also evaluate them for how much I cheered at the ending, and on rewatchability.
So, without further ado, let’s rank the Rocky movies...
8. Rocky V
Rocky V is most remembered for the street fight at the end. And that’s sad because it has so much more to offer.
The idea of writing an entire screenplay can be daunting, but if you break it into pieces, it can be easier to picture in your mind and on the paper.
That’s where three act structure comes into play. Most movies made today are based off three-act screenplays. And the three-act structure has its roots in performances of old. Why does everyone use it?
Because it works. It's time-tested. And best of all?
It's easy to master.
Today we’ll take a look at three-act structure and go over what to expect from act one, act two, and act three. We’ll also give examples of AND provide a checklist for each act so you can tell if your story is on track.
Okay, let’s fade in...
What Is Three Act Structure?
The definition of three-act structure is a narrative model that divides a plot up into three sections.
Makes total sense.
These sections represent rising and falling action. They’re commonly referred to as the setup, confrontation, and resolution.
Get in the ring with us while we spar with one of the greatest scripts of all time to figure out what makes it tick.
Where were you the first time you heard the Rocky theme song?
I was on the floor of my basement. It was family movie night, and I was about to have my mind blown.
With Creed II coming out soon, we thought it was a great time to return to the classic film, and analyze the story beats using our STORY MAP.
We’ll dissect the scenes that make us cheer, endear us to the characters, and a few of the ones that maybe don’t hold up so great.
So without further ado...Let’s talk about Rocky!
So, What’s A Story Map?
When I think about screenplays, I think about all the beats you hit to take your audience from the opening scene to the closing credits.
Sure, some people swear by Blake Snyder, but I prefer to think of the screenplay more as a map than as certain building blocks.
Remember the name Ingmar Bergman.
I know this is No Film School, but a bunch of us have gone to film school, or, at least, have been reading film blogs for the better part of a decade. And in those years, it’s impossible to have lived your life without someone bringing up The Seventh Seal.
The movie is so ubiquitous amongst the filmmaking community that even The Simpsons have riffed on it.
Now, the genius behind The Seventh Seal, and many other incredibly important classical films, is getting the documentary treatment. Searching for Ingmar Bergman is a documentary directed by Margarethe von Trotta.
In a recent editorial in Movie Maker magazine, von Trotta describes how Bergman drew her to film, and why she made this documentary now.