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Terrel Seltzer: Screenwriting, Webisodes & More

 I was in your Intro to Screenwriting class with Terrell Seltzer.  I wanted to provide some feedback.  I enjoyed the class very much. Terrell was so good and a wonderful teacher and resource. The six hours flew by. She is supportive, insightful, experienced and very intelligent. I could tell she was a good screenwriter.  I wanted to thank you for providing this opportunity to the community.  I really appreciate your school and what you are doing by bringing these talented people to come and teach.  Thank you for that!

And thanks again for having the Writing Salon. It’s a very special place!

Warm regards,
Carol

Hi,

Having just completed my second class with Terrell Seltzer, I wanted to take a moment and write some feedback on my experiences.

I hadn’t written a screenplay in almost twenty years when I decided to take Terrel’s introductory screenwriting class last fall. I came into the class with a lot of experience in writing prose, including several self-published novels, but my thinking cinematically skills had grown rusty.

The first time I presented some pages, I got a lot of great feedback from the class. But then, after class, Terrel pulled me aside and broke down everything I was doing wrong, techniques I was using that that work in fiction, but not in a screenplay. I can not express enough how helpful it was, like a month’s worth of instruction compressed into five minutes.

Teaching a class of students with such varying backgrounds and skill levels can be challenging, but Terrel handled it with aplomb. She did a great job of facilitating and keeping the discussion positive and focused.

The continuation class was also a wonderful experience. I was amazed at how serious and dedicated the participants were. Nearly everyone submitted pages to every class. Once again Terrel did an excellent job of facilitation and making sure everyone got a balanced amount of attention, no mean feat when there were 6-8 pieces to review every meeting.

After taking these two classes I have fifty pages of a screenplay I’m very happy with. I am really hoping there will be more continuation classes with Terrel. I check the website every day to see if one has been posted.

thanks,

chris

***

Hello Jane,

I’ve taken a number of screenwriting classes at film school, online, college, etc.  None of the instructors were successful screenwriters  and few were good teachers.  They discussed basic principles but provided little insight in how to use them in practice.  Then I took  Terrel Seltzer’s course and learned more from her than all the others put together.  As well as being a gifted teacher, she’s a talented screenwriter with a solid resume.  She has a genuine grasp of the basics and can discuss them with the clarity, depth, and insight of a person who has actually applied them successfully.  But she’s not a slave to these principles.  She’ll help you master them, but will also help you avoid letting them master you.

The course content is very practical.  Terrel uses real real scripts to illustrate the concepts being covered. She also shares “war stories” about the film industry, providing insights you simply can’t get from teachers who haven’t really been a part of that industry.   Most impressive of all, Terrel has an uncanny ability to understand what her students are trying to convey in their submitted script pages and, because she “gets it,” she’s able to offer suggestions that are consistent with the student’s aims.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Writing Salon has a unique asset in Terrel Seltzer– a real screenwriter, a real teacher, and a real pro.  I believe that anyone who attends Terrel’s course,actively participates in class, listens carefully, and does the assignments, will come away a much-improved screenwriter.

–Lou Barbarelli

***

Terrel Seltzer’s “Writing The Calling Card Script” was a wonderful class.

I was brand-new to screenwriting when I took this course, and I found the way Terrel set out the foundations along with first-rate handouts very effective. Her hard-earned writing experience, her brilliance in analyzing films, and her ability actually to get her scripts made into movies provided insight after living insight. Students who had done other screenwriting courses told me that Terrel’s class in particular helped them make headway with their own work.

I taught Shakespeare for many years, and I know dramatic structure. It is a big challenge to go from analyzing plays and enacting Shakespearean scenes with my Swarthmore students to writing a screenplay –very humbling and worthwhile. At the start of class and at our break we would talk about first-run films we had seen during the week (great fun) and it was clear that we were watching films with “new eyes” and vocabulary. One bonus of the class is that every film I see now (whether successful or a dog) is more enjoyable, enriched by this knowledge and active vision.

Terrel draws examples from first-rate scripts and films, adapted screenplays, and the business end of things. She would skillfully punctuate a topic with her own war stories if we asked her to speak of her experience. These were hilarious, poignant and cautionary. Most important, Terrel always managed to be encouraging. Although I had occasional moments of thinking “OK, that’s it, no one can survive this kind of world,” her enthusiasm and brilliance at opening up the many worlds of a film, what I would call her practical wizardry, was inspiring week after week.

Throughout Terrel was careful to be “low pressure.” You could take as much or as little advantage of the writing exercises as you wanted. I found these very helpful in moving my own writing forward. She offered invaluable analysis of student dialogue, scenes, and outlines. I continue to work with the advice and key questions she gave me in an early class, and I come back to her handouts again and again.

Terrel’s friendly, accessible, knowledgeable presence encouraged lively discussion and camaraderie. There was a feeling of support that developed among us. I looked forward all week to Sunday night. I wish it were still going on.

In fact I’m writing this note to you now to lobby for a follow-up “part two” screenwriting course taught by Terrel. While I enthusiastically recommend “Writing the Calling Card Script” to both new and experienced writers, there are many in our class last semester who would love to be able to keep going. A more advanced class with Terrel would fill the bill. We would continue to refine our working knowledge of films. And this venue would allow more time for critiques and work with each person’s projects.

Thank you so much for this excellent class and instructor.

Abbe Blum


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