Screenwriting Seminar: Know your ending before you begin

Terrel Seltzer Saturday, Feb. 21st, 10 am-4 pm;  San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members


“There’s a deep DNA structure for a good movie idea,” says screenwriter Terrel Seltzer. “Someone we care about wants something badly (Act One), and is having a terrible time getting it (Act Two).”  So what about Act Three?  “It’s the answer to the question:  Will they get it… or not?” says Terrel, “and it’s crucial.  A story’s ending needs to stick in the mind.  It pretty much determines whether the audience likes the movie or not.”   On script level, it’s also decisive. An otherwise great script will likely be passed on if it doesn’t end well.  Luckily — and regardless of the type of story you’re telling —  there are common elements in a successful third act.

“A screenwriter needs to know the ending of the story before they start writing,” says Terrel.  “Every word in your script is building to the climatic battle scene.”  In this seminar, we’ll analyze the structure of a compelling third act by using writing exercises that help clarify the question/answer nature of good, dramatic screenwriting, and by discussing and watching movie endings that worked, and some that didn’t.   Students can prepare by watching films from this list:  Good Will Hunting, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Thelma and Louise, Fatal Attraction, Million Dollar Baby, Lost in Translation, Diner, Rain Man, Road to Perdition.

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Beginnings & Endings for Poets-Delight and Wisdom!

elizabeth-perry-2Sunday, April 19th, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  San Francisco
$55 members/$65 non-members

This mini-workshop may well whet your appetite for more, in which case you may want to consider Julie Bruck’s 9-week “Fearless Poetry Workshop” on Thursday evenings in SF, or Alison Luterman’s “Magpie Poetry Workshop,” also on Thursday evenings, but in Berkeley.

Robert Frost famously wrote “a poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”  After you’ve drafted a poem, how do you find the true beginning–the place where the delight begins?  And how do you know when you’ve followed the poem to a wise ending?  In this workshop, we’ll examine a generous mix of how other poets have chosen beginnings and endings for their poems.  Then we’ll look at (and listen to) our own drafts, focusing on identifying the emotional starting point for the poem and how to craft an ending that enlarges the poem’s intention without sacrificing authenticity.  You’ll need a draft of a poem that you’ve been working on and a willingness to listen to your work and the work of others with an open mind. Read the rest of this entry »

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