“Most beginning screenwriters have trouble determining where the writing ends and the directing begins,” says Terrel Seltzer. “They “see” a scene in their head, but they don’t know how much detail to write down on paper, or leave out. They usually end up with a pretty cluttered script.”
Screenwriting is the craft of writing visually and succinctly. “It’s a very poetic form,” Terrel says, “much closer to writing a sonnet than a novel. And rules apply.” In this class, you’ll learn ways to think visually and then get the picture in your head down on paper. “We’ll analyze how a screenwriter breaks down a scene into pivotal beats, and then builds that scene with the interplay of description and dialogue. We’ll compare script pages to actual scenes in movies, and also use writing exercises to discuss ways to write vivid, concise description and dialogue.”
The goal of the class is to help the aspiring writer know what it means to see and hear visually, and then to capture that image on paper. “In a 100-page script, every single word counts. That’s the trick of good screenwriting: using every word to tell your picture.”
Terrel Seltzer is a self-taught screenwriter. She learned the craft by watching and outlining literally hundreds of movies. Her career started in the Bay Area, working with SF director Wayne Wang, for whom she wrote the screenplays for the independent films Chan is Missing and Dim Sum. Her two produced Hollywood screenplays are How I Got into College (with Lara Flynn Boyle and Anthony Edwards) and One Fine Day (with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Cloony). Currently, she has two scripts in development: Magick written for director Robert Zemeckis at Dreamworks, and Foolproof, a spec script recently optioned by Warner Brother Classics.