Monday, March 7, 2016

Intro to Screenwriting

Last Monday, I started an online two-week screenwriting class from an organization called FutureLearn, which apparently bundles online classes from a number of European universities. It’s free, it’s from the U. of East Anglia (home of the Fighting Anglicans?) and it’s at

I’m not necessarily looking to turn from fiction to screenwriting, or to make a big financial score, and certainly Hollywood doesn’t need me while it has another crazy old man from Cleveland, Joe Eszterhas. But I have been feeling a need to sharpen the saw, and I was attracted by the idea that screenwriting is an external form, that shows us what characters say and do, but not their thoughts and feelings. In other words, none of that interiority. The screenwriter must create action that implies the character’s inner life and makes it accessible to the viewer/reader.

So far the course has been pretty good. I would like more concrete examples. The course is strong on structure. Causal, character driven . . . I’ve heard of “Three Act Structure” for year’s but I’ve finally had it explained for me. The instructors propose leaving gaps which make the audience work, and I liken that to Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory, which I believe has great value.

One week to go.