Take your script to the next level

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Writing is rewriting. A script is only ready to shoot, or be shown to agents, after you’ve fully realized its potential. Explore the dynamics of revision and get a solid assessment of your script’s strengths and weaknesses. Leave with a game plan for how to make your script all that it can be.

The week will give you fresh eyes to see your script anew.  Critique and discussion will help you assess and rethink aspects of story, structure, and character development.  

We’ll examine clarity issues, how to make sure that character needs are driving the story beats, point-of-view, the art of making exposition invisible, ways to amplify the theme, where dialogue is effectively natural and where it’s on-the-nose, and the power of showing vs. telling.

We’ll also consider:
Is the story starting where it should?  Often early drafts of a screenplay don’t hook the audience fast enough because the writer has entered the story too early and the conflict is not sufficiently engaging – yet.  

What can be cut or trimmed?  Through eliminating static stretches, you’ll create space to further develop the characters, arcs, and threads that are most interesting to you and the audience.

Are we moving toward the character’s ultimate goal with sufficient momentum and an interesting and escalating ladder of obstacles?

Does the script come to life when one character is on screen, but go flat when another one appears?   The process will reveal which characters actually interest you and how to add engaging dimensions to those who don’t.

You’ll rewrite scenes to elevate their dramatic core and amplify character development.  Where appropriate, you’ll outline a new structural approach.  You will emerge from the week with a battle plan to take your script to the next level.

Image Credit:  Devin Altobello

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Instructor: Lara Shapiro

Lara Shapiro is a writer and director in film and TV. Her work as a writer includes the FX drama THE AMERICANS and the Epix spy drama BERLIN STATION. She is currently writing IMPULSE, a new series for UCP, Hypnotic and YouTube Premium. Her work as a director includes an episode of the USA drama ROYAL PAINS, the feature film LABOR PAINS (which she also co-wrote), and numerous commercial campaigns including Verizon, Prudential and L’Oréal. Her narrative short films were shown at the Sundance and New York Film Festivals, she was a fellow at the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab, and she received a Sloan Foundation Filmmakers Award to write the drama TALKING BOOK. She received her MFA in filmmaking from Columbia University.