Seminars with US Guest Wendall Thomas

calendar EVENT: 23 MARCH 2010, AUCKLAND


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Script to Screen and the New Zealand Film Commission present three full-day seminars with renowned US script consultant, teacher and screenwriter Wendall Thomas.

23, 24 and 25 March, 9.30-4.30, The Jubilee Building, 545 Parnell Road, Auckland

Price: 1-day: $80 full / $50 concession, 2-day combo: $150 full / $85 concession, 3-day combo: $160 full / $100 concession.

Book now online

Understanding screenwriting concepts and how they apply to your screenplay can make the difference between it being read and being left at the bottom of the pile.

Wendall Thomas has been at the forefront of script development for two decades, working for companies including RKA, Disney, Universal, NBC and consulting on screenplays for the UK Film Council and Scottish Screen.

She is now returning to New Zealand presenting a series of seminars focusing on demystifying the Hollywood three-act-structure, character arc and the realities of pitching.

NB: In her seminars Wendall uses 30 films (with clips) as case studies including many New Zealand films. She also provides comprehensive hand outs so you can focus on the seminar without taking endless notes.

Book online now or you can call us on 09 360 5400 to make an alternative arrangement.

Seminar Outlines

23rd March – Hollywood Three Act Structure: Myth and Method

Three Act Structure is the core of the “Hollywood” movie.  In Los Angeles every agent and film executive is trained to recognize this structure and to pass on projects which lack its essential plot points.   So, any writer who is interested in submitting projects must be familiar with and master the form to compete in the market.

Although Three Act Structure can lead to formulaic films and is sometimes a cause for suspicion from international filmmakers, it has also contributed to the brilliance of Sunset Boulevard, Chinatown, Casablanca, The Verdict, Taxi Driver, Tootsie, Little Miss Sunshine and many non-linear and non-American films like Momento, Lantana, Babel and Slumdog Millionaire. It is more flexible and forgiving than you might think.

An understanding of this structure can help improve the drama, suspense and comedy of any script. In this seminar, we will demystify the structure and look at it as it functions in a variety of genres.

24th March – Transformation: Constructing a Character Arc

The first challenge of characterization in screenplays is to create unique, indelible characters.  The second challenge is to figure out what to do with them, once you have them.  How do you move that character through the script in a  believable way which will consistently engage the audience and embody your theme?

This seminar will focus on ways to create a believable and organic character arc which is connected fully both to the character and the structure of your script.     We will discuss the difference between a change in perception and a change in nature.   We will question the nature of the arc itself.  Should it be a steady trajectory, or a “one step forward, two steps back,” approach?  And we will look at the vital role of character decisions in both the overall characterization and the overall structure of your film — and discuss how to write them.

25th March – Pitching:  Practice and Practicality

As writers, we must pitch constantly, both formally and informally — not only to obtain funding,  but to get a meeting with a potential agent, to get a manager, director,  producer or actor to read our material, to go up for a job on a rewrite, adaptation or remake, etc.

Pitching is very different from the writing process.  It is performance, it’s about finding the best way to package and sell your idea/script and yourself as a writer/producer.  It’s about finding your unique selling voice and finding the clearest, simplest way to make other people understand the unique nature of your project.

This one day seminar will offer practical advice and workshopping in the art of pitching. It is designed to take your fully developed idea and work to condense and refine it into an irresistible log line, a five minute pitch and the kind of synopses and selling documents the successful funding application requires.

Price: 1-day: $80 full / $50 concession, 2-day combo: $150 full / $85 concession, 3-day combo: $160 full / $100 concession.

Book now online or call us on 09 360 5400 to make an alternative arrangement.