7

The Pearls Themselves

For years I taught screenwriting in the conventional manner, which is to make students write a feature script by starting with idea creation: What’s your premise?

Once they came up with one-sentence version of their ideas, which often took weeks, they would expand it to a three-sentence story, representing the three acts. This was followed by an ever-growing outline that eventually showed the sixty or so scenes that would make up their screenplays. And then they wrote.

But I no longer teach that way. Here’s why:

First, that method emphasizes structure above all. Now don’t get me wrong—structure is critically important. But there’s no point in building a frame if you have nothing to put in it. And that’s just what students ...

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