Visualizing vs Knowing Screenwriting

I recently listened in on Hal Croasmun class “21 Steps to a Professional Rewrite”.  Being a writer I am constantly seeking new ways to improve my writing.  I am currently not represented by anyone with no writing deals in the works with any major or minor studios so I can definitely stand to improve my writing and even my marketing skills.

I found out about Hal’s class the day it was happening and immediately signed up.  I have spent the better part of the last eleven years trying to improve my craft of writing I must say that a good portion of what was shared in his class was a rehash of things I already knew.  With that in mind, it was also things that I needed to hear again.  One of the biggest learns that I did get from that class is the value of being able to visualize your knowledge and not just keep it as  head knowledge.

If you have read any book on screenwriting or taken any class then I am sure you are aware of what an Inciting Incident is, Plot Point, Turning Point, Act 1 or Act 2 Curtain, etc.  No matter what the term that is being used you probably have the basic knowledge of the structure of a screenplay.  I had that knowledge and very poorly applied it to my scripts, then continued to receive notes that my stories were concept driven but had no story to go with it and my beats were very weak.

I then decided to return to my structure and see if it could help me solve my problems.  I then created a one page document that  broke a script up into twenty different sections and helped me remember what it was I knew about structure, all with the help of John Truby, Blake Snyder, Syd Field and Robert Mckee.  Unfortunately that is not the only element to screenwriting.

In this class with Hal I was reminded of the fundamentals of the story, and their order of importance.  While a lot of what he was saying I knew, I never applied it for a variety of reasons: forgot when I got lost in the story, applied the technique in the wrong order, or most likely was just too lazy.  What this class taught me was that sometimes we need to visualize our knowledge before we will actually start applying it.  My one sheet structure diagram is now my foundation for creating the beats of my stories, what I learned in Hal’s class on rewriting a script will likely now be my foundation for doing a rewrite to my scripts as well as help me in getting through my first draft.

He will be starting his Professional Level Screenwriting Class this coming weekend and the jury is still up on whether I will be taking it or not as I have other classes I am looking into.  Next weekend I will be doing a workshop with Corey Mandell about “How To Create Characters Readers Want To Spend Time With.”  I’m sure I will walk away with some great learns and hopefully will continue to achieve my goal of becoming a better screenwriter.