On July 9th I attended a screenwriting seminar called “Your Screenplay Sucks” at the WHRO public television studio. Mr. Will Akers was the instructor. It was HIGHLY educational!
I know I will be referencing my notes from this seminar in the future but I wanted to share a couple of big takeaways:
- You DO NOT need to have your personal statement of “Why am I telling this story?” in your head when you start writing. In fact, you may be in the middle of your 300-page novel when it comes to you. In the meantime, just write and re-write.
- In novels, exposition is to be minimised and despised. Convert everything you can to dialogue. Dialogue is good. Meanwhile, in screenplays, dialogue is to be minimised and despised. Have only what is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for the story.
These two takeaways are not hard and fast rules that Mr. Akers taught. They are what I personally took away from the seminar based on what he said. I have spoken with other writers who disagree with #2. Feel free to give your opinion.
Okay, one bonus takeaway. The seminar inspired me to produce a movie. “Make a movie you can afford.” is what Mr. Akers said so I am going to make a 7 to 10 min short. I will post again as I work on the screenplay.