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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Higher Learnin'

Well, I got me a new haircut!

It's pretty sweet. It's like... hair... but shorter and stylish... and stuff.


But not as exciting as this:

In the effort to keep myself on the ol' learning treadmill I've signed up for a cool little program from Raindance Canada called the 'Writer's Foundation Certificate'.

Now, I know what you're thinking: 'certificate'?

And yes, I love pretty pieces of paper as much as the next guy -- but the thing that's cool about this program is that it's being run by one Mr. Ken Chubb.

Mr. Chubb is a story editor. A very well-known, and from what I've heard, a very well-respected one at that.

In essence, I was pretty much told 'you must do this course' by a very nice and thoughtful friend who is of the 'currently-working-writer' variety.

If you've never heard of Mr. Chubb before, he worked closely with Karen Walton on a little movie (*cough* one of my favourite werewolf flicks of all time *cough*) Ginger Snaps.

If you haven't seen 'Ginger Snaps' then you should go and watch it.

Unless you're easily scared or wigged out. 'Cause then, yeah, probably not your cup of tea.

Long story short: I'm going off to try and learn something new about storytelling and the craft of writing a badass script.

I'm not entirely sure what to expect, but I'm definitely interested in honing my skills to a surgical edge.

Needless to say it looks like it's going to be a packed month -- It's once a week, every Wednesday from March 3rd to March 24th.

Here's the itinerary:

Part 1 of 5 - The Story
Wednesday, March 3rd
It is important to understand how to break down your story and how to develop it into something an audience will want to see. What really happens in your story? Finding the central character. What kind of story is it?
- What makes a good story
- How to make your story idea compelling
- Research and backstory
- Copyright and how to protect your ideas

Part 2 of 5 – Compelling Characters
Wednesday, March 10th
By understanding each character you will be able to develop your story. The central character must be complex and unique. Other characters must be memorable and provocative.
- How to create compelling characters that stay with the audience
- Character sketches, traits and other tools
- Empathy and emotion
- Secondary characters that challenge

Part 3 of 5 – Building Your Story
Wednesday, March 17th
How to build on a great story or scene. How to give texture to the story. This may be the difference between whether you will elicit emotion and engagement in your audience or not. Creating atmosphere, tone and rhythm.
- Scene writing and developing story structure
- Writing sub-text, crisis and climax
- How to create a page turner
- Suspense and other dramatic tools

Part 4 of 5 - Writing Compelling Dialogue
Wednesday, March 24th
How to read a script. The importance of proper formatting. Why is comedy important and how can you find it?
- The knack of writing good dialogue
- Show don’t tell
- Revealing and developing character through dialogue
- Honing and mixing effective dialogue

Part 5 of 5 - Pitching Skills Workshop
Wednesday, March 31st
Pitching is one of the most essential skills needed for a successful career in the film industry. It is also one of the least considered by new entrants to the industry.
- The one page synopsis and the five page outline
- What the goals of a pitch meeting should be
- Finding your hook_
- Pitching tools explained

If you're interested in signing up and checking it out with me you can sign up here. It'll set you back about $200... which, well, is pretty cheap as far as these things go.

And no, I'm not getting paid to do this or seeing any money from promoting it -- just figured that anything I'm being nudged toward is worth sharing with my fellow writerly types.

Anyways, I'll be posting more about the program over the month of March, so feel free to check back and see what I'm learning and how it's going.

Should be good times!

Also: A quick shout out to the cool-as-all-hell CFC PrimeTime TV folk who're having their screening/post-class party tonight. Can't wait to see what you've all put together!


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