Hello Writers All,

So you want to be a writer? Not just any old writer, but a really good one?

Desire and passion are the right stuff to help you build your stories.  But the number one thing you need to produce in order to become a paid scriptwritingsuccess, no matter how many drafts it takes, is a top-notch screenplay writing sample. Not just a mediocre draft, not the “I feel it could use some more work but hey I’m tuckered out” version.  I mean a really polished script.

Because that’s how you will get noticed in filmmaking or TV-making circles.

And it takes time and learning to become that accomplished.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to become a skilled scriptwriter more quickly.

Okay, okay yeah, here’s the part where I mention my website.  I offer screenwriting tips on my blog, and you can also read my book The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take to get insights on creating strong characters and building solid, audience-ready plots.

There are also many other excellent screenwriting blogs and YouTube channels to learn from. (Don’t miss the great YouTube channel “Film Courage”!)  As well, there are online libraries of produced screenplays available free for downloading.  Reading scores of professional scripts is critical to writing success.

And take advantage of The Story Solution’s partnership with Final Draft, the world’s most popular screenwriting software. My proven Hero Goal Sequences® Story Structure Paradigm is now available as a downloadable template included in Final Draft 10 (under “edu templates”).

Then too, you really should consider learning to create great scripts for film and TV in a classroom.  Yes, I’m a university professor myself so I am partial to classrooms.  But there’s more to it than that.

You might already have the passion and natural talent to be a writer, but attending film school can give you the necessary skills, tools, experience and contacts you need to become a bona fide screenwriter in a much shorter period of time.  Yes, it costs money.  But so do medical schools, business schools and law schools.  In so many ways film school can really pay off for the committed screenwriter.  Here are ten of the better reasons:

  1.       There Is A Right Way And A Wrong Way to Build Stories That Grip Audiences.

This architectural skill MUST be mastered and it’s nowhere near as easy as it looks.  There’s a structure through which visual storytelling communicates both consciously and unconsciously with an audience. You also need a great story idea, of course, and then you need to add characters, write believable dialogue, and create dramatic tension throughout your story to keep an audience glued to their chairs. Film school breaks down all these elements into core fundamentals that you practice daily with mentor-instructors who are themselves experienced professional writers and filmmakers.  There is no other professional experience in the world available for screenwriters that can hold a candle to this one.

  1. You Must Learn To Write With Clarity And Depth.

Making it look simple isn’t simple at all.  Very far from it.  In a film/screenwriting M.F.A. program you gain a huge advantage over your competition by learning and mastering all the concepts and tools in a screenwriter’s toolkit so you never have to waste time floundering in confusion, or being gripped by writer’s block.  When you get hired to write a script, the producer is not going to coddle you.  You need to be a knowledgeable pro right now – so you better be ready to rock. Remember, when getting launched as a screenwriter (or TV writer, or creative executive, or studio production executive, or independent producer, or director, or or or) the definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity.  What you learn in film school gives you the confidence to analyze dramatic material quickly, accurately, and to see in any script exactly what works, what doesn’t work, and how to fix it.  When opportunity arrives, you will be very, very ready.

  1.      You Can Grow Your Personal Network.

Every screenwriter needs industry contacts and friends in the business.  So…why not get to know all those other film school students sitting right beside you in class?  You work together and grow together and come trust each other’s opinions.  In film school you gain life-long friendships who share your passions and who understand that helping each other out is good for everybody.  After film school, writers also need a network of knowledgeable, insightful, trusted friends and mentors to react to material they write so that the work can continue to grow and improve.  You build relationships that become invaluable going forward.

  1. You Can Get Out of Jail.

Writers spend way too much time alone.  And the more isolated you are, the more self-isolating your temperament becomes, as well as less self-confident.  Film school puts you in the active thick of what you love to do.  In the old days, the 1920s Paris literati had the Les Deux Magots Cafe where Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir and James Joyce came to talk stories, share opinions and argue about their art.  And Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound had Gertrude Stein’s parlor soirees to discuss each other’s work.  In our current era, what a growing number of all the creative people in Hollywood have in common is film school.

 

  1. You Can Create More, and Better, Work Samples.

It is important to have a large polished portfolio of scripts and treatments in order to be taken seriously as a screenwriter by agents and producers.  Film school works with you to build your portfolio, teaches you to expand into various genres, and to have well thought-out, pitchable ideas at the ready for when that big break comes.

  1. Get the Straight Truth From Instructor-Professionals.

It’s nice when mom or dad tells you how great they think your writing is.  Maybe they’ll even take you out to dinner to celebrate your finishing that new script.  But unless mom is an established film producer, you most likely are not getting any knowledgeable, experience-based criticism. To become a better writer you need to hear the straight truth that only a circle of mentor professionals and insightful fellow students can provide. Film school puts you in the midst of people who share your passion for creating the best script you can write.  Knowledgeable criticism is essential for refining any screenplay.

  1. It Helps You Master The Rewriting Process.

Ever hear the writer Lin-Manuel Miranda talk about the work he put into creating “Hamilton,” the smash Broadway musical?  He spent years creating, writing, honing and revising – but it all paid off with a record run and 11 Tony Awards. This is what it takes to create a great Hollywood script, too. Film school gives you the motivation and environment to create and refine not only one but several scripts as you come to understand the essential process of rewriting.  And it shows you what you’re really capable of as a writer.  You come out the other side a changed, more confident and committed writer than you ever thought you could be.

  1.   You’ll Learn How The Industry Works.

Film school offers the advantage of getting students launched into the film and TV industries and teaching them how the business actually works, through internships at some of the most important Hollywood companies.  Most Master of Fine Arts graduate programs in screenwriting or film have top notch sponsored internship programs.  And some undergraduate film programs (such as the one at Cal State Northridge) have excellent internship connections as well.

  1. You Will Have Instructors Who Love To Teach.

Film school is a very unique environment.  All the instructors have already worked creatively in film and TV, and they truly love writing just like you do.  They enjoy being around eager students of all ages and backgrounds.  They love engaging in the back and forth of creative dialogue.  Respect is mutual, and enthusiasm abounds.  You learn from the best, and the relationships, experiences and knowledge acquired in film school will inevitably change you for the better and remain with you forever.  I have never heard anyone say they regretted going to film school.

  1. The M.F.A. Degree Qualifies You To Teach At Colleges And Universities Worldwide

Each year at Cal State Northridge, a number of our newly entering M.F.A. in Screenwriting students come to us already accomplished professional screen and TV writers.  They come to get that required M.F.A. degree in order to teach screenwriting and film at the university level.  These student-professionals wonderfully augment our program for ALL students, and each brings a whole career’s worth of experience with them.  Many mature professionals see the great value of a graduate degree in screenwriting/film because they now plan to transition into teaching at the university level.  On the other hand, I earned my two M.F.A.s at the very beginning of my career because I wanted to become a master at this craft, and I already knew, too, that someday I wanted to teach.  Sooner or later.  It works either way.

Yes, film school costs money.  Anything worthwhile does.  But shop around, because the price of a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting degree can vary a great deal.  One of the qualitatively best, and at the same time least expensive, M.F.A. programs can be found at California State University, Northridge.  Florida State has a top rated program, too.  As does Arizona.  Along with many others.  And there are scholarships, financial assistance and loans available.  I was paying off my American Film Institute loan for years after I got my degree there, but AFI kept the payments down and even during my struggling years it wasn’t that bad.  We got through okay.  And eventually with that M.F.A. degree on my wall, I became a tenured full-professor.  Frankly,  I wouldn’t trade my film school experiences for anything.

Have a happy autumn.. and write with fire!

Eric


p.s. Be sure to visit my website at http://www.thestorysolution.com to download complimentary film structure breakdowns for Back to the FutureBridesmaids, and Finding Nemo. 

About The Story Solution: Eric Edson’s The Story Solution provides concrete insights for those interested in writing a screenplay. Regarded as one of the best books on screenwritingThe Story Solution is currently #1 in its category on China Amazon. Visit the website at http://www.thestorysolution.com to download a complimentary book chapter and to see video and hear audio clips about creating characters. “Like” the Facebook page to receive tips on writing a movie script and scriptwriting.

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A convention, in the sense of a meeting, is a gathering of individuals who meet at an arranged place and time in order to discuss or engage in some common interest. The most common conventions are based upon industry, profession, and fandom. Trade conventions typically focus on a particular industry or industry segment, and feature keynote speakers, vendor displays, and other information and activities of interest to the event organizers and attendees. Professional conventions focus on issues of concern to the profession and advancements in the profession. Such conventions are generally organized by societies or communities dedicated to promotion of the topic of interest. Fan conventions usually feature displays, shows, and sales based on pop culture and guest celebrities. Science fiction conventions traditionally partake of the nature of both professional conventions and fan conventions, with the balance varying from one to another. Conventions also exist for various hobbies, such as gaming or model railroads.

Conventions are often planned and coordinated, often in exacting detail, by professional meeting and convention planners, either by staff of the convention’s hosting company or by outside specialists. Most large cities will have a convention center dedicated to hosting such events. The term MICE—meetings Incentives Conventions and Exhibitions—is widely used in Asia as a description of the industry. The Convention (“C”) is one of the most dynamic elements in the M.I.C.E. segment. The industry is generally regulated under the tourism sector.

In the technical sense, a convention is a meeting of delegates or representatives. The 1947 Newfoundland National Convention is a classic example of a state-sponsored political convention. More often, organizations made up of smaller units, chapters, or lodges, such as labor unions, honorary societies, and fraternities and sororities, meet as a whole in convention by sending delegates of the units to deliberate on the organization’s common issues. This also applies to a political convention, though in modern times the common issues are limited to selecting a party candidate or party chairman. In this technical sense, a congress, when it consists of representatives, is a convention. The British House of Commons is a convention, as are most other houses of a modern representative legislature. The National Convention or just “Convention” in France comprised the constitutional and legislative assembly which sat from September 20, 1792 to October 26, 1795. The governing bodies of religious groups may also be called conventions, such as the General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Many sovereign states have provisions for conventions besides their permanent legislature. The Constitution of the United States of America has a provision for the calling of a constitutional convention, whereby delegates of the states are summoned to a special meeting to amend or draft the constitution. This process has never occurred, save for the original drafting of the constitution, although it almost happened in several cases. The US Constitution also has provisions for constitutional amendments to be approved by state conventions of the people. This occurred to ratify the original constitution and to adopt the twenty-first amendment, which ended prohibition.

Con is a common abbreviation for convention, and some conventions (such as DEF CON and Gen Con) use it in their names.

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Entertainment Industry Association of Consultants and Educators (eiACE). 

Hello Writers All,

Consider this your personal invitation to participate in a series of live webinars with the newly formed Entertainment Industry Association of Consultants and Educators (eiACE). This is a non-profit organization, committed to elevating the art and craft of storytelling by bringing together the most highly-regarded, leading professionals in the field. They’ve designed this series of “TED”-style talks in a way which enables participants to Power Up their experience in the entertainment industry.

Hosted live at the Relativity School Studio in Los Angeles, each of the up-coming webinars will feature a group of our top industry educators. Choose one, choose all, for only $39 each using coupon code EIACEORG!

Not able to view the live webinar at its scheduled time? Don’t worry – the webinar recording will be available for you to stream at your convenience following the event.

Sign Up Here

All Very Best Wishes,

About The Story Solution: Eric Edson’s The Story Solution provides concrete insights for those interested in writing a screenplay. Regarded as one of the best books on screenwritingThe Story Solution is currently #1 in its category on China Amazon. Visit the website at http://www.thestorysolution.com to download a complimentary book chapter and to see video and hear audio clips about creating characters. “Like” the Facebook page to receive tips on writing a movie script and scriptwriting.

County Supervisor 2nd District Candidate Forum

The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and The Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region is holding a County Supervisors 2nd District Candidate Forum on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Bacara Resort and Spa in Goleta.

Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from incumbent 2nd District Supervisor, Janet Wolf, and Goleta City Councilmember and Supervisor Candidate Roger Aceves on their plans and priorities for the 2nd District.  Business related campaign issues will be the highlight of focus questions, and the candidates will be asked to compare their platforms to both Chambers’ policy priorities.  Moderating will be Peter Brown of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

Because this is such a big election on the South Coast, the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce strongly encourages residents and members of the business community to hear from both candidates, so as to make a more informed decision when voting.

The forum will be filmed by TV Santa Barbara and replayed on their community channel 71 and on their website www.tvsb.tv.

The fee for entrance is $25 per person and includes a continental breakfast.  Those wanting to attend should register online at www.GoletaValleyChamber.com, or by phone at (805) 967-2500.

About GoGoleta.com: GoGoleta.com is Goleta, California’s premier travel guide. It organizes all of the best Goleta restaurantsGoleta hotelsGoleta events and Goleta activities in one convenient location. Gogoleta.com brings all of the hottest Goleta, California happenings together in one convenient online location. Visit the website and Facebook page or call (805) 967-2500 for more travel information about Goleta CA.

Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend at the Bacara

Santa Barbara – With miles of rolling vineyards, dozens of farmers and fishermen, nationally-acclaimed artisans and trendy new restaurants, Santa Barbara County is growing into one of the nation’s top up-and-coming culinary destinations. But much about what makes this region so unique remains a well-kept secret; until now.

In partnership with Edible Santa Barbara and The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, Bacara Resort & Spa is pleased to introduce the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend at Bacara from June 6-8, 2014. Set within the luxurious surroundings of Bacara Resort, the three-day event will take guests on a culinary tour of Santa Barbara County from sea to Santa Ynez.

Highlights of the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend at Bacara include:

  • Santa Barbara sea urchin education by fisherwoman Stephanie Mutz followed by a cooking demonstration
  • Tribute to Santa Barbara County’s most talked about culinary neighborhoods, including The Funk Zone, Los Alamos and Arts District
  • Tour of Good Land Organics, the only farm in the continental United States to grow coffee as a commercial crop
  • Local wine reception and tastings by Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association and Santa Barbara’s only Master Sommelier Brian McClintic
  • Additional events, including cooking classes and educational seminars

At the heart of the weekend is a special tribute to Julia Child who spent her final years in Santa Barbara, a city she described as a “bit of heaven.” The weekend is inspired by Julia’s lifelong passion for learning, love of eating well and mission to further gastronomy. A portion of event proceeds will benefit The Julia Child Foundation.

“The Foundation is very proud of Julia’s and our connection to Santa Barbara.  We can’t think of a better way to honor Julia’s legacy than a weekend celebrating the food and wine bounty around Santa Barbara.  We are so pleased that Bacara has partnered with the Foundation to produce this most appetizing event.” – Todd Schulkin, Executive Director, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend ticket prices range from zero to $250. Bacara Resort is offering an overnight package that includes: two-night stay at Bacara Resort & Spa on June 6 and 7; two tickets to the opening night wine reception on June 6; two tickets to the Sunday neighborhood tasting on June 8, and valet parking. Prices start at $515 a night (normally $657 if purchased separately). Advanced reservations are recommended.

For tickets or more information, please visit www.BacaraCulinaryWeekend.com.

About Bacara Resort & Spa:
Bacara Resort & Spa opened in 2000 and quickly established itself as the premier Santa Barbara resort destination. The property features 354 guestrooms and suites, four restaurants and lounges, a four- story spa and wellness center, three oceanfront swimming pools, a 12,000-bottle Wine Cellar, the Foley Food & Wine Society Wine Tasting Room and 70,000 square feet of function space. Embodying the essence of the American Riviera lifestyle, Bacara is nestled on the bluff and beaches of the Gaviota coast, just 40 miles from the famed Santa Ynez Wine Country and five miles from the Santa Barbara Airport. For reservations or more information, please call (855) 817-9782 or visit www.bacararesort.com.

About The Julia Child Foundation

The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts was created by Julia in 1995 to continue to advance matters she valued. The Foundation’s mission is to honor and further Julia’s legacy, which centers on the importance of understanding where food comes from, what makes for good food, and the value of cooking.  Headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, the Foundation is a grant-making, non-profit which primarily funds research and scholarships for professional culinary training as well as other activities in the fields of gastronomy and the culinary arts. Through the organizations and programs it supports, the Foundation continues to foster Julia’s lifelong love of learning, her far-reaching impact as a teacher and mentor, and her passion for gastronomy and the culinary arts. For more information about the Foundation, please visit: www.juliachildfoundation.org.

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Contact:
Anne Stephany
Bacara Resort & Spa
805-571-3186
astephany@bacararesort.com