Over the past ten years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work closely with some of the smartest and most successful directors, producers and writers in the business. I’ve seen firsthand how they think about, create and revise stories. And none of them use the approaches and methods taught in the screenwriting books and seminars. In fact, their approaches often fly directly in the face of conventional wisdom found in such sources.
Which is why, when I bring in agents, managers or producers to speak at my UCLA classes, they always say that they can spot a script written to one of the popular structure formulas a mile away and that these scripts never succeed. Writers who use a “this must happen by this page” approach almost always run into the following problems:
Their scripts read a lot like all the other scripts following the same rules and formulas and probably have little to no chance to stand out.
Their scripts are predictable since the reader knows what specific plot points are going to happen on what specific page.
Their scripts are populated by less-than-compelling characters that feel like puppets forced to say and do things in order to serve pre-ordained plot points.
Even worse, writers following these formulas tend to destroy what’s original and unique—and hence interesting—about their scripts by forcing them to conform to a set of one-size-fits-all, paint-by-the-numbers rules that hold little real value.
In order to have the best possible chance at success, writers need to develop tools and approaches to create flexible, non-formulaic structure designed to support and enhance, instead of destroy, what is unique and original about their stories, characters and writing.
ORGANIC STORY STRUCTURE WORKSHOP
This eight-week intensive workshop is for writers wishing to move beyond rigid cookie-cutter formulas and paradigms to a deeper understanding of how to create professionally-crafted, personalized stories capable of having maximum emotional impact. Participants will learn the tools of sequence writing, compelling questions, heart of darkness, story design and bisociation, and for tying them all together through layering into true organic story structure.
Additionally, the workshop teaches the foundational tools required for creative integration, allowing writers to develop a process for creating both their strongest possible stories and characters.
$595. Participants may pay by check or credit card.
The Organic Screenwriting Workshop is offered online using multi-video conference technology allowing participants to see and hear each other in real time. Writers have attended this workshop from across the US, Europe, Australia, Canada and South Africa.
For writers living in Los Angeles, the Organic Screenwriting Workshop is offered at The Writers Junction, located at 1001 Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica.
Students must have successfully completed the Advanced Screenwriting and Television Writing Workshop to attend. If you wish to enroll or have questions, please contact Kathryn Stanley at [email protected].
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Corey Mandell is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has written projects for Ridley Scott, Wolfgang Petersen, Harrison Ford, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, John Travolta, Warner Brothers, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Family, Working Title, Paramount, Live Planet, Beacon Films, Touchstone, Trilogy, Radiant, Kopelson Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures.
Corey’s students have gone on to sell or option scripts to Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Fox, MGM, Disney, Universal, Showtime, FX, USA Network, NBC, HBO, MTV and AMC. Others have been staffed on such as Community, The Fosters, Bones, Justified, Young and Hungry, Playing House, The Mentalist, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, Up All Night, State of Affairs, Rosewood and Treme.