Screenwriting Videos

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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For those who live outside the circle of regular writing seminar tour stops, screenwriting videos can be a good surrogate. Each year, dozens of screenwriting gurus hit the lecture circuit to ply their trade as script "doctors" who can ail sick screenplays and cure bad concepts. Those who live in or around major U.S. cities can usually buy tickets and attend these popular classes, but those in the hinterlands are sometimes not so lucky.

That's where screenwriting videos come in. While the contents obviously change depending on the instructor, most tapes teach the same basic principles of good structure, character development, and dialogue. Many work with well-known examples from popular culture--The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Pulp Fiction, etc.--to make strategies and tips for applicable to students.

Can Screenwriting Videos Actually Produce Better Writers?

There's no substitute for talent and hard work, but one aspect of the latter is having the discipline to master the basics. Here, screenwriting videos are especially helpful, for they draw on universally accepted truths about storytelling such as three-act structure and rising action. A natural grasp for storytelling is great, but if you hope to succeed as a Hollywood screenwriter, it's crucial that you know what other writers, filmmakers, and studio executives are talking about.

Screenwriting videos are helpful because they teach a common lexicon and address pervasive problems in most young students' scripts. Even seasoned pros can learn from the Syd Field course, Bob McKee's lectures, and other leading professors' work. Instead of waiting for one of these experts to stop in your city, you can now get the goods via video tape, CD, or DVD instead.

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