The Write Journey Outline
How Does The Online Course Work?
- Once we receive your registration form and deposit details you are ready to take the journey. You will have the choice of commencing at your own pace or work according to set deadlines.
- The course is done online, via email, offering a one-on-one interaction between yourself and your coach
- The course provides you with tolls, skills, information and useful information
- There are 12 steps (with sub-sections); each section consists of user-friendly and comprehensive notes that includes SELF TASKS (which you complete at your own time), and a TASK
- You will read through the notes which include Self Activities (for you to complete in your own space and at your own pace) and Tasks (for you to complete and forward via email).
- Once your coach has read through your task and there are no questions pertaining to the specific unit, you commence to the next step.
STEP ONE: Journey into who you are as a storyteller and storymaker
Let’s take a closer look at who you are as a writer and what you are writing, or want to write.
- Introduction and Overview: This is where you and your coach connect! You will complete a questionnaire that will give an overview of who you are as a writer, and what your goals are.
- The Write Fundamentals: If you want to be a writer, there are some basics you have to know from the outset, before start thinking about writing your masterwork.
- Explore Your Strengths And Weaknesses As A Writer: The 7 C’s that will help you to question who you are as a writer, and identify what you’re a master at, and some areas that need reflection.
STEP TWO: Being A Screenwriter
- Your Place In The Creative Universe: As a writer you have to not only understand the differences between the different mediums, but also know what medium you are capable of writing for, and what medium will showcase your story best.
- The Writing Process vs The Film Process: In order to get your story off the page and to the big screen, small screen, or stage, you need to see the bigger picture.
- Being A Screenwriter In South Africa: An up to date overview of the status of the South African Film Industry, showing that it has never been a better time to be a screenwriter in South Africa
- The World Of Film: You are sitting in a film theatre. Only when the action on the screen and the reaction in your mind are united as one, “film” is taking place. This ‘communication’ begins with the screenwriter who created the idea for the film, and uses film as the medium (the element that the artist uses to express ideas) for communicating and expressing the idea.
- The Visual Dynamics And Language Of Film: Film, like speech and writing, has a language. Writing, speech, and visual images all communicate within their own particular spheres.
- Evaluating And Analysing Film: If you want to become a master at seeing film, it is important to start seeing film outside your world view and from an objective point of view.
STEP THREE: What type of story do you want to write and who you are writing for?
- The Conventions Of Genre: Genre is word that often creeps into writing and can be easily misunderstood or misread. It is simply the category you choose to write, or the kind of story you want to write. Genre is a type of story that has a visceral appeal to its audience.
- The Write Audience: Just as a book is nothing but words until someone reads it, film is nothing but tiny pictures until someone sees it. Ultimately, it’s all about the audience, and it is your job as a screenwriter to satisfy audience expectations, to reward the audience for paying attention and taking a journey into your story, hopefully succumbing to its impact and seduced by the magic of storytelling.
- Thematic Purpose: The writing process is a search for meaning, a theme, what the story is really about, what gives it meaning and a purpose for being, besides making millions of dollars for stars and movie studios.
STEP FOUR: Developing the premise and concept of your idea
- The Million Dollar Idea: A great story begins with a great idea. What you are bringing to the world as a storyteller is your own, unique, individual and ‘original’ voice
- Premise: A screenplay is a blueprint, an element in the deal, a sales tool. What gets a screenplay through the gauntlet? A Great Premise. Every story needs a basic start: a premise.It’s the foundation for your idea. The premise defines what’s at stake? What the story is about?
- Conceptualising Your Idea: Having an idea or something to write about is not enough. Now that you have defined your Premise, it is time to conceptualise or dramatise your idea.
- The Write Title: Your title is a vital phase and decision in your screenplay. A catchy title will get people to listen to your story or read your script. A dull, confusing, or pretentious title will put people off.
- Research: Too many writers start writing and working on a screenplay with only a vague, half-baked idea in their heads. It works for about 30 pages, then it starts to fall apart. The writer is lost and does not know what to do next, or how to continue, and gets angry and frustrated, giving up the task at hand. Feed your talent. Talent must be stimulated by facts and ideas.
STEP FIVE: Identifying, Defining and Developing Your Characters
- Who Are The People Living In Your Story? All memorable and successful films have one thing in common.Not genre.Not budgets.Not even a good story.They all have memorable characters that have become part of our culture.Character is the essential foundation of the screenplay.It is the heart, soul and nervous system of your story.Before you put a word to paper, you must know character.
- Building Character: Now that you have defined your characters and opened a character bible, it is time to bring them to life. In order to fully understand who you are writing about, and making the most of the characters in your story, it is important to ensure that you really know who you are writing about and crawl under the skin of your characters.
- Breathing life into your characters: Tools to shape and define your characters.
- The Visual Dynamics Of Character: Film is a visual medium. You must find ways to reveal the character’s conflicts.You cannot reveal what you do not know.In a good screenplay you have to write your story as visually as possible so that the reader can see the story on the page. You have an incredibly colourful pallet you can use to bring your characters to life and reveal their motivation, conflict, desire, obstacles and emotions visually.
- Dialogue Carries The Drama: Dialogue is where the character’s goals come out; and characters’ goals, in conflict with each other, are what drive the story forward.
STEP SIX : Ordering Chaos
Let’s take a closer look at structure. At this stage there will be a traffic jam exploding in your head with all the overload of information you have to now organise into cohesive logic. This is where you use structure to make sense of your story, and create story logic.
- Structure Is Discipline : It’s where the right-brain subconscious and unconscious writing and thinking are whipped into order by the rigid, uncompromising left brain consciousness and logic. This is where idealism and realism clash head-on. The writer’s instinctive and rebellious creative nature is tamed and ordered so that chaos becomes organised and the story makes sense.
STEP SEVEN: Controlling Your Story Creatively
- Plotting What Happens: It is vital for the writer to maintain control over the story from page 1 until the final page and skilfully manipulate the emotions of the reader and eventually the target audience.The control will reveal a meticulously intricate plot that may seem simplistic on the surface, but is a cleverly and complicated web of set-ups and payoffs that ultimately result in a meaningful and rewarding experience.For most people, the terms story and plot are synonymous.People read a book or go to a movie and come away saying, ‘What a great story!’ But the reason the book or film is so affecting is generally because the story has a great plot, a rewarding line of dramatic action that has a meaningful resolution.
- Get Ready To Structure Your Story: 14 structural points to structure the internal and external lives of your story, so that theme, character and plot are united as one.
- Primary Plot, Secondary Plot and Subplots: Structure is not as straightforward as a Beginning, Middle, and End. Within the boundaries if the Beginning (Set-Up), Middle (Confrontation) and End (Resolution), the story will have an external and internal life, as well as subplots.
STEP EIGHT: Outlining Your Story
- Story Events: Before you start writing your story outline, it is important to familiarise yourself with story events.The ‘what happens’ in your story has to be broken down into story events, activities and actions that happen to your Protagonist in your story that ultimately reveal character and emotionally underscore the theme in your story. Once you have pulled your story into shape and looked at the whole, it is time to deconstruct and look at the parts that make up the whole.
- Writing A Story Outline: You have defined your premise, concept and theme, developed your characters. You have also deconstructed your story and have defined and explored the structural points. Now it’s time to write a story out line
STEP NINE: The Magical Card Outline
- Designing Your Story: The function of your story outline is to identify the story events. Now it’s time to dramatise each event, identify the line of dramatic action, the opening and closing story values, turning points, explore the conflict and motivational action of each character, and make sure that each event amplifies your thematic purpose.
STEP TEN: Writing The First Draft
- Stocking Your Screenwriter’s Toolbox: Every profession needs tools.You can’t build a house without the basic hammer and nails.You can’t trade stocks without a broker.Basketball players need hoops and a ball, skiers need skis and snow, artists need brushes and paint… you get the picture…So what tools does a screenwriter need in his or her toolbox?
- Six steps of writing the first draft: The first draft of your spec screenplay is not a final script (shooting script). You will probably write anything from 4 – 12 drafts and, once you submit your spec script (draft X) to a studio, it becomes a first draft.If you shortcut the process and rush straight to the screenplay from the outline, your first draft is not a screenplay; it’s a surrogate treatment.
STEP ELEVEN: Basic Formatting Rules and Guidelines
- Keep in mind that your audience is the reader of your script (not movie-goers) and that he/she is weary of reading scripts. Make sure that your format is in line with international standards.
STEP TWELVE: Take Ownership Of Your Story
- Protecting your work: Copyright: Caution is always a good idea in the entertainment business. Let’s take a closer look at how you can protect your intellectual property and maintain full ownership of your story.
- The Top Sheet: The Top Sheet is the most important document that you will write. It will ensure that you are clear about what you are writing about, clear all doubts about why you are writing what you are writing, have sufficient information to warrant a story, give those interested to develop your project a crisp, clear overview of what your story is about
- Are Your Ready? When you have completed your script after following The Write Journey wisely, your first temptation will be to get that script out there. But, before you do that, you need to look into the mirror and ask yourself this question, “Am I truly ready?”
- First Ten Pages: Once you have completed the first ten pages of your screenplay, you can submit it to The Writing Studio for FREE evaluation. You can also sign up for our The Write Draft course that will guide you through the steps of writing a successful draft. Once you have completed the screenplay you can submit it for Reading or Editing by The Writing Studio. Send us an email for more information