Last month, I took a screenwriting workshop from Pilar Alessandra of On The Page, at the suggestion of high school chum, Laura House. Laura is a great writer and has great taste in people, so I felt good about my chances of learning something interesting. Remembering that frequent WWK contributor, and script guru Elspeth Grafton had also mentioned Pilar’s name made it that much more intriguing. So, I ended up in a classroom with mostly members of the local Screenwriter’s Association, hoping no one would sniff me out for the n00b phony I was.
We had been asked to come to class with an idea to build upon, and since Nicole and I have a bazillion finished manuscripts, I just picked one of those to play with. I think Pilar was a little horrified when I said “werewolves”, but at least I didn’t say “vampires,” right? Using her Coffee Break Screenwriter method, we spent the next couple of hours building a screenplay.
Listen, I learned more about crafting a tight, well-rounded story in that workshop, than I have ever learned in any other class. Afterward, I was talking with another author friend, Emily Reese, and told her I thought my whole process was revolutionized. I am decidedly not good at organized writing, and even worse at outlining, but what I learned in Pilar’s workshop really showed me a new way of doing things. I was impressed enough by it that I will point you back to Pilar’s website to buy the book or DVD, or sign up for a seminar yourself, rather than trying tell you what we did. If you are at all interested in writing screenplays or anything else, you will want to study Pilar’s methods.
I was thinking about all this when I ran across Inspire and Imagine, a blog decorated with some stunning photography. The particular article that caught my eye was about the author’s trip outside his comfort zone to attend a screenwriting workshop. I hope he finds Pilar!