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Saturday, July 12, 2008

BlueCat Comes to London!

You must have been hiding under a rock if you don't already know that Gordy Hoffman and his excellent BlueCat Workshops are coming to London in August. What you may not know however is that I will be there too! I'll be at the weekend workshop on August 16th and 17th and can't wait - if you're going to be there as well, let me know.

For those of you who HAVE been hiding under rocks, here are the full details:

Bluecat London Workshops

Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street, Bloomsbury
London WC1E 7HX

Aug 12 - 17th, 2008

Gordy Hoffman, the award-winning writer/director (LOVE LIZA, A COAT OF SNOW), USC School of Cinematic Arts Adjunct Professor and founder of the BlueCat Screenplay Competition, will travel to the UK this August to lead a week of screenwriting workshops at the University of London.

The creative principles of the workshops were borne out of over a decade of experience of judging the only major script competition in the world helmed by a produced screenwriter, a writer who continues to write today.

The BlueCat workshops help the writer develop the authentic, original voice behind every story that impacts the emotions of the audience, the essence of all commercially and artistically successful films.

If you care passionately about your script and story, this week will provide the tools to transform your commitment and concern into a compelling film.

The BlueCat Screenwriting Weekend Workshop

09:00 – 17:00 on August 16-17 in room B35 Malet Street

The screenplay is creative writing. It is imagination in action, the heart of every experience of the writer speaking truthfully and generously.

Writing creatively for the screen has no method, no formula, no rigid worksheets to comply with or enforceable rules hanging on a wall somewhere. Every conformity or formula determined and “discovered” by the screenwriting establishment can be blown apart by some of our most beloved movies.

But what cannot be argued away is that every classic movie we love has affected us emotionally.

This is always true.

There are principles of authentic storytelling. Yes. But these are not learned, but remembered from our own experiences of living our lives. The ability to tell a story lies inside every human being.

These questions, among others, will be examined at length at the workshop:

* What makes for a robust idea for a feature length film? How should I consider this idea? Where do ideas come from? What is planning vs. imagination?
* What are the various approaches to the first draft? Does an outline hurt or help? What is the true value of research? Can I just start writing now?
* What is the tone of rewriting? What are the goals of revision? What are the tools of de-constructing your first draft? How many rewrites is healthy?
* How does dialogue affect my audience connection? When is dialogue not cinematic? How does dialogue improve?
* How does description hurt your ending? Does description help an audience care about characters?
* Do all characters have a genuine place in my story? Can I write about people I hate? Can I write about things I imagine and never do? Does that mean I’m not "writing what I know"?
* Who is qualified to give me feedback? Are some notes simply worthless? What does praise for my work do?
* When do I become a screenwriter? Can I make movies where I live? How do I find the real film industry and make relationships?
* Are there other reasons why I’m stuck? How do writers write on a daily basis? How do I trouble shoot when I'm drawing a blank? Why do I get bored?
* Why is pitching my movie important? Do I have to be good with pitching? When does a pitch work?
* What does the personal voice have to do with box office grosses? What is my audience and how smart can I be? How will the audience identify with my own life experience?

Writers will engage in writing and pitching exercises designed to flesh out new ideas or rework existing scripts. Please bring your laptops and/or paper and pen.

If each person is indeed unique, it follows simply that each writer is unlike any other and can write a story no one else on Earth can. This purpose is the mission of this workshop.

09:00 - 17:00 on August 16-17 in room B35 Malet Street
Cost: £150


The Ten Page Workshop

18:30 – 23:00 on August 12, 13, 14 in room 629 Malet Street

These workshops will consist of 5 writers each submitting ten pages of a work in progress in advance. We will go over each work individually, discussing the specific, unique challenges each writer is facing on the page. This discussion will include the technical aspects of description and dialogue, the depth and reality of the characters, and how the ten pages reflect where the entire story goes.

The intimate, focused interaction with fellow writers in the workshop will provide all with a greater understanding of the work that lies ahead on their screenplay, and more importantly, a detailed sense of how they might develop as writers themselves.

18:30 – 23:00 on August 12 in room 629 Malet Street

Cost: £125

Register here.
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Sounds great - I'm particularly interested in Gordy's thoughts on scene description and dialogue. Just a shame I can't make it to the Ten Page workshops too! If you go, make sure you tell everyone about it via your own blog, Shooting People or drop me an email and I'll publish your thoughts here.

ALSO: Check out Gordy's guest post on Robin Kelly's blog here.

2 comments:

Paul M said...

Well I hope you enjoy the workshop and get something from it. I'm in dire straits, so can't afford it!

Maybe you could take a recording device? :)

Lucy said...

I can always ask Gordy Paul - though now you come to mention it I only have an ancient old dictaphone from my days as a court reporter on a little provincial newspaper in the 90s! Maybe Bluecat will broadcast some soundbites on their own site though, I'll find out.