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How to Write Based on a True Story

At a Glance

  • This instructor led course helps screenwriters to develop a story based on true events
  • Learn how to write a compelling true story that your readers won't want to put down
  • Unlock the exciting true story and avoid trapping your story in your research

We also offer a live, instructor-led online course.

To find the best ‘story’ within a ‘true story,’ we need to start with a clear understanding of what makes for a viable screenplay idea. There are MANY stories within every true story, and the thrill and challenge of writing based on a true story is to select the one that will make the most compelling screenplay.

In this workshop, you will learn how to USE ‘history’ to make ‘story.’ Audiences and industry professionals view the “reality”behind the story as an element of intrigue, or selling point, but the screenwriter’s skills need to be up to snuff. In this workshop, you will go through the step by step process of building your screenplay from the foundation of a true story.

This workshop is offered in two formats. The budget-friendly On Demand option (which is for sale here) gives you the option to work on the same great workshop materials as the Online option, only without instructor feedback. You'll immediately receive our comprehensive course in PDF format, which provides instructions and exercises on specific skills you will need to succeed as a screenwriter. You can purchase the On Demand option here. To get the Online option with instructor feedback and online discussions with other students, please click here.

In this course you will learn:

  •  Step by step how to adapt a true story into a hit screenplay
  • Why true story adaptations make hot sellers
  • The creative process of taking a true story to the screen
  • Write log lines that will get executives to read your script

Course Outline

Session One:

  • ‘History’ does not mean ‘Story’
  • How to find the story within a real event
  • Types of stories that make hit screenplays

Session Two:

  • Key elements of a viable story
  • Build ‘life-changingly’ big challenges
  • Write focused scenes
  • Creating challenges for your protagonist
  • Writing protagonists that hook readers

Session Three:

  • Uses for log lines
  • How to write a compelling log line
  • Common problems with log lines

Session Four:

  • Uses for beat sheets
  • From true story to beat sheet
  • How to write an effective beat sheet that does the ‘heavy lifting’ of the writing process
  • The structure of a hit screenplay

Session Five:

  • Expanding a beat sheet
  • Advanced uses for beat sheets
  • Pulling in subtext and B-stories from true stories

Session Six:

  • Polishing a beat sheet
  • Building and expanding themes
  • Moving forward from a beat sheet

Product Details

Return Policy

Your satisfaction is our top priority. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, please return the item(s) for an exchange or refund within 30 days from the purchase date, unless otherwise noted on the product page.

Ship the item(s) to The Writers Store via a traceable and insured method. You will be responsible for return shipping fees.

Please include a completed Return Form with your shipment. Refunds take up to one week to process once we have received the item(s).

Software returns must be deactivated and uninstalled from your computer before a refund may be issued. Please contact the software manufacturer if you need assistance uninstalling or deactivating your software.

The following items are not returnable: Hollywood Creative Directories, DVDs (opened), and Gift Certificates.

$140.00