Introduction to Playwriting
At a Glance
There are few feelings more exciting than sitting in the back of a dark theatre watching live actors perform your words, while an audience laughs and cries or even shifts uncomfortably in their seats — and eventually bursts into applause. It’s like watching a chemical reaction that produces an incredible energy, an energy unique to the live stage. An energy that all begins with the playwright.
Whether you’ve never written anything before or you’re experienced in another kind of writing or you’re a playwright looking to sharpen your skills, “Introduction to Playwriting” offers clear, step-by-step guidance in the basics: character, conflict and structure, setting, dialogue and formatting. But that’s not all. Need to make that good script great? We’ll study more than a dozen elements you can use in the rewriting process to move your script up a level and then discuss what to do next in the development and submission process. And since many of the principles of playwriting apply to all forms of dramatic writing, taking “Introduction to Playwriting” is a great idea for screenwriters too. Not only will you come back to your screenwriting with fresh insight, but you might find that you like writing plays too.
Praise for Jon Dorf:
"Thanks a million for putting Playwriting 101 together and making it available to the struggling legions out here. I think it's the best thing on playwriting on the web" - Don Lemna
"As you know, having Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in your head is one thing, but turning it into a play and submitting it is quite another. Your nuts and bolts Playwriting 101 tutorial is a godsend and I doubt anyone could devise a better system of teaching another person to write a play" - James Gary Vineyard
Here is just a general breakdown of subjects you will be learning in-depth in this course:
Week 1: The Stage as a Unique Medium, Character and Conflict
- Understanding the Stage – using the stage’s unique capabilities and learning what makes theatre different from film
- Creating Characters – find the method for building characters that’s right for you
- Tension of Opposites – give your characters internal tension and dimension
- Conflict – placing the characters’ wants in opposition
Week 2: Setting, Structure and the Question of the Play
- Setting – choosing the right when and where for your play to begin
- Three Act Structure – the beginning, middle and end of a play
- Alternate Play Structures – recognizing when your play may require a different organizing principle
- The Question of the Play – keeping the audience on the edge of its collective seat
Week 3: Dialogue, Stage Directions and Format
- Dialogue – making each character’s voice distinctive and memorable
- Punctuation – the secret of making your intentions clear
- Exposition – control the flow of information to keep your play moving and the audience engaged
- Stage Directions – communicating the action clearly and succinctly
- Formatting – giving your play that professional look
Week 4: Rewriting and What to Do Next
- The Writer’s Web – a series of elements to explore to turn your good play into a great one
- What to Do Next – the why and wherefores of play development and submission
- Publisher Screenwriters University
- Publication date: 01/01/2010
- Return policy: This item is not eligible for return.
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Meet the Author: Jonathan Dorf
Author of more than 30 published plays with over 1000 productions worldwide, Jonathan Dorf co-founded publisher YouthPLAYS, co-chairs the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights and is Final Draft's resident playwriting expert. He created the content for Playwriting101.com, Google's top-ranked playwriting website for over a decade, and teaches playwriting through Screenwriters University. He has served as Visiting Associate Professor in the MFA Playwriting and Children's Lit programs at Hollins University, as United States Cultural Envoy to Barbados and been a guest speaker at schools and festivals ranging from the University of Southern California to the...