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What Makes a Great Scene?

At a Glance

  • A webinar discussing the principles of writing compelling film and television scenes.
  • Learn the common elements found in entertaining and engaging scenes using examples from scripts for modern classic movies.
  • Discover how to create a compelling story from concept, genre and structure - down to the specific details of scene.

“A complete dramatic unit that moves the story forward” – that’s one working definition of the basic building block of all scripts and productions: the scene. But what does it really consist of? How does one make each “unit” both essential to the larger story and effective as a singular beat within it?

Dialogue and description might be the two basic elements that a screenwriter has to work with – and it’s important to execute both on a professional level. But perhaps even more crucial is the underlying dramatic content behind each scene, and how it advances and connects with the larger story. Far from just indicating a location change (or a serving as a chapter in the overall narrative), an effective scene is like its own story in miniature, with the same basic structure of “catalyst” leading to confrontation, followed by crisis and resolution.

Erik Bork will discuss the key lessons he’s learned in writing scenes and scripts over the course of his 15-year professional screenwriting career – for projects ranging from cable miniseries to feature screenplays, original pilots, and television episodes on staff. During this time, he’s noticed common essential attributes which appear in all of the best scenes – regardless of genre or medium – and has put together a clear set of lessons for himself and other writers about what works and what doesn’t.

In this webinar, Erik will share what he’s come to understand about how to create a compelling and entertaining story from the “macro” level of concept, genre and structure, down to the all-important “micro” level of scene – that basic unit of storytelling of which all scripts are entirely composed – which determines the level and type of emotional impact the audience will experience.

What you'll learn:

  • How “outer problems” drive stories and scenes more than “inner journeys”
  • How good scenes focus on strong desires which meet unexpected conflict
  • What Jerry Maguire, Pretty Woman, and The Godfather have in common
  • The importance of understanding “what the audience wants to happen”
  • How every scene should “change the game” of the main story problem(s)
  • Why it’s best to make your main character’s thoughts and plans clear
  • How Save the Cat’s genres, beat sheet and scene-card process can help
  • How to describe emotional states that put the reader inside your character
  • Techniques for communicating information without being “expositional”
  • What great subtext in dialogue looks like, and how it improves scenes

Who should listen?

  • Writers who find outlining and structure to be challenging or annoying
  • Writers who like story planning but want help with execution on the page
  • Film and TV writers in all genres – even “reality!”
  • Directors, producers or actors wanting a writer’s perspective on scenes
  • Novelists, playwrights or filmmakers interested in understanding “story”
  • Screenwriters looking for the secrets of good dialogue and description
  • Professional or aspiring writers living anywhere in the world
  • Writers looking for inspiration and guidance from someone they can relate to

The Writers Store does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.

Product Details

  • Date available: 01/22/2013
  • Publication date: 01/22/2013
  • Return policy: This item is not eligible for return.

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.

Meet the Author: Erik Bork

Erik Bork is best known for his work as a writer-producer on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and From the Earth to the Moon, for which he won two Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards. He’s sold multiple original pitches, and written pilots and features for many of the major studios and production companies. He teaches at UCLA Extension and National University’s MFA Program, and has been called one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Screenwriting Bloggers.” Contact him online at “Flying Wrestler.”

$79.00