Writing the Adaptation
Adapting existing works is big business for screenwriters, yet there are many misconceptions about writing an adaptation. That they are boring to write. That it is up to the screenwriter to secure the rights to the material. Or that you need to be an established screenwriter to create one. Maybe these myths are just put out there to keep screenwriters from exploring this fascinating, creative, and lucrative genre.
In this workshop, you will formulate a five-page treatment designed not just to keep you on course with your screenplay but also to use as a possible sales tool. By the end of the workshop, you will also have the first act of your story in script form, along with a step by step outline of your screenplay. All the tools you need to get your adaptation ready for Hollywood!
Even if you don’t plan on making your mark on the industry by writing adaptations, having a solid adaptation as part of your portfolio makes you much more attractive to executives or agents seeking screenwriters for their projects.
The budget-friendly On Demand option immediately provides our comprehensive course in PDF format, which provides instructions and exercises on specific skills you will need to succeed as a screenwriter.
- Find the type of materials and stories that work well in adaptation
- Make sure your story “works” as a script
- Create sales tools and a solid start on your screenplay
- The best practices in marketing an adaptation
- How to craft a logline and treatment for an adaptation
- When to stick to “what actually happened” and when to make things up
- How to use genre conventions to enhance your story
- How to pace your story to keep the reader engaged
Session One: Paragraph 1 (The Pitch)
- What are the best (and worst) sources for adaptation? (The answer may surprise you!)
- A film is two hours long: my adaptation is 500 pages…or five paragraphs! How to shorten/lengthen the material
- The pitch/logline: what to include, what to leave out
- The first paragraph: is it for you or is it for sale?
Session Two: Paragraph 2 (Act One), Where it all Begins
- The protagonist and…how many antagonists
- Do you need/want VO? (Yes, it’s tempting, but there are disadvantages!)
- How to simplify/complicate your story while keeping an eye on BUDGET
- The First Act, start to finish
Session Three: Paragraphs 3 and 4 (Act Two), The Crazy Middle
- After the first turning point…now what
- Breaking down that loooong second act into 15-minute increments
- ‘But it’s true!’ isn’t a good enough reason. What to make up for film!
- Beginning each scene late, and leaving early. (And showing, not telling.)
Session Four: Paragraph 5 (Act Three), Where it all Comes Together
- The classic ending: from Greek myths to the American movie
- ‘That’s how it really ends!’ is no excuse: finding the satisfying ending
- Sowing in the First Act; Reaping in the Third (or, ‘what Billy Wilder said’)
- Rhythm and tone: do you have bookends?
Session Five: The Ordinary World and The Crazy ‘Incident’
- Learning to look at a scene the way the camera does
- Beginning late and ending early
- What can setting and mood do for you
- When to use intercuts and flashbacks — and when to stay away
Session Six: Moving Into Adventure!
- Slowing down the pace or speeding it up? (When genre matters)
- Turning a character’s interior journey inside out
- When to speak to the audience. (Easy answer: never.) So then how…
- Does the character pull his/her weight? If not, out!
Session Seven: Pushing on to the First Turning Point
- What is a true turning point
- I’ve had a ‘happy accident’ that’s not in my treatment! Now what?
- Secondary characters that run away with a story (and when to let them)
- Thinking ahead to the midpoint
Session Eight: Expanding Acts Two and Three: The Step Outline
- When a step outline helps the creative process, and when it hurts
- Differences between Step Outline and Beat Sheet (and problems with each)
- Sure it’s interesting — but is it essential
- Being open to discovery, risk, and failure
- Publication date: 09/20/2013
- Return policy: This item is not eligible for return.
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