Screenwriting 101

Sophie Kinsella is a nice lady.

She was asked by Lily Sheehan whether she’d studied writing and replied (that’s the nice bit) that she’d done a screenwriting course with Robert McKee.

Robert McKee is the god of screenwriting courses. He’s Mr Three Acts and when I did my screenwriting course (extremely useful – if you’re thinking about doing a course, do a screenwriting one – see below) my tutor was VERY VERY anti-McKee and spent most of the time pointing out where he was wrong.

But it doesn’t really matter, because what screenwriting courses teach you is how to pace a story, introduce a character, start a scene and a whole bunch of other stuff you’ll find invaluable, regardless of whether you do it in Three Acts or ten.

Some other reasons I like screenwriting courses:

  1. You’re surrounded by cool people in black who want to be screenwriters
  2. You get to read screenplays, which makes you feel (for five minutes) like you’re actually in the movie industry
  3. You get to watch movies as homework. Yay!
  4. Suddenly you’re a movie expert and you can talk for hours, quite intelligently, about films, and not be boring your audience (of fellow screenwriters) stupid
  5. It’s cheaper than a major creative writing course
  6. It’s shorter than a major creative writing course
  7. If at the end of it you haven’t written a seminal novel, that’s OK, because it wasn’t the point. And if you haven’t written a screenplay either, that’s OK too, because that wasn’t the point either, remember?
  8. It is just possible that someone else on the course is VERY RICH and is studying to be a movie producer. A friend of mine’s VERY RICH husband did exactly this. OK, he was taken, but he was there

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