ASIFA India: We asked David Freeman, creator and teacher of the “Beyond Structure” Screenwriting and Development Master Class (http://www.beyondstructure.com), to write a response to the question everyone asked us, “Is it a lecture? A workshop? What’s the class like?” Here is the answer:
The class is a combination of: 1) Many exemplary film clips 2) My expert analysis of those clips 3)Me teaching proven writing techniques(which are all too often ignored) 4) Short, in-class writing exercises(that you will see quickly make you a better writer), and 5) A 138-page handout pack that is bursting with material. You’ll be referring to that handout pack, the clips, the techniques, exercises and analyses for years to come. If you are serious about taking your skills to another level, paying just under INR 1000/- for each of these items is absolutely the best value I have ever offered any audience.
“Beyond Structure” has been taught for over 12 years, and was in development for a few years before that. Los Angeles is a city with over 100 screenwriting classes, and “Beyond Structure” has become the most popular. It’s also the most popular screenwriting class in Los Angeles and New York, and is taught all over the world.
The class is packed with writing and development techniques. The advertisements say there are 200 techniques, but in truth, the number is probably closer to 400. Can you list 10 ways to make an audience care about a character? If so, that’s pretty good, but even so you’ll learn 60 more in “Beyond Structure.” And techniques for making an audience care about a character — which I call “Empathy Techniques” — is just a tiny part of the class.
One of my favorite parts of the class is when we go over 25 techniques for writing emotionally moving scenes that audiences will never forget. I show many film clips to demonstrate the techniques, and then everyone in class does a short writing exercise (about 5 minutes). After each exercise, I choose three volunteers to read their writing aloud, and I make comments.
The class is exciting! From the first moment until the last, you’ll be learning things you never knew. Producers, directors, actors, and animators benefit just as much. Usually my class draws a mixture of professionals and students.
Because there will be so many people interested in animation in the audience, I’ll add some animation clips to discuss. But to be honest, the key people at Pixar admit that the secret of their films is that they studied live-action films, not just animated films. A technique to give a character emotional depth works in both animation and live action.
I look forward to meeting you in Mumbai! E-mail me at email@example.com
Best, David Freeman