I know how confusing it can be to get started writing screenplays. There are so many books and videos out there. I’ve made my living as a screenwriter for over 20 years and the how-to literature for screenwriting even confuses me! How is anyone supposed to keep up with this stuff? Five must-have components of a hero? Twnety-two building blocks that simply must be accounted for? Just how does one concern themselves with archetypal methodologies when they’re trying to write a scene?
I have lost count of how many meetings I’ve had in Hollywood and this stuff never comes up. Ever. None of this stuff has anything to do with how professional writers write. At least not any professional I know.
Here is my own personal belief: most screenwriting books are not particularly useful. They’re academic at best, and a rip-off at worst. That’s not to say they’re not some great ones out there, there absolutely are, but even the great ones are not going to get you were you want to go without a lot of help filling in the blanks and separating the practical from the "more confusing than it's worth” - even within the same book!
My primary job as a screenwriting teacher will always be to instill an appreciation and understanding of the relationship between story and structure. If I can't instill that value system then all the "tricks" won't consistently help you tell better stories. (See my blog entry On Teaching Screenwriting for a more detailed discussion.)
I worked with and helped a lot of other professional writers and you would be surprised how helpful what I teach is, even for them. The clarity taught within this class not only helps you build a solid structure before you start writing, but it will continue helping you through each progressive re-write until you are absolutely sure you are telling the story you want to tell as efficiently and as effectively as possible. This is not a methodology taught anywhere else, and it focuses on the elements of screenwriting that are, in fact, teachable.
If you want to write or develop screenplays as a career, or even as a hobby, I do not believe you can make a better investment than my class STORY AND PLOT.
-- Tom Vaughan