Tuesday night's reading was a "student reading" in the "Green Parlor" of one of Hollins's grand old buildings in the center of campus. Fifteen people read for about 5 minutes each and we had a fun mix of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Afterwards, a large group gathered for wine etc. on the back porch of the Tinker Dorm . . .
I had my conference with Hal after breakfast and that was great. We didn't talk about the specifics of my script, but talked more about the writing life.
This morning's craft "lecture" was really useful discussion by Andy Beedle, a friend of Pinckney's who designed Laura Benedict's website. His objective was to get us all thinking about our web presence and to show us some examples, including Pinckney's MySpace page. I'm thinking that I need to activate my MySpace page now, but given how much time I spend doing this blog, I'm not sure how much more time I want to spend on yet another site.
This afternoon's workshop session concentrated again on characters' objectives and we watched quite a bit of "Tootsie" to see how the Dustin Hoffman character is first thwarted and isn't such a nice guy until his transformation occurs. We watched basically the first act, up to the point where he confronts his agent as Dorothy and reveals to him what he's done. After that we also talked about structure, including Hal's suggestion for two techniques. The first is "Snowplow" (essentially a repeated free-writing technique in which you brainstorm all the possible events you might have in the script until you finally get to the end). The second is "Scenecards" in which the events from the Snowplow results get converted into scene cards, along with brief descriptions. That allows you to organize the scenes (maybe 60-70 for a typical movie) into acts and then reorganize as needed. (Final Draft software has a scene card function, but there might be some value in physical cards that you can lay out on the table and actually see all at once.)
These techniques are spelled out, also, in Hal's book, Write Screenplays That Sell, which I've been reading this week. For those of you who are interested in some of the comments on the films that have been coming out of the workshop, you might want to take a look at the book.
We've got another faculty reading tonight: Dan Mueller, Pinckney Benedict, and Hal Ackerman.