Friday, March 5, 2010

The Big Screen Beckons

Here’s the pitch, in 25 words or less: SCR’s fabulous playwriting instructor Cecilia Fannon is going to teach you to write a screenplay. Which is easier – and harder – than writing a play. Class starts March 31.

OK, that was actually 28 words. Guess we’re not quite ready for Hollywood. But Cecilia assures us that with training and practice, we will be.

“After taking my class, I think anybody can write a screenplay,” she says. “I don’t think just anybody can write plays.”

SCR regulars tend to think of Cecilia first and foremost as a playwright – after all she has taught playwriting classes here for 15 years, and her play, Green Icebergs, had its world premiere here.

But Cecilia, who has an MFA in film from UCLA and has taught screenwriting at Long Beach City College for many years, has written for stage, television and film.

Screenwriting is governed by a much stricter set of guiding principles than is playwriting, she says. “Something has to happen on every other page of a screenplay. In playwriting, you have a lot more freedom. But that’s what makes it harder. You don’t have those ‘rules’ to guide you along.”

During her eight-week class, students will watch movies and perform script breakdowns, counting scenes and documenting what happens in those scenes.

“You have to be able to recognize patterns and recognize them as quickly as possible.”

And, of course, they will write their own scenes, probably two of them, or about four pages.

After that, they’ll be ready for bigger things.

“I always say that screenwriting is like the game of Go,” says Cecilia. “It takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master.”

For more information, click here.

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