For the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of being a speaker/panelist as part of the screenwriting track at the San Francisco Writers Conference. After last year’s conference, one of the volunteers approached me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a lecture/presentation about screenwriting to some branches of the California Writers Club.
Sounded like fun, so I agreed.
I put together a presentation that covers the basics. How it looks on the page, formatting, structure, what to include and not include, the importance of “show, don’t tell”, and so forth.
I did it with the mindset of “if I didn’t know anything about screenwriting and wanted to try writing a script, what should I know as I start?”
The more I came up with a list of what to discuss, the longer the list became. It was also important to really stick to the basics and not worry so much about things like contests, query letters, optioning a script, contract negotiations, etc.
I wanted to present the most basic of building blocks when it came to writing a script. A lot of the attendees were unfamiliar with how screenwriting works, so this was their first real exposure to it.
The info I present comes from all the lessons I’ve learned as part of my own writer’s journey and have helped me hone my own skills to what they are today.
I’ve done the presentation twice, and both seem to have gone over well. Each time yielded many follow-up questions I attempted to answer to best of my ability, along with a lot of the audience coming up afterward to say they had no idea how different screenwriting was compared to other kinds of writing.
Even better was that everybody said how much they enjoyed it.
I even sold a few of my books, which is always great.
I get to do it again next week at this year’s Writers Conference, then again next month at another branch of the Writers Club. No idea if there will be any more opportunities after that, but I’m just glad to have been able to do it.