Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Song can be a Story

One of the struggles I have as a screenwriting instructor is getting students who aren't really interested in being screenwriters actually interested in doing the work.

I teach screenwriting to students at a local college who are studying film and TV and I'm stunned to discover that most of them really don't get that films are written before they're shot. I get them after they've done a couple of semesters and their interest in writing and storytelling, despite wanting to work in film and TV, is minimal.

I also teach acting students at another college a guerilla-filmmaking course to expose them to the technical aspect of film so they can be better actors on set.

Both groups are a challenge because they do not have an impulse to try and write or be storytellers. So I've always had a problem getting these students to embrace the writing process.

But what about adapting a song? (Both groups focus on writing short film scripts). A good song can tell a story. By adapting a song into a story--filling in the blanks of character, rising action, adversary--I think these students can get their feet wet in the writing process without having to come up with a unique idea.

I'm going to pose the challenge to them.

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