“The foundation of any movie is the screenplay. The foundation of any screenplay is the concept. Therefore it stands to reason which story concept you develop and write as a script is a critical choice.”

In the Core content of The Quest, we work with a comprehensive set of screenwriting principles in eight one-week online classes.

The second principle is this: Concept = Hook.

The next Core class begins Monday, September 10: Core II: Concept.

I have reduced the price of the Core classes to make them available to as many people as possible! Details below!

Whatever degree of importance you attribute to your script’s story concept… it’s probably not enough. Here’s how I begin the first lecture of my Core II: Concept class:

The foundation of any movie is the screenplay. The foundation of any screenplay is the concept. Therefore it stands to reason which story concept you develop and write as a script is a critical choice. And that is precisely why I created the second part of the Core curriculum — to understand how movie industry insiders think, provide you with proven methods to generate story concepts, and develop analytical skills to help you decide which ideas are the most viable ones for you to write.

Don’t believe me? How about this:

“Most aspiring screenwriters simply don’t spend enough time choosing their concept. It’s by far the most common mistake I see in spec scripts. The writer has lost the race right from the gate. Months — sometimes years — are lost trying to elevate a film idea that by its nature probably had no hope of ever becoming a movie.”

— Terry Rossio (Aladdin, The Mask of Zorro, Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)

“Ideas cost NOTHING and require ZERO risk. And yet, oddly, the LEAST amount of time’s usually spent in the idea stage before a small fortune is dumped on a whimsy that’s still half-baked… Ideas cost nothing yet have the potential to yield inexplicably long careers and happy lives.”

— Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Zak and Miri Make a Porno)

In the upcoming 1-week online class Core II: Concept, you will learn:

  • The lowdown on high concept
  • Genre, Cross Genres and Sub-Genres
  • Hollywood’s obsession with ‘similar but different’
  • Brainstorming and recycling
  • Gender bending, genre bending, and geo-bending

Much of the success of a spec script is directly related to its story concept. This unique one-week online class teaches gives you proven, professional ways to generate, develop, and assess story ideas.

The course consists of four components:

  • Lectures: There are six lectures written by me, each posting Monday through Saturday.
  • Writing Exercises: These optional exercises offer you the opportunity to workshop one of your own loglines and receive feedback from class members and myself.
  • Teleconference: We will have a Skype teleconference call to discuss course material.
  • Forums: The online course site has message boards where you may post questions / comments, a lively source of some great conversations.

For those of you who have not taken an online class, the interface is extremely easy. Plus online classes can be an amazing experience. Most of the activities you can do on your own time — download and read lectures, review and respond to forum discussions, upload loglines and track comments. In addition, I’ve been teaching online for over a decade and it never ceases to amaze me how much of a community emerges in such an environment.

If you’re new to screenwriting, have intermediate experience, or you’ve read it all, but want to learn the basics of what I teach in The Quest — character based screenwriting — here is your chance to learn proven ways to generate, develop, and assess story ideas and concepts.

I only teach my Core classes once a year and the 2018 cycle begins next month. Everything you need to know about screenwriting theory in this unique curriculum based on eight principles: Plot, Concept, Character, Style, Dialogue, Scene, Theme, Time.

CORE I: PLOT — A one-week class which begins with the principle Plot = Structure and explores the inner workings of the Screenplay Universe: Plotline and Themeline. Start date: Already run, but the content is still available.

CORE II: CONCEPT — A one-week class which begins with the principle Concept = Hook and examines multiple strategies to generate, develop and assess story ideas. Start date: September 10.

CORE III: CHARACTER — A one-week class which begins with the principle Character = Function and delves into archetypes: Protagonist, Nemesis, Attractor, Mentor, and Trickster. Start date: September 24.

CORE IV: STYLE — A one-week class which begins with the principle Style = Voice and surfaces keys to developing a distinctive writer’s personality on the page. Start date: October 8.

CORE V: DIALOGUE — A one-week class which begins with the principle Dialogue = Purpose and probes a variety of ways to write effective, entertaining dialogue. Start date: October 22.

CORE VI: SCENE — A one-week class which begins with the principle Scene = Point and provides six essential questions to ask when crafting and writing any scene. Start date: November 5.

CORE VII: THEME — A one-week class which begins with the principle Theme = Meaning and gives writers a concrete take on theme which can elevate the depth of any story. Start date: November 19.

CORE VIII: TIME — A one-week class which begins with the principle Time = Present and studies Present, Present-Past, Present-Future and time management in writing. Start date: December 3.

These eight Core classes represent decades of my work on the front lines of the entertainment business as a writer and producer, and engaging the craft as a teacher as well, over time pulling together a coherent, comprehensive, and cohesive approach to screenwriting theory.

This is not about secret systems or magic formulas, rather the Core content presents a story-crafting process that starts with characters, works with characters, and ends with characters. That process of engaging you with your story universe through your characters and getting you in touch with these living, breathing individuals informs every step of your creative process, leading you to story structure, themes, conflict, subplots, and all the rest. As I say, Character Based Screenwriting.

I provide feedback and am actively involved in our online chats. That includes a 90 minute teleconference for each Core class.

This cycle, I am offering a special sale price. Normally the Core classes are $95 each. In 2018, each is on sale for $79!

A popular option is the Core Package which gives you exclusive access to the content in all eight Craft classes which you can go through on your own time and at your own pace, plus automatic enrollment in each 1-week online course — all for nearly 50% off the normal price of each individual class. If you sign up now, you can have immediate access to all of the Core content.

“I’m a huge fan of Scott’s classes, and I signed up for his Core Package, which I cannot speak highly enough about. If anyone wants to take a serious look at improving their writing, there is more than enough material to keep you busy for a few… dare I say, lifetimes? He’s the best. No bones about it.”

~ Heather Farlinger

To learn about any of the Core classes, click here.

I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!