COURSE OUTLINE: RomCom Writing Intensive
Tuesdays & Saturdays (times vary, see below)
30 Hours in 31 Days
Online via Zoom
Tuesdays and Saturdays beginning May 3rd, 2023
Jumping off from the zero-draft (or even first draft) of your TV Romcom, let’s get you to a polished version via lecture, workshop, and quite a bit of writing time. Over the course of 30 hours broken up into large and small chunks, students will learn about how to re-plot if necessary, the pitfalls and advantages of changing a character want, and the difference between a comedy pass vs a romance pass vs a Christmas pass. Over the course of one month, students will check in both with the larger class, smaller groups and the instructor in one-on-one sessions. Finally, students will hear from working television executives on how to move the script out of their computers and into the world.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. Discuss notes and feedback in a way that’s constructive and drives to next steps.
2. Identify the most common pitfalls of romcom dialogue and action line writing.
3. Rewrite their 95-105 page script into one they feel comfortable sending out into a professional setting.
1. Four Notes Documents. Students will read and offer feedback on four other scripts during the course of the class.
2. Notes Checklist/The “Re-Outline” Document: Students will generate a list of the most important notes offered by the instructor and other students, as well as a plan of attack in how they hope to fix their story.
3. The Interim Script: bumpy, rough, “just get to the end” version of their rewritten and reworked script for feedback.
4. A final script: Consisting of 95-105 pages, this is the sample we all feel comfortable sending as a submission to contests, agents, and executives
There are no textbooks or course materials to purchase for this course. Though, in order to get a solid understanding of the basics, the following texts are recommended:
Writing the Romantic Comedy, Billy Mernit
Creating Character Arcs, KM Weiland
Wednesday, May 3rd, 6-9pm: How To Give a Note
Students will meet to discuss the process they used in writing the zero-draft of first draft of their script, prepare a list of things they think they’ll be fixing, and then leave class with two scripts, and write a guided set of notes based on their reading.
How to Take a Note
Day long session consisting of both written and verbal feedback, in groups and individually. From there we’ll discuss the most common edits and pitfalls of re-writing a draft of a script. We will watch several scenes from various rom-coms and talk about romcom scripts at both the scene and entire story level. From there, we’ll formulate a plan to get to the most important part of the interim draft: the story tweaks.
The Work in Progress
Two sessions: A problem-solving session that exists on both a group level and an individual level with the instructor, students will discuss the process and problems they’re facing in a caring environment. In the afternoon session, we’ll cover an important piece of re-writing, the ways in which the characters must change and how to cut dialogue you don’t need.
We’ll meet, break into groups, and talk about our works in progress.
Friday, May 20, 5pm: Interim Drafts Due
The Interim Draft
In a shorter session than before, we’ll talk about the next stage – the terror of letting someone read a work in progress. We’ll also meet with a working television executive to discuss the finer points of the working relationship. Students will then prepare feedback on two scripts written by their peers: one script they read at the beginning of the class and one script they’ll be seeing for the first time.
Turning for Home
Another working session that focuses on getting the script over the finish line. How to sacrifice anxiety for speed, how to just let characters say what they mean, and when to just do the thing you’re not sure of.
Students will have the option to drop in to a zoom session for help and feedback from the room or from the professor.
Final Drafts Due
The Last Workshop
Students will spend the morning session reading the work of the other students in class. The afternoon session will consist of a full workshop detailing any tweaks, but focusing on what we’ve learned by the tweaks of others.
NOTE: Classes subject to change and material subject to tweaking. Stay tuned, stay loose, stay flexible and we’ll all figure it out together.
I am here to help you travel the distance between the writer you already are and the writer you will be in the future. I’m dedicated to helping you learn the structure underneath the stories that are important to you, and I will always do my best to keep my personal opinion, my political or moral or social background, and even my sense of taste from interfering in your process. I sincerely invite you to offer feedback to me on the material presented, and to keep me honest in how you are feeling about the work we do. I will listen without judgment and seek every opportunity to help. That’s also what I ask of you. By joining a classroom setting, we’re all committing to helping each other see the distance between what we hope people take away from our writing, and what we’ve written. And so, let’s agree to talk about the work in a way that helps lead the writer toward clarity, rather than imposing our own ideas onto it. Let’s agree to be helpful without being pushy, to learn how to be open and strong at the same time. Let’s all try to listen more than we speak. As a writing class, we will use language that is affirming, compassionate, and we will stay open to being educated as to why some words are used for effect in writing, while remaining inappropriate for daily use. Let’s all remain aware that we’re a group of individuals who are arriving from different perspectives. Let’s all agree to act with good intention, to keep each other honest, and to respect everyone’s personal opinions and backgrounds. Let’s be better than we think we should be.
Here’s what it comes down to, we’re all showing up to help you get where you’re going. So, late work just won’t be evaluated unless a student wants to do you the favor of reading it. By signing up, you’re committing to learning the hardest part of being a writer. Working writers regularly meet deadlines and are well-prepared for meetings and classes. The professionalism you practice here will help prepare for a career as a writer. If you have a serious reason for not submitting an assignment on time, please contact me by email as soon as possible.