site logo
home menu button

Lessons Of The Master



1) Name the author of best screenwriting handbook available today. [HINT: It's NOT Robert McKee.]

2) On the set, the writer is the co-equal of a) the star, b) the director, or c) the craft services person pouring the coffee.

3) Most current movies begin as a) a great screenplay, b) a dazzling deal, or c) a misinformed marketing concept.


If you do not already know the answers to the above questions, do not take this course.

If you like multiple-choice, true-false, and other forms of objective testing, do not take this course.

If you expect me to wave my magic wand and grant you talent, do not take this course.

Above all, if you have a great screenplay you'd like me to read, DO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE!

If, however, you'd like to learn the tools of the craft and you're prepared to work long and hard at mastering them, you might want to consider taking this course.


You may have noticed that I occasionally have a hard time approaching Hollywood with the seriousness it demands. Sometimes, I even fall victim to the temptation to mock my subject. But when it comes to the craft of screenwriting, I'm dead serious.

Here's what you can expect if you commit to this course.

The topics will include Choosing a Subject, Researching That Subject, Discovering Your Theme, Building Your Characters, Writing Your Dialogue, Structuring Your Material, and many, many others. We'll get into subtopics like Scenes, Acts, Transitions, Juxtapositions, Style, Character Names, Titles, and much more. You'll learn Principles of Editing, the fact that Everything Matters, and you'll learn to ask yourself at the very outset of your task, "What's It All About?"

The entire experience will be built around my adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim - my finest work, a script that veteran producer David Foster has described as one of the two best screenplays he's ever gotten his hands on, one that ICM's Jeff Berg personally recommended to Roman Polanski.

The approach will be practical, real-world, devoid of bullshit abstractions and theories.

If this sort of pragmatic instruction from an experienced teacher, story analyst/editor, and successful writer/producer interests you, click here to continue.