BFI 's Screenwriter Lectures

The BFI has a good list of lectures by screenwriters on their BFI Guru. I've only seen the Paul Schrader one, but I thought I'd share while fresh in my mind. One thing he always has before starting is the title and the end.

In summarry, his process is as follows:

Problem -> Metaphor -> Plot -> Oral Tradition -> Outline -> Script

I'll now describe each of those stages briefly (if you want the full explanation, watch the video):

Problem: find a problem that is personal to you and current
Metaphor: use fresh way to examine it e,g. unexpected gender or location
Plot: write the plot out in a rough way
Oral Tradition: can you tell the story in 45 min and others will find it interesting 
Outline: one sentence per plot point/scene with estimate of page number based on scene length alongside
Script: write the script

Paul also shared a few tricks on dialogue:

  • Make it non linear
  • Read it backwards, this makes it more intrigueing and can reveal ways to increase impact