2/19/2011 – Screenwriting Class Notes

Kathleen, Stuart and I met this morning for our weekly screenwriting class. For more on what we mean by “screen writing class” click HERE for an overview of what we are up to.

Did you click there?

This is the first in what I hope is a long thread of posts pertaining to the ongoing efforts of what you would have read about had you clicked THERE.

Today was, I believe, our third class this semester. (I am too lazy right now to peruse a calendar and determine the actual number of classes we have had for certain.)

The following is an account of what we covered in today’s class. This should be an interesting account because although the goal of the class is for each of us to write a screenplay, and WE know the subjects of each of our works, I am forbidden to mention what any of them are about to YOU. At least until the day arrives when we have seen our screenplays through a sufficient number of re-writes that we feel them ready for prime time. At which point we will register them with the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) which will give us sufficient copyright protection to paste them all over the web. I heartily look forward to the day that SaintCarnival has a published library of the family’s screenplays!

But, in the meantime, back to my dilemma. How does one speak to the goings on in a screenwriting class without mentioning the screenplays?
namenamenameI know, I know!
namenamenamePick me, pick me!
namenamenamenamename(muttering to self)
namenamenameDo I really have to be an obnoxious
namenamenameknow-it-all in my imagination?
Pregnant pause as the INSTRUCTOR waits for STUDENT to speak. I should note that the instructor of the actual class is Kathleen. She is intelligent, creative, and does a great job. She even audits her own class which is a feat in and of itself! But for this writing I ask the reader to suspend belief and place me in the dual roles of both Instructor and Student. I ask this in all humility, or I’ll take my thoughts and go home.

Now, where was I? Ah yes, in a small amphitheater style classroom in some ivy league college, with the Instructor behind a podium and a single Student sitting in the front row of one of the long arched counter-like desks.

namenamenameTalk about the process, not the particulars.

The Instructor paces behind the podium, stroking at his goatee thoughtfully. Goatee? Whoa! I don’t have a goatee! I said I was playing the Instructor, so what’s with this goatee business? I am not even sure how to spell goatee! The Instructor waves me away like a pernicious thought and continues to pace, and yes, he’s still stroking that goatee, while I take a research break on the spelling of goatee.

Research break:
Goatee Saver
Well, well, well, would you look at this little beauty! The fruits of the internet are indeed bountiful! It’s a Darth Vader looking mouth guard thing that protects your goatee while you shave!
GoateeSaver Homepage
The best part about the homepage for this thing is that if you click through to the homepage for the Goatee Saver, they don’t even show a picture of the product. I wonder why? 😉

Sorry about that research diversion. I wasn’t exactly sure how to spell goatee, and I stumbled on that little gem while researching. So where were we, ah yes, the Instructor is me, with a goatee, and he is pacing.

namenamenameWhat do you mean by process?

namenamenameThe process of the class. For instance,
namenamenamewe are to prepare a complete enneagram
namenamenameof our story prior to begining writing
namenamenameour screenplays.

namenamenam Tell me about…enneagram.

The Student sits up quickly from the couch he is lying on. He looks around at the couch he is on, the overstuffed chair the Instructor is sitting in, and the psychiatrist’s office they are in.

namenamenameHey! Wait a minute! What is this?

The Instructor, having changed oral fixations, (although he still has the goatee) now draws deeply from his pipe and slowly exhales. He looks around the room approvingly.

namenamenameAh, yes, I have changed our surroundings.
namenamenameWell, the enneagram is a topic so fraught with depth,
namenamenamepersonal revelation, and dreams of future glory,
namenamenamethat I thought it best to continue this discussion here
namenamenamein my psychiatrist’s office.

The Student shifts on the couch and mutters disapprovingly, then settles back into the cushions.

namenamenameWell, all right.

namenamenameGood, then, tell me about…enneagram.

The Student relaxes fully, and draws in a deep breath as he organizes his thoughts, then begins to speak.

namenamenameThe enneagram is…

Sorry, ran out of time! See you next week. (In the mean time read Kathleen’s description HERE.)


  1. I like how you make us sound as if we are working on the Manhattan Project. Nuclear Test Site and Screenwriting Extraordinaire.

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