Lesley Ann McDaniel shares her NCWA Renewal conference experience.
With the life that literary agent Kimberly Shumate has led, it’s not surprising that she has Hollywood-size stories to tell. In this workshop, she gave an overview of how to structure a screenplay, some basics of the industry lingo, and just a touch of how to see an idea through from concept to screen.
Using the well-known movie The Wizard of Oz as an example, Kimberly led the class through a basic three act plot structure. This is pretty much identical to the format used in fiction writing, so it served as a review for most if not all of the class, but it was good to get Kimberly’s perspective on why this tried-and-true layout hasn’t changed much since the Golden Age of movies.
Most helpful was the section on formatting a script, since that’s where fiction writing and screenwriting part ways. In a screenplay, there is room for very little description, and the dialogue must be succinct. Lots of white space, is the order of the day in a screenplay if it’s going to sell in today’s market.
The time went by far too quickly, leaving the attendees wanting Kimberly to return to teach Nuts and Bolts, the Sequel. Once we get our scripts written, we need to know what to do with them. Pitching a treatment to a movie producer or director is much different than pitching a novel to an agent or editor. And what are our options if the only contact we have in the industry won’t take a meeting with us or, worse yet, says no?
This workshop provided a taste of what it would be like to finally get that movie out of your mind and onto the page. Kimberly gave us hope that if the idea won’t leave us alone, it’s worth learning this whole new aspect of the craft of writing.
See you at the movies!
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LESLEY ANN MCDANIEL has been a member of NCWA since 2008. She writes romance, romantic suspense, and young adult fiction. Her first two books Lights, Cowboy, Action, and Saving Grace are available at her website www.lesleyannmcdaniel.com or on Amazon http://amzn.to/1a2Rlnf.