Use & improve your creative writing skills to develop subjects into characters & describe the action of your film in a more dynamic, readable way
This two-part, six hour workshop is for all levels of documentary filmmakers, ideally with a film in development or production. Participants will use & improve their creative writing skills to develop their subjects into characters & to describe the action of a film in dynamic, readable ways that make audiences want to engage more with the project. Filmmakers will write, & through peer collaboration, come away with writing that can be applied to grant applications, letters of inquiry, crowdfunding campaigns, pitch meetings, dinner parties & even the structure of the film itself.
The instructor for this course is Rose Vincelli Gustine, a film advisor & programmer who guides filmmakers on how best to finish & present their films, & how to write & talk about them. She is a producer, & on faculty for the MFA Social Documentary Film program at School of Visual Arts.
Before class begins, your assignment is to increase your reading. Start thinking about the writing as though you are a student. Read fiction & non-fiction, news, & essays. Consider how the sentences convey their meaning instead of what they say. In what way is the information conveyed? Is it overt or implied, clear or convoluted? Start to think about how you want to use these methods to describe your film.
Day 1 will include writing games to help you get loose, & then we'll dive right into imagining the action & scene exploration through free-form cluster-writing. Learn to focus on a scene you will film through the lens of your goals for story development & what you want audiences to understand about your character. Day 1 will also cover how to write a good film description based on character, action, location, conflict & resolution / outcome. You'll end the day by breaking into groups for peer feedback on what you've written.
Day 1 homework: Write a three act structure for the film you will make. Don't spend more than an hour or two on it. Don't overthink it! Set a timer to incite you to do the work in the time allotted. Daydreaming can be helpful, but we're busy people, too.
On Day 2, we'll review & discuss your homework assignment. You'll continue editing your peers' work with care. You'll take some time to consider & discuss the group's feedback with your writing partner.
What You Will Learn
Writing games, like free-form cluster writing, to help you get loose & imagine action & scene exploration.
Learn to write a better film description with character, action, location, conflict, resolution/outcome.
Come away with writing that can be applied to grant applications, letters of inquiry, crowdfunding campaigns, pitch meetings, dinner parties & even the structure of the film itself.
Story development for an in-progress project.
ROSE VINCELLI GUSTINE
Rose Vincelli Gustine is a film advisor & programmer. She is Director of Operations for SVA's MFA Social Documentary Film program, where she guides her graduate students on how best to finish & present their films, & how to write & talk about them. She is co-producer of the feature documentary BUSY INSIDE (DocNYC 2019), among other films. As a producer, Rose specializes in story & grant writing for documentary; distilling wide-ranging stories into spicy bites, & engaging audiences with multi-faceted slices of real life. Prior to her current work, Rose was curator & producer of IFP's programs including Labs & Film Week; & a programmer for AFI Docs Festival. She has served on selection committees for Venice Biennale Cinema College, Southern Circuit Tour, as well as for NEA & New York Foundation for the Arts media arts grants. She lives, walks, & cooks with her family in Brooklyn.