• From GoodFellas to Breaking Bad with Stephen Molton

    February 26, 2019

    This podcast was taken from our vault.  If you are interested in studying with Steve our next class starts...

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  • VIDEO – The Difference Between Plot and Structure

    January 30, 2014

    The Difference Between Plot and Structure

    By Jacob Krueger

    The words plot and structure are often used interchangeably by writers and screenwriting teachers alike.  But the truth is, there’s a profound difference between plot and structure, and confusing the two can be devastating for your writing. No matter how brilliantly it may be executed, plot, on it’s own, is almost always boring.  If you want to prove it to yourself, just go to imdb.com, read the synopsis of your favorite movie, and notice how incredibly boring it all sounds when boiled down to plot alone. It’s not the plot, but the structure, that makes these movies so compelling. So what’s the difference between plot and structure?  And how can you make your writing more compelling by shifting your focus from one to the other? Find out in this new video.  Or read the transcription below.
    VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION It’s important to understand that events in themselves are not structural.  The crap that happens to your characters is not structure. The events in themselves don’t matter.  They are not exciting.  The only thing that’s exciting is the choices the character makes in relation to those events. One of my favorite recent fight sequences is from a really silly movie called The World’s End by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright.   It’s about a guy, and the only thing he wants to do is to have a drink at 10 bars with his old friends. There’s a fabulous fight sequence, and the thing that makes it great that the only thing he’s trying to do during this crazy fight sequence is finish the pint. And this whole fight sequences is going on, but the fight sequence is just the event that’s happening.  Just the plot. The choice he’s making is to keep trying to drink the beer, as opposed to actually engaging in the fight or trying to escape.  Because the thing that he wants… the holdfast ego… the thing that he wants more than anything is this: He started this 10 bar run with his friends, and he’s going to finish it if it costs him his life.  It’s not the event of the fight, who hit who, that makes the scene good.  That’s kind of  boring no matter how you write it.  It’s the choice the character makes in relation to the event that makes it exciting.  Because it’s those choices that allow us to change. So if structure is built around change, it’s not the events that are our structure.  It’s the choices we make in relation to those events.
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  • THE SOCIAL NETWORK: Is The Audience Listening To Your Dialogue?

    February 10, 2012

    THE SOCIAL NETWORK: Is The Audience Listening To Your Dialogue? By Jacob Krueger Remember the first scene of The...

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  • The Power of the First and Last Image

    January 30, 2012
    Does a chain email hold the secret to your script?
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  • Rule #6: You Need To Make Writing a Full Time Job

    December 28, 2011
    If you’re a writer, at some point you’ve probably heard yourself say some version of the following sentence…
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  • Should You Write An Ensemble Piece?

    December 17, 2011
    What do most of Robert Altman’s films, and screenplays like Crash and The Tree of Life have in common?
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  • The Inciting Incident

    November 5, 2011

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  • What if Someone Steals Your Idea?

    October 27, 2011
    It’s a constant fear among young writers: finally coming up with that million dollar idea, only to have it…
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  • FLASHBACKS, Part 3: Making The Past Present

    October 19, 2011
    What do Blue Valentine, Memento, and Sophie’s Choice have in common? They’re all chock full of flashbacks.
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