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Skyrocket Your Storytelling Skills

A Four-Week Masterclass on How to Write Scripts that Actors Will Love
August 1, 8, 15, 22, 2023

8 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern (5 to 7:30 p.m. Pacific)

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"I have worked in theatre all my life, but I have never experienced a class that changed my perception of storytelling so much as David Kirkpatrick’s masterclass in playability."

Maggie, 2021 student

"I just love David's whole 'write a movie, not a script' idea - learning how to write a screenplay that excites potential producers, directors, actors, is what it's all about. It's what we all want, after all, to produce something that gets people excited and gets our movies made.​"

Student, 2022 workshop

In today’s marketplace, if you hope to get your screenplay in front of the camera, you must write roles that actors want to play. In fact, your script needs to be “packaged” with recognizable actors in order for a streamer or studio to produce and finance it.

In other words, the screenplay must have “playability"—scenes that work and characters that resonate. When an actor reads your script, your words need to connect. “I can see myself doing this,” says the actor. “I want to do it.” How can you get that response?

This is nuanced and subtle writing. It’s professional writing that enables actors to work their magic by embodying the characters you’ve written.

About the Workshop Leader

David Paul Kirkpatrick, former president of Paramount Pictures and former production chief of Walt Disney Studios, will take you through this five-night interactive workshop. David has worked on thousands of screenplays, hundreds of movies, and with some of the most influential actors of the 20th century, including Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Shirley MacLaine, Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson, Julia Roberts, Eddie Murphy, and Kathy Bates, among others. He will show you how to amp up your craft and intuitive skills so you can write a part that connects with actors and filmmakers alike.

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Play Video

Alan Rickman accepting the Golden Globe for Best Actor and getting a laugh from the audience over David Kirkpatrick’s HBO production of Rasputin.

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David Kirkpatrick working on a scene with Academy Award actors Sally Field and Kevin Kline on the set of the Paramount comedy, Soapdish.

Here’s how the four nights will unfold.

August 1: ​Overview of the Masterclass Workshop

  • Why playability makes all the difference.

  • Creating as a filmmaker, not as a writer.

  • Why the inclusion of light source, props, and costume are so important to creating excitement for your screenplay.

  • The power of reading aloud.

  • Clearing the field of noise for the reader/viewer.

  • Your screenplay’s seduction of the director.

Live workshop: Performing a text written that night.

August 8: Character Mapping

  • How a simple one-page map on two characters changes everything.

  • The backstory of relationships that works between the pauses in dialogue.

  • The seduction of the actor.

  • Why the scene is the most important emotional grounding to your screenplay.

  • The importance of an entrance and exit of characters.

Live workshop: Reading scenes based on character mappings.

August 15: The Need for Arias

  • Aria is about discovery. What you may have thought about the character is suddenly full-blown, and you as an audience member take great delight in its confirmation.

  • The Academy Award game.

  • The packaging strategy.

  • Creating a brilliant soliloquy for your actor.

  • Studying the three arias in Paddy Chayefsky’s Network, which won Oscars for three different actors.

Live workshop: Reading selected arias written by class participants.

August 22:  Props, Costumes, and Light

  • Creating “business” for the character (and the actor).

  • Using props to create an interior and outer world.

  • The use of arm and hand gestures in scripts.

  • How to use a character’s clothes as subtext.

  • Speaking without words: The lessons from William Gibson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Miracle Worker.

  • Examining scenes from Emmy Winning series: The White Lotus and Dopesick.

Live workshop: Grab-bag writing and performing a scene with a prop given to you by another participant.