Like all workshops, the major benefit normally derives from the interaction with other people. Further, a workshop may instil a degree of discipline – the lecturer may take the potential screenwriter through numerous stages that result in a words-on-paper first draft. But, generally, the drawbacks outweigh the positives:
a) It is easy to pick up wrong thinking and bad patterns of behaviour through long term osmosis.
b) Most people who attend workshops suffer from their own blocks – which are, inadvertently, easily passed on.
c) Lecturer(s) may direct the novice screenwriter towards the wrong structural models (plot points etc as opposed to the Hero's Journey).
d) Worst of all, the new screenwriter will learn to think like everyone else!
Workshop or not, the screenwriter will have to eventually build up writing competencies through sustained engagement with a number of projects (stories). This will usually be achieved alone or in a pair.
The fastest route to success is to generate ideas and apply the Hero's Journey – the template for the most successful stories and CERTAINLY the template for ALL the ACADEMY AWARD WINNERS (Best Film) of the past 25 years (at least). Consider this:
a) Titanic (1997) grossed over $600,000,000 – uses the Hero's Journey as a template.
b) Star Wars (1977) grossed over $460,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.
c) Shrek 2 (2004) grossed over $436,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.
d) ET (1982) grossed over $434,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.
e) Spiderman (2002) grossed over $432,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.
(the figures above are US Box Office - not worldwide)
The Complete 188 stage Hero's Journey and FREE 17 stage sample and other story structure templates can be found at http://www.managing-creativity.com/
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. His specialities include Knowledge Management and Creativity and Innovation Management. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached at http://www.managing-creativity.com