My Road to Hollywood Goes Through GrubStreet

We had our last fall class in Introduction to Screenwriting last week, and I've learned so much in the last two months that I feel ready to go to LA to take a meeting. 

 

I think I speak for all the students in the class when I say that Cheryl Eagan Donovan loaded us up with phenomenally useful information on how to get a screenplay up and running and what to think about when thinking about commercial viability. I've published a lot of stories both as books and magazine articles but knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about the medium of screenwriting when we started. With Cheryl's -- and my fellow students' -- fantastic help, I now know the difference between "montage" and "continuous" and can think more clearly about what translates to the screen and what doesn't and how to work around or through the difficulties. We also watched and dissected the first 10 minutes of a lot of movies to see how screenwriters set things up, and we learned about pacing and the fact that a page of screenplay translates to about a minute of movie -- which helps you pace better (and makes me wonder why Sleepless in Seattle wasn't entitled Sleep Through Seattle).

 

We were all there for different reasons, which made the class all the more interesting. I'm trying to turn a non-fiction book about horseracing into a movie; someone else once wrote for the the comedy duo Stiller and Meara (Ben Stiller's parents for you millennials) and is channeling his inner TV script writer to create the next new "How I Met Your Cheers Friends' Rules of Engagement." Someone else still is hard at work on an at-times grizzly tale of a man who was not his mother's favorite, while another is spinning her own dystopian maiden's tale. And the list goes on...

 

You guys are much of the reason the class has been so terrific. What a great group of smart, sensitive, excellent, and committed artists. Thanks here, too, to Cheryl for making sure we all stayed on course and didn't veer off into dead-end criticism. Everyone really worked to comment in a way that would help the others improve their craft. It was a safe environment -- one that made me feel good enough to continue even once the class ends.

 

Okay, gotta go work on my screenplay -- and my pitch to producers -- and my "all those screenwriters who lost to me are more worthy than I am" Academy Awards acceptance speech.

 

 

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About the Author

Larry Lindner is excited to be working on creating Boston’s Literary Cultural District, the first walkable literary district not just in the U.S. but also in the world. He comes with a background in civic affairs and fundraising as well as in writing. Through grants and private donations, he recently raised almost $1 million to restore the Ames Chapel, a Queen Anne Victorian edifice in historic Hingham Cemetery that went defunct in 1923 but that will now be repurposed for events ranging from weddings to chamber music concerts. He also worked with the Hingham Historic Commission to publicize a new book about the town called Bucket Town. When he’s not raising funds or mapping out the sites and happenings in the Literary District (“it will be much, much more than a roster of dead poets’ addresses,” he says), Larry is writing. He has penned nine books, two of which made The New York Times bestseller list. His latest, Saving Baby, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in the fall of 2014. He also had long-running columns in The Washington Post and The Boston Globe and has written for such venues as Condé Nast Traveler, The Los Angeles Times, and O, the Oprah Magazine. In his spare time, when he’s not hanging out with his wife and son, he serves as secretary of Saving Baby Equine Charity, a non-profit that saves horses from slaughter, abuse, and neglect.

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Screenwriting

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