Blueprint Screenwriting Group Questions

I'm working on a TV pilot/web series/short/feature film. Will Blueprint work for me?
It will. Blueprinters have successfully completed all of those types of projects. All of these forms are related—they're all blueprints (get it?) for a story that will eventually be told in images. Each of these formats informs the others. Not to mention, a screenwriting career involves many different types of writing—it's no longer limited to just one specific medium.

Do I have to be a professional writer to attend this class?
Not at all. We've had architects, waiters, accountants, public defenders, healthcare professionals, actors, graphic designers, and many other professionals take classes—as well as professional filmmakers, special effects artists, and established writers. All have benefited greatly.

Is this appropriate for beginners?
Although beginners have enrolled in the class, Blueprint is best for people who are familiar with the screenwriting craft, and are serious about making major advances in their writing skillset and finishing their screenplay. The workshop is best for writers who want to complete a screenplay, find representation, and often make this into a career. But no matter what your level, Blueprint provides a crash course in the way a collaborative, serious writers' room works. Your script will be tested by an audience before you ever submit it to contests, agents, managers, or producers. 

How much outside work time does Blueprint require?
We workshop your new pages in class every week, so new writing is expected from you on a weekly basis. We also read and discuss a screenplay that was recently sold or produced every one to two weeks. This will require at least four hours of "homework" time per week, in addition to the two-hour Wednesday class. Our specific meeting times and dates can be found on the Workshops page.

Do I have to have written a script already to attend?
That's not a requirement. We iron out the issues in the outline phase, so you don't waste your time writing and editing a script without the essential story beats, unique characters, and surprising plot twists ironed out. When you get to the writing stage, we'll read scenes out loud in class, so that you don't waste time in this phase either. But if you do have some or all of a draft, Blueprint works brilliantly there too.

How much do I need to prepare for the first class?
Come with as much of an outline or summary as you have for your project. If you're still trying to decide, bring along a quick summary of your top three ideas. We'll help you decide on the one that best connects to you and to the audience.

What genres are appropriate to workshop in Blueprint?
We've workshopped pilots, shorts, features, dramas, fantasies, mockumentaries, noir, indie, big-budget, plays, sitcoms, and horror screenplays, to mention just a few. There is no type or genre of screenplay that wouldn't benefit from Blueprint.

Can I do just one class instead of your eight-week session?
I do occasionally teach one-off classes, often at places like the Brooklyn Brainery, or webinars through the Writers Store in Los Angeles. But Blueprint is a writing group—a community of writers that meets every week. Because of this format, we feel free to share ideas freely, trust each other with our personal projects, and assist each other constantly with resources, ideas, contacts, and more. This teacher-led workshop concept is new on the screenwriting scene, and I believe it will lead to stronger work and genuinely lasting careers in the long run!

Teacher Questions

Why did you start Blueprint?
I didn't see anything like this, anywhere. I wanted to create a one-of-a-kind workshop with a nurturing, collaborative writing-group atmosphere. Like other writing groups, in Blueprint, your peers keep you inspired and productive. Unlike other writing groups, it comes with a teacher (me), who provides guidance, advice, and structure. It's exactly the sort of resource I wish I'd had when I first started in this industry.

Why do you teach?
I love passing on what I wish I'd known earlier in my career. And I love seeing writers make breakthroughs, harness their own voice, and bring new worlds to life. Giving feedback to hundreds of students over the years has also helped make me a better writer. Now I can, ideally, give feedback that will improve any writer's screenplay, while always retaining the writer's unique voice and vision.

Writing can't really be taught, can it?
Screenwriting is a highly specific, technical, and time-consuming craft that bears some, but not much, relation to other types of storytelling. Even the best storyteller must learn and embrace the techniques that are exclusive to screenwriting before you have any hope of getting a screenplay produced. Bringing out a writer's voice is more difficult, but the best teachers can do it. That part is more important—and tougher to harness—than any technical expertise.

I can't afford a class right now. What should I do?
Read tons of scripts. Try these sites to start:Except the first link, these are totally free, and they're the best training you can find—other than writing yourself.

All that said: If you're experiencing financial hardship but would like to take a class, contact info@blueprintscreenwritinggroup.com and we can discuss!

General Filmmaking Questions

Do you have to go to film school to make it in the industry?
Film school is a great option for many people in terms of honing your craft, learning a wide range of skills, finishing scripts, and making connections. But it's never too late to start learning the craft, and many if not most of the people who are scucessful in this industry were never formally schooled in this art; they learned on the job. Many people who take Blueprint classes DID go to film school; this workshop helps them recapture what they loved about getting feedback and honing their projects.

Do you have to have Hollywood connections to be successful in film?
Yes—BUT they don't have to be preexisting connections. You can make those connections by creating great work and showing it to the right people. Gripping stories, great characters, and powerful messages always rise to the top. Focus on your writing before you focus on your networking, because most networking is pointless without strong work to back it up.

What if someone steals my idea?
This happens very, very rarely. Almost no one is as interested in your idea as you are, and pretty much no one can execute it with the detail and passion that you bring to the concept. Plus, you MUST put your idea out there in order to get feedback from the industry—which is precisely what Blueprint does so well. If you don't put your idea out there, you're guaranteed not to have it stolen—but you're also guaranteed not to sell it.

What's your background?
You can check out my bio here. That describes only some of the many, many jobs I've held. I've also been a restaurant reviewer, startup consultant, script reader, director, production assistant, copy editor, SAT tutor, college essay advisor, improvisor, storyteller, theater instructor, and more.

Do you guarantee I'll sell my script?
Whoever guarantees that you're going to sell a script is, well, not telling the truth. But I DO guarantee your script will make enormous advances. Plus, your ability to work in a writers' room and respond to executive notes will improve dramatically.  

Everything Else

I have more questions. How do I ask them?
Write to me anytime at info@blueprintscreenwritinggroup.com. Or get on our mailing list here!