Events and Workshops

An almost 45-minute discussion with Julia Widdop of "The Seeker's Journey" about the evolution of the story structure I teach and how it relates to our life.

The wonders of technology - recorded on my laptop at home. The most complete explanation of what I've learned about effective story structure and how it actually works out in the real world, from Aristotle to Joseph Campbell to The Elliott Wave, with a dissection of "Cast Away" and other material.

I need to do a book on this, sooner rather than later.

In writing and in life, there are no shortcuts to success. Even the lucky ones are prepared when they make it, or they don't stay successful. You have to learn the craft, and how to sell in Hollywood to make it here. Beginners don't realize that scripts are usually bought from established writers.

That is particularly true these days, when studios are concentrating on "tentpole" and franchise movies and big event films in 3D. Whatever type of film you want to write, I can teach you how to do it most effectively (see the Services page).

Most beginners have to sell works that are great, not just good. Once you're established, it's easier. It's the same way with publishing, which I've done for decades. That's why people seek me out from all over the world - I tell them the TRUTH.

I don't seek out workshops or go on the road with dog and pony shows. I probably lose a lot of money that way, but I chose to stay home and be available for my kids. I grew weary of the Hollywood shuffle and only recommend or participate in things I fully trust. Now that I'm an empty nester, though, I'm getting back out there.

I'll come do a workshop anywhere if someone wants to set it up, and they can take 50% if they want. I still need to write another book that explains a lot more than story. My latest plan is to start putting up short advice film clips on my own YouTube channel, which I'll try to get started soon.

I've had the distinct pleasure of appearing with a lot of amazing speakers at Pepperdine University events, entrepreneurial weekends that were the brainchild of my genius friend Elliot McGucken.

One of those people was Chris Vogler of "The Writer's Journey" fame. He told me after hearing me at the Pepperdine event pictured: "You blew my mind, man!" Apparently, my lecture was the favorite one at the Pepperdine Entrepreneurial Weekend the next year, as well.

If you're interested in my doing a workshop for your festival or writers' group, just send me an email and let's discuss it. Send your phone number if you want to talk about it. I'll discuss a LOT more than simple writing technique. I believe in giving people many extras when they bother to come hear me talk. It's a philosophy I've always had, and share with motivational legend Napoleon Hill.

People who have taken my online screenwriting course (about 10,000) and readers of my Complete Idiots Guide to Screenwriting (well over 50,000 at this point) know about my "Shaping Force" concept and some aspects of the Elliott Wave, that allows them to take their writing to a new level. That's for any kind of writing - articles, short stories, novels, non-fiction plays or screenplays.

After I was told about the Elliott Wave, I learned that when I came to Los Angeles in 1974 I lived in the house in Los Angeles where Ralph Elliott first wrote about his discoveries in the 1920s. Using the framework of the Elliot Wave I was able to integrate Aristotle's "Poetics", Shakespeare's five acts, and the "Hero's Journey" matrix of Joseph Campbell. I've found it is even applicable in life, and I regularly check my own life situations against it.

I won't insist you see things my way, but I did have one client who missed getting his film into the Sundance Film Festival because he didn't take my advice on his script. Get the right info and follow it, you'll be happier. Hey, I'm just a messenger...

That's me speaking at a San Diego Film Festival panel about "10 Stupid Things Filmmakers Do to Mess Up Their Movies."

From left: Chris Gore, writer/director Pete "Project Greenlight" Jones, Skip Press, director Jude Pauline Eberhard, writer/producer Bo Zenga.