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Getting Started

Lesson 1 from: Screenwriting for Film and Television: How to Begin

Julio Vincent Gambuto

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Lesson Info

1. Getting Started

In this module, you’ll meet your instructor and learn about his background and his journey as a screenwriter. Then we’ll take a look at how to maximize this class. Additional points include important screenwriting resources, best practices, and case study movies.

Lesson Info

Getting Started

Yeah. Hi everybody welcome. Hello Creative live. It's good to be with you today. Thanks for buying or subscribing to watch this video. It's really great to have you in this class. Welcome to screenwriting for film and television. How to begin. My name is Giulio. I'm a writer director here in new york city. Hello, from new york. And yes, I'm sure you were expecting it to be Julio, totally fair. It's italian. Actually, my, my mom named me Giulio spelled the italian way G I U L I O. But when I was a kid she changed the spelling to make it more american and made it J U L I O and made me latino. So bienvenidos. Toto's welcome to the class. You can just call me jules for short, all my friends and family do. Uh totally cool. It's really, really, really great to have you here. So you know, one of the things that I think is really important in the entertainment business in screenwriting and all of the crafts that make up film and tv is to always take advice from people who you admire or are mot...

ivated by or inspired by or whose path you'd really like to follow. I think it's really, really important. So check out my bio. Check out my website at Giulio Vincent dot com. Check out the information about me on this page. I want you to know where this class is coming from. I want you to know where the advice is coming from because I think it's really important to save yourself time and energy and resources and angst and sort of emotional anxiety to take advice from people that you really trust who have been down the road that you want to go down. Um Screenwriting is an incredible career. It's been really wonderful to me and I've been doing it for 20 years and I learn every single day something new. Every movie I watch, I get more knowledge, every script I read, I glean more information and understand how other writers and directors approach storytelling and approach script writing. Everyone does a little bit differently and it's really a wonderful process. Um uh just so that you know, my professional background, I started as an actor, I started as an actor in new york. I was doing a lot of theater. I moved out to Los Angeles in my twenties wanting to work in the business and did a lot of small industrials and commercials and you might know me from a shampoo commercial or two when I had a little bit more hair and you know, that wasn't working, it really wasn't working for me. And what I found was, you know, hey, I found myself in a room with a lot of people who looked like me and not really having a way to differentiate myself. And then I kind of learned in those years that what I wanted to do was tell stories that came of me Right, I've always been a writer. I've always journals. I've always written poems and articles and essays. It's just something that I did. I was that kid who kept a journal at 13 in his room. Um and I could only buy a diarrhea at the store. Right, that had a lock on it. But I did because I loved it. I loved writing about my life and about my family and about my world. So when I was in my twenties, I really sort of came to this point where I thought, you know what, I need to tap more into myself creatively as a writer in order to be able to express as an artist, the things that I want to be expressing. So I went back to film school when I was 32. I did a three years master 3-year Masters program which lasted until I was 37. It was a long program. It was a wonderful program but I made or touched or participated in somewhere between and 40 short films. I wound up selling a TV concept while I was in graduate school and going working in um in reality television and unscripted TV competition shows. I worked for Nickelodeon on a series for the pilot and two seasons where I was the sole writer and then I worked in film. I decided that I wanted to transition finally to film And I raised money to start my own company. It's called Borough five and we just released our first feature film. It's called Team Marco. And um the experience of releasing it, the experience of seeing it in the world is exactly what I want for you, right. Which is what do you want to say about this life, about this world, about the society we live in and how can you say it through film and television? So that's why I'm here to get you to do that and to help you to do that. Team Marco Just for that, you know, is a really, really fun film. It's a family movie. It's about a young boy who's 11 years old, 12 years old who um, is obsessed with his IPad. He's obsessed with his video games and his Italian grandfather moves into the house and things. It's crazy that this kid is always on his technology and so he drags him to the park and teaches them how to play Bacci, which is this old italian ball game. And so it's really about the friendship between the little boy and his grandfather and all of the neighborhood players and I'm really proud of it. It's a wonderful film. I hope you can check it out. Um, and you know, watch it so that, you know what I'm talking about when I do reference it. Um, I'm also gonna pick it apart in this class. I'm gonna look at how we could have done things more clearly, how we could have told the story more efficiently more dramatically with more emotion with more color. It's my own sort of private and personal case study that I'm going to share with you. You can check it out at team marco dot movie to see where you can rent it or buy it. So enough about me now, I want to talk about you, why do you do what you do or why do you want to do what you want to do? This is a really important question that I think we all have to answer as writers uh and sometimes answer it constantly. Right, why am I doing this? Why am I getting up early to grab a couple of hours here before the kids go to school or why am I staying up late to make sure that I write um you know and get through three or four pages tonight. Why am I taking that weekend away to do this thing that I love now some of you have never written before and I welcome that and I'm glad that you're here for this class. I think you're gonna get a lot out of this class. Some of you have written screenplays and um, and are here for a refresher and are here to sort of look at a different, a new vantage point on screenwriting. And I think that this class is really going to give you that. Um I tend to do things a little bit more systematically and possibly a little bit differently especially than a lot of screenwriting classes that I've personally taken. And then I think some of you might even be directors who want to have more insight into how to writers think and how do they get from an idea right through a script? So there's a lot of people here right through that camera who are here for different reasons. So I've designed the class for all of you and I've designed the class specifically for you to get as much out of it as you can. But what you have to do is be really clear about why you do what you do, Why? Right. So you can stop this video if you want and really spend some time thinking about it or writing about it. I think it's really important to get really, really, um clear for lack of better word about exactly why you're doing what you're doing first things first. Let me tell you what my goal for this class is. And then I want you to think about your goal. My goal is to take the experience that I've had in television and film, running my own company directing a movie and the years before that in the theater and take all of that and give it to you in real concrete steps that you can take a process that you can follow and the building blocks of the craft of screenwriting. I think it's really, really important to think of this class as a craft class, that you're gonna walk away understanding how our screenplays built, how our stories told in their component parts. You'll notice that this is not a workshop. I've taken a lot of writing classes, A lot of screenwriting classes, a lot of them are around the table. I share what I think of your work, you share what you think of my work. I think those are fantastic for feedback and to understand how your writing is landing. But I also think it's important to take a step back and to learn the basics and the fundamentals of writing for the screen so that you can really employ them to their best effect. So that's my goal. Take all of that. Give it to you in five or six hours in a class that's really digestible. So that you can really get the most out of it. Now, I want you to think about your goal, Why are you here? What do you want to get out of it? Because there's a couple of ways that you can maximize this class, right? There's a couple ways you could approach it. One, you can watch all the videos on a saturday, take what you want from it and get on with your life, right? That's an option. Uh secondly, you could do this at your own pace, right? You can watch the video and whenever I have referenced the movie, stop and go watch the movie. Whenever I talk about a worksheet or an exercise in our bonus materials, stop and go complete that and spend time writing and working on it and work through the class completely at your own pace. Whenever you can, that could take a week, it could take six weeks, it could take six months, you be the judge and you be the guide third. You could really approach this class like a six week course, right? Like I'm gonna do this class every monday night from 5 to 7 and then we're 5 to 6 and then we're gonna do the work for it that week. I advocate for that way because I think it's important to have a schedule. I think it's important to have consistency. I think part of the job of a writer is to write when you don't want it right and to sit down and to keep a schedule and to make sure that you can always sharpen that muscle of finding it in you and putting it on the page, right? And that is a muscle. It absolutely is. And you might be in the place of like, oh my gosh, I can't find it in me. Trust me, I have been there. What I want to encourage you through this class is to sit down and face the page, head on, get over whatever is blocking your path so that you can get words down on the page. So that's how I would do the class. Either way, however you want to do the class, I'll always reference at certain milestones throughout it. When you should stop or pause and go work on an exercise or worksheet or watch a movie. Of course materials, course materials are important. Where's a ton of bonus materials for this class? You can find them at the bottom of this page under bonus materials, it's worksheets, I've tried to give them to you in both pdf and in word or pages so that you can actually make them working documents and work within them. I've laid out the course in sort of a process for how to go about thinking about your writing, how to take the first steps into it and how to deepen and broaden your work. So, if you do all those worksheets and you start where I start with you and you move through them. I promise you that by the end of the class you're going to see a real significant shift and how you approach your writing. Screenwriting resources. So, if you go to my website Giulio Vincent dot com. There are links there for some really, really great books that I recommend. My personal bible is story by robert Mckee. There's also The Hero's Journey by joseph Campbell, which many, many, many screenwriters recommend and live by. There's also the art of dramatic writing by Lejos, agree, they all approach it slightly differently. They'll all talk about structure slightly differently. They all talk about stories slightly differently, but at the end of the day, they are incredible teachers with incredible things to say. And I think when you're in this work you have to pull from all of the sources that you find valuable and meaningful and helpful and insightful and come up with how you approach your work. So hopefully I am one of those people who can help you um, to figure that out. And lastly, let's talk about case study movies. So I'm gonna talk about a lot of movies in this class and I will reference a ton of them. There are five that I'm gonna return to often. Uh and this list will give you a good sense of my own personal movie sensibilities. First, we're gonna look at the devil wears Prada, really great comedy, really great story structure, Good Will Hunting, which is a fantastic character, study the Hunger Games, which is laid out wonderfully according to story structure and story technique, wonderful story technique. The reason I believe that this movie is so successful is that it really, really lives by the fundamentals of story Coco, which is an animated favorite of mine and my nieces and nephews. Coco is really great animated movies have an incredible way of storytelling because they have a lot of they have fewer limits than live action movie. Movies and storytelling and Die Hard. We'll look at classic classic drama, Die Hard. So one quick note this class is about film and television and we're gonna do a section on tv as well. But when I talk about stories and I talk about storytelling, I'm talking about fundamental concepts that I think you need to know before you approach whether or not your script is a film script or a tv script. I'm gonna talk about that throughout this class. How do I make the decision? How do I know what's better? But I really love Tv but I've always wanted to write film. think about this class as the fundamental craft building 101 basics for all of that and then you get to build from there and whatever medium you want. So this is class getting started and now I want to walk you through sort of what the class looks like so that you see where we're going over the course of the next five or six hours of class videos. This is getting started, obviously just the housekeeping of it all. Then we're gonna move on to the power of stories and talk about why stories are so incredibly important and significant in history and society. I want to just give you a basic understanding of the power of storytelling so that you can make some of those decisions about the story you've always wanted to tell, What is it? Where does it live? What's the appropriate medium? Exactly who, how do I approach making that as engaging and as captivating as possible. Well then move on to key concepts. There are five major concepts that I want to introduce you to that specifically relate to the script and scripting and screen producing a screenplay for film or for television. After that we're gonna talk about analyzing stories. I'm a really big story analysis nerd. You'll often find me on my couch with my laptop and Excel spreadsheet watching a movie and recording what's happening beat by beat, minute by minute. Almost line by line. I want to teach you how to do that because I think it's fantastic homework. It's fantastic um research for you to see how writers and directors approach all of these concepts. Section five is gonna be your purpose. Why? What are you trying to say with your work? What are you trying to say with this particular story? It's less about what's my purpose in the world, although that may be very related and more about what is the core takeaway that I want my script to offer to the audience. What is the key learning from it and the key message that I want to communicate. Also known as the premise through the, through the work and the angle of, of, of some, some other storytelling teachers, story design, which is my words. I like to think of my work as architecture. I use the word design a lot. I love design and I want to introduce you to sort of looking at your screen screenplay and screenwriting through the lens of architect ng it. Then we're gonna get to the meat and potatoes of the class, which is these 10 story fundamentals. We're gonna look at each of them, there's a video on each of them. These are the building blocks of craft. These are the things you've got to know and have to be in your story in order for it to be told. Well, we're gonna walk through each of them and focus on each of them. We're gonna wrap that up talking about emotion. Emotion is at the work at the, at the um, at the basis is the basis of everything that we're doing right emotion. We're creating emotional experiences and I think it's really important um, to uh, to get clear about that, to understand how it works and to understand how to express it in a screenplay. I'm gonna look at story structure. I want you to walk away really understanding story structure and there's a video for act one, video for act two, video for act three. And I wanna introduce you to the seed to script process, the way that I work is inside out. I develop content, whether it's for the web or tv or film from the inside out. What is it in the seed, what is the D. N. A. Of that story And when you water it, how does it actually grow into a script. That's a really different way to look at it than, Hey, wouldn't it be cool if this happened or this happened and suddenly you've got 15 things that you're trying to jam into the script that have nothing to do with the story only because somebody thought it was cool usually that somebody is me or you, so we'll take a look at that process and then we're gonna specifically talk about treatments, what they are, why you should do them and how to approach them A little bit. Intermediate section 23 is about deepening your work important stuff. This is sort of the basis of what the next class in this series would be. We're gonna talk about feedback, how to hear it, how to give it, what's constructive, what's helpful, what to listen to what not to listen to and we'll wrap up with some next steps for you. So that's how the class lays out. I'm super excited about it. I hope that you are too, I'm here to teach, I'm here to connect. I'm here to offer you insight and to help you build craft so that you can tell the story that you want to tell. Um most importantly, I want you to think about this class as the beginning of a pretty incredible journey. It's not the exact beginning, we're meeting somewhere in our writing journeys together. I think it's really important that um that you approach this from that perspective, that everything you get along that journey, every sort of piece of knowledge or insight or guidance that you get is helping you to accomplish the goal that you have, which I think because you're here is that you want to write a rock and screenplay, so let's do it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Case Study Films
Story Analysis Template.xlsx
Sample TV Scripts
Story Design Worksheet
Story Fundamentals Worksheet
Seed to Script Process

Ratings and Reviews

Carlos Sandoval

Just a great way to start on your path to screenwriting. A clear and concise class with a friendly tone and humor. I think it is important that a teacher has actually worked in the field. Kudos.


Perfect for a beginner or actors who need a better understanding of what is and why is. Info packed and FUN too!

Asem Nurkina

I took this class last year. And after one year of working with presented tools (story design worksheet, story fundamentals workseet, seed to script process) on different projects I can say that it is very powerful and useful course I ever taken. I can strongly recommend this detailed screenwriting guidance by Julio Vincent Gambuto.

Student Work