I’ve spent a lot of time over the years shopping for film and television writing coaching. I’ve taken workshops, I’ve had professional coverage, I’ve read a hundred books and countless blogs.
Of all those possible learning resources, the only one I’ve ever recommended is the workshop series offered by Corey Mandell and Talton Wingate. Corey and Talton will again be offering the first workshop in the series, Professional Screenwriting and Television Writing, in September. It’s an 8-week class with live remote 3-hour workshops held once a week. Full-on lectures in Week 1 and Week 8: lecture, new concepts, writing exercises, and individual feedback on homework the other 6 weeks.
Go take it. Then take the Conceptual Intensive, which is a non-required class that you can take between the first workshop and the advanced class (which I just completed and absolutely loved). The CI is the single hardest class I’ve ever taken as an adult, a firewalk with a mountain of homework and a sense of push-to-grow that reminded me of my Clarion experience, or the 41 stories I wrote in 41 days on behalf of Clarion West a few years ago.
(To illustrate this: I got laid off from my 2-year contract job along with 28% of the rest of the company last summer during the final week of the Conceptual Intensive. My first response was Oh, shit. My second response was Well, I’ll have time to do my homework now. And I did. It was totally worth it. That class scared the bejesus out of me, and I loved it.)
As you move through the workshop series, you’ll get to work with Corey, Talton, and their colleague Lauren “Tough Love” Ludwig (no, I don’t think that’s the middle name her parents gave her, but it should be). All of these people are smart, funny, expert, generous with their coaching, and every single one of them will learn your little ways as a writer and tell you to carry on, or to stop that shit.
I think it helps to have some writing (prose or screenwriting) experience going into these workshops, but it’s not essential. From my perspective, the people who have the toughest time are those who want to argue that the concepts being taught, or the feedback on their work, are completely wrong. I have seen a couple of people get very mulish in a way that I see in emerging prose writers as well: If you really understood what I’m doing you would totally see how perfect it is! Pro tip: don’t be that person, ever. It gets you nowhere.
If you want to learn more about screenwriting, have the will to grow and aren’t afraid of being truly workshopped – of hanging your ass out for everyone to see so that you can learn – then go check out the website and the class. Bring your growth mindset and your absolute willingness to embrace feedback, work your ass off, provide support to your workshop cohort, and get over the need to be perfect. Because the need to be perfect is the enemy of growth.
And if you decide to go for it, do let me know. I’d love to hear about your experience.