Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028 Map
Thu, Sep 15, 2016
7:30pm

Seminars For Filmmakers 2016
Finishing the Script: Writing with Cameras

The French New Wave filmmakers of the 1950s/1960s, like the great silent filmmakers before them, realized that cinema is best when it remains an art form unto itself.

They believed that cinema should not be tied to previously written material (the novel, the play…by extension, today’s video game.) More radically, they argued that cinema should not even try to conform to the narrative conventions of a written screenplay – especially the three-act. For them, film could exist as structured by an idea, a theme, a dream. They believed that a film’s ultimate emotional and intellectual power should be determined through cinematic innovation. Not through the screenplay, not through story alone. Cinema should stand on its own.

Emerging filmmakers and film enthusiasts take note!

As contemporary world cinema tries to sort its place out in a highly media-aware and competitive entertainment arena (television is, after all, on the “rise”), many of the world’s greatest filmmakers are pushing the boundaries of narrative cinema by returning to some of the ideas of the French New Wave filmmakers.

Do filmmakers think that their job is to make a simple image/dialogue “recording” of their screenplay? Isn’t that really what Tom McCarthy’s Academy Award winning SPOTLIGHT is all about? Have filmmakers forgotten that the camera (and editing and mise-en-scene and production design and sound design…) exists to interpret their written properties and to find ways to rethink the literary, “canned theater” constraints of the average screenplay?

In this uniquely structured seminar, we’ll survey the landscape of what cinema looks and feels like when it is written more with a camera and other formal properties instead of singularly being dictated by those precious words on a page.

Let’s realize the potential of cinema together!


  • How do you establish, build, stylize and intensify character/story problems in terms of the visual dynamics of cinema?

  • How do you both determine and re-determine characters and their problems on screen without traditional and theatrical uses of dialogue?

  • How do you create and build a “visually serviceable character”?

  • Where does improvisation in performance come into play with films that are written visually?

  • How do you create a “single loaded shot” for your film that expresses both character and story problems?

  • If it’s “on the page,” why might it be very wrong to have it on the screen?

  • How is re-imagining the written word for the cinema more like a form of visual re-writing?

  • In the emerging filmmaker arena, why is it so extremely important to move away from the dialogue-based theatricality of routine character exposition and traditional three act structuring?


FINISHING THE SCRIPT: WRITING WITH CAMERAS is a seminar for the writer/filmmaker (and the film enthusiast) who wants to learn how to build cinema, create and establish character and story problems through the purely visual and aural dimensions of cinema. Learning to visually compose character/story problems quickly and with limited dialogue is clearly not only one of the hallmarks of great cinema but it is also one of the primary differences between directing for theater and creating for the movie screen.

Film Producer/Visual Consultant Thomas Ethan Harris instructs.

Film clips will be used to encourage a discussion with the audience.
180 min. | Seminar Ticket Prices: $25 General, $20 Student/Senior, $16 Member. No vouchers accepted for this or any other specially priced program. Student tickets available only at the box office with current student I.D.
Egyptian Theatre • Thu, Sep 15, 2016 • 7:30pm

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