Who doesn’t secretly watch the secret comic blockbuster or the action extravaganza as a filmmaker? Most of us have a certain age.
“Most kids are interested in film,” said John Daugherty, director of Film Columbus. “If you ask them if they want to make films, which kid will say no?”
But how many young people fully appreciate the effort, focus, and skills required to write a screenplay?
To give middle and high school students in central Ohio a better idea of the work involved in writing for the screen and to encourage them to consider stepping into the field one day – film Columbus and Columbus College of Art & Design will host two free virtual scripting workshops in early March.
The fifth installment of the Columbus Teen Film Screenwriting Workshop and Competition is open to young people ages 13-18 in Franklin and neighboring counties. The workshops will take place on March 6th and 20th from 12pm to 4pm on Zoom. Both are led by Kingsley Nyarko, a member of the CCAD Film and Video Faculty.
“I think most people just think, ‘Oh, you just put a camera up and shoot and tell the actors what to do and that’s it,” said Nella Citino, director of film and video at CCAD. ” There’s a lot more to it than that. “
Nyarko will help fill in the gaps.
“It teaches the fundamentals of a storyline and the fundamentals of characters,” Daugherty said, as well as more practical but essential information like the correct way to format a script.
“He does a speaking part and then teaches kids how to use certain software that they can use online for free,” Daugherty said.
Then comes the challenging part: After the first workshop, the participating students are asked to think about ideas for their own 3 to 5-page script. During the second workshop, Nyarko will work with students to make their scripts filmable.
In other words, kids shouldn’t have their story set on a distant planet, not have a large cast, or record a part for Spider-Man.
“They have to be doable,” said Daugherty. “Keep it simple, focus on the characters, focus on the story – not a lot of special effects.”
The reason for any practical advice? After the second workshop, students will be asked to write their own scripts and submit them to a jury made up of both local and national film professionals. Although the judges use a scorecard to rate the submitted scripts, they are often looking for a specific “X” factor.
“A lot of the time we get submissions, there is one or two where everyone says,” Wow, that’s a really good script, “Daugherty said.” There’s a twist at the end or something like that. “
The top rated scripts will be shot in the fall by CCAD students who will actively work with the young writers on the resulting short films.
“Our students benefit a lot from it,” said Citino. “Usually they write their own stuff and then (film) their own stuff, and it’s refreshing when they’re given a script and asked, ‘OK, how do you do this?'”
When putting together this year’s workshop, Film Columbus and CCAD emphasized inclusiveness and informed school principals and educators at schools in underserved districts. The aim is that ultimately more diverse groups of the population enter the film industry.
“Unfortunately, a lot of kids think it’s a rich white business,” Daugherty said, adding that the virtual format could allow even more young people to sign up and learn about screenwriting. “We will help break down some of these barriers to entry.”
The winning scriptwriters and their CCAD staff will see their film premiere in the spring of 2022 – possibly, if the pandemic cooperates, at a “red carpet” event in a regional cinema.
At a glance
Register for the film Columbus Teen Scriptwriting Workshop and Competition on March 6th and 20th eventbrite.com. The event is free of charge.