The Best Screenwriting Teacher



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  • The Best Screenwriting Teacher

    I thought it might be fun to get opinions on the best screenwriting teachers out there and why. I know Syd Field gets slammed a lot these days, but I think what he's tried to teach still holds plenty of merit. Of course there's Robert McKee, who certainly must believe he's the top teacher and perhaps he's right. And how about John Truby, Bill Martell (an actual produced writer), Richard Walter, William Froug, Lew Hunter and many, many others? There are so many out there now...

    Any thoughts on who the top teachers/authors are?

  • #2
    The best screenwriting teacher I ever had was Christopher Knopf. Hands down.


    • #3
      Bill Martell. Game over.


      • #4
        How do you quantify or measure "the best?"

        Most writers are probably their own best teacher in many regards


        • #5
          nice thread.
          would be interesting to understand better what their teaching methods are.

          of course, i think the best teachers in anything are the ones who know the extremes of the craft and can listen and reflect your thoughts, asking what you want to do and then telling you how it appears.

          i think robert mckee understands the extremes and i've never met him, but i can't help presuming, he's hard to talk to...especially after the ADAPTATION lecture scene.


          • #6
            The best screenwriting teachers are movies and scripts.


            • #7



              • #8
                My instructor was Robert Powell, who taught in Scottsdale, Arizona for several years ... and was just about the only person who knew what he was doing there. He was known as the Script Nazi, as he made it clear to his students what was expected of them and didn't sugarcoat a person's chances in Hollywood. He was clear and concise, and instead of throwing everything out to you at once, he molded each part of the screenwriting process that you needed assistance with, then once you had that down, he moved to the next part. He couldn't stand students who saw screenwriting only as a means to get their two year film certificate (he physically threw one student out while the rest of the class applauded and then defended him when the student returned with an authority from the school), but for those students who truly wanted to learn the craft, he would go to the ends of the Earth to help them.

                After he moved back to L.A., he didn't want to forsake the students who were looking forward to being in his class, so he would fly to Arizona on Wednesday morning, teach one class on Wednesday night, a second on Thursday night, then fly back late Thursday night after that class. He paid for this each time, drastically reducing the pay he received.


                • #9
                  C. G. Jung


                  • #10

                    Survival is the best teacher. Adapting to the 'new' things that work. To move objectively through your material? To move against the grain and capture that fleeting thought that becomes your second act. To hone and develop and slash and burn then build again. . . maybe i'm crazy but the best writers are organically grown. There has to be a great amount of trial and error. For every Mich Rich there's a nebraska cornfield of herculean efforts. We all have the ability to teach ourselves . . . THEN it depends on talent/break/network/pages/etc... but ultimately, it depends on you. Can you hit the knuckle change?

                    When i drive to Maine I always get lost, but there's always an old guy in a raincoat to point me back home. I guess what I'm saying is. . . I hope an old guy in a raincoat can help me better define my inciting incident :b


                    • #11
                      Re: perseverence?

                      Watching movies and reading scripts.

                      Reading scripts.

                      reading. scripts.

                      Oh, and maybe watching movies.


                      • #12
                        Re: perseverence?

                        god given talent


                        • #13
                          Re: Thank you

                          There are two people I credit for 90% of my drama/ screenwriting knowledge. I wonâ€TMt broadcast their names, because I'm not certain they'd want me to. Plus, I'm still struggling with execution and Iâ€TMd hate for someone to dredge up something Iâ€TMve written here as an ugly counter example.

                          Not that anyone would do that. Iâ€TMm sure this is, you know, a completely unnecessary precaution.

                          I just hope they know who they are. Maybe some of you do, too, but this way, should any flack come out of it - I can always say I was talking about someone else.

                          Consider this a public â€thank you†to a couple of semi-anonymous exceptional teachers.


                          • #14
                            Re: Thank you


                            You should really go into politics.


                            • #15
                              The best teacher...

                              the whip.