The failure of the student is the failure of the teacher. I want to get better at explaining screenwriting. What do you really want to know about the craft?
If I had to express screenwriting into four words, it would be these: Imagine vividly, communicate clearly.
These make me feel pretty good about myself, but I’ll admit that they’re of minimal value to the struggling beginner who’s trying to develop a sense of competence
I like to break things down into primitives, into functions. When I talk about acts, arcs, and incidents, I don’t mean it to be a dogma or a “system,” I think of it like grammar or music theory – it’s simply labeling the parts so you can think about them if you want to.
Unfortunately, the more practical advice is, the more controversial it becomes. This is true on all advice forums: bland, “you can do it if you really want” advice is always popular, specific approaches runs up against other people’s personal narratives and causes arguments.
I think there’s something fundamentally flawed with our understand of learning, teaching, and how information is transmitted. You see it all the time, one size fits all approaches, slick answers, easy solutions.
The truth is that every one learns differently, and everyone has different life experiences and skill sets that are both a boon and a hindrance to learning new information. Teachers should be sensitive to that.
I believe that good advice is friendly advice. It should be practical, real, and often challenging, but it should embrace the spirit of the question and truly seek to address the root issue beneath whatever concrete language it’s enshrined in.
To this end, ask me any question, no matter how stupid or abstract. I’ll do my best to provide an useful answer.