Screenwriting Fundamentals

with Mark Tapio Kines
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Screenwriting Fundamentals
Video duration: 0s 2h 37m Appropriate for all


Join independent film director and screenwriter Mark Tapio Kines as he walks you through the process of getting your screenplay idea out of your head and onto the printed page. Learn how to define your story's characters, obstacles, and scope; understand the importance of each of the three acts in a traditional narrative structure; and discover how to build tension and reveal key plot points. Lastly, Mark shows you how to format your screenplay to make it readable and well paced, and navigate the legalities of adapting an existing property, collaborating with a cowriter, or engaging in a work-for-hire contract.

Topics include:
  • Finding the drama in your story idea
  • Structuring your story into three acts
  • Defining your protagonist's short-term and long-term goals
  • Creating obstacles for your characters
  • Understanding the importance of suspense
  • Timing your plot twists
  • Formatting your script
  • Registering for a copyright


- I love screenwriting, it's such a thrill to see the words and ideas you put down on paper literally come to life before your eyes, and for me, the screenplay is by far the most important thing in a movie. A good script trumps even the most beautiful cinematography, or emotionally real performance. Telling a story is what filmmaking is all about, and the story begins with the writer. My name's Mark Tapio Kines, I worked in the motion picture industry for over 20 years. I've written and directed two live action features, and over a dozen shorts.

I'm the author of eight full-length screenplays of my own, and I've read hundreds of scripts written by other people, from Oscar winners to first timers. I've seen the good, I've seen the bad, and the one thing I've learned is that every aspiring screenwriter can truly benefit from mastering the art of story structure, and dramatic conflict. This is course is for all writers at all levels, anybody who has an idea for a movie, and wants to turn it into a screenplay. What we're gonna do is attach a character to your idea, this will be your protagonist. We'll take your protagonist, and build a story around them, the story will follow the rules of what we call the three act structure, which is the foundation of all dramatic storytelling.

In the first of these three acts, we'll introduce your characters, and establish your premise. In act two, we'll take your protagonist, and send them on an adventure full of dramatic conflict. In act three, we'll bring that conflict to a satisfying resolution. After you've built out your story, I'll give you some tips on how to format your screenplay. I'll even go over some legal issues to help you protect your work. Above all, this course is designed to make you understand your number one goal as a screenwriter, which is to always keep your audience wondering what happens next.

So, if you're ready, let's start exploring the fundamentals of screenwriting.

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