The TSA is working to develop avenues to help our members and community prepare for the real world of the entertainment business.
The Tennessee Screenwriting Association uses and promotes Classic American Narrative Structure (we call it C.A.N.S.), the structure that has been the backbone of American film and in use by the American studio system since the advent of talkies in the 1930's.
POST FIFTEEN PAGES FOR REVIEW!! We have several members that have posted material and would like some feedback on their writing. Our forum called, Fifteen Pages for Review is intended to offer members the same opportunity for peer review as our weekly meetings. Head on over to the TSA Forum and share your insights and experiences.
Our forum called, Fifteen Pages for Review is intended to offer members the same opportunity for peer review as our weekly meetings. Post your pages! Get feedback from writers like you! Keep the page count to between ten and fifteen pages. Be sure you list genre and a log line as part of your post. For consistency and ease, please on be sure all files to be uploaded are PDF format.
Get in the conversation. Go to www.tennscreen.com/tsa_forum and register. While the site is in it's beta development stage all who register will get access to the peer review forums. If you are a paid TSA member, your status will be "Paid TSA Member". If you are not a member or your membership dues have lapsed your status will be "TSA Beta Member". If you have any problems or questions contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The end goal is to give you a place to show your pages and get feedback from your peers. We hope to make this a tool for idea development and collaboration. We're also going to court some working film professionals to take part. Check it out! If you have ideas, share at email@example.com.
TENNESSEE TO THE SCREEN: Robert Franke
This Nashville native, graduated from Vanderbilt University then attended the University of Southern California Film School for a M.F.A. in Screenwriting. He scraped by in Los Angeles for several years then broke in with a vengeance. Upon returning home, he visited the TSA, introduced Classic American Narrative Structure and changed how our organization writes! Meet Robert Franke.
Tennessee To Screen is a TSA showcase that introduces you to successful writers and film/tv professionals in and around Tennessee.
The purpose is provide an insight into possible career paths and destinations as a film/tv professional.
Why Most Fail At Screenwriting:
Our Weekly Meetings: The Tennessee Screeenwriter's Association meets every Wednesday night at Watkins College of Art & Design from 7pm-8:30pm in Metro Center, Nashville. We are usually in room 503 but if you can't find us ask at the front desk. During meetings members have an opportunity to sign up to present material, which can include verbally pitching an idea, reading an outline, or table-reading ten to fifteen pages of a working script.
Presenters takes feedback in the form of a question and answer period. The presenter is in charge of their session. Please be courteous and speak only when called on by the presenter and please avoid crosstalk and side conversations.
Unless solicited by the presenter, “Over-writing” is discouraged. (Overwriting is offering specific ideas or “fixes” on the script.) Non-members are welcome and encouraged to participate in any feedback or discussions. To sign up to present or read, we only ask that you be a current member.
Again, the goal is to improve our writing skills. We are NOT a mutual admiration, ego stroking society. Please keep in mind that constructive critique is not personal attack. We aim to discuss what is working and what's not working in the material presented to the group. We suggest all participants check egos at the door.
Sponsors & Supporters:
TSA Contest Winners!
UPDATE: Below are our Contest Winners! Congratulations!
1st Place: Seeing Red -- Sundae Jahant-Osborn
2nd Place: Frontman -- Dennis & Elise Carr
3rd Place: The Beginning -- Elise Carr
I'M PRESENTING! WHAT NOW?
Our weekly meetings are generally three half hours of presentation and feedback. Members sign up to present material. This can be pitching an idea, reading a premise sheet, a two page synopsis or ten to fifteen pages of a working script for a cold/table read.
The reader then takes feedback in the form of a question and answer period. This where the TSA rubber meets the road. So what kind of questions should a reader be ready to answer about their story? The best advice is, Reader, know thy story". Here is a "List of Questions" that a presenter will likely be asked during a meeting, and so therefore they should consider as they write.
Finally simplicity is genius. Presenting material to the group is the best way to exercise and develop pitching skills. Understanding your story is not being able to drone on and on about the complexities of character, setting and plot. Quite the contrary. As Shakespeare noted, "Brevity is the soul of wit".
Here are some of the questions a reader can expect and should be prepared to answer. And Finally, don't be afraid!
Do you have a three-act structure?"
Can you sum-up Act 1 in no more than four sentences? Act 2? Act 3?
What is your protag's main goal? What makes this hard to achieve?
What course of actions does your protag instigate to achieve success in the story?
Is your protag GIVEN answers/solutions/goals, or is he forced to ACQUIRE those things? [Should be the latter]
How often is your protag FORCED to decide on a SINGLE course of action in the story? [The correct answer should be no more than once]
What does your protag learn about life, herself, or the human condition that she didn't know at the beginning of the story?
What movie(s) are like your story in style or structure?
Does your protag appear within the first 3 pages of your story?
Does your protag have an interesting or character-defining introduction?
WRITING OTHER PEOPLES STUFF
So how does a screenwriter make a living? Do they sell spec script after spec script because their ideas are so novel and exciting that execs in Hollywood subordinate their own ideas?
Richard Black, a regular TSA member and last year's president, has landed an option for his script, The Bible Codes-The Four Horsemen. He attributes this success to his strategy utilizing his InkTip Preferred Newsletter subscription. (InkTip is a TSA sponsor.)
Go to the new TSA Forum for more details on Richards story.