“Telling Lives” is an online Creative Writing, Personal Healing & Screenplay Writing Class taught by multi-award-winning playwright, and screenwriter, Bradley Rand Smith (complete artistic credits below).
We will explore the creative process for each student, playfully developing writing skills and exploring the power of the individual imagination.
Depending on an individual student’s desires, “Telling Lives” can also be a personal and/or public healing journey.
I subscribe to the belief that personal writing can be an extension of ‘The Silent Witness,’ an experience where deep conflicts can be explored without judgment or shame, or guilt, or blame. And thereby be allowed into the ‘light of day’ to begin the healing process. I stand by the knowledge that we all share the human experience and therefore none of us are alone.
Whether desiring to learn the ins-and-outs of screenplay writing, or personal journaling, or simply wanting to learn how to better express one’s innermost passions, “Telling Lives,” will be an exciting adventure in the human creative process for the beginner or advanced student.
The first class will be divided into (a flexible) six hours.
The first part of this class will be focused on getting each student to think like a writer.
Though I will be editing all student material and suggesting alternate word, phrasing and structure choices, “Telling Lives” is not a class about grammar. It is a course about life.
To be a writer for a larger audience, or just for oneself, each student must get in touch with how they view the world and how they view others. A true writer must be clear about his or her personal belief systems before going on to describe a character’s point of view.
We will spend the first two (flexible) hours of the first class studying the nature of personal and social/cultural/political/religious belief systems.
- The first class will also focus on the power and precision of description, of people, objects, environments and psychological points-of-view.
- We will discuss ‘good’ writing vs ‘bad’ writing.
- The power of word choice.
- Environments and how they effect people/objects.
- Stream of consciousness.
- How to get past blocks.
- How to tap into your creative source.
- Writing with rhythm, color and ‘flavor.’
- Working with the six senses.
- Working with the Who, What, When, Where, How & Why.
- The different genres of writing, strengths and weakness of each.
- Discuss point-of-view, of people, objects, animals, plants, minerals (a writer must be able to get into the ‘head’ of anything and everything!)
- Environmental effects on point-of-view. How do natural and unnatural and other-worldly environments effect a point-of-view. How does temperature and climate and atmosphere effect point-of-view?
- What is it that makes us human?
- An examination of human physical and emotional sensation and the various meanings and effects on people.
- Human personalty and character traits.
- Job effects on human personality and character.
- Family dynamics and their effect of human personality and character.
- The effects of various relationships on human personality and character.
- Effects of physical characteristics on human personality: A tall, healthy, blond-haired athlete may have a different life experience than a short, ill, bald salesperson requiring the use of a wheelchair.
- Human Conflict. An examination of internal and external conflicts and their effects on human personality and characteristics.
- A breakdown of human characteristics.
- Building a human being and placing them in a given world.
- Discussion of character as Plot.
- Examination of plot as conflict.
- Discussion and creation of a protagonist.
- Discussion and creation of an antagonist.
- Characteristics of both as defined by beliefs, life choices, point-of-view, relationships, nature vs. nurture, environment, etc.
- Create secondary, supporting characters.
- Create a situation or event.
- Build a 3 Act structure.
- Create goals for each character.
- Create obstacles to each goal.
- Overcoming obstacles.
- Moral, if any.
- Write a 5 page story using all of the above.
- Discussion and examination of character ‘voices’ as influenced by:
- Speech patterns.
- Grammar/formal vs. colloquial language usage.
- Flow & rhythm.
- Dialogue conflict.
- Dialogue agreement.
- Regional dialect.
- Create ten, two page conversations within ten separate situations.
- Create a 5 page story based solely on dialogue between two or more characters.
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The twenty-one hours of class time will be scheduled individually for each student.
Time will be allowed beyond the twenty-one hours for students to complete assignments and have them read and evaluated by myself, returned to the student and discussed.
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Bradley’s screenplay, “The Craftsman” is under option by Silver Nitrate Productions and is scheduled for production in the fall of 2012.
His television mini-series script, “Last Verdict” was optioned by Pamela Rosenberg and Red Cedar Productions in 2010.
Bradley is the adapter of the film version of his award-winning play, “Dalton Trumbo’s ‘Johnny Got His Gun,'” starring Benjamin Mckenzie, which opened in September 2008:
— The Hollywood Reporter: “Ben McKenzie gives a tour-de-force performance in this one-man show, a challenging adaptation of an anti-war classic.”
He co-produced and co-wrote the musical, “Exmass,” co-written with Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” regular, Emmy-winner and solo Broadway stand-up comic, Lewis Black, music and lyrics by Mark Houghtaling, premiered at the West Bank Theater in New York.
He is the author of several screenplays and teleplays including “In A Workmanlike Manner,” for CBS; “Stealing Thunder,” for Ed Pressman Films; “The Descent” for Don Baer Productions; and “The Rubicon” for Wilshire Court.
Bradley is author of the adaptation of Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun,” which opened at Circle Rep. and received an Obie Award for actor Jeff Daniels as well as several N.Y. Drama Desk nominations. It continues to receive critical acclaim in international productions.
In Los Angeles, under Bradley’s direction, the production received awards for Best Adaptation, Actor, Light, and Sound from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Backstage West and LA Weekly. “Johnny…” recently opened at the New York Fringe Festival, one reviewer writing: “One of the most moving, life-affirming, and masterfully executed shows I’ve ever seen.”
His play, “Theatricals,” a true story about Charles Dickens was optioned for Broadway.
His play, “Mojave,” which he co-produced, opened at the West Bank Theater in New York and had its L.A. premiere at the Odyssey Theatre. It has been adapted into a mock-documentary screenplay.
A third play, “Nocturne,” opened in Chicago and was selected for inclusion in the Skirball/Kennis Theatre Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.
He is currently producing his latest piece, “Daughter,” a controversial retelling of the life of Jesus for the stage and film.
He has also written and produced the theater pieces, “Jazz Lives” and “Blue Notes” for renowned bassist John B. Williams and his equally renowned wife, singer Jessica Williams. Lyrics Bradley wrote for Mr. Williams can be heard on the jazz CD “The Maupin/Williams Project.”
Bradley is an ongoing student of Reiki, yoga, qi gong, meditation and metaphysics.