Class #2: Creature Screenwriting: How to Write Memorable Monsters (Stan Winston School Diary #3)

Real couple and amazing screenwriters Juliet Snowden and Stiles White teach this one hour class on making the most of your film’s monster. Mr. White directed the horror film he co-wrote with Ms. Snowden, Ouija. His filmography goes way back to organizing special FX work on Interview With the Vampire, a movie I love and long before I got involved in the Stan Winston classes, knew a family friend providing some FX creations for it! Exciting how this world is all connected!

To me, monsters can mean The Lord of the Rings’ Gollum as the kinds of familiar monsters, or they can go off into my favorite story world, kawaii work like everything I love in Japanese animation or Pixar. How to Train Your Dragon. We can expand upon this theme including animation in it.

The pair doesn’t leave anything out of the class. You have the basics on how to write a great story. Keep it simple and intriguing enough with sci-fi screenwriting rules. Examples of films heavily discussed in the class are the first Terminator, Jurassic Park, the rad 80’s teen vampire flick The Lost Boys, the Alien series, and Predator. The Creature From the Black Lagoon gets a temporary shoutout midway through the lesson.

Last week, I made the 2019 hip hop move of throwing shade, aka. throwing out sarcastic truth, at the world via Twitter.

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Writing is the foundation of any movie before special FX. As a freelance journalist on the side, who has no intentions of giving it up were I to have 12,000 Oscars in my hands, my pet peeve is people who think they don’t have room to learn the craft. Someone might have written a book some time ago. Good enough! He/she writes like a historian or novelist for a professional branded website, or a media publication. OK, a big problem with that! Serious journalism has its own rhythm. Within journalism alone, you can break it up into op-ed writing, hard news, people pieces, Q+As, weather, sports, fashion features, and so much. For each, a journalist covers the writing itself like an artwork.

Were I to treat filmmaking and screenwriting like, “I’ve seen thousands of movies! I don’t need to learn!” I might feel like a failure. We can all learn and grow in our writing. Yes, when I say thousands, I mean, I really have watched thousands of movies in my lifetime. Can you get out and win the World Cup because you've watched thousands of Manchester United games? No. You need field experience. Arrogance isn’t win you the World Cup without any learning experiences. Following my own advice for print journalists, I am setting out to actually learn what I am doing from people who really do know what they are doing.

My plan is covering a mixture of hands on special FX classes and the filmmaking specialty with the Stan Winston School. On my schedule mapped out, some classes are FIVE HOURS LONG! Oh, wow. You get your money’s worth out of this.

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