Monday, December 2, 2013

Two Thumbs Up for Movieguide® Scriptwriting Classes

Before I flew to Camarillo, California, to attend four days of concentrated scriptwriting classes at the office of Movieguide®, several writer friends asked me to bring back a report. Here it is.
First, let me explain that one major reason I registered for “How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul)” was simply to improve my novel-writing skills. After all, novels deal with characters, conflicts, plots, and dialogue just as movies do. I reasoned that the class would sharpen my thinking and my writing. The class accomplished that goal, but gave so much more.
As Dr. Ted Baehr and Dr. Sarah-Jane Murray poured themselves into our group (limited to 9 students to give more personal attention), their passion for scriptwriting was obvious. All of us received new insights and practical instruction in such skills as:

  * Developing a premise, which guides the overall story
  * Developing a treatment that supports the premise
  * Creating a plot that includes the major components and proper pacing
  * Casting intriguing characters and orchestrating their interaction
  * How to compose crisp dialogue that wastes no words

As I expected, the information received would be fascinating for any novelist, but especially for a writer with any hope of getting a book adapted into a movie (many books defy film adaptation by their very structure). However, the driving purpose behind the Movieguide® classes is to introduce successful Christian authors to the realm of screenwriting to influence Hollywood and our world with messages born from God-centered worldviews and from the Bible itself.
Sounds unrealistic? Not after the friends at Movieguide® point out that films with positive role models and faith-filled messages consistently outsell movies tainted by foul language, sex, and violence. So the modern reality is that even non-Christian Hollywood producers are searching for well-written uplifting screenplays, because they see how such movies yield greater profits at the box office. The irony? So many Christians fled Hollywood decades ago that relatively few know the tips and tricks of producing a quality script that looks and sounds professional. Dr. Baehr and the friends at Movieguide® have a vision for changing that situation and training authors who know the Lord to expand their repertoire so they can write and pitch a movie script as well as they write and pitch their novels.
Intrigued? If so, the next four-day session of concentrated classes will be held April 10-13, 2014. The cost for classes is $1,000, which includes meals. To register or to learn more, call Tahlia at (805) 383-2000, or email her at

P.S. Dr. Ted Baehr has also written a book that will both educate and inspire you. The title is the same as that of the class: How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul). I highly recommend it!


  1. How cool. Didn't know you went out there. What a great opportunity. Thanks for the update.

    1. Tammie, I found it fascinating. I'm still revising my latest manuscript as a book, but today I ordered Final Draft script program for a story I want to develop as a screenplay.

  2. Interesting. I'll have to check the book out.

    1. Leah, after posting I learned that Dr. Baehr has a shorter, more condensed book you might want to check before the 500-page one I mentioned above. The shorter one is called So, You Want to Be in Pictures?: A Christian Resource for "Making It" in Hollywood. I see some used ones on Amazon. Blessings to you!

  3. Nice post, Rick. I recently acquired this book and I must say it's full of surprises. It's funny, many times movies are adapted from books. I like to think that creative fiction writers are just writing down the movie they are watching on the big screen in their imaginations. Many of the story telling principles are shared between writing and film making. This book has some golden nuggets for those of us who fall in the writing camp.

    1. Yes, it has a lot of interesting information. Glad you are enjoying it!