November 16

BOOT CAMP

I have recently received a number of questions about Writer’s Boot Camp. Here is one of them. Dave from Los Angeles asks:

I am thinking about attending writers boot camp however it is quite expensive. I was wondering if anyone has taken the classes and what they thought of the tools they teach? Thanks!!

I have no experience with Writer’s Boot Camp, so I turned to a working writer who has. Todd Samovitz is a former entertainment attorney turned screenwriter. He wrote the original screenplay of the film WONDERLAND starring Val Kilmer, Lisa Kudrow and Kate Bosworth. Other film assignments include projects for Warner Bros., Klasky-Csupo Productions and The Edward S. Feldman Company. Todd has also sold television pilots to Touchstone Television and USA Networks.

Here is what he has to say about Writer’s Boot Camp:

As a Writers Boot Camp alumnus (I took Basic Training and two Think Tank classes)and a working writer in television and film, I can’t recommend the program highly enough. WBC is all about teaching practical, effective and efficient tools for developing and writing scripts. The program also educates writers about the business of screenwriting which is as crucial for a writer to know as writing a script. In my opinion, screenwriting is a profession and a writer should do whatever he or she can to educate themselves about the profession. Just as one would go to law school to become a lawyer, one should invest in the best possible resources to become educated in the profession of screenwriting. If you want to compete in this profession and want a practical approach, then the cost of WBC is well worth it.

Thank you, Todd, for your answer. As I said, I have had no experience with Writer’s Boot Camp, but I remain ever the skeptic. There are those who believe commercial writing courses are always bad. For example, this from The Artful Writer. I do not go that far. I believe many of the basic skills can be taught. However, I have previously provided this advice and this advice about writing courses.

If anyone else has experiences with Writer’s Boot Camp, good or bad, please feel free to share.



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Posted November 16, 2005 by TW in category "Resources

11 COMMENTS :

  1. By .odnamrA on

    Exceptionally fair post.

    I say “exceptionally” because most posts in the Internet seem as propaganda pro- or anti- writing courses or methods.

    People tackles this subject with too much passion. Writing methods are only means to creating good stories, both most writers see them as creeds, as doctrines that’d dictate what is or isn’t an acceptable story.

    No wonder they call them “gurus.”

    You’ve managed to give a nice, impartial overlook of the whole scene. Nice job.

  2. By William on

    I’m not a big believer in the way of the “guru”. It’s a little too cultish for me. What I have found for myself is I absorb the skills I need to make me a better writer by just reading. Read everything out there. The books, the blogs, everything. What works for you will stick. I don’t agree with everything I read but I do give it some time to evaluate it and see if it applies to my style. I think hard rules are stifling for the writing process and for every rule I’m sure I can come up with some screenplay that breaks it, if not three.

    I’ve tried but I can’t get into some of the teachers. McKee is considered the “man” but for life of me I can’t get through the book. I’ve read some of his principles but I just feel the noose tightening around my neck the more I go on. At the same time I’m reading Linda Seger’s book and I’m finding it extremely helpful as I prepare to dive into another rewrite.

    It wasn’t until recently that I’ve taken my writing seriously and I have noticed the difference in my writing. I feel I have a better grip and understanding because of the principals that made sense to me. All that was “self-taught” by trolling around great blogs like this one. When I took this mission on to better understand my writing process all I kept saying to myself was how great these blogs were, a community of writers sharing thoughts on writing and getting feedback from other writers.

    What this has taught me is you have to find your process, your way….It’s all out there, just look for it.

  3. By TW (Post author) on

    By the way, my saying “I am ever the skeptic” should not take away from Todd’s thoughts. I turned to him because he is a good writer who made it the old-fashioned way, by writing work that interested producers and talent. I give his endorsement real credence.

  4. By Dave on

    Lately, I have been thinking about all these different methods, and I wonder if it is sometimes more a case of what method suits the individual rather than one method suits all?

    The method, whether it be 3 act, 8 step, 99 step, break this, do that, whatever…..if you use it, and click, everything falls into place, especially for a newbie, then yes, that method has helped you, but it might not help everyone.

    I think it is like sports coaches, with one team they can win a premiership, the super bowl. With another team, the techniques just wont work, and they are picking up the wooden spoon. I think it has to be some sort of yin and yang thing to work correctly. If it helps you, great, if not, I wouldn’t exactly consider either a failure necessarily.

    Me, I’m just slugging through, trying to get the whole thing beaten into my brain. I have read a little on a few of them, but nothing has been a revelation. I have gained lots of little revelations from reading blogs like this(once again thankyou), wordplayer, artful writer, etc, etc. just building up that info bank in the brain, and pushing out all those other things you don’t need, like how to mow the lawn.

    Cheers
    Dave.

  5. By beware on

    i took the 6 week course and learned some stuff. as for the longer 2 year program, think ballys (the gym). that’s their business model. a membership, not month to month. if you don’t like it or something happens and you can’t go anymore, too bad, you owe them $8000.

  6. By inkgrrl on

    I did the 6-week course years ago, it might have been 8 weeks back then, and it was fabulous. But it might not be for everyone, with every instructer. YMMV.

  7. By inkgrrl on

    Let me just add to that the reason it worked so well for me – up until that point I had only written short stories and novellas, so was totally unfamiliar with the screenplay form and its conventions. WBC was a great introduction to same in an interactive format that worked much better for me than a book.

  8. By Brian on

    What happened to Todd?
    Seems like he vanished?
    Very few credits – how does he survive?
    Family Trust?
    What does he do for a living?
    What lessons learned?

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