Last week, I had the good fortune to guest lecture at a class for my friend, Mel McCray for his class that’s part of the EOP program at FIT .
This is a program that prepares high school students for FIT. When I asked Mel what the class was about he told me, “I’ve been charged with teaching film making and creating a film that explored the photography and film industry. We focused on finding out the keys to success in photography and film. We invited photographers, filmmakers, and one former model to our class to be interviewed about their experiences. We are presenting a 7-minute film to all of the EOP students and their parents. There will be a longer film created that will go into more detail but for this presentation, we were limited because all the classes will be presenting. ”
He needed a screenwriting class to show students how to structure and tell stories. I agreed and came armed with copies of the Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting. In class I explained how to use the basic 4-part structure to build stories, and then applied it to the various promotional packets they were creating to get jobs in their specific specialties. It was a lot of fun to ask the students to apply the 4MQS to themselves, and quite illuminating, because they were required to define a clear goal. Once they had the goal; the path became clear.
I was impressed with their talent and can’t wait to see Mel’s movie!
Here’s how you can use the 4 Magic Questions to evaluate your own life or project.
1. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
2. Think about a current goal that you have achieved recently-perhaps losing weight, getting a new job, or selling a script.
3. Ask yourself the Four Magic Questions in the following order: answer questions one and four.
4. Answer the first question: what was my dream? Let’s say we’re using selling a script as an example. The answer would be: to sell my script.
5. Then answer question number four: did I achieve my goal? The answer would be yes.
6. Now answer questions two and three. Question number two asks: what was my worst nightmare? Here you would list the process in the beginning of starting to get sold.
7. Question number three asks: who or what would I “die” for to achieve my goal?
The word die is sort of a metaphor for making sacrifices. What did you have to do to sell your script? For example, having to move to LA.
While none of this information is probably news, seeing a part of your real life framed in the same structure as a screenplay can be a useful tool when planning your next move.
Here’s to your successful writing!
Professor Marilyn Horowitz