Every movie starts with that key thing, the script! Start without a script and a story soon falls into disorder, in a time where the “improv” movie still is very much en vogue, you need to be a fool to think you can make a successful movie without a script, or to quote Raindance founder Elliot Grove a wanker.
There is something awfully warm about an Elliot Grove class at Raindance. Grove has a certain way about his teaching, a certain style that makes you feel like you have known him for decades in minutes. Grove’s writing course is a master class in every sense of the word, it might not give you the structure you expected, but it does show you a bigger picture than you may first have expected. Every reference Grove covers comes with a story, it's rather like learning from a Jedi; a bit like Abraham Lincoln, nothing comes without a story, but the value of the lesson comes from the story, this is how thoughts become scripts.
Grove’s course spreads over a five-week period, one night each week. Each lesson lasts roughly three hours with a short break during the process. Like every study course there is an element of nausea about those first few minutes, Grove however takes his students firmly in hand and gets everyone mingling quickly.
After the warm up exercises’ it’s down to business, and some understanding of the social factors that divide our world. The most important part of a story in Grove’s eyes is understanding its social status, from the village, to the town and beyond. From the social status, you are then set exercise’s that show you how to form characters, and how character development can never get tiring.
The Writer’s Foundation course is more than the sum of its parts, each week Grove asks his students to look at a film, during my course he asked us to look at Being John Malcovich, Fight Club, Memento, and The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless mind. With each movie viewed, Grove takes his students further into the world of the movies writers to understand the bigger picture and the hidden secrets only a few get to enjoy. The lesson of course, is that the biggest picture, the most impressive story structures often have something so subtly hidden only a few will get it. For those who found Eternal Sunshine a trial, Grove shows us how a nursery rhyme blows the story wide open from just ten minutes in.
Having assessed the big movies, Grove looks at the smaller projects, as the weeks progress he shows you good and bad uses of script devices, then at the end he shows you what you do with the information. The Writer’s Foundation course ends on week five with a multitude of ways to get your script seen, how to embark on a project, and the do’s and don’ts of screenwriting etiquette.
A Raindance class is not a class like one you might take at a college or university, there are no real qualifications to come out the other side with, however you do get a certificate to say you have completed the course. The difference however between a college or university course is at Raindance you mix with people who have not just made movies, they are making movies in the present, not years ago, right there at that point in time. Grove like other course lecturers is on the mark when it comes to what is happening in the movie industry at that point in time, not preaching from a twenty year old book, talking about movies that are considered “old”!
The Raindance Screenwriting course takes place at the school itself, in central London just by Charring Cross Station, the courses cost around £170 with discount if you become a Raindance member, plus a series of perks along the way.
You can find out about Raindance courses by this link.
You can purchases Elliot Grove's filmmaking books from Amazon by clicking the links below:-