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Meet the Teaching Artist: Screenwriting with Evan Fleischer

by Writing Workshops Staff

A year ago

Meet the Teaching Artist: Screenwriting with Evan Fleischer

by Writing Workshops Staff

A year ago

We are thrilled to introduce you to teaching artist Evan Fleischer, a highly accomplished writer, editor, and teacher with an impressive portfolio that includes publications in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Republic, Slate, The Washington Post, and Vice, Evan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new class, The Screenwriting Writing Workshop 6-Week Intensive.

Evan's class promises an exhilarating journey into the art of screenwriting, inviting aspiring writers to delve into the captivating realm of movies while honing their own creative skills. With a focus on fostering a collaborative environment, Evan encourages students to actively participate in analyzing and deconstructing classic films, allowing them to gain a profound understanding of the intricate relationship between writing and filmmaking.

Throughout the six-week course, Evan guides students through a series of thought-provoking questions, aiming to uncover the essence of effective screenwriting. From exploring the dynamics of writing for actors to delving into the interplay between what is plausible and what is implausible, students will gain invaluable insights into crafting compelling narratives.

The course outline offers a tantalizing glimpse into the engaging topics covered, including breaking a story, understanding how films bring scripts to life, and the significance of perspective and character development.

What makes Evan's class particularly exciting is its inclusive nature, as no prior experience is necessary to participate. Whether you're a seasoned writer or a curious beginner eager to explore the craft, Evan's workshop welcomes all.

Hi, Evan. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

I'm a writer, editor, and teacher currently based in Virginia.

What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft?

A student of mine in a previous class mentioned that they'd be interested in taking a screenwriting class, and -- as a lifelong cinephile who loves playing in the movie-making space -- I wanted to find a way to honor that.

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

We're going to watch movies; we're going to read scripts, both famous scripts and those of our peers; and we're going to talk about it. We'll have fun and work hard. (And I don't have an explicitly favorite part of the class I've dreamed up, per se: I'm just a fan of -- and looking forward to -- helping facilitate the creation of generative creative environments.)

What was your first literary crush?

I never had crushes, but I certainly had enthusiasms at the beginning of my writing life: Shakespeare, Brian Jacques, Douglas Adams, Marx Brothers radio show transcripts ...

What are you currently reading?

"The Eyes and the Impossible" by Dave Eggers, "Happily" by Sabrina Orah Mark, David Blight's biography of Frederick Douglass, "How The Word is Passed" by Clint Smith, Peter Brook's "The Empty Space," and a few other things ...

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

I sometimes joke that a lot of what I do is 'catching and organizing.' I'm the figurative fisherman trying to sort through all the different fish that have hopped into the boat, and, wait, is someone else driving the boat, because it's certainly not me, and, double wait, that's a fish driving the boat? An honest-to-god fish? And he's heading straight towards Gregory Peck?

In terms of writing something until the end: that's hard to answer, especially in the context of a winding fish-driving-over-Peck metaphor. The short answer: listen to what the work tells you.

Where do you find inspiration?

Finding inspiration suggests a degree of linearity to the process that isn't necessarily accurate or representative of how things actually are. Sometimes you write because of a mood. Sometimes you write because you want to write for a specific person. (In the case of this specific class, I can't tell you what a weird, particular joy it is writing for a certain actor you know very well.) Sometimes you write because you want to surprise yourself. Sometimes you write because there's a question you're trying to unpack. Sometimes all it takes is one person saying one thing and a garden blossoms out of your head. In the words of the late, great Bill Withers: "Sometimes a song is funky / 'Cause you feel that way."

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

One piece of advice I sometimes share with others: write as if you are telling a story to a well-meaning friend who knows nothing about nothing. If you say to the well-meaning friend that you're going downtown, you might say, 'Well, wait, where downtown? What time? Why? Who're you going to go meet?' And the more you answer questions from the well-meaning friend, the more grounded and specific your story becomes.

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

Any book, really. If you pick something up that's deeply excellent, like "Mason & Dixon," then you'll be able to see how Pynchon does it. If you pick something up that's less than excellent, like "A Stainless Steel Rat is Born" by Harry Harrison, then you'll hopefully be able to look with a certain kind of wonder on that, too.

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?

I meet students where they are and see where we can go. As for myself: I don't think it's untoward to say that I'm a kind, warm, deeply enthusiastic nerd, and -- in an ideal situation, in an ideal class -- I get to be one person in a kind, warm, enthusiastic space amongst many.

Learn More About Working with Evan:

You can learn more about Evan's upcoming class, The Screenwriting Writing Workshop 6-Week Intensive, and sign up now!

Instructor Evan Fleischer is a writer, editor, and recent MFA graduate. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Republic, Slate, The Washington Post, Vice, and numerous other publications.


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