Screenwriting 101
Screenwriting 101
LSU screenwriting professor Mari Kornhauser speaks at Science Café Tuesday 

Film fans who want to learn about the screenwriting process and movie industry shouldn't miss Tuesday's edition of LSU's Science Café.

The monthly series at Chelsea's Café kicks off at 5 p.m. with free food, giveaways and more. The discussion begins at 6 p.m.

Mari Kornhauser, a writer on the HBO drama Treme and LSU screenwriting professor, will be the speaker this month, tackling the general business of screenwriting and independent filmmaking.

In class, she teaches the script as "architectural blueprint meets poetry." There's a ton of syntax, but also a sense of tradition.

"A lot of the students don't know about traditional coverage, establishing shots….," she says. "They think it started with Tarantino. In the course of writing, [professor/filmmaker] Zack [Godshall] and I both have a holistic approach to the script."

At the same time, the two emphasize the business side of filmmaking.

"The process of scriptwriting is never-ending," she says. "As soon as money enters the picture, everything changes. You have to give up the idea of having control. The other option is to direct your own films. But even if you are the director, a lot of what you script will change in post-production."

Kornhauser's experience has run the gamut. She's written three feature films. In 2011, she got a call to write on Treme, an HBO drama set in New Orleans.

"Somebody loved me," she says. "I was asked to submit a writing sample by one of the show runners. I figured everyone and his mother was looking for the job. Then, I got the phone call, and the show business god blessed me for the best working experience I've had."

On Treme, she was thrown into creators David Simon and Eric Overmeyer's world, where there are multiple character arcs and plotlines throughout each episode.

"It's a different set of circumstances in TV," she says. "It's collaborative. You're working with different writers, working with someone else's vision. You'll often have to allow your ideas to be shaped. You're in service of something that's greater than you."

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