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Dillon talks screenwriting

Sean Dillon, assistant professor of theater arts, lectured on “Approaches to Screenwriting” to a group of faculty and students Monday in the President’s Dining Room. He spoke of his career in scriptwriting and film production. Dillon and his production partner, Curtis Krick, are annual participants in the 48 Hour Film Project in Los Angeles, which they have won for two years straight.

Sean Dillon, assistant professor of theater arts, lectured on “Approaches to Screenwriting” to a group of faculty and students Monday in the President’s Dining Room. He spoke of his career in scriptwriting and film production. Dillon and his production partner, Curtis Krick, are annual participants in the 48 Hour Film Project in Los Angeles, which they have won for two years straight. / photo by Erin Maxwell

Michael Escañuelas
Staff Writer

Sean Dillon, assistant professor of theater arts, entertained the audience Monday with his lecture on screenwriting, playwriting and directing.

Dillon, who has taught theater at the University of La Verne since 2006, discussed several aspects of writing and directing using his past experiences of working with a variety of different genres of film, including horror and mock-documentary.

“It seemed that people enjoyed it,” Dillon said. “They did not fall asleep, that’s always a good sign.”

Dillon introduced himself with a joke, explaining that he is going to pretend to explain how to write scripts, but the lecture that followed proved that Dillon holds great knowledge in the field of writing.

“It is a very liberating experience to write,” said Fatima Suarez, a junior criminology and speech major. “I enjoyed how invested and passionate he is about his work.”

The lecture began with Dillon describing his background working in the film industry along with his accomplishments.

He worked for several production companies and studios including Universal and Disney, he said.

Dillon also noted his experience working in collaboration with his partner, Curtis Krick.

The pair has been working on films together for the past 15 years.

He then explained how to approach script writing.

He detailed several different types of screenplays that could be written and discussed the condition of long and short plays, whether or not they are comedic or serious, and if they are intended to inform or entertain.

Dillon used the example of sexual harassment videos to display to the audience the many types of scripts writers must write.

Many of the ideas that Dillon discussed in his lecture dealt with the preparation of script writing.

He articulated the major differences between writing for a play and writing for a movie.

His presentation showed a sample of many books that exist for writers to gain inspiration from and pointed out the amount of books that exist to help writers make money rather than to gain personal enjoyment.

“My skill lies in seeing potential skills in others,” Dillon said. “I’m a better script doctor than a script writer.”

Dillon showed examples of his work that detailed the fim writing process.

The first of these examples was a horror film called, “The Craving.”

Dillon used this film as an example of writing for a genre and explainined that it respected the traditions, and included all the elements that typically make up a horror movie.

The next example was a short film that was created for a competition called the 48 Hour Film Project.

The film, called “Significant Other,” was a mock-documentary about a service that helps fill the void for relationships.

Dillon’s final example was the film, “Something Blue,” another mock-documentary that detailed the marriage of an interracial couple (caucasian and “glacial blue”).

Dillon used these two films to show that script writing can be done in a nontraditional manner.

“I have the chance to write the script at every stage,” Dillon said.

Additionally Dillon showed a training video that was created for a company.

He used it as another example of the unexpected challenges that screen writers must face.

Dillon concluded the lecture with questions from the audience concerning the art of screen writing.

Michael Escañuelas can be reached at michael.escanuelas@laverne.edu.

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