Finding the "Story" in True Stories OnDemand Webinar

Finding the "Story" in True Stories OnDemand Webinar

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Some of the best and most successful movies of all time were based on or inspired by true events. Not only have these events captured an audience's emotions but they have also become more than history-they've become a great story. What are the key elements a movie must have to capture an audience, and how does a writer apply their craft to such material, while respecting and sticking to "the truth"?

Beginning his career as an assistant at Tom Hanks' production company, Erik Bork got his big break when Mr. Hanks asked him to help with the creation of an HBO miniseries about the Apollo space program -- in the wake of Mr. Hanks' hit movie Apollo 13. Having to learn on the fly, in a genre very foreign to him, Erik found himself helping to outline, then write, and finally produce what became 1998's Emmy-winning From the Earth to the Moon.

Lessons learned on this project led to deals for Erik to write several other "true story" adaptations, some of which were never produced (including a miniseries about the genesis of the Apple Computer Company, a "biopic" about professional jockey Chris Antley, and a remake of The Great Escape), and one of which -- the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers -- earned him his second Emmy as a writer and producer.

In the process, he learned the hard way what works and what doesn't work in adapting true stories. As a writer, he figured out how to balance the demands of the true facts with the need to impose one's own perspective -- to move past transcribing research into script form, to creating a story that meets all the same criteria for emotionally involving an audience, as a work of fiction would have.

In this webinar, Erik will share all the key principles he's picked up along the way, with plenty of examples from his own career -- while offering impromptu critiques and suggestions on true story loglines submitted by attendees using the webinar's written chat box function.


• The key differences between "history" and story, and "truth" and fiction.
• How to avoid the dreaded "highlight reel" or "anecdote fest."
• Why research cannot run the process, and how to put it in its place!
• The key elements of a viable story problem an audience might care about.
• Finding the narrative spine -- and how the Save the Cat "genres" can help.
• The role of fictionalizing, creative license, and having an authorial "take."
• Why aiming for "true in spirit" is a better goal than "true in every detail."
• The importance of a continuous and subjective main character point-of-view.
• Why it's best to avoid a spec miniseries and what it takes to be a feature.
• How to deal with the real people involved in your story (if you must).


• Writers who are considering adapting a true story (or have done so).
• Writers looking for feedback on a story concept based on actual events.
• Writers who want to resolve their love/hate relationship with research.
• Writers who need overall guidance on the key elements of a good story.
• Writers who wonder what gets buyers interested in a true story idea.
• Writers or aspiring writers who live anywhere in the world.
• Writers or filmmakers in any medium who are working on a history-based project.
• Writers looking for inspiration and advice from someone a lot like them.

Writers Store does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.

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