Frederick Michael Strype

on leave fall semester

BA, Fairfield University. MFA, Columbia University School of the Arts. Postgraduate study: American Film Institute, New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Screenwriter, producer, director. Recent awards, grants, festivals: Grand Prize, Nantucket Film Festival, Tony Cox Award in Screenwriting; Nantucket Screenwriters Colony; World Jewish Film Festival, Askelon, Israel; Tehran International Film Festival; Berlin Film Festival Shorts; Uppsala Sweden Film Festival; USA Film Festival; Washington (DC) Jewish Film Festival; Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival; Temecula Valley International Film Festival “Best of the Fest”; Portugal Film Festival Press Award; Fade In Magazine Award/Best Short Screenplay; Angelus Film Festival Triumph Award; Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Award; Heartland Film Festival Crystal Heart Award; New Line Cinema Filmmaker Development Award; Hamptons International Film Festival; Schomburg Cultural Grants. Raindance Pictures: projects developed for Columbia/Tristar/Sony, Lifetime, MTM Productions, Family Channel, FX, Alliance/ Atlantis, Capella Films, Turman-Foster Productions, James Manos Productions, FX, Avenue Pictures. SLC, 2003–

Undergraduate Courses 2020-2021

Filmmaking and Moving Image Arts

Film and Television: Screen Story Narrative Structure

Open , Lecture—Spring

This lecture will explore and demystify screenwriting for contemporary feature films, television series, and hybrids, which are indeed the blueprints for the ubiquitous programming that has exploded across the myriad platforms and venues in the world of screened entertainment. Through screenings of films and TV shows—coupled with the reading and analysis of attendant screenplays, teleplays, and television pilots—as well as assigned readings on structural theory for the screen, we will delve into the divergence and convergence of screenwriting across a variety of media. We will ask: What is a feature film? What is a feature-quality movie that is premiered on one of the ubiquitous streaming platforms (that seem to proliferate daily)? Is it a TV film? Or a feature on TV? Rather than a TV series, is this material really a nine-hour movie? Or is it a three-hour TV series? How does story structure unfold in the feature-film realm and the television realm? How do the structures in film and TV differ—or do they? How does character intersect with structure? Cinema language, dramatic theory, screen dramaturgy, practical screenplay style/format, and cinematic and TV story structures will be plumbed, including sequencing, episodic, three-act, four-act, seven-act, teleplay, and the so-called character-driven form. This course is for students who love film and television and wish to understand the varied elements that create the narratives to which we are drawn. It is useful for emerging screenwriters, directors, storytellers, fiction writers and playwrights, and anyone who finds themselves laser-focused on a screen—be it a 70mm film image on an Imax® theatre screen or a digital video image on a 136mm iPhone®. The course format will include a combined weekly screening with a lecture, as well as biweekly group conferences.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Bulletproof Screenwriting

Open , Seminar—Fall

Pursuing the fundamentals of developing and writing narrative, fiction, motion-picture screenplays, the course starts with a focus on the atomic element of a screenplay: the scene. We’ll explore the nature of writing screen stories for film, television (and its many iterations these days), and the Web. The approach views screenwriting as having less of a connection to literature and playwriting and more of a connection to the oral tradition of storytelling. We will dissect the nature and construct of the screenplay to reveal that the document—the script—is actually the manifestation of the process of “telling your film” (or movie, or Web series, or TV show, et al). In Bulletproof Screenwriting, the emerging screenwriter will be encouraged to think of and approach the work as a director—because, until someone else appears to take the reins (if it is not the screenwriter), the writer is the director, albeit (for now) on the page. Indeed, the course will explore filmmaking from a director’s point of view—yet in the hands of a screenwriter. With the class structured as a combination of seminar and workshop-style exchanges, students will read selected texts and produced screenplays, write detailed script analyses, view films and clips, and, naturally, write short narrative fiction screenplays. While students will be writing scenes and scripts starting in the first class, they will also be introduced to the concept of “talking their stories,” as well, in order to explore character and plot while gaining a solid foundation in screen storytelling, visual writing, and screenplay evolution. We will migrate from initial ideas through research techniques, character development, story generation, outlining, the rough draft, and rewrites. Students will be immersed in the fundamentals of character, story, universe and setting, dramatic action, tension, conflict, sequence structure, acts, and style. In-class analysis of peer work within the context of a safe and productive environment will help students have a critical eye and develop skills to apply to the troubleshooting of one’s own work. Overall, the student builds a screenwriter’s toolkit to use as various projects emerge in the future. The aim of the class is for students to complete a series of short-form screenplays and a final written project. In conference, students may research and develop a long-form screenplay or teleplay, develop a TV series concept and “bible,” initiate and develop a Web-series concept, craft a series of short screenplays for production courses or independent production, rewrite a previously written script, adapt original material from another form, and so forth. Research and screen storytelling skills developed through the course may be applied to other writing forms.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Advanced Projects In Writing for the Screen

Advanced , Seminar—Fall

This one-semester class is for the serious, advanced screenwriter. Consideration for the course requires a writer’s statement about the project you wish to pursue, a list of courses taken, and screenwriting experience, as well as a five-page screenwriting sample that must be emailed in advance of any fall interview to fstrype@sarahlawrence.edu. Once the materials are received, an interview will be scheduled between instructor and student. The seminar will be devoted to reconceptualizing, redeveloping, and restructuring your project-in-process, naturally depending upon your starting point. We will then pursue a rigorous schedule of weekly workshops and diagnostic trouble-shooting critiques. By semester’s end, you will be expected to have a polished draft.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Fiction Craft: Writing for the Screen—The Bullet-Proof Screenplay

Craft—Fall

Screenwriting is not so much a writing discipline as it is one allied with the tenants of the oral tradition of storytelling. In the best scripts, you are telling us your film. —Paul Schrader, Screenwriter/Director, Telluride, CO, 1989

In screenwriting, you show. You don’t tell. —Classic screenwriting adage (attributed to just about every screenwriting guru)

I wrote a beautiful script, and “they” shot it—shot it full of holes—and made a terrible film. —Classic screenwriter lament (attributed to just about every screenwriter unhappy with his/her produced work)

In this graduate craft class, we will explore writing for the screen, be it silver, flat, computer-based, for iPad or smartphone, et al. The aim is to understand how to create a “bullet-proof screenplay” in which a writer “tells” a film through prose that effectively “shows” what we see and what we hear moment to moment, articulating the action (“the doing”) of the characters and thereby revealing the emotional moments of recognition in the characters’ journey. Structured as a combination of seminar craft class along with some workshop-style exchanges, writers will journey through the nature and construct of the screenplay form. We will explore the fundamentals of character, story, worldbuilding, universe and setting, formatting, visual writing, dramatic action, tension, conflict, sequence structure, acts, and screenplay style. Analysis of published screenplays and peer work within the context of a productive environment will help writers hone a critical eye and develop skills to apply to troubleshooting one’s own work. Overall, the writer builds a screenwriter’s toolkit to use for future opportunities that may emerge in writing for the screen. Skills learned in this craft class can be effectively applied to other threads of writing.

Faculty

BulletProof Screenwriting

Open , Seminar—Fall

Pursuing the fundamentals of developing and writing narrative fiction, motion-picture screenplays, the course starts with a focus on the atomic element of a screenplay: the scene. We’ll explore the nature of writing screen stories for film, television (and its many iterations these days), and the Web. The approach views screenwriting as having less of a connection to literature and playwriting and more of a connection to the oral tradition of storytelling. We will dissect the nature and construct of the screenplay to reveal that the document—the script—is actually the manifestation of the process of “telling your film” (or movie, or Web series, or TV show, et al). In BulletProof Screenwriting, the emerging screenwriter will be encouraged to think of and approach the work as a director; because until someone else appears to take the reins (if it is not the screenwriter), the writer is the director, albeit (for now) on the page. Indeed, the course will explore filmmaking from a director’s point of view, yet in the hands of a screenwriter. With the class structured as a combination of seminar and workshop-style exchanges, students will read selected texts and produced screenplays, write detailed script analyses, view films and clips, and, naturally, write short narrative fiction screenplays. While students will be writing scenes and scripts starting in the first class, they will also be introduced to the concept of “talking their stories,” as well, in order to explore character and plot while gaining a solid foundation in screen storytelling, visual writing, and screenplay evolution. We will migrate from initial ideas through research techniques, character development, story generation, outlining, the rough draft, and rewrites. Students will be immersed in the fundamentals of character, story, universe and setting, dramatic action, tension, conflict, sequence structure, acts, and style. In-class analysis of peer work within the context of a safe and productive environment will help students have a critical eye and develop skills to apply to the troubleshooting of one’s own work. Overall, the student builds a screenwriter’s toolkit to use as various projects emerge in the future. The aim of the class is for students to complete a series of short-form screenplays and a final written project. In conference, students may research and develop a long-form screenplay or teleplay, develop a TV series concept and “bible,” initiate and develop a Web-series concept, craft a series of short screenplays for production courses or independent production, rewrite a previously written script, adapt original material from another form, and so forth. Research and screen storytelling skills developed through the course may be applied to other writing forms.

Faculty

Screenwriting: Telling the Truth Through Fiction

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

The landscape for the screenwriter has dramatically changed during the past several years, with new opportunities to write producible short films, YouTube® sketches, and Web series seen by millions of viewers, as well as long-form “films” or “movies” initially conceived for, and destined for, the “silver screen”—a screen that is seemingly changing in color, size, and setting on a daily basis. The disarray of the current film industry has created confusion and opportunity. Nevertheless, the baseline expectation in the contemporary narrative “film form” still remains: It is the expression of a character or characters progressing through a structured journey or series thereof. Elemental to this process is having your audience believe your characters, believe the universe that they inhabit, and find “truth” in the screen story that you’ve created. In life and in film, we laugh, we cry, we cringe, we shield our eyes, and we stare in wonder when we see and feel the truth. It’s ironic that in our quest to create dramatic fiction, we must actually “tell the truth.” There is a writer’s saying, “A writer must lie her way to the truth.” The audience engages with material when they realize: I’ve been there. I know that feeling. I know that person. I am that person. This course supports the process of finding and expressing truth in fiction. Designed for the emerging contemporary screenwriter, the course includes opportunities for those creating a new idea, adapting original material into the screenplay form, rewriting a screenplay or Web to series, or finishing a screenplay-in-progress destined for whatever screen or screens s/he aims to assail. A review of screenwriting fundamentals during the first few weeks, as well as a discussion of the state of each project, will be followed by an intense screenwriting workshop experience. Published screenplays, several useful texts, and clips of films and Web series will form a body of examples to help concretize aspects of the art and craft.

Faculty