Filmwriting Workshop

Nov 2004

He's a good guy, and he genuinely cares about teaching. He knows what he's doing because he's been through it. Can be a little flighty at times when he really gets going, but even then its because some sense of drama has hit him. Check out his movie or novel "Caught" if you want to know more about his work/experience. I own the movie and its pretty good.

May 2004

He can come across as stern and borderline gruff at times, but only because he cares deeply about what he's doing and takes it very seriously. Once the class gets under way, however, he becomes charming and very personable and generally will join the class in laughing heartily in response to a funny scene or some joke. He reviewed basic screenplay formatting for about the first 30 minutes of the first class, then ceased structured pedagogy for the remainder of the semester, repeatedly stating there is no formula or proper way to write a story. Students regularly goofed around and shouted out things in class and he seemed to relish this. Having written a produced script, he knows what he's doing and has a keen eye for finding problems in your work, and will almost always do so with supportive and helpful remarks. This class was a load of fun and very illuminating.

Apr 2002

Having taken all the screenwriting courses in the Film and Writing depts., the only professor who has ANY CLUE of what's going on is Caplan, which is a sad comment for the Film dept.. Caplan is like a surgeon who with a fine scalpel shows you how a film works using his unique presentation of the beat chart. for the first semester of the course (and second, which will be mentioned later). By the end of the semester you will be able to take apart any film you watch, and know what is working and what isn't, and why! - - without all the guessing that everyone else does (Including some of those Film Dept. "experts"). The second semester (this is a year long committment) you start writing your film based on a "beat sheet" started at the end of the first semester. You should then be able to scrutinize why your script works in some beats and why not in others. Caplan is not one of those teachers who gives you his spiel and then says: Go write 30 pages - - he shows you why that is b.s.. Caplan refuses to write your script. Instead, using his technique in class, your are forced to evaluate why a scene is not working, and from there make the necessary changes. The best thing about Caplan is that he is not some academic freak. He has no professorial airs like many of the film deptartment teachers who are mesmerized by their own voices and gravity of being. Instead, he is a mentor, who gives each and every student all that he has. Moreover, his classes are three hours, not two. That extra hour is his time!