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NYC Screenwriters Collective Message Board › The Writer's Boot Camp : A Review by Franco Barbeite et al

The Writer's Boot Camp : A Review by Franco Barbeite et al

David N.
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 99


A Review by Franco Barbeite

At The Writer's Bootcamp they teach a bunch of tools that you can use to write scripts. The upside, is that some of the tool are really useful. The 50-50 for example, coming up with fifty scenes each of the main characters would drive, are helpful for brainstorming. And the concept of windows, again, 50 windows that give us insight into the character. Stuff like that.

There are a lot of tools and you get a cool book. The tools as taught were a little different from the way they were described in the book. Maybe it was the instructor's style.

The downside is that becoming proficient in the tools takes longer than the length of the course (Franco took the 6 week course, there is a 2 year enrollment). But once you get the hang of them, they really are very useful.

The course was worth it, and focused a lot on workflow and writing process. I've found it really filled in the strategies that McKee's ideas help formulate.



MORE REVIEWS: Here is a link to a series of positive and negative reviews of The WBC from John­

(Franco Barbeite is an award winning writer/director of commercials and music videos. He is a member of the NYC Screenwriters Meetup Group and Co-Founder of the Script To Screen Project.)

David N.
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 101

WBC Mini-Camp

(This is a review of the MINI-Camp which is just an information session. You definitely should read Franco's review and the reviews of the course itself if you want to hear about the details. )

Three other group members and I attended the Writer's Boot Camp MINI-CAMP last night. The pitch we got at the WBC MINI-CAMP is basically this:

"Without a dedicated writing/re-writing process and tools to solve problems you won’t be able to compete in the writing for Film / TV business, and the Writer's Boot Camp can give these to you."

I fervently agree with the first half, but not having taken the WBC course I can't vouch for the second half (see Franco's Review at the bottom). The MINI-CAMP was basically a very tantilizing information session given by the founder of Writer’s Bootcamp, Jeffrey Gordon. He gave a practical, inspiring, and polished speech about the “12 Fallacies” of breaking into writing for Film or Television. See them (HERE). Then Gordon spoke about the tools the WBC teaches--they sound excellent. Tools for solving problems and truly improving your script in re-writes, not just re-arranging. Tools that all seem to focus on making your script marketable to the industry--which I think is important. One of the claims is that if you master the tools, and stay on their writing schedule, you should d be able to write a professional, competitive, screenplay in 6 months (teleplay in 3-4) -- that would be great. Plus there are a lot of added bonuses in addition to the skills they teach– lecture events, a great support community of instructors, film / tv industry counciling, the ability to use their many industry connections when your work warrants it.

A few things it made me think about:

  • Because you are required to hit deadlines (10 hours of writing a week), I suspect the WBC makes a lot of money from people who sing-up and drop out because they can't keep up. They offer both a 6 week and 2 year program -- so if you're considering WBC think hard about your comittment level.
  • There definitely seems to be a very cult-like atmosphere at the WBC between the staff and the students. Which, if it is a cult that brainwashes you to think like a successful screenwriter and requires you take the steps to become one, sign me up. But if it encourages an elitest teaching environment, a writing schedule that isn't flexibile, and a method of screenwriting that isn't portable, count me out.

Not having taken the course I cannot tell you if it's all that it is adevertised at this MINI-CAMP. But what is advertised sounds like a fabulous program. This is just a review of the MINI-Camp. You definitely must read Franco's review and the reviews of the course itself.


Michael G.
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 1
I'm considering doing the 22 month program. I'll list my current Pros/Cons that are rattling trhough my head.


  • The 22 month program is focused on producing 2-3 screenplays or 4-5 TV Spec scripts at a PROFESSIONAL level (i.e. done and ready for sale, not first drafts) by the end of the program. So, for a guy who lacks ANY sort of portfolio, I might have a handful of stuff that could get me through a career door in a few years.
  • There's a lot of tools, but the processes is focused on writing and writing. There are Deadlines and other writing commitments.
  • Good schedule for a working stiff (1 class a week for first 12 weeks, 1 class every other week). Writing is on your own time. they claim the efforts can be done with only 10 hours a week.
  • The instrutor's seem to have SOME level of connection to the industry. So in the chance that you have actually produced something SELLABLE, they might offer some level of assistance in selling it.


  • Pricy. The 22 months options are:
    $6900 up front (or)
    $3300 upfront and 20 monthly $200 payments or
    $2400 upfront and 20 monthly $250 payments or
    $1500 upfront and 20 monthly $300 payments.

    The price commitment is complete. You owe the money even if you "drop out". Paying the money is a commitment to the writing. If you need that sort of commitment, than fine. You can take a "hiatus" during the course (like if you got a good movie gig!) but you still have to make the monthy payments. The hiatus is about being able to finish the course later, not about deferring the money.
  • It's starting soon. The next think tank starts Nov 7th, and the next NYC think tank will probably not start for several more months. Doesn't leave me much time to decide.

The term "cult" was thrown around. I'm not sure I would use that term. By definition a cult is built on lies and false promises. So far, I've never heard anybody spouting anything that sounds false. The advice so far seems at least based in fact. There does seem to be seriousness about things. I think any group of people who are that focused on work can feel like that. And the way they conduct the "Sales" might be interperted by some as a bit of a hard sell. (It took a few tries before I could get prices out of them!).

They list a number of "success stories", although it's never clear if these guys got in because of Boot Camp or not.

I'll admit I'm seriously thinking about joining Think Tank. For a guy who lacks a formal film education it's much cheaper than a MFA program and doesn't require me to drop the day job (I got kids and mortgage!). It also seems like your peers in the program are people who are dead serious about what they are doing. The focus is on getting a job or a career in screenwriting. So the focus ends up being on the single thing you actually need to get that job: sellable scripts.

Jackie B.
New York, NY
Post #: 191
Has WBC provided a listing of graduates who went on to successful sales and/or careers? Confirmed testimonials from said graduates regarding WBC? $6600 clams is a lot of moolah--you might as well apply that to film school.

I dunno guys; just don't drink the Kool Aid.


(editted cause after closing, I saw that the first question was answered in your original post, but once back here I decided to leave it in anyway)

Jackie (and Gus, my seeing eye dachshund.confused )
David N.
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 103
Has WBC provided a listing of graduates who went on to successful sales and/or careers?

Actually yes. The alumni list looks quite impressive:


I prefer Tang to Koolaid-- I think if you read Franco's review and the other reviews above from you get a feel for the kind of people who are successful in WBC and the kind that aren't.


Antonio P.
user 2358495
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 1
Hello everyone, I'm a new member of your Meetup Group and a graduate of Writers Boot Camp in NYC. What can I say about WBCTT, it's been a fantastic learning experience for me and I recommend it to anyone who is serious about this craft. The 12 tools are deeply imbedded into my writing process and have made me a much better writer.

The instructors are experienced working writers. The head office in LA is quite helpful and comes to NYC quite often to update the tools, for reading and different events.

The Think Tank program meets every other week and homework is assigned in reference to the reviewed tool of the week. They teach a system of quick deadlines that really makes you an efficient writer.

If anyone has any questions, ask away.

I look forward to meeting all of you soon.

Michael G.
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 2
Well, I have officially drunk the cool-aide.

I'm just lost $1500. My first class in Nov 8th. My glasses are usually Tuesdays and eventuall Wednesdays, but they have occasional Monday presentations from producers etc. So hopefully it won't mean I'll miss to many meetups.
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