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Break Into a New Genre - Write Crime Scripts with Fred Rosen

In my night job, I showed Bonnie and Clyde and In the Heat of the Night, both 1967 Oscar nominees for script and picture. I'm an Adjunct Associate Professor of Film at the New York Institute of Technology. I was teaching my graduate seminar. The scripts from both films blew away my students.

That year, 1967, film changed, as Mark Harris has written eloquently in Pictures in a Revolution. What changed, to this day, is the use of authenticity of character to tell the story. Robert Benton and David Newman's Oscar-nominated script for Bonnie and Clyde was based on fact. Benton was from Texas, knew people who knew the real Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and did his research.

Sterling Silliphant had adapted John Ball's novel into his script for In the Heat of the Night. What I noticed watching the film last week was that Poitier's "Virgil Tibbs" character was acting as his own forensic expert. Forensics?! In a 1967 film? Way ahead of its time. It helped establish "Tibbs" as a pro, while the people he was dealing with were amateurs. And it won Silliphant the Oscar for "Best Adapted Screenplay."

Silliphant did his research. He had been the creator and writer of The Naked City, the first realistic depiction of an NYPD detective squad on the small screen. Which all leads to the Webinar I am teaching this Wednesday, Find, Develop, and Write a Gripping CRIME Script.

I've done it. I've written a crime script. It was optioned and made me money. Oh yeah, I still haven't told you what my day job is. I'm a veteran true crime author of twenty true crime books, including Lobster Boy, in which it was my detective work that led to the conviction of one of the killers. That book is one of two I currently have under option and have already gone to script.

Couple that with my film background, which also includes a Master of Fine Arts from USC's famed film school -- Yes, I've met George Lucas; he's short -- and my teaching experience as a college professor for 25 years, wow, am I looking forward to teaching my live webinar next Wednesday!

If you want to write with veracity about crime and criminals, I'm your huckleberry! Here's what you'll learn.

  • What do you look for in a gripping crime story based on fact? Where do you look for information? Do you need to get life story rights? You will discover how to gain access to unique information sources that will help you create marketable scripts and stories with vivid characters based on strong detail.
  • Using the examples of successful crime scripts based on fact including Bonnie and Clyde, In the Heat of the Night, HeatL.A. Confidential and others, we'll look at what elements can and should be fictionalized or even left out from the real case to make the story work.
  •  Do some topics sell better than others? Discover answers to these questions (and many more!) and learn how to develop crime stories into scripts and treatments (and books and articles!).


Find Develop and Write a Gripping Crime Script

Screenwriting Webinar from The Writers Store

At a Glance:

  • This live webinar is for anyone who wants to write (with veracity!) about crime and criminals
  • Learn how to write compelling, marketable scripts with vivid characters and strong details
  • Discover how to gain access to unique information sources—creating marketable scripts and stories

Fred Rosen is a veteran true crime author with 24 books published world-wide, including the true crime classic, Lobster Boy: The Bizarre Life and Brutal Death of Grady Stiles Jr. (Pinnacle, 1995). Film and TV rights to this book have been sold to “Avatar” and “Clash of the Titans” movie star Sam Worthington’s Full Clip Productions. A script has been written. Rosen's book There But For the Grace of God has also been optioned by Mike Powell, who has written the script. The package is currently being marketed to producers. He appears frequently as a crime expert on both network and cable TV shows. Dateline NBC did a whole segment on the case he wrote about in his book Trails of Death: The True Story of National Forest Serial Killer Gary Hilton (2011, Titletown Publishing). On the Discovery, Investigation Discovery and TLC channels, he's been On the Case with Paula Zahn (twice), Wicked Attraction, Sins and Secrets: Anchorage and Blood, Lies and Alibis. A former columnist for Arts and Leisure Section of The New York Times, Rosen has a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema from the University of Southern California’s famed film school. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Film at the New York Institute of Technology.