Screenwriter and novelist; WGA member whose feature film credits include Black Dog for Universal Pictures and Plain Clothes for Paramount. Mr. Vining has written screenplays for Walt Disney Pictures, MGM, Paramount, and Showtime. His novels include The Quick, The Next, and his latest, Among the Living (Penguin-Putnam). He is a contributing author to Cut to the Chase (Gotham Books/Penguin).
Some days, writing seems to me a mystical thing. Other days, it’s just a craft, like cabinet-making. My own best days as a writer, it’s somewhere in between. The craft tells you how to build the box the magician uses to saw the lady in half. In fifth grade, I was a School Patrol Crossing Guard. You got a helmet, a white sash, a flag on a bamboo pole, and a silver badge that also got you into the movies free. I saw whatever was on every Saturday afternoon for two years. That’s when it started for me. I love the movies. I love writing, enjoy hearing other writers talk about their passions and their problems. In my classes, we kick around what we saw last weekend, good and bad. Sometimes I “lecture” for the first hour on an aspect of craft or story or myth, the stuff of writing, what Flannery O’Connor called “mystery and manners.” I offer some simple writing exercises to help you to begin, or begin again. Beyond that, it’s just scene, one after another. Torn apart, put back together. If we’re lucky, made memorable. After a while, some of those scenes will be yours.
Our Students Say it Best!
“Dan went above and beyond the call of duty to offer excellent advice to students. His communication and explanation of the screenwriting process was very effective and he was highly accommodating of student needs.” —Writers’ Program student
Instructor Website: Click here to leave our website and go to Dan’s website.
Watch an interview with Dan about screenwriting: