Chapter 4 of 18 from Jodie Foster

Jodie’s Short Film: Building Your Story Into a Screenplay, Part 1


Inspiration can come from anywhere. Jodie translates a real-life experience into a dramatic scene with Scott Frank, the screenwriter of her first film, Little Man Tate.

Topics include: Jodie’s Short Film: Building Your Story Into a Screenplay, Part 1

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Jodie translates a real-life experience into a dramatic scene with Scott Frank, the screenwriter of her first film, Little Man Tate.

Topics include: Jodie’s Short Film: Building Your Story Into a Screenplay, Part 1

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster Teaches Filmmaking

In her first-ever online class, Jodie Foster teaches you how to bring stories from page to screen with emotion and confidence.

Learn More


Storytelling in action

Go behind the scenes with two-time Oscar-winner Jodie Foster, star of Silence of the Lambs and director of Little Man Tate. In her first online class, she’ll teach you how to bring your vision to life. Jodie brings her experience on both sides of the camera to guide you through every step of the filmmaking process, from storyboarding to casting and camera coverage. Everyone has a story. Learn how to tell yours.

From storyboarding your vision to collaborating with actors, learn filmmaking from an Oscar-winning Hollywood legend.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and access to exclusive supplemental materials from Jodie’s archive.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Jodie will also critique select student work.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

As a female myself, I feel incredibly inspired and moved by Jodie, her story, and her perspective in filmmaking. I feel humbled to have the chance to hear her speak and I'm excited to incorporate what I've learned as I experiment with my own filmmaking as I learn the ropes and come to find my own voice.

Thank you Jodie Foster! I appreciate your considerable knowledge and expertise so clearly communicated with the MasterClass. This has been both thought provoking and a joyful approach to filmmaking.

I really appreciated Jodie's non-super-technical approach to filmmaking. I thought we'd be discussing cameras, angles, stuff like that but this class was so much more. Her emphasis on coming from the heart, sharing a piece of yourself in your story making really resonates. I think we all have big hearts that want to share and love and using filmmaking as a tool for that would be wonderful.

Great practical examples of the craft of film directing. Inspired me to pursue a career in film production,


Richard F.

Just a story note. I think the main character is a more of an addict than a hardened criminal. As such, her inner conflict is the love of her child versus the temptation of her addiction. You can show this in the scene where she is visibly struggling which item to keep (the teddy bear or the phone). I think this film would be good as a redemption story.

Patti S.

It was nice to see this screenplay and all the changes. I have been working on my own for sometime, life long dream, assumed never to be used. I am thankful to finally watch real professionals use and change as they go. Can be intimidating to know as a screenwriter it always gets changed.

Vartan N.

This is such a candid and rich lesson revealing how a filmmaker and writer can collaborate to make a much better story and script. I am truly grateful and amazed. Thank you very much Jodie Foster, Scott Frank, and Masterclass!

Xiaoxiao Z.

Any body can tell me where to find the Class Resource Page please? I could not find the screenplay. Thanks!


I loved seeing how Jodie and Scott worked together. They came at the story with different ideas but were able to listen to each other and create further possibilities that enhanced the story. Scott Frank could do his own Masterclass...

Kristine K.

I love to learn like a fly on the wall. I learned more by watching this interaction than reading a book or an instrucation. I love that Jodie knew to teach this in this format.

Stephen W.

I enjoyed Jodie's reference to what the actor does unconsciously​ or even consciously in the moment.

Alonna S.

Notes: Funny, but true. On letting creativity open up and develop scene(s), “We’ll see as time goes on.” Dual (motivations/objectives) dueling! “The outside, inside, plus the unconscious stuff.”


the emotional humanistic display of the embodiment of the moment of the event contrasts with the display of the other proposed events. priceless .


It's a great learning experience to see how Jodie interacts with the writer, moving from the BIG IDEA to the script.


The process of coming up with the scripts, whether it's for a short or for a feature, there's a lot of different ways to do that. I decided to find a personal moment of my own, something that I'll never forget, just a little blip in my life, I'll tell it to you now. And then we'll turn it into a scene, or maybe a series of scenes. We'll see as time goes on. When my son was probably-- I don't know-- five-years-old, six-years-old, he had to have his tonsils and his adenoids out and some ear tubes put in there as well. We took him to the lovely hospital, a wonderful otolaryngologist, is what she's called. I hope I pronounced that correctly. And as he was going into the anesthesia, we were kidding around with him. And there came a moment where the anesthesiologist said, we're going to play spaceman. And he started talking to him and making him laugh about how they were going to count down, count backwards. My son was too young to count backwards. He put the mask over his mouth. And he was laughing and smiling with me. And he started counting backwards, or frontwards, in his case. And there was just this kind of devastating moment, where as he was counting, he realized that something was happening to him. And I projected while I'm watching him, looking at his eyes, I projected this kind of fear and betrayal that somehow I'd betrayed him, that I had lied to him, that I told him that something was going to happen that wasn't happening. And now his body was melting. And he was out of control. And at that one moment, I wanted to stop the whole procedure. Because I felt like my child was-- was going and that I had done something terrible to him, and that there was no way for me to stop this experiment. I wanted to say, wait, wait, wait. And at that, his eyes rolled back in his head and crazy, twitchy things happened. And he was out. I was devastated. I was absolutely devastated in that moment and, you know, shaken, taken away. They said, everything's fine. It's going to be great. 15-20 minutes later, they wheel him back in. He's asleep. Everything's fine. And I hear kind of a funny sound over there. And it was like, wow, there's kind of a funny sound over there. And then suddenly, my son pops up like in a scary movie and starts screaming and kicking and going, no, no, no, craziness. And I'm trying to hold him down and tell him that everything's okay. And tears are coming to my eyes. And a nurse comes over and pops him with some kind of anesthesia that just knocks him down. And she explains to me that, oh, this is completely normal. This is just a immersion trauma. This is how we know that the anesthesia is harmless. And at this I'm floored. I'm completely floored. The child has been crawling, trying to grab on to me and say no. Of course, everything was fine. 20 minutes later, he woke up and said, this is the best hospital I've ever seen. I can't wait to come back to this hospital. They gave him some kind of a balloon or a teddy...