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Film & TV

Jodie’s Short Film: Building Your Story into a Screenplay, Part 2

Jodie Foster

Lesson time 18:33 min

Jodie reunites with Scott to continue workshopping the draft screenplay inspired by her real-life experience. Learn how Jodie collaborates with writers to help build character, tension, and realism into a scene.

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.
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So after our last discussion, Scott went away like a busy little elf and wrote a brand new draft that has a lot of changes to it. I would say the biggest change is that the character has a kind of bad ass quality to her. She's somebody who's definitely lived and she's more hardened and tougher. And we're going to be able to see the different layers of covering that she has. He also wrote a scene-- a lovely little scene with a little boy, where they get to have a little moment together. And kind of a different ending, where there's a new character that is a spectre of-- it shows us that she has a history of some issues with her parents, et cetera. So if you haven't seen it yet, you'll be seeing it after this discussion that I have with Scott, who I have on the phone right now. I'm going to walk him through some of the changes. Some of these changes will also reflect a view towards shooting and trying to be economical, because you can't have everything that you're hoping for. All right. Hi, Scott. - Hello. What do you mean you can't have everything that you were hoping for. - Not today. - Not today. JODIE FOSTER: Not today. - All right. I'm ready. - One of the things I was thinking about-- I noticed the other day I had to go to a hospital, and I noticed that a lot of paperwork, they do on computers. And most of it, maybe, would already be filled in, so I was thinking that instead of the first-- when the woman's voice comes in over black, maybe the first thing she says is, you didn't fill in your address. I thought it might be a good idea to have Amy answer something a little more vague, like, "Huh?" Instead of, "No." Just so it's almost as if she's just waking up, because we go from black unceremoniously to a big wide close up, so that there is just this, almost-- a sort of confused, you know, just, like, huh? Like, what are you saying? Then the woman might repeat it again, your address. That would get us into Amy confirming that she's between residences right now. So I thought maybe a way around the curse of the emergency room research problem was when Amy says, "It was a fucking emergency," maybe the next thing she says is, "He keeps getting sick." And this would be consistent with tonsillectomies, is usually one of the reasons why you have to bring them in for surgeries is that they just keep getting sick over and over again. They can't get rid of the infection. - Here's my question for you, because the parents show up at the end. It's sort of-- I thought she just grabbed this kid for a few days, and that she's not had him for a long time, that he got sick, she didn't know what to do with him, so she brought him to the hospital. And the kid may have told her, I've had tonsillitis 16 times already or whatever. - Yeah, yeah. And then, I mean, what I was thinking is that she may have information about him, but she may not have been able to see him that much. So she may know that, you know, he has a ne...

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 film class, she’ll teach you how to bring your vision to life. Jodie discusses 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.


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

For me it is good to break down the walls and see how directors work. It allows me to understand that filmmaking can be done in a myriad of ways. It gives me confidence by normalizing the process.

Jodie's conclusion sums it up for me. Why I'm taking Masterclass's. "Just try to connect more of me with more of you". "Just Do It". Thanks, Jodie. Great class !!

Jodie gave a thorough, helpful and insightful class on filmmaking. I loved her A-Z approach! It was so helpful for a first-time filmmaker! Thanks Jodie and love your movies!

So informative and her passion for her chosen art form is addictive.


Lisa C.

I love this lesson so much! Such an inspiration. I will go back to this and watch again and again, whenever I sit down to write and need to focus on the process of storytelling. Idea: Maybe the older woman says, "Please Amy, just go. All you ever do is complicate things."

A fellow student

great lesson! finally, someone showing the actually processes not just talking about it.


Another fantastic lesson in this course. I love the collaboration process in this class, seeing two professionals giving meaningful notes to each other is wonderful.

A fellow student

Hi! Does anyone know if this film she's writing exists? I thought I was going to see it by the end of the classes.

Dezi B.

This is my cherished lesson in this course. I have been trying to source the questions to ask myself for my short film that has questions to be answered; this has unlocked the Q's!

Rebecca F.

I agree with Carley! This is so great to see the collaboration. So helpful to see & hear Jodie's first idea (in the previous lesson) and her real experience. The process of each person in the collaboration. Witnessing the actual steps of how the two of you work through the story. Wow. I can't wait to see the clip. I've never seen this before and I so appreciate it. I've done it, a bit, with producers, but have never seen it taught. Bravo!

Frank T.

Absolutely amazing. To see the give-and-take between the writer and the director and the actor, and each of them are at least two of those things is beyond anything you could get in a book or other type of classroom


This is such a great class. I'm learning so much from the dual points of view in regard to telling the story. Both Jodie and Scott have a lot to offer here.

The Fool

From my previous experiences in life these kinds of dialogue between professionals is one of the most valuable learning opportunities a person can have. Every book , most books, are one side, one voice trying their best to convince that their viewpoint is the correct one, the same holds true with classroom lectures or power point slide drone alongs as they tend to be, yet the kind rapport between creatives that Jodie presents here invites you into a process that is growing and branching as you watch it, like a plant and sunlight working together to bloom a flower in real time, or the neural networks created in your own brain by participating in conversation.


Wow! I am amazed at how much detail they talked about from the STORY IDEA to the SCREENPLAY. Great learning experience. Thank you.