Chris Canaan teaches The Heart of the Art
This popular workshop is back for a fourth run! Sign up early before it fills!
“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing…”–Duke Ellington
The most significant question a writer must ask before starting a story is not, What do I think?” but “What do I feel?” The voice of writers who tap into reservoirs of their personal experiences, who dare to bare their hearts and souls, are inevitably the most compelling. The best movies, irrespective of the genre, make us connecting emotionally with the characters. The core of story telling – from Aristotle to today – is the ability to create a character who gives us insight into the human condition that moves us to a visceral sensation of pity, love, hope, anger, or scorn. A story without heart is an empty vessel.
Exercises will include focus on those people, places and objects with which we have been intimately connected. We will explore sense memories that touch our most vital experiences, helping us to tap into our feelings and broaden our perceptions. We will explore how character affects story, and how story impacts character. We will examine how different kinds of characterization develop in various kinds of stories, both simple and complex.
“The Heart of the Art” is designed for screenwriters as well as novelists and other prose writers who want to enrich their work.
Christopher Canaan won an Emmy with Michael Mann for the mini-series, “Camerena: Drug Wars.” He has written and produced movies and mini-series for CBS, NBC, ABC, The Family Channel, Fox, USA, Show Time, Hallmark and Starz Encore, including “Cries Unheard,” with Hillary Swank, “Robinson Crusoe,” starring Pierce Brosnan, and Dashiell Hammett’s “The House On Turk Street,” starring Samuel L. Jackson. Additionally, he has scribed “Gabriel’s Fire,” starring James Earl Jones, and was co-creator of the CBS series, “Walker Texas Ranger.” His screen adaptations include the works of works of Elmore Leonard, Anne Rice and Robert Ludlum. In summer 2008 The Lifetime Network aired his current film, “Little Girl Lost.”
Canaan holds an MFA in Theater from University of California San Diego. He has performed in regional theater at the Old Globe Theater, the Los Angeles Music Center and the professional repertory companies at Tulane University in New Orleans, Dartmouth College, and Tufts University.
For the last several years, Canaan has taught screenwriting for the Writers Program at UCLA Extension and lectured at various universities, including University of California, Berkeley and California Lutheran University. Canaan is a member of the faculty at the Academy of Cinema in Athens, Greece where he taught the Michael Chekhov Technique and creative writing. He currently teaches screenwriting for National University.