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Sound Bites - Issue #81 - November 2022 //info/landing/SoundBites-Issue-81-November-2022

Teacher's Corner
Pick Your Genre by Tom Gianakopoulos

If you are wondering what Introduction to Screenwriting is all about, hearing directly from the instructor, Tom Gianakopoulos, will help you with having a better idea of what the class will achieve for you. Below, in Tom’s own words, is his introduction to this new old favorite.

There are a good number of books and blogs out there about the art and craft of screenwriting. A few of the better ones will even be referenced and discussed in this class, so why should you (or anyone) take an introductory course about writing the screenplay when you can read all you need to know in a book?

Although I’ve been cautioned—by Phyllis Diller, no less (r.i.p.)—to never answer a question with another question, the inquiry in the above paragraph sprouts almost as many follow-up questions as there are bullet holes in a Tarantino script. Well, almost.

So, pardon my effrontery as I ask several other questions of you:

    1. Why do YOU want to write a screenplay?
    2. What is your story about?
    3. WHO is your story about?
    4. What is a slug-line (and is salt involved)?
    5. Where/When does your story take place?
    6. Which genre(s) best fit your cinematic tale?
    7. What is your story’s main conflict? Follow up: does a story even need conflict?
    8. Is the story you want to “tell” best suited for a feature, an episodic, or a poem?
    9. When did the word “random” become ubiquitous for a non sequitur?
    10. Are you writing the type of movie that you’d want to go and pay money to see?
    11. Do you believe your screen-story can grow stronger through feedback, or is it perfect as is and chiseled in stone?
    12. Can you weather constructive criticism?

It should be said that I am not a shy instructor, but I try to be both forthright and empathetic when exchanging feedback and ideas with fellow writers. When it comes to my side-hustle, screenwriters who seek my counsel—no, I’m not a lawyer, I just use that word to make my mother happy—do not necessarily agree with every note I give, but there is enough of a consensus, and enough insight or understanding scribbled into the margins that they keep sending me new scripts to read.

As Martha Stewart would say: “It’s a good thing,” and not just for my ego but because they haven’t given up; they keep writing and rewriting and re-rewriting because that is the way we get better.

In closing, allow me to answer my first question: This course aims to explain (or sometimes dust off) the tools of screenwriting to help you use and apply them to your own stories. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat, as the old saying goes, or save one if you are so inclined, so pick your genre, pluck up your instruments of mass distraction, and come join me as we enter the warren that is Introduction to Screenwriting.

What's New:

Alice Meyering

from the desk of Alice Meyering

As the temperature cools and the holiday season is upon us, classes for Winter and Spring 2023 are now open for registration on our website!

We are happy to announce that in the new year, more in-person classes are returning at Community Ed, while some classes will have both in-person and remote live option. We are now even pioneering classes with hybrid participation, meaning students may choose to attending in-person or join remotely via zoom depending on their comfort level. Contemporary Singing Technique (include class link here) for example, will utilize the state-of-the-art technology available at the Emeritus Campus to deliver hybrid participation class in the spring.

In this issue of Sound Bites, we will be featuring Tom Gianakopoulos’ Introduction to Basic Screenwriting. An old favorite that used to be taught by Simone Bartesaghi. Tom was recently recommended to us by Simone to continue this popular class, and we are so happy we have the opportunity to bring it back to our community of learners. Dr. Scott Silverman, Interim Dean of Noncredit, is also contributing valuable information on the upcoming Malibu Campus, which will be in operation starting Spring 2023.

Last but not least, Community Ed will continue with its once-a-year Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend sale on classes. The sale will start on November 24 and end on November 28; be sure to use the code JOY15 at the checkout. Because of the holidays, we highly encourage you to check your username and password now if you are planning on taking advantage of the sale. If you are uncertain of your username, please email You can always click on “forget password” on the login page to reset the password yourself.

We hope you’ll take a moment and check out the list of new classes and register early, if you find something that is of interest to you; many of these classes will sold out ahead of time.

As you enjoy this issue of Sound Bites and getting the latest news from our program, we wish you a most joyful Thanksgiving!

Please browse our courses on our website. If you have questions, please feel free to email us at

Santa Monica College – the Malibu Edition!

new Malibu Campus - SMC
Santa Monica College's new Malibu Campus.

Thanks to the positive support from voters in Malibu and Santa Monica over previous bond measures, the College has constructed a brand-new campus in Malibu. SMC has held classes in Malibu for many years, often at community sites or K-12 schools, but this will be the establishment of an actual campus of Santa Monica College in the City of Malibu. This amazing venture for Santa Monica College in Malibu is a direct result of the strong community support from residents and we are proud to be launching this great program.

The three-acre campus—SMC’s first in Malibu—includes a two-story educational building with dedicated science and computer labs, a 100-seat lecture hall with sloped seating for music and film, an art studio, open floor spaces for dance and yoga, general classrooms, a conference room, a community room, outdoor study spaces, and an interpretive center to tie into the rich and varied coastal features nearby.

The faculty and instructors teaching classes at SMC Malibu will represent a broad cross-section of disciplines, vast teaching expertise and honors in their own right, a poet laureate, a Fulbright scholar, accomplished artists, authors, and experts in various fields.

The Community Education classes we are holding in Malibu are unique—unlike classes we have held in recent years, both in terms of topic and class duration.

Barre Fusion: Mon Time:12 - 1 p.m. Instructor:Jackline Daneshrad
Above class meets on Mondays, Feb 27 to Apr 03.

Salsa and Stretch Wed  Time:12 - 1 p.m.  LOCATION:MALBU 103
Instructor:Jackline DaneshradAbove
Above class meets on Wednesdays, Mar 01 to Apr 05.

Vocal Yoga--Free Your Throat Chakra
Wed Time: 4 - 6 p.m.LOCATION:MALBU 103Instructor:Heather LyleAbove class meets on Wednesdays, Mar 01 to Mar 29.

Architectural Styles of Los Angeles and the Southern California Area
Thu Time:1 - 3 p.m.LOCATION:MALBU 202Instructor:Eleanor SchraderAbove class meets on Thursdays, Feb 23 to Apr 06. No class on Mar 16.

Women Architects and Designers Who Defined 20th Century Design  Fri  Time:1 - 3 p.m. LOCATION:MALBU Instructor:Eleanor SchraderAbove class meets on Fridays, Apr 21 to Jun 02. No class on May 19.

The SMC Malibu Campus is located at 23555 Civic Center Way, Malibu, CA. 90265, and is collocated with the local Sherriff’s substation, and adjacent to the Malibu Public Library and Courthouse.

SMC will schedule classes there from four distinct educational programs representing everything the college offers:

  • Credit classes,
  • Noncredit certificates
  • Emeritus classes for older adult lifelong learning
  • Not-for-Credit Community Education classes.

Each program has it’s own registration process – all outlined on the website, online at The schedule for Spring 2023 is posted now. Enrollment is open now for Credit, Noncredit and Community Education. Emeritus Spring enrollment starts in January.

Students can email, though it is better to visit the website of or email the specific program that they wish to enroll in. As you know, to enroll in any of the amazing Community Education classes we offer, please visit

SMC also envisions the Malibu Campus being a prime location for community meetings. You may inquire on the Malibu website and someone will contact you for more details.

We are all looking forward to this robust offering of classes in Malibu, and hope you will enroll!