Have you ever travelled to work or sat in an office and a great idea for a story has popped into your head? Do you have ideas written down on scraps of paper or half finished scripts in a drawer? Do you sometimes watch television and know that you can do better? Is the only thing holding you back knowing where to start? Whether you want to write for film, television or radio if this sounds like you then this course is for you. Amongst the endless piles of scripts that come through their doors producers, development execs and editors are yearning to discover originality – the writer with something to say and a unique way of saying it. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be you...
This screenwriting course is designed for anyone wanting to write a script for film or TV. You don't need any prior experience - just a burning desire to tell a story with pictures. On completing the course writers should have all the writing tools they need to complete a compelling and engaging 1st draft of their chosen script.
Every story can be captured in a single sentence and this is always where you begin. A good story is about an interesting character who faces an engaging dilemma which has a satisfying conclusion. In the first week writers will be encouraged to come up with several one sentence pitches from which the strongest will be chosen.
Then we take the single sentence and develop it into the pitch document: 1-2 A4 pages where writers develop the main character and give a clear sense of what happens in the beginning of the story, an idea of what happens in the middle and clear ending.
Using the pitch document as our foundation we now expand and develop the world of the story: who is/are the main character/s? What were they doing before the story began – a week ago, a year ago, ten years ago? Where is the story set and how does this impact on the characters? – the locations of television series such as ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Shameless’ are almost characters in their own right. When is the story set? Shane Meadows has made a career capturing the political and cultural nuances of England’s recent past in his ‘This is England’ series of films and television programmes. The clothes, music and the prevalent ideologies are all important to the story you are telling – be aware of them and take full advantage of them.
It is now time to expand the 1-2 page pitch document into a 10-15 page treatment. This is the entire story written from beginning to end and is where the plot develops. Plot is simply what happens in a story and the order it happens in and this should always be due to the choices made by the central character/s. Here we look at how to make characters dynamic and how to make the choices and decisions they make engaging.
The 1st ten pages of a script are the most important: either you manage to intrigue the agent, producer, editor, reader or development exec in those ten pages or they will stop reading and the script will be rejected. Here we will look at structuring scenes and writing dialogue that will make people want to keep reading – and how to avoid amateurish mistakes like opening a script with an explosion or someone getting shot.
On completing the course writers should have all the writing tools they need to complete a compelling and engaging 1st draft of their chosen script.
Ray Grewal is an award winning writer with broadcast credits on all the terrestrial television channels, BBC Radio and in theatre. He has worked with writers such as Jeremy Brock (on a cop show set in Soho) and producers including Michael Wearing (on a sequel to the 1999 cinema hit ‘Human Traffic’). He has created original one-off dramas as well as working on established series. He was also part of a team of writers who created a late night series for Channel 4 about a group of young offenders serving community service.
Ray is currently working as a writer, script editor and reader for several film and television companies as well as running writing workshops and retreats. (View Ray's biog at Redskin Media.)
Our courses are hosted on our own community site, The Word Cloud, which is a very friendly, intuitive and supportive writing community.
The tools and environment are very intuitive and easy to use: you won't have a problem. Each week, courses will include:
• A video introduction
• A written 'lecture'
• Interactive classroom discussion
• A writing exercise on the week's topic
• Feedback on your homework
All the course material can be accessed at any time of day or night. If you miss a few days, it will be easy to catch up. You are also warmly encouraged to interact with fellow-students - offer advice, give feedback and make friends. Find out more about how our courses work here.