The Art of Screenwriting

This two-week course for up to ten new writers of drama and animation takes students through the process from developing their first ideas for a film story to finishing the first draft of a short screenplay.

This course is usually co-tutored by one national and one international screenwriting tutor. The training takes students through the entire process of writing a short screenplay, from identifying first story ideas to developing characters, locations and situations, film structure, dialogue writing, completing the first draft and how to approach redrafting. In keeping with the School’s documentary ethos, students are encouraged to use real-life locations, characters, events and/or situations to inspire their work.

The course is taught in a mix of lectures, screenings, writing exercises, group discussions and one-to-one meetings to discuss the students’ work-in-progress.

A course highlight are guest lectures with Myanmar writers and filmmakers.

Take a look at how this course works in the film About the 2016 Art of Screenwriting course below.

Topics covered during the course include:

  • Location – how to use a real location as inspiration for a fictional screen story
  • Character – how to develop interesting, complex and authentic characters
  • Story – identifying what the character wants in order to find a story which explores how they try to achieve this want and the blocks/conflicts that get in their way
  • 3-Act Film Structure – the beginning, middle and end (but not necessarily in that order)
  • Endings – the concept of a ‘just’ ending (as opposed to a ‘happy ending’); how does the writer want the audience to feel after the film has finished?
  • Theme – its importance to the emotional resonance of a story and how to identify it
  • Prose Documents that can assist the writing process, including the log-line, synopsis, treatment and step outline
  • Dialogue – how to write it and keep it to a minimum
  • Script Format – how to format scripts to an international standard
  • Rewriting – how to handle feedback and use it to inform the rewrite
  • Presenting Yourself and Your Work – how to pitch (verbally present) your project and yourself especially with regard to international script development schemes.

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