Script Writing for Film and TV

ScreenSkills

This course is eligible for bursary funding

Can you tell a good story? Then the chances are you can write a screenplay. Like all good stories, film and television dramas have to be structured. They need to grab your attention and hold it until the last frame. Whether you want to write commercial screenplays or break the mould, this course will teach you the basic principles. We will work on taking your ideas and finding their dramatic structure, then understanding how they fit into a classic genre. You will then learn the building blocks of satisfying storytelling; using conflict, tension and momentum to create a gripping story. 

Anyone starting to write for film or TV drama, or is looking to do so. 

Day 1

  • Introductions and course overview
  • What is screenwriting? How it differs from other forms of writing
  • Ideas - the screenwriters’ most valuable asset
  • Generating concepts and conflict
  • Loglines, outlines and pitching
  • Pitching exercise
  • Story - fundamental characteristics of film stories (conflict, rising action, What ‘high stakes’ really means)
  • Structure - different approaches and how to make them work for you
  • Structure cont’d - Openings and Endings, and why they’re particularly Important
  • Character -how to build memorable - and castable -characters.
  • Goals, wants and needs (outer and inner conflict)
  • Exercise - breaking down protagonist
  • Creating the anti-hero- and why being compelling always beats ‘likeable’ 
  • Dialogue
  • Review and tasks for tomorrow: A bullet point outline of your screenplay, plus a thumbnail character

Day 2

  • Genre - What it means to screenwriters, and to audiences
  • A brief look at horror, comedy, drama, thriller and sci fi
  • Excercise: What’s the genre of your story? 
  • Screenwriting techniques - set ups and pay offs, dramatic irony
  • Examples of screenwriters breaking ‘the rules’- and why
  • Writing for TV, radio, shorts and the web
  • The challenges of the 're-write' - strategies for staying in love with your work
  • Getting your work out there - entering comeptitions, approaching agents and producers

David Lemon is the writer of Faintheart, a comedy set in the world of battle re-enactments  starring Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremner and Jessica Hynes. Produced by Film4, it was the closing film at the 2008 Edinburgh International Film Festival nominated for the Michael Powell award. His second feature, Containment, a thriller, will be released later this year.

TV work to date includes: BBC1’s Doctors and both live action and animated series for Nickelodeon, ITV and BBC. 

David also wrote the short films Monsters and Rabbits (Film London) and Dead Happy (Sky Movies), both starring Alice Lowe (Sightseers, Hot Fuzz). 

His radio work to date includes: The Man In Black starring Mark Gatiss (Radio 4 Extra) and the Radio 4 Afternoon dramas The Third Eye and The Private Eye and Andy Warhol’s Wig. 

He has also produced documentaries to accompany the DVD release of classics of British Cinema including Brief Encounter, The Red Shoes and Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps.

Do I need to bring anything to the course?There are no specific advance requirements for this course. It may be helpful to come with an idea that you would like to develop into a film. And a pen and notepaper. Otherwise, all you need is a receptive mind and your energy and enthusiasm.

Is lunch provided?We keep you replenished with teas, coffee, biscuits and fruit. We don’t provide lunch – although there are a number of sandwich shops, cafes, restaurants close by, as well as a supermarket.

What if I have to cancel?If you cancel more than 10 working days before the course date, you will get a full refund. If you cancel with less notice, or once the course has been confirmed the full course fees are still due. We will however endeavour to get you onto to a future course as and when we have a spare space. Although this cannot be guaranteed and will usually involve you being offered the place at short notice, we have a great track record of making sure people get their training – even it takes a bit of time.

Times

10:00-17:30 (Please arrive at 09:15 for course induction on day 1.)

Location

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be in writing and must be received at least 10 working days prior to the course date or the full fee will be charged. DV Talent reserves the right to cancel courses at any time (e.g. if there are insufficient enrolments) without liability, and delegates will be offered an alternative date or full refund. In booking a course, you are acknowledging you have read and accepted our Terms and Conditions.