Screenwriting: First Steps  Short Courses

Have you got a good idea for a film script but don’t know where to begin?

Screenwriting can seem like a dauntingly technical form. This introduction to Screenwriting short course teaches students how to write a film script, with plenty of writing exercises and analysis of scripts and films. On completion of the course, students will have a set of tools for writing their own scripts: learning to write visually, working with character and conflict, and building narrative. The main focus is on screenwriting for the UK market but the US and European markets are also explored.

Why Choose a City Short Course?

Our Screenwriting: First Steps short course is a fantastic way to develop yourself both personally and professionally.

Led by screenwriting experts, in a top rated London institution, the Screenwriting evening course offers high quality teaching and enables you to work and study at the same time.

Course Information

Start DateStart TimeDurationCostCourse CodeApply
Thursday 5 October 2017 18:30 - 20:30 10 weekly classes £440.00 CS2383 Apply Now
Thursday 18 January 2018 18:30 - 20:30 10 weekly classes £440.00 CS2383 Apply Now
Thursday 3 May 2018 18:30 - 20:30 10 weekly classes £440.00 CS2383 Apply Now

Tutor Info

Maeve Murphy is an award winning screen writer and film director. Her film BEYOND THE FIRE won Best UK Feature at the London Independent Film Festival and was selected for New British Cinema at the ICA and received a UK/Ireland cinema release. It was broadcast on BBC 2,  where it was made "pick of the day" in the Daily Mail. Maeve's  new feature TAKING STOCK, a romantic caper starring Kelly Brook  premiered at the Raindance Film Festival in October 2015. Taking Stock then won 4 awards at the Monaco International Film Festival and was released in cinemas across the UK on 5th February 2016. Maeve then won best female director at the WIND film festival in LA USA. Taking Stock was bought and released by Netflix.

Eligibility

Some knowledge of films and/or filmmaking.

What will I learn?

The student will be able to:

Acquire the basic tools to write a feature script
Gain an understanding of screenplay structure
Learn how to write character outlines, an outline and treatment for a feature script
Gain an understanding of the professional and industry aspects of screenwriting

Week 1What is a screenplay?   Writing a visual world
Exercises and analysis of shooting scripts in different styles with clips
Week 2Elements of a screenplay contd
Filmic elements and film grammar with clips and exercises
Week 3Character (and conflict)
Character work; protagonists and antagonists; how characters create the drama. With clips
Week 4The 3 Act 8 Sequence structure
 (with pitfalls of this approach!) - film analysis
Week 5Review and regroup
Writing exercises with clips
Week 6Focussing your Idea
'Form' - shorter?   Longer?   Genre?   Drama?  
Pitches and one pager exercise.
Week 7Writing dialogue and creating 'space'
Functions of dialogue in film With clips.
Exercises
Week 8Sculpting in Time
Working with time in film writing; transitions, with clips
Exercises
Week 9Week 9 - Symbolism and iconography
Poetic cinema…with clips
OR
Writing Comedy 
Week 10Industry
Scriptwriting as a collaborative form: working with script editors, financiers, directors; producers and other writers  (guest lecture)

Teaching and Assessment

The student will:
Demonstrate writing visually
Acquire the basic tools to write a feature script, Analyse screenplay structure
Write character outlines, an outline and treatment for a feature script
Understand professional and industry aspects of screenwriting
Prepare a pitch for an idea

Analyse both shooting scripts and films of varying genres and identified the screenwriting techniques involved
Worked on practical exercises in developing character outlines, a treatment, dialogue, sample scenes, story and script structure
Worked on practical exercises emphasising visual film writing
Written and presented a 1200 - 1500 word treatment for a film and a script sample

Method of assessment:
Tutor observation of the students' contribution to group discussions and exercises and an ability to develop critical analysis of scripts and films.
Presentation of a treatment and sample scene for a feature film as a work in progress

Evidence of assessment: A feature film proposal with sample scene

Recommended Reading

While we encourage you to read the books on the reading list for your course, we recommend that you speak to the tutor before investing in the purchase of any essential text


Mehring, Margaret. (1990) -The Screenplay: A blending of form and content

.  London: FocalRabiger, Michael. (2006) -

Developing Story Ideas. Oxford: Focal

Vogler, Christopher. (1996) -The Writer's Journey: Boxtree


Field, Syd. (2005) -Screenplay -The Foundations of Screenwriting

: DeltaGoldman, William. (1985) -

Adventures in the Screen Trade. London: Futura

King, Stephen. (2001) -On Writing:  Hodder and Stoughton


Seger, Linda. (1987)-Making a Good Script Great

: Samuel French

Application Deadline: