What is the course about?
This is a practical course that will build on a basic grounding in the craft and terminology of screenwriting. Writing exercises, group discussion and presentations by the tutor will teach you the key skills, including structure, character and dialogue. At the end of the course you should have produced a short screenplay and an outline for a full-length project.
The Tutor: Alan Nixon is one of Britain’s top independent media professionals. His recent productions include directing the award-winning R4 sitcom Reluctant Persuaders. He has been Creative Consultant to broadcasters and renowned independents, including Aardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit), Grant Naylor (Red Dwarf), and Absolutely Productions (Armstrong & Miller / Trigger Happy TV). He was one of the founding controllers of Channel Five, has worked with Alexei Sayle, Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne and Simon Day, and teaches courses at the BFI, the National Television and Film School, and the London School of Film, Media and Performance.
City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.
What will we cover?
- Deciding what to write - generating ideas, testing ideas, research
- Theme, genre and originality
- Creating and sustaining believable characters
- Story structure
- Dialogue and subtext
- Plot development, pacing, set-ups and pay-offs
- Editing your own work and other people’s
- Formatting your screenplay
- An introduction to how the industry works.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Demonstrate the basic principles and jargon of screenwriting
- Appreciate the differences between writing for different genres and media
- Present a script in standard industry format
- Write a treatment
- Write a short film script.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an intermediate courses suitable for those who have completed Ways into screenwriting at City Lit or an introductory course elsewhere. An ability to write and speak fluent English is vital.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Through discussion, presentations, viewing of film and TV extracts. There will be writing exercises both during and outside the class, evaluated by your tutor and fellow students.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring a pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You can progress to Advanced screenwriting and begin to workshop your project and receive detailed feedback as you progress. Information from the tutor concerning other courses will also be offered.
All students are invited to join us at City Lit Talks Back, our monthly performance night for City Lit writers. Everyone is welcome, admission is free and there's no need to book in advance. Students are also encouraged to submit to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details