What is the course about?
This is a practical course that provides 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.
As a screenwriter, head writer and producer, Neil has been responsible for over a thousand episodes of serial drama in the UK and abroad. He has also worked on several feature films. In addition to this work and his teaching at City Lit, he lectures and mentors on the Filmmaking and the Screenwriting MAs at the London Film School.
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
- Understand 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?
Although this is an introductory screenwriting course, previous writing experience is useful. 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 Screenwriting: stage 2 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