Ways into screenwriting
Time: 17:30 - 19:30
Location: Keeley Street
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This course has now started
- Course Code: HW019
- Dates: 10/01/24 - 20/03/24
- Time: 17:30 - 19:30
- Taught: Wed, Evening
- Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)
- Location: Keeley Street
- Tutor: Thomas McMullan
Course Code: HW019
Please choose another course date
Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
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.
Students say: "Good group and atmosphere - I probably achieved more than I could ever have dreamt possible"; "I really liked the pace, the information and knowledge given"; "Always interesting and very encouraging and motivating"; "It gave me the ability to actually write a screenplay rather than just think about it.".
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.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
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?
If you would like to continue developing your skills at the introductory level, you are welcome to enrol on another term of Ways into screenwriting though we recommend you do so with another tutor so as to experience a fresh approach. Or, if you feel comfortable you can progress to Developing your screenwriting where you will produce more of your own work and explore key concepts in greater depth. Information from the tutor concerning other courses will also be offered.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work 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.
Thomas McMullan is a writer and artist. His debut novel, The Last Good Man (Bloomsbury) won the 2021 Betty Trask Prize. His short fiction and poetry have been published in Granta, 3:AM Magazine and Best British Short Stories, and his journalistic work has appeared in publications including the Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Frieze and BBC News. He has also worked with theatre companies and games studios in London, Amsterdam and Los Angeles, including Punchdrunk, The Chinese Room and Roll7 (Bafta: Best British Game, 2023).
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.