Ways into screenwriting
Time: 19:40 - 21:40
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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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.".
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
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. You are welcome to bring a laptop or a tablet for use during in-class writing exercises if you feel it will help you.
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.
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.
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.