Introduction to Screenwriting Weekend
The Screenwriting Weekend is an introductory course for people planning their first screenplay or wanting to improve their screenwriting skills. It arms you with concepts and practices you need to be aware of, before diving in.
The course focuses on short film, however, many of the skills learned within this class are transferable to longer screenplays, and there will be many pointers for those who want to continue their study of screenplay writing, beyond the scope of this beginners’ course.
Why do this course?
- Help you develop an understanding of the basics of the craft and art of screenwriting.
- Gives you everything you need to start writing your first script.
- Helps you to understand – “What makes a good script”!
- Encourage you to develop a critical self-awareness, and an enquiring, analytical and creative approach to your work.
- Gives you a framework to develop your screenwriting practice.
Who is this aimed at?
This course is aimed at writers who want to learn the art of screenwriting or filmmakers who want to develop their writing skills (or skills for collaborating with writers). If you haven’t done any creative writing whatsoever (whether amateur or professional), or don’t have any film-making skills, then you are unlikely to be able fully benefit from this course. (See below for what you can do next).
The Tutor – Michelle Duffy
Michelle Duffy is a screenwriter and author of comedy-romance ‘Trapped in an 80s Teen Movie’.
Michelle started out working in a small film distribution company, writing PR copy for releases from Teletubbies to the Texas Chain Saw Massacre (and you don’t ever want to get those two mixed up…)
After relocating to the Midlands, she worked for several years as a script editor and drama development producer for different production companies, sourcing writers, securing development finance and working with the producers and writers to coordinate script development. During this time, she also worked as a Script Editor alongside The Script Factory on the Birmingham-based writer development project ‘Broad Street Stories’, in collaboration with BAFTA-winning director, Michael Baig-Clifford, and was for a time Acting CEO for the Birmingham Screen Festival.
In 2005 Michelle was invited to join the School of Digital Media at Birmingham City University where she went on to teach Screenwriting and Film Industry at Undergraduate level, also developing several postgraduate classes. In 2011, she took took a career break to write full-time.
She is currently developing screenplays with directors in England and Ireland and working on the follow-up novel, ‘Trapped in a 90s RomCom’.
Comments on this course:
CM – “Excellent”
MS – The course exceeded my expectations”
LK – “Love it!”
TD – “Very useful course – I got what I wanted”
NA – “Will definitely recommend this course”
Course content includes:
(Course content may change depending on needs of participants).
- Inspiration and Ideas Generation
- Ideas development methods – workshop exercises
- Is this idea a Short Film idea?
- Clarify the concept of Theme vs Premise.
- How theme informs writing and rewriting
Story, Plot & Narrative:
- Defining the story as distinct from plot, or narrative
- POV, non-linear structures and narrative devices
- Physical and emotional arcs
- What is Genre and how does it work for an audience?
- Classic genres
- Short film Genres
Short Film Structures:
- Defining the purpose of your short (ie, calling card; proof of concept; artistic expression; comedy sketch)
- Traditional ‘3-act’ vs alternative short structures
- How freedom of the short form differs from demands of feature length
Formatting your script:
- The importance of professional formatting
- Software options (including some free ones)
- Evolving industry conventions
Characters & Characterisation:
- Character development
- The Character Arc
- How do you reveal character in film?
- Creating Evocative Style
- Binning Screenwriting ‘Rules’
- The Reader – your first audience
Pitching and Feedback
- How and Why to verbally pitch your screenplay
- Workshop Exercise: Name that film
- Giving and receiving constructive feedback
- Crafting realistic but entertaining dialogue
- Dialogue dos and don’ts.
- Subtext in dialogue
- Opportunities for further development!
New Screenwriters Workshop – A bespoke discussion-based follow-up to the Introduction to Screenwriting Course in which individual attention is given to developing each participants’ project from concept to finished script. The course itself will span 7 class sessions, culminating in an individual tutorial in week 8 or 9. It is strictly for graduates of the Introduction course and is homework-intensive
Who can get Concessions on Introduction to Screenwriting?
Discount for NUS students and people on following means-tested benefits, proof required: NUS card; ESA (income related); JSA, Income Support; Working Tax Credit (not child tax credit); Council Tax Benefit (not student/single person/reduction due to disability); Housing Benefit; Pension Credit (guarantee); Unwaged Dependent of these benefits.
All Film Oxford Courses are subsidised by Oxfordshire Skills and Learning Service