Next course: 21 November 2021 to 23 January 2022
Online course Eight Sunday evenings 6.15-8.15pm, with a break for Christmas and New Year (follow-on course for max. six learners)
Cost: £260 full price; £234 (early booking discount til 7th November 2021), £202 concessions (all Oxfordshire residents can book at concessionary rate)
The New Screenwriters – Interactive Online Workshop will take you from idea to finished script in eight weeks. The small class size allows for individual attention as your screenplay is carefully crafted into shape. Each session is two hours long. In week seven you will have the input of professional actors, and the course will culminate in a 1:1 tutorial.
You will be expected to meet deadlines and set aside some time each week to read fellow workshop members’ work. It is helpful to focus on a project that is achievable: something you can complete in eight weeks. This might be a short film, several scenes, or one act of a longer screenplay.
The New Screenwriters Interactive Online Workshop is a discussion-based follow-up to the Introduction to Screenwriting course. Note: Maximum six learners
Why join New Screenwriters – Interactive Online Workshop?
- Learn the screenwriter’s craft, step by step
- Work collaboratively with other creative people
- Workshop your script with actors
- Interactive tuition and guidance
- Finish with a completed script which you can use to further your career in film and television
Who is the New Screenwriters – Interactive Online Workshop aimed at?
- Those who want to take the next step following the Introduction to Screenwriting course
- People who are passionate about storytelling and film
- Students of filmmaking and media studies
- People with some experience of filmmaking who want to hone their narrative skills
- Creative writers and novelists who want to turn their stories into film
Those joining the Workshop should have completed Film Oxford’s Introduction to Screenwriting course first, or have done an introductory course elsewhere – please email email@example.com with details if this is the case. It may also suit people who have written some screenplays and want to try the workshopping experience (again, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
As learners will be reading and commenting on each other’s work, you will need good fluency in English.
You will need to set aside approximately 2-4 hours per week for preparation work.
This is one of our adult training courses so please note that participants must be 18 years and above
Your Tutor: Polly Biswas Gladwin
Polly’s graduation film The Mark of Lilith has a cult following and is currently being remastered for publication by the BFI (Short Sharp Shocks Volume 2). Polly has worked as a documentary editor and her credits include 40 Minutes, Timewatch, Horizon, and Arena.
In Oxford, Polly helped set up The Oxford Channel where she was a producer and trainer, responsible for training people to make short documentaries broadcast on a weekly turnaround basis.
She has run courses in media and film and worked at Bullingdon Prison for a number of years, working on arts projects ranging from stand-up comedy workshops to opera in the prison.
Polly’s screenplay Love & Shame was workshopped and was in production with film producer Victor Glynn. She is currently developing a screenplay, The Art Thief, based on a true story.
Polly has been developing and collaborating on a number of new projects and works as a script consultant.
Polly, along with David Spencer set up the weekly Oxford Screenwriters group in 2010; it became part of Film Oxford in 2013. The group runs workshops on all aspects of a screenplay: concept, structure, characters, plot, dialogue, etc.
Course Schedule for New Screenwriters – Interactive Online Workshop:
Sunday evenings 6.15-8.15pm
WEEK 1 – 21st November: Presenting and selecting your ideas
You will bring with you a list of four premises having written one paragraph on each idea. These will be discussed by the group until each learner has chosen two solid ideas.
- Pitch your ideas
- Assess ideas
- How to turn your idea into a synopsis for a short film
Homework: A half-page outline for your two selected ideas.
WEEK 2 – 28th November: Develop your story
You will discuss and analyse each other’s outlines as a group and help decide which will be selected for development and how they can be improved.
- How to write a step outline
- Develop dramatic tension within the three-act structure
Homework: Write a final one-page outline of your chosen idea. Make notes on other workshop members’ step outlines.
WEEK 3 – 5th December: Improving the story outline
We will discuss the best ways of bringing your ideas to life, and how best to plot a script.
- Jeopardy & empathy in your screenplay
- The three-act narrative structure
- Commenting on the step outline
Homework: Write a full treatment (three pages) for your script idea, detailing full narrative structure. Include a logline. Make notes on other workshop members’ outlines.
WEEK 4 – 12th December: Outline workshop
How successful are the proposed narratives? How well placed and how effective can they be? What issues arise? Can they be improved?
- Character arc – motivation/ flaws
- Script format
- Screenwriting Apps
Homework: Write half of your screenplay. Make notes on other workshop members’ screenplays.
WEEK 5 – 19th December: Screenplay workshop -first half
Issues of tone and writing style
- Visual grammar
- Tone – style – cliché
- Drama and conflict
Homework: Write the second half of your screenplay. Make notes on other workshop members’ screenplays.
BREAK for Christmas and New Year
WEEK 6 – 9th January 2022: First draft workshop
What went right, what went wrong? How can it be sorted out?
- Effective use of dialogue
- How to work with actors
Homework: Write the second draft of your script. Make notes on other workshop members’ screenplays.
WEEK 7 – 16th January: Working with actors
Two professional actors will conduct a read-through of dialogue scenes from your script. They can improvise scenes and may make suggestions for fine-tuning character and dialogue.
- Workshopping a script
Homework: Write final draft of your screenplay which will be assessed by your tutor. Make notes on other workshop members’ screenplays.
WEEK 8 – 23rd January: One-to-one sessions
Half-hour one-to-one sessions with your tutor to discuss your completed screenplay and reflect on the writing process. This is a time when possible progression routes can be discussed.
What can I do next? – The big picture
- Your completed screenplay can be used to access further courses or entered into competitions. Your screenplay could be produced if you can access funding.
- You may be able to join the weekly Screenwriting Group
This is one of our adult training courses so please note that participants must be 18 years and above.
It was a really good course which took me, clearly, step by step, through the whole process to a finished script.”Susie S
(Susie’s script was subsequently made into a short film, screened at 17 international film festivals, and gained several award nominations and one win as best drama.)
What I particularly liked about the course was the structured, step-by-step approach that took the budding screenwriter from raw idea to finished script in a matter of weeks. If you’re relatively new to screenwriting, then this course is ideal. The tutors: supportive and encouraging, but not afraid to offer constructive, intelligent criticism that made you think about your work in a different way, and then go away and have another go.Mike L
(Mike has recently completed his film and has entered it into a number of festivals.)
I really enjoyed the course. Watching and discussing short films each week was useful and I achieved what I set out to: completing act one of a feature film.E M
It opened my eyes to the art of screenwriting, I more than got my money’s worth.Jason M
Exceeded Expectations.Alison B
Early booking discount & concessions
Early Booking – Book early to get 10% reduction on the full price course fee. See date at the top of this page (usually two weeks before the course start date, but may vary).
Concessions eligibility for online courses – Any Oxfordshire resident or UK based Students, NHS workers and people on some means-tested benefits. Evidence is required, such as student card, NHS staff card or benefit letter.
Means tested benefits – 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 & Universal Credit.
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