A ten module course that will teach you all the elements
you need to write for the big and small screens
from how to craft a killer opening scene, to developing characters,
writing scenes and dialogue, and structure.
A clear well-structured outline is the key to any successful screenplay.
In this course we walk you through the skills, techniques and strategies
involved in turning an idea into a workable outline.
You’ll be tutored by two passionate industry professionals, with decades of experience and many screenplays and television scripts to their credit, who will guide you every step of the way.
We will teach you the essential elements involved in writing for film and television: how to tell a great story, how to develop compelling characters, and the rules of plotting and structure.
Receive full written feedback on ten assignments. Participants on the Kickstart your Screenplay programme will have two one-on-one sessions via Skype. Interact with a friendly community of fellow writers.
Our courses are designed to provide the skills, tools and inspiration every writer needs to craft a story. The outcome will be a deeper understanding of what it takes to write your dream screenplay.
Michéle and Richard, both professionals in the trade, gracefully sculpted my entire outlook on story telling… it’s a course that opens your eyes and grants you new perspective, something every writer needs.
Nadine Cloete, Johannesburg
Michéle and Richard’s feedback was invaluable and I am so grateful to have had their guidance throughout the process. It really helped to have the weekly feedback so that I could shape and develop the story as we learnt about the various aspects of scriptwriting in the course. I felt as if I had some major breakthroughs.
Shona Mitchley, Johannesburg
A big thank you to Richard for opening up your wealth of knowledge and understanding to us. As a young filmmaker, I consider that a great legacy that you are passing on to some of us. It’s an honour and a privilege.
Amukela Moyo, student AFDA
Working off a solid theoretical base, the courses give you practical assignments and clear and extensive feedback.
We’ll release one module every week to ten days.
The modules will introduce the coursework and will include practical exercises to do in your own time.
Each module ends with an assignment to which you’ll receive personal written feedback from Michéle and Richard.
You”ll interact with Michéle and Richard during a couple of live sessions during the course.
Guide to Creative Screenwriting
Beginners who have never written before, but are serious about learning how to craft a story for film.
Professional or semi-professional writers working in other mediums, such as journalists, playwrights or novelists, who wish to acquire an added skill.
Kickstart your Screenplay
Anyone who has a great idea for a movie but does not know how to take it one step further in order to interest investors of producers.
Screenwriters who may be ‘stuck’ and are looking for a different perspective on a project, or who want to refresh themselves as to the basic rules of structure, character and story.
Documentary or magazine program makers who want to learn how to use screenwriting skills to structure exciting, dramatic content.
MODULE ONE: WHAT EXACTLY IS A SCREENPLAY? We explain the key differences between writing for the page and writing for the screen and the technical and dramatic differences between the different formats: film, dramatic tv series, and soap operas. We consider what’s involved in adapting stories written for the page, for the screen and what a script looks like – and why.
MODULE TWO: It’s the duty of the screen or script writer to capture the attention of the viewer in the opening scene – whether it’s a blockbuster super-hero movie, or the teaser opening of an episode of a soap. We’ll explore what makes THE KILLER OPENING SCENE.
MODULE THREE: Stories only come alive when our characters are confronted with a challenge of some sort. But it all begins with The Inciting Incident. We consider how to KICK-START YOUR STORY.
MODULE FOUR: Great stories are wasted on two-dimensional characters. Every story deserves a compelling and interesting protagonist who wants something – and a matching and equally compelling antagonist who wants to prevent her from getting it. We’ll show you the secrets to CREATING GREAT CHARACTERS.
MODULES FIVE: SCENES are the building blocks of any script. Whether they’re provocative, shocking, thoughtful or simply dramatically satisfying, they must maintain the momentum of the story you’re telling. Scenes are mini-stories in their own right. They too have a beginning, a middle and an end.
MODULE SIX: Although both film and televison are essentially visual in nature, DIALOGUE plays an essential role in the unfolding of the story, and the presentation of character. Dialogue isn’t quite speech: it is clearer, less repetitive and richer. But it has to sound like real dialogue. We’ll show you ways in which to achieve these apparently mutually exclusive objectives.
MODULE SEVEN: We learn about VISUAL WRITING by exploring the techniques of writing a scene without dialogue, using the power of the image to tell the story, and revealing character.
MODULE EIGHT: TENSION AND SUSPENSE in stories is created when questions are asked – and the answers are delayed. In film, foreshadowing is used quite deliberately to anticipate dramatic action, to “set the scene” for drama to come.
MODULE NINE: Writers keep their audiences glued to the screen by constantly and incrementally UPPING THE STAKES. But the stakes are doubled and quadrupled by the internal contradictions within characters. Competing loyalties constantly push characters to and beyond their limits.
MODULE TEN: In this final module, we will reveal the secret magic of structure, using the popular method known as THE HERO’S JOURNEY.
MODULE ONE A script is simply a story, stripped to its essence, highlighting the most dramatic moments. The most important element of a screenplay is STORY. In this first module we will examine the three essential elements that make up a good STORY.
MODULE TWO The second module will look at how you can develop CHARACTERS. You will learn how to draw from your imagination and your own life experiences to create rounded memorable characters. You will learn the different character archetypes, and their roles in your script.
MODULE THREE You will identify your PROTAGONIST. In this module you will learn the difference between your protagonist and your other characters. You will learn how the needs or wants of your protagonist will drive your story forward. You will also find out how to flesh out your secondary characters in relation to your protagonist.
MODULE FOUR A story becomes dramatic when the wants and needs of the protagonist are blocked by an equally determined ANTAGONIST. It is this conflict that drives a story. In this module you will learn how to create a strong antagonist. You will also explore your secondary characters in relation to the antagonist.
MODULE FIVE This module will teach you how to craft the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist into a Three Act Structure. You will learn how to establish the ordinary world of your story. Then you will learn how to upset that order, and kick off your story with a bang through the use of an INCITING INCIDENT.
MODULE SIX Creating CONFLICT. You will learn how to create and sustain tension through that rising and falling conflict between your protagonist and your antagonist.
MODULE SEVEN In this module you will learn how the rising and falling conflict builds to the critical CLIMAX of your story at the turning point of the second act.
MODULE EIGHT The Resolution in Act Three. Creating a satisfying ENDING. How the end of the screenplay answers questions raised in the first act. How to foreshadow the ending throughout your screenplay.
MODULE NINE This module will teach you how to get down the BEATS of your story in point form. You will learn how the beats are structured into Acts.
MODULE TEN Writing an OUTLINE of your script. In this module you will learn to write an outline of your story in an exciting narrative form. This essential blueprint, is the first step in getting producers and actors interested in your screenplay.
All About Writing was founded in 2007 by two writing professionals, Jo-Anne Richards and Richard Beynon, who are passionate about writing. We’ve devised our courses to help communicate that passion – plus the skills that make it all much more than an academic exercise – to others with a similar calling.
Michéle Rowe is a scriptwriter who has worked primarily as a head writer and story originator for television and film. Projects Michéle has originated, written or directed have been nominated for or won various awards, including an Oscar documentary and an International Emmy nomination. At present she works as a script editor, teaches screenwriting and is completing her third novel for Penguin. She has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town.
Richard Beynon is a story consultant and an award-winning film and television scriptwriter with a long and accomplished career in the industry. He has written for – or headed the storytelling teams of – many of country’s most popular soaps, dramas and comedies. These include S’gudi snaysi, Going Up, Soul City, Isidingo, Scandal, Rhythm City and Isibaya. A former journalist for the Rand Daily Mail, he has conceived, shaped and written scores of documentaries. He has lectured on writing for film and television at Wits.
With Michéle and Richard’s many decades of professional writing, film industry and teaching experience you’ll be in very capable hands.