COURSE OUTLINE – A GUIDE TO CREATIVE SCREENWRITING
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.