Scriptwriting For Everyone

$189 Limited inc GST / $170
Scriptwriting For Everyone

<p>If you have a story you want to tell as a script – TV, film, stage, radio – fact or fiction – you need a functional skeleton. Discuss and test important principles for building and shaping your


If you have a story you want to tell as a script – TV, film, stage, radio – fact or fiction – you need a functional skeleton. Discuss and test important principles for building and shaping your scripts, including developing the characters' emotional sub-texts, as well as the visible goals and plot quests that the characters carry forward in the surface text. Hone your script writing by bringing your developing drafts to life in a safe, confidential, exciting group reading process. Practice paring scripts back to essentials, helping get them to the point where performers can bring them to life.


Each Weekly Session will include practical exercises, with group and individual work to help each student develop their own script. We will focus on the processes of story structure, and scene editing, and on helping each other to revise and tweak our scripts, rather like a collaborative “writers' room” process. Each week we will finish with a short session of sharing problems we may be wrestling with, and suggestions we can offer to help each other with our scriptwriting. Outside the class students will work on developing and writing their individual scripts, and bring them back to the group for support and development.

Week 1

  • Students will work out the bones of the story that they each want to write as a script, first by outlining in broad strokes the beginning, middle and end of the story. Students will also work out, as much as possible, what meaning their story has for them – why it matters, and is worth the effort.
  • Using big writing on the whiteboard can help clarify that you do in fact have a beginning, a middle and an end. Knowing where your story ends can also make it easier to work backwards and find where the story needs to start.
  • We will discuss these core elements of story shapes and meanings with reference to the scripts for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and To Kill A Mockingbird, one or both of which students will have already read.
  • We will also talk about structure for TV, theatre, and radio scripts, and where to find good examples of these by women and by men. For instance Upper Middle Bogan (Series 3) by Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope.
  • Students will then plot out the main steps in their stories, using the tried and true cards method, as described by John Collee in his very helpful outline of his scriptwriting process on Screen Australia’s website.
  • Using the broad storylines you have developed, each student will write short notes on cards to work out what major events and steps are needed to make the story happen. You rearrange the order of your cards as your story becomes clearer to you.
  • Each student will have the chance to work with a small group to tell each other their story, as outlined on their cards, and how that story might unfold. Students will help each other fill gaps, clarify confused places, and take out steps that are definitely irrelevant.
  • Then each small group will tell the steps of their stories aloud to the class, and we will give constructive, supportive, and helpful feedback to each other. Students will bring their story cards back in Week 2, and if you need more time to think, you can do the first telling of your story with your cards in Week 2.
  • Good planning in structuring your story, and help from other people to strengthen the skeleton, is crucial to writing a script with zing that drives the story forward.
  • Students take their story cards home and start writing a detailed outline or synopsis of their story in a few pages, based on the cards. Students who have the time and want to start writing a rough first draft of their script based on their outline, can start on their first draft of the script itself.

Week 2

  • We will read students' detailed outlines for their scripts, starting the process in small groups and giving each other constructive and helpful responses. No pressure! This is a generous and supportive exercise – we are all in this together, trying to help each other make our scripts the best we can make them. Students will use their colleagues' responses in whatever way they wish, to revise their outline, then start or continue writing their first script based on the revised outline. This process can be repeated as needed, by reading the first draft and getting responses to it, then writing a revised outline, then writing a second draft of the script based on the revised outline.

Weeks 2, 3, and 4

  • We will use part of the session to read aloud sections from some of the students' rough draft scripts. All students will give brief responses to the writers of the script sections we read aloud. Responses will focus on what works for each of us, and on places where we think that changes in the location of a scene, or the action that happens in it, could make the characters, story and action stronger.

Weeks 3 and 4

  • We will focus on the revising and editing process. Students can volunteer their scripts to be read aloud, everyone will give their brief responses to assist each writer’s next revision.
  • We will also look at how the tutor has corrected script problems in one of her own theatre play scripts, relating to different elements of storytelling techniques.
  • We will focus on the function of individual scenes depending on their place in the story. Students will be looking for the best ways to tell their own stories in script form, and to keep their audience engaged.
  • We will specially focus on the question of working out Who Wants What in each scene, in terms of the plot, and the onward movement of the story - “getting the cat out of the tree”, as John Collee calls the basic obstacle course that characters follow.
  • We will also look for the underlying Emotional Who Wants What in each scene – not what the characters are trying to achieve or avoid in terms of “getting the cat out of the tree” - but in terms what their Inner Need is, in being in that place, and trying to do – or avoid – what they are doing or avoiding doing.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Plan and structure a script, and identify essential elements that power the whole script and individual scenes.
  2. Identify where their script or scene is not working, and why, and use techniques and tools they have learned to write new and better drafts.
  3. Give constructive and supportive feedback to fellow writers.
  4. Accept and use constructive and supportive feedback from fellow writers.
  5. Connect with other script writers, and learn from leaders in the field.