An Introduction to Scriptwriting with Molly Naylor
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This course is an introduction to scriptwriting and is designed for writers who are just starting to explore scripts. You will learn the mechanisms of working across a variety of script forms: TV, film, theatre and radio. You’ll discover ways to generate ideas and turn them into stories, how to write dialogue and how visual narrative storytelling works. The course will also provide insight into the script industries and how to pitch your projects.
This course will teach you how to:
- Work across various script forms
- Create a portfolio of ideas and exercises from which you can draw in the future
- Develop a pitch/story outline according to industry standards
- Gain a greater understanding of story structure and plot mechanisms
- Generate future ideas and develop them further
- Begin approaching agents and production companies
- Further develop your craft
Designed by the University of East Anglia and the National Centre for Writing.
The course is divided into six modules, each of which introduces an aspect of the craft of scriptwriting. Your knowledge will be developed through writing exercises, the analysis of samples of writing and discussion with your tutor and fellow students.
The modules are posted fortnightly. It is suggested that you stick to this schedule, but you may work through the course at your own speed, providing you complete it within the three-month duration of the course.
Module assignments are between 500 and 1,000 words. Your tutor will give you written feedback on every assignment you submit, but only the third and final assignments will be assessed for your Certificate of Completion.
Module One – How to Begin
In this module, we’ll look at the things we need to do before we start writing a script. How do I begin? – Learning how to generate/develop ideas. When can I start? – Learning how to do the preparatory work which will take your idea to the next stage and make sure it’s watertight. You will be set short, exploratory exercises to help them generate material.
The assignment will involve selecting an idea and, through a series of questions and prompts, developing it into an exploratory, first draft outline.
Module Two – Writing for Film
In this module, you will learn the basic mechanics of creating, pitching and developing an idea for a feature screenplay. You will be set exercises in visual narrative storytelling, developing a concept and plotting a story. You will also watch and analyse a film in relation to an organising principle in order to further understand structure.
The assignment will involve creating an outline for a feature screenplay.
Module Three – Writing for Radio
In this module, you will undertake a series of exercises that explore various techniques in using sound and dialogue. You will learn the mechanics of conventional radio drama as well as look at alternative audio forms including podcasting. You will have access to radio drama scripts and audio recordings of short-form audio-drama to analyse.
The assignment will involve writing a five-minute audio drama.
Module Four – Writing for Stage
In this module, you will learn how to create compelling characters and dialogue through short exercises and discussions around contemporary dramaturgical styles and techniques.
The assignment will involve writing a five- to- ten-minute dramatic monologue.
Module Five – Writing for TV
In this module, you will learn how to create the TV ‘bible’ – an industry standard TV series planning document. Through exploratory exercises in world-building and concept development, you will take an initial idea right through to the bones of a full treatment.
The assignment will involve creating the first draft of the treatment.
Module Six – Next Stages
In this module, you will learn about editing your own work, through giving each other feedback in relation to an editing checklist. You will also be introduced to various routes to developing your work and practice, including tips on how to pitch ideas to a producer and how to approach agents.
The assignment will involve you going back to your initial idea from Module One (or selecting another idea you’ve developed during the course), deciding what form suits it best and writing the first 10-15 pages of the script.
Your Certificate of Completion will be sent to you on the successful completion of your final assignment.
About the tutor
Molly Naylor is a scriptwriter, poet, director and theatre-maker. She is the co-creator of sell-out storytelling event True Stories Live. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and Sky One. She has performed her poems, stories and shows all over the world. Website