Screenwriting for Beginners

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An online short course available at:

Do you love film? Ever thought about writing one? Would you like to know how to write a screenplay and where you should start?

This 10-week screenwriting course delivered in a virtual environment via Zoom introduces you to the basics, from choosing a viable idea through to writing a pitch, via story development and sub-plots, devising realistic characters and creating memorable dialogue. We’ll discuss a multitude of genres, and the essential components they require.

Each class will be workshop in nature, with in-class exercises (always fun!) and suggestions for films to be watched at home in preparation for the following week’s topic. The course ends with a table read of the first 10 pages of your work.

Who teaches the Screenwriting for Beginners course?

Diane Messias is a drama writer with 35 years experience in the business.  A comedy specialist, she is a former BBC Comedy producer/director (One Foot In The Grave), who has worked with many of the top actors and comedians in the country.  She teaches degree-level drama/comedy & satire writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and at various other respected arts institutions in the country.

'I learned more in two hours with Diane than I have from any book – and I’ve read most of them. I was struck by her depth of knowledge, and her detailed notes on my script were inspiring. I’ve never come across anyone else who approaches the subject in the way she does. Diane’s a real pro who knows all the tips and tricks on how things are really done. Right on the money!’

Course Specification

Mode of attendance: Online

Length of course: 10 weeks, 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Campus delivery: Brighton

Start date: Monday 24th January 2022


Students can progress directly onto the 9-month Filmmaking professional Diploma and then proceed into a career in the film, television and screen industry in areas such as producing, directing, screenwriting, sound, post-production, cinematography and first assistant directing.

Course Fees

Because we’re an industry-led practical film school, we’re uniquely positioned to offer outstanding value and quality to all our students. Course fees are currently £325 –  deposit of £100 is required to secure your place on the course.

This is a self-funded course.


  • What makes a viable idea. Why some ideas work, why others don’t. Choosing a genre. POV. What different genres require: mystery / comedy / horror / adventure / romance, and so on.
  • How to populate your story with appropriate characters. What makes a convincing character. Backstory. Conflict. Quirks.
  • Protagonist / Antagonist. Character journey. Main supporting characters.
  • Structure. Function of first 10pp.
  • Dialogue.
  • Sub Plots.
  • Technical Aspects – drama templates, log lines, pitches.

There will be a week off between session 8 & 9 for the students to concentrate on their writing, ready for the table read of the last two workshops.

Each session will be ‘workshop’ in nature, i.e. participatory, with appropriate in-session exercises.

Any questions?

For any questions regarding our courses or if you’d like more information on how to apply to Screen and Film School, please contact our Admissions Team on 01273 602070 or email [email protected].


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Screen and Film School