Introduction To Screenwriting

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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 12-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 Introduction To Screenwriting 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: 12 weeks, 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Campus delivery: Brighton

Start date: Wednesday 19th April 2023


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 £355 –  deposit of £100 is required to secure your place on the course.

This is a self-funded course.

Course Information

This course introduces you to the basics of screenwriting, deconstructing and demystifiying every element.

From weeks 1 – 8 there will be a post-session email from the tutor, with links to further information on the topics covered that week, and suggestions on what to look out for in the particular film set for the following week’s group analysis.

The last two weeks will consist of a table-read of the first 10 pages of attendees work so they can hear it off the page.

Everything on this schedule will be covered throughout the duration of the course, but the order in which the topics are discussed is subject to change, according to the particular knowledge/experience of the group.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1

Initial ideas.  Why some ideas work and others don’t.  Introduction to the basic elements – structure, characters, dialogue. Difference between story and plot.  Story arcs.

Week 2

Analysis of this week’s set film.  Types of structure.  Types of story.  Which characters you need.  Story development.  Sub plots. Protagonist and antagonist. 

Week 3

Analysis of this week’s set film.  Three-act structure.  How to create authentic characters.  Backstory, and why it’s important.

Week 4

Analysis of this week’s set film.  Ensemble structure.  Dialogue.  Where it comes from.  How much do you need?  What do your characters talk about?  How to create memorable dialogue.

Week 5

Analysis of this week’s set film.  Episodic structure.  Different film genres.  Discussion of attendees’ individual screenplay ideas.

Week 6

Analysis of this week’s set film.  POV.  TV series – structure, characters, storylines.

Week 7

Analysis of this week’s set film.  Administrative stuff – script templates, loglines, pitching.

Week 8

Analysis of this week’s set film.  Discussion of attendees’ screenplays.

Weeks 9 & 10

Table reads.

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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