Write a Short Film Script


Course Outline

Aim: To instruct students in how to write a film script.

Suitable for: Those with an interest in writing or an idea for a short film

Objectives: Students will learn the following components of short film script writing.

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Week 1: What is a story? What is a Screenplay?

  • Discuss elements of narrative (Character, Conflict, Goal, Theme etc)
  • In-class exercises to develop ideas using story stimulus (pictures, paintings, poetry)
  • Screening and discussion of short films as examples of narrative elements
  • Optional homework assignment 1: Write a letter in the voice of a character describing an event

Week 2: Writing a storyline and synopsis. Developing a character and narrative structure. 

  • Discuss what a storyline (or logline) is and how it relates to your story
  • Discuss what a 'premise' is, and how it relates to writing. What's your 'life premise'? What's your character's?
  • Narrative styles and tools: voiceover, tone, flashback etc. Screen and read examples and discuss how these choices affect the development of character.
  • In-class exercises to practice some of these styles.
  • Optional Homework assignment 2: rewrite your character's letter as voiceover. Where and when are they speaking?
  • And/or
  • Write a sample storyline of your own based on this character

Week 3: Action writing - writing cinematically. What is a scene?. 

  • Discuss the differences between screenplays and other forms of writing
  • How to use software applications such as Celtx effectively
  • Writing a scene
  • Writing big print and dialogue
  • In-class exercise - using previous class' exercises transform that writing in a screenplay format
  • Presentation/workshopping of any homework (if required)
  • Optional Homework assignment 3: turn your character voiceover into a scene in correct format. Use dialogue and big print concisely to reveal your character
  • Week 4: Set up your stort - writing the opening scene. What is a treatment?
  • Opening scenes - read examples in class of various techniques and styles
  • Does your opening scene/image relate to your premise/theme?
  • In-class exercise: using previosu class exercises, write the opening scene to the film.
  • Discuss what a treatment is and reaad examples
  • Presnetation of students work
  • Optional Homework assignment 4: write the treatment to your film

Week 5: Complications for your character (thwart their goal) - writing the middle. 

  • Refresh the idea of goal - how can you make this story more complicated for your character and keep the audience engaged?
  • Examples of screen characters and their goals and complications
  • In-class exercise: using class stories, workshop potential complications for the characters. What choices are you setting up for the characters?
  • Presentation and workshopping of any student's work
  • Optional Homework assignment 5: write a first draft of  your script!

Week 6: Crisis and climax - write an ending. Rewriting, rewriting, rewriting - heading to your next draft

  • What is a crisis? What is a climax? How do they carry the meaning of a story?
  • Examples of short films and discussion as to why or why not the endings work
  • In-class exercise: devise alternative endings to the stories developed over the last 5 weeks. Refer to the premise - does the ending prove this idea or not?
  • Presentation and workshopping of any student's work
  • Discussion of next steps and the rewriting process
  • Congratulations on finishing the course

Dates: 2017 dates to be confirmed

Time: 6pm - 9pm

Place: Sydney Film School, 82 Cope Street, Waterloo, NSW 2017, Sydney

Cost: $395 (plus addition $100 to have your script assessed and earn a unit of competency towards our Diploma Course)

To Apply Online Please Click Here

For further information please email: admissions@sydneyfilmschool.com