The first workshop in the Introduction to Screenwriting series is now available as a downloadable pack under Resources

Screenwriting 101

An introductory course in screenwriting with an emphasis on feature films. The course covers the practicalities of writing for the screen, the formatting of screenplays, structure, character, scenes and dialogue.

The screenplay format

How screenplays are presented in formatting terms. How this informs the production and the reader. How to make a screenplay follow the rules of formatting.



Tools for writing screenplays

How to use computer programs to make screenplays for the standard format.



The three-act structure

An introduction to the traditional three-act structure for feature films, explaining the transitions from act to act, the nature of the content for each act and some examples of the structure in action.



The first act

What to include when writing the first act of a screenplay. This description is tailored to the classic feature film script, but parts of it are relevant for other formats.



The second act

How to construct the second act of a screenplay. What happens and how is it portrayed.



The third act

How the third act of a feature film screenplay is constructed. What happens at the end of the movie.



The scene

What a scene is, how it's constructed, what it does and how to build it so it drives character and plot together.



Building characters

What a character needs to have in order to be fully realised for the screen. How this differs from characters used in novels and plays.



Writing dialogue

How to write good dialogue, making characters seem real and involved in the story. Common mistakes to avoid.



Heroes and Villains

What makes a movie character into a movie hero, why that's different from a protagonist. How a villain differs from a hero and how to write an anti-hero.




"I think it is the director's job--as in the old theatre--to convey faithfully what the author had in mind. Unless you have worked with the author in the first place you cannot convey to the actors what he had in mind nor can you convey to the editor at the end the original idea. In making a picture you have got to go back to the first stage to see how important something may be in establishing this scene or that character."

Carol Reed