Introduction to Screenwriting course
Want to learn how to write a movie? This 2-day course at AFTRS, the national film school, is the ideal starting point. (Note: Courses run at AFTRS Sydney and Melbourne).
“I’ve been to a few screenwriting seminars with overseas teachers and Allen’s was much better”
You’ll be introduced to the story insights of Joseph Campbell and see the 12 steps of the Hero’s Journey illustrated with inspiring clips from films as diverse as Dead Poets Society and Groundhog Day, Schindler’s List and Little Miss Sunshine, Brokeback Mountain and The Hangover.
“Allen was awesome. Created a good energy in class. Very giving. Very positive. Knows structure inside out. Fantastic.”
You will have an opportunity to get feedback on your movie ideas and to collaborate on a brief scene-writing exercise. However you don’t need a concept to participate and the course is popular with producers keen to enhance their understanding of story.
This introductory class prepares you for more advanced screenwriting courses where you’ll get greater opportunity to apply this knowledge. Your screenwriter’s journey starts here.
“Perfect course. Great introduction to screenwriting.”
Suggested screenwriting references:
Chris Vogler The Writer’s Journey
Joseph Campbell The Power of Myth
Cracking Yarns screenwriting blog
Dead Poets Society
The King’s Speech
Introduction to Screenwriting – Course outline
Day 1. Saturday
Session 1. Why people watch movies
Why do people watch movies. The 4 fundamentals of storytelling. 3 Act Structure. Syd Field. Robert McKee. What Joseph Campbell discovered. Chris Vogler. Overview of the Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Inner Journey.
Session 2. The Hero’s Journey – Act 1
1. Ordinary World. 2. Call to Adventure (Inciting incident). 3.Refusal of the Call. 4. Meeting with the Mentor. 5. Crossing the First Threshold (First Act Turning Point).
Session 3. The Hero’s Journey – Act 2
6. Tests, Allies & Enemies. 7. The Approach. 8. The Ordeal (Midpoint). The key moment of the second act your film MUST have. 9.The Reward.
Session 4. The Hero’s Journey – Act 3
10. The Road Back (or Act 2 Turning Point). 11. The Resurrection or Climax. 12. Return with the Elixir (or Denouement).
Day 2 Sunday
Session 5. Concept
Why concept matters. Loglines. A chance to share your story ideas.
Session 6. Character
Plot or character more important? How to build great characters. Traits. Contradictions. Details. Connection. Flaw. Character arcs.
Session 7. Scene writing & dialogue.
Elements of a great scene. What is “on the nose” dialogue? What is subtext? Mise en Scene. Collaborative scene exercise.
Session 8. From concept to first draft
Logline. 3 Sentences. 6 Tent poles. Premise. Sequences. Beat sheets. Scene cards. Outlines. Treatments. Screenwriting software. Routine. Agents and funding. Q&A. Share your scenes.
About your Screenwriting Tutor
Allen Palmer is an Australian screenwriter and AFTRS lecturer who has worked in Hollywood and the UK. After graduating from UCLA Extension, he honed his understanding of story as a reader for the Sundance Institute, the Script Factory, Granada Film and the UK Film Council. His TV series Close Quarters was developed for the BBC and optioned by Company Pictures (Shameless). He adapted the novel Happiness for FilmFour, his feature, Like me only rich, was optioned by Harbour Pictures (Calendar Girls) and he developed Lamb Stu for Dreamworks Animation. His romantic comedy Her and Her Bloody Opera was funded by Screen Australia, selected by Screen NSW for the Arista Workshop, and was recently financed by a major US investor – 17 years after he started writing it. Through Cracking Yarns, he creates, and helps others create, moving pictures – films that make us laugh and make us cry.