Course

Building your Screenplay


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Learn to strengthen your skills as a screenwriter, while diversifying your knowledge and understanding of the demands of global film and TV production. Find out how to become a powerful visual storyteller; understand how to build an effective structure within your screenplay; develop professionally transferable writing skills and communication expertise.

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This course will broaden your understanding of how to start a career successfully as a professional screenwriter, as well as offer you insights into how to maximise and enjoy the processes of your personal creativity.

This course is part of the University of Cambridge’s MicroMasters program in Writing for Performance and Entertainment Industries.

We will be looking in-depth at how to build a screenplay that communicates its central meaning through strong visual images. How do we write a script containing almost no dialogue? And when we do have to use speech, what constitutes successful dialogue for the screen? How will film genre and history influence your writing? What is the difference between a tagline and a logline? How do you write an effective outline of your script for a producer to read? What is a ‘story bible’ and when do you need one? All these questions and more will be answered.

We will be thinking comparatively about screenplay advice from film and TV industry gurus such as Robert McKee and John Yorke – as well as asking you to find your own habits and practices as writing methodology. We will critically analyse the work of filmmakers such as Jeremiah Mosese, Mustashrik Mahbub, and Melina Matsoukas. How do our global film and TV industries reflect our social and cultural concerns and needs today? The work of James Frey ( Queen and Slim ), Michaela Coel ( I May Destroy You ) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge ( Fleabag, Killing Eve ) will inspire us to find the stories within ourselves than can change the world.

Successful visual communication is a vital skill in any workplace. Visual images are the fastest way to communicate the most information possible in the shortest possible time, and a strong intuitive and strategic grasp of this process will offer you an invaluable creative toolbox for expert communication in any professional sphere.

Skill transferability, flexible thinking, and expert language abilities are now essential in a diversifying global job market – come and learn essential new skills, and have fun doing it!

You will be set writing exercises over the course of the module, and you will be asked to keep a brief creativity journal to note how your ideas progress and how your intuition leads you to productivity. By the end of this module, you will have completed several new scenes of a screenplay, with a considered plan for the structure of the entire piece of work. You will have reflected on how social and cultural mores can become useful themes to create commercially successful work.

  • Specialised knowledge of histories, forms, and traditions of writing for performance as well as the cultural contexts of innovative practitioners and practices within film and TV; of contemporary critical, analytical, and narrative theories of production;
  • script-editing skills within screenwriting industries;
  • developed advanced self-management skills to include working in planned and improvisatory ways, as well as the ability to anticipate and accommodate change, ambiguity, creative risk-taking, uncertainty and unfamiliarity;
  • how to create effective structure within a screenplay; how to write powerful characters for the screen;
  • advanced awareness of the relevant market and distribution demands of entertainment industries.
Building your Screenplay
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Silas Bamigbola
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Certified Computer Engineer & Author, 'Lost Boys'. I believe in the influence of right information. Join me on Twitter.

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