An update on my two upcoming central London screenwriting courses. The 2 day screenwriting course on June 8-9 sold out within 10 hours of my sending out the last newsletter. Apologies to anyone who applied too late – I hope to run another of these courses in the autumn.
My new ‘1 DAY INTRODUCTION TO SCREENWRITING’ has had a lot of interest / bookings but, unlike my 2 day course is not limited to 20 people – so there are still places available. I’m very excited to be running this new course and particularly excited that writer VINAY PATEL – who was on the Channel 4 screenwriting course in 2015 and has since gone on to great success, in particular, winning the RTS Best Single Drama award for his first TV credit MURDERED BY MY FATHER (BBC) and writing on the most recent series of DOCTOR WHO (BBC) – will be analysing and discussing the script from an episode of one of my (and his) favourite TV series of recent years – BETTER CALL SAUL.
The course will not only be an introduction to screenwriting for less experienced screenwriters – with vital information about all the essential aspects (including for instance, screenwriting software, professional layout and formatting) – it will also be a celebration for more experienced screenwriters of why screenwriting is such an exciting form of dramatic writing. We will illustrate everything we discuss with inspiring clips from many different films and TV shows, covering all the essential elements of what makes for powerful, exciting screenwriting – Story, Character, Dialogue, Genre, Tone, Format, Structure, etc.
The aim of the course is not only to give you a good grounding in the essentials of screenwriting but to inspire you about the creative possibilities of the craft.
Towards the end of the day we will cover the more pragmatic side of screenwriting – how you can get your work noticed and make inroads as a professional screenwriter. I’m delighted to say that for this part of the course I have been able to add a 2nd guest speaker to the day – ANNA SYMON, who was on the Channel 4 Screenwriting course in 2013 and has since gone onto great screenwriting success – most recently with her hit BBC serial MRS WILSON; and her new series DEEP WATER will be on ITV soon. Anna is the perfect writer to guide you through the steps you need to take to break into professional screenwriting.
And as a natural follow-up to this, the day will conclude with a social / networking event in a nearby pub where you, the writers can meet and interrogate me and other people whom I’ve invited from the screenwriting industry in a less formal setting. I will be paying for the first £100 of drinks in the pub (nothing like alcohol as an inducement!) I’m currently working on the line-up of industry people – it will be a combination of screenwriters who have done the Channel 4 screenwriting course and who are now having some success in the industry and script editors and development executives whose job it is to seek out and support new writing talent. Confirmed guests so far include – development executives from BBC Films and Neal Street Productions, a script editor from Tiger Aspect Drama and four writers who have recently been on the Channel 4 Screenwriting course and who are now making significant strides in the industry – all of whom can give you invaluable screenwriting craft and career advice in a relaxed, informal setting. And I will be adding more of these industry guests over the coming weeks. For you writers and budding writers, it will also be a great opportunity to meet each other and share writing experiences.
This one day course & networking event costs a very reasonable £95 – http://script-consultant.co.uk/one-day-introduction-to-screenwriting/
I am also running a one day STORY, CHARACTER & IDEAS masterclass at the Indie Training Fund / Screen Skills in London on April 25th.
TRIBUTE Series 2 Update
Thank you so much to all 80 of you who submitted scripts for the 2nd series of my dramatic monologue podcasts. I am having a very enjoyable time working my way through the scripts – I am reading every word of all 80 submissions. I’ve currently read nearly half of them. The standard is very impressive and the choice of the scripts I’d like to develop further and record will be very difficult. It will take me a few more weeks to finish reading them all and make a decision about the short-listed scripts. I probably won’t be able to get a definitive response to writers until the end of April / start of May. Apologies for the delay but I want to do the scripts justice and not rush them.
STUFF I’VE BEEN WATCHING
There have been some cracking new TV shows recently. Like everyone else (it seems), my highlight at the moment is series 2 of the incomparably excellent FLEABAG. The writing is so original, fresh, subversive, touching and above all funny. What a talent Phoebe Waller-Bridge is! And what a brilliant cast.
The first episode of the new LINE OF DUTY series didn’t disappoint. I was very taken by Lucy Mangan’s Guardian review of it –
‘It’s ridiculous, unbearably tense and instantly addictive. As ever, nothing is wasted; not a scene, not a line, not a beat. It fits together flawlessly – you can imagine Mercurio sitting like a watchmaker at his table with the parts spread before him and fitting the loupe to his eye before assembling the whole thing and listening for its perfectly regulated tick.’
There is something ridiculous about it. (If you do twitter, there’s a brilliant spoof scene by @iron_madin). But it has such flair, pace and drama, and Jed Mercurio is a master story-teller, so I buy into the ridiculousness and just enjoy the ride. I particularly concur with Lucy Mangan’s view that ‘nothing is wasted; not a scene, not a line, not a beat.’ A real mark of quality story-telling.
Although general response seems to be less unanimous on this, I greatly enjoyed RUSSIAN DOLL on Netflix. It’s a slow burn so I’d urge you to stick with it if you find it slow going initially. It gets better and better and I loved its imagination and ambition. A show this adventurous and unique feels like a real antidote to some of the stodgier recent fare on UK terrestrial TV.
And there have been some brilliant, event-TV documentaries recently, Louis Theroux’s THE NIGHT IN QUESTION but in particular, Dan Reed’s Michael Jackson doc, LEAVING NEVERLAND. This was TV story-telling at its best. It absolutely justified its 4 hour running time. It was compelling and important – and had a lot of lessons for fiction storytellers and screenwriters about subject matter and story structure. The way key information was withheld and teased out was so well-judged.
If you’re looking for a good theatre show, can I recommend Kieran Hurley’s outstanding two-hander MOUTHPIECE, which has transferred from the Traverse Edinburgh to the Soho Theatre in London. And I have heard excellent things about Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s GHOSTS STORIES at the Lyric Hammersmith.
GHOST STORIES is featured in the most recent Nick Hern Books ‘The Playground’ blog about theatre writing. If you’re interested in any form of dramatic writing, ‘The Playground’ is consistently interesting and insightful.
A (late – excuse the pun) nod to two great screenwriters / film-makers who have died in the last few months – William Goldman & Nicholas Roeg.
Between them they were responsible for some of the most memorable films of the last 50 years. Goldman – Butch Cassidy, The Sting, Marathon Man, The Princess Bride, All The President’s Men, Misery. Roeg – Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Walkabout, Performance, Insignificance, Eureka.
An incredibly impressive list of memorable, ground-breaking films.
They both also wrote brilliant books about screenwriting / film-making – Nicholas Roeg, ‘The World Is Ever Changing’ and William Goldman, ‘Adventures In the Screen Trade’ and ‘Which Lie Did I Tell?’
Finally a slightly cheeky request – please feel free to ignore this completely. On April 19 & 20 I have foolishly committed to cycle from Craven Cottage, Fulham FC’s ground to AFC Bournemouth – 140 miles over 2 days for a very worthwhile cause – raising money for FFC’s charity, the Fulham FC Foundation, that does great work in SW London – recently featured on Match Of The Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBchfcwFlpQ
They run schemes for Disability (including one of London’s first Downs Syndrome football teams), Social inclusion (see the MOTD video about working with refugees and asylum seekers), Health and Education, engaging with more than 12,000 people each season. As I say, please feel free to ignore this but if you would like to make a donation to this very worthwhile cause, perhaps you can see it as a favour in return for all the screenwriting newsletters! Thank you!
Here is the link to my ‘justgiving’ page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/philip-shelley
The next newsletter will be on April 19th. Until then,
All the best
April 5th 2019