In advance of our Sept 22-23 London course, this week I’m delighted to say that we have a special GUEST FEATURE.
Two of the screenwriters from the last ‘Two Phils’ ‘Authoritative Guide To Writing And Selling A Great Screenplay’ course have been kind enough to write a feature on their experience of the weekend….
CAROL COOPER has an MA in screenwriting from City University. She was a finalist in the 2010 John Brabourne BIG 5 Comedy Award and shortlisted in this year’s CoFilmic/Gumption comedy short film writing competition. Her comedy sketches have been produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for two years running.
KATE SCOTT is a published poet/children’s writer who currently writes for children’s television. She is represented by Yasmin McDonald at A.P. Watt (scripts) and Eve White at the Eve White Literary Agency (books).
CAROL: So, Kate, me old mucker, how was it for you darling?
KATE: In a word: brilliant. I came to the course because the only knowledge I had of screenwriting techniques had come from reading books on the subject and on-the-job training when writing for children’s television. I wanted a course that consolidated the basic principles of screenwriting and gave me an edge for understanding what’s required to succeed in writing for TV and film. It did both these things exceptionally well.
What about you, Carol? Because of your screenwriting MA, I was worried this might be covering old ground for you when I persuaded you to join me on it.
CAROL: Au contraire. This course gave me all kinds of new stuff, a favourite being the nifty techniques (all new to me) for generating story ideas. Also the value of pitching know-how. I’d always avoided pitching, but over the weekend we were FORCED to totally smack our pitches up under terrifying timed conditions and it was an epiphany. Having to pitch really makes you think about the nub and essence of the piece you’re pitching.
And what did you think of that amazingly concise analysis of drama and the guide to building a three-act structure that Phil gave?
KATE: Phil or Phil?
CAROL: No, it was definitely Phil. And do you think they were doing good cop/bad cop when they were giving us their oh-so-honest, very useful and necessary feedback on our pitches?
KATE: I think they were doing good cop/good cop actually. Especially when they got rounds in at the pub afterwards.
CAROL: Yes the pub bit was good. Very good. But back to the work bit, that guide to structuring a story really crystallized and clarified all that I’d learnt before. It made me see my own feature screenplay in a new way and I was able to see the weakness of some parts of its structure – and I’d spent two years developing it during the MA, with lots of expert guidance. But Kate, what did you learn from the weekend?
KATE: Like you, I found the section on structure incredibly useful. It was also helpful to hear Philip Shelley talk about writers he’d worked with, and what it was that made them stand out from the rest. Also, what you can do to increase your chances of getting a commission. Philip Gladwin’s sharing of his writing CV and how he came to get each of his writing jobs was very enlightening. The practical exercises we did proved how it is possible to come up with solid series ideas in a very short space of time. And though the weekend was packed with enough activities and information to make your brain hurt, the openness, humour and straightforward feedback from both Phils created a really supportive atmosphere. And what about the wonderful people on the course? They’d come from all over for it too – Spain! Wales! Watford Junction!
CAROL: Yes, on the Official Loveliest Humans rating scale that scientifically measures just how lovely people are, these dudes were like totally off the scale in their intense loveliness. We all bonded very well and now we can keep in touch using our Facebook group and pass on handy tips and share the lows and highs and lows again of being writers. It’s almost a cult of supreme beings.
KATE: Steady on, girl. But the course did fit in a huge amount …
CAROL: Too right. It was a tardis of a weekend, in terms of measuring its time dimension it looked smaller on the outside – i.e. two days long. But when one was actually inside the weekend, time did a strange bendy wormhole thing and expanded to fill a short lifetime. This was because so much happened on it and there were so many emotions experienced: amusement, fear, joy, wonder and intellectual stimulation. We all travelled extensively in the mind on those two days in June.
KATE: Great value for money too.
CAROL: I’ll say. Loads of extras.
KATE: Like the brilliant printed booklet, the Authoritative Guide to Writing and Selling Your Screenplay.
CAROL: That’s all good, but there were those other things as well.
KATE: You mean the book on writing short films?
CAROL: No, no! The biscuits, the biscuits. Really nice biscuits.
KATE: Ah yes. The biscuits were excellent.
SO there you have it! THANK YOU so much to Kate and Carol.
If you’d like to book up for out September version of the course (and who wouldn’t after that recommendation!) there are still places available which you can either book via my website
OR through ‘Eventbrite’ which gives you different payment options:-
Until next week,
All the best
July 27th 2012