Weekend course London May 16 – 17.

A course for screenwriters of all levels of experience. Run by script editor / producer / trainer PHIL SHELLEY (runs the Channel 4 screenwriting course) and writer / script editor / screenwriting guru PHIL GLADWIN (Head of Development, Bentley Productions). With special guest speaker, literary agent MATTHEW BATES (Sayle Screen).

DAY 1- The craft of screenwriting

DAY 2 – The business of screenwriting.




Hi There,

As well as the above course (for which, incidentally there are only 4 remaining places) I want to tell you about some other courses I’m doing.

Organised by GRAND SCHEME MEDIA and CREATIVE SKILLSET, I’m going to be running a series of two day SCRIPT EDITING courses all around the UK.

So next Wednesday and Thursday (April 1 + 2) I’ll be doing the first one at the Lowry in Salford Quays, followed by April 8+9 at GMAC in Glasgow and then April 22+23 at the Baltic Centre in Newcastle, with subsequent dates in Belfast, Cardiff, London and Bristol.

Some of these courses are already on sale with others to follow as the venues are confirmed.

I’m joined on the 2nd afternoon of each course by a guest screenwriter – we have some brilliant people signed up so far:

 JOHN FAY (The Mill, Coronation Street, Clocking Off, Moving On etc) – for Manchester

ADRIAN MEAD (Waking The Dead, Night People, Paradise Heights) – for Glasgow

MICHAEL CHAPLIN (Just Henry, Foyle’s War, Robin Hood, Grafters, Monarch Of The Glen etc etc) – for Newcastle

Here’s a link to the eventbrite sales page with further information about the course content. The rest of the courses will be added in the next week or so if you keep checking back –

I’m really looking forward to teaching these new 2 day courses and getting out and about round the UK to meet other like-minded people in the TV and film industry – I know I’ll be learning as much as I’ll be teaching.

And I hope the courses will be of interest to some of you. (They’re good value at £100 for 2 days).


Through my script consultancy I’ve been particularly busy recently. Here are a few of the notes, taken directly from some of my recent script feedback notes, that I seem to give most frequently, which I thought it might be worth sharing with you, as indictors of some of the most common screenwriting pitfalls to avoid, some of the things to look out for in your own scripts! –

‘there are quite a few typos’

‘The presentation could be improved throughout. At times there is a lack of clarity and precision to the writing.’

‘in general I think the dialogue is a little over-written. I think this film will have more impact if you reduce the dialogue by at least 50%’

‘You need to let the characters take you where they want to go, instead of (at times) imposing your story will on them.’

‘For me the most powerful moments in this scene are the visual moments.’

‘From the way this scene is written I found it hard to visualise how it would play on screen.’

‘This feels too obviously expositional. You don’t need to explain things so much.’

‘You need to give the script a thorough proof-read and address the presentational issues. You need to think about the script from the point of view of a reader coming to this fresh – and give us a bit more help to visualise your story.’

‘You introduce a lot of characters but I find it hard to discern a strong, compelling central narrative premise. What’s the story at the heart of this film?’

‘Who are the lead characters? Whose story is this? The story is relatively equally weighted between a lot of characters.’

‘I think there are too many big time jumps in the story. As a general rule, I think you risk losing story intensity and focus in having so many big time jumps. I think the story would be improved and intensified by truncating the period in which it happens.’

‘In general, the characterisation is very strong, although you make it much harder than it needs to be for the reader by giving us no physical descriptions of the characters.’

‘The dialogue is fluent and well-written but not strongly distinctive to character.’

‘There were too many scenes where the characters talked about events that had already happened or had happened off-screen. You need to get more of the dramatic action and immediacy of the story on screen, and write less explanatory dialogue.’

‘The story is generally told through quite long dialogue exchanges. I think you need to make the dialogue more economical and try to tell more of your story visually.’

‘the directions aren’t written fully or clearly enough to enable the reader to visualise what is happening on screen.’

OK that’s enough of my griping,

Until next week,

All the best




March 27th 2015