How To Generate Ideas, Create Characters and Kick-Start Your Writing

I’m delighted to announce a re-launch of this one-day journey into writing inspiration.

This course is designed for anyone interested in dramatic writing – whether in TV, film, theatre or radio (from complete beginner to experienced writer). It is all about generating ideas – you come to the day with no preparation, no pre-planned story ideas – and go away at the end of what will be an intensive, interactive, packed, but hopefully very enjoyable day, with some new & exciting ideas, and ready to inject a fresh spark of creativity and energy into your dramatic writing ambitions.

This one-day course will teach you a mass of techniques for cutting through those days you think you’d rather break rocks for a living.

Here is some of the feedback I’ve got for this course so far:-

“Your exercises helped to generate some great instant and original stories that would have taken weeks and weeks of slaving over a hot computer to come up with on our own, if at all! As a result I have some ideas bubbling away that I’ll continue to work on.”

“Really enjoyed working and sharing ideas with great people…Got my brain and confidence going again…”

“What stands out is the amazing fact that we were able to create life stories for imaginary people from nothing but our imagination over the course of only a couple of hours…”

“It was fun, enlightening and overseen by a man who delivers his wisdom without ego and in a very caring set-up…”


Who Needs Inspiration?

Every writer at some point or other will feel the well running slightly dry.

Well, fear writer’s block no longer. This brand new course is all about kick-starting a flood of new ideas for your dramatic writing.

Whether you’re a screenwriter, playwright or radio dramatist, whether you’re deep in the blues of a second act that won’t come clear, or whether you’ve been staring at a sheet of blank paper for weeks, the idea is that you come to the day with no preparation, no pre-planned story ideas, no anything beyond an open mind.

In return, we promise to give you an intensive, action-packed (and, we hope, highly enjoyable!) day and to send you away with a ton of exciting new ideas!

When And Where?

Sunday March 8th 2020, 10.15- 5.15, Central London – at Birkbeck College, the University of London, in Malet St, London WC1E 7HX. And I’ll be available in a nearby pub afterwards to carry on the conversation!

What’s It All About?

IMG_7810We’re going to be doing a whole set of different creative, idea-generating exercises – focusing on:

  • Story ideas – the big ideas that will form the basis of a really strong logline/central narrative idea to your work.
  • Character – exercises that will engender the creation of unique and memorable characters.
  • Idea-generating techniques – we will explore in depth the sort of techniques you need to develop, the techniques that you need to be using endlessly as professional writers to kick-start new projects and to awaken your creative instincts.
  • Other Media – we will be looking at how you can use other media and unlikely areas of everyday life to access and consider universal story ideas.
  • Writing exercises – we will be doing instant writing exercises to unlock your creativity.
  • Inspirational Guest speaker – will talk about how he generates his ideas, and where his dramatic inspiration comes from.

It’s going to be immensely interactive, you’re going to have to think on your feet, discuss and brainstorm with other writers, and generally open yourself up to your deepest creativity. And it will be fun!

The course is run in a supportive, constructive, positive and ego-free environment.

We hope it’ll make a great change from sitting on your own staring at a screen!



With illustrations from his own work, Anders will discuss what drives him as a writer – how his personal passions inform his writing; and what lessons this has for your own writing.

Anders read Chinese Studies at Oxford before heading to Berkeley in California to work towards a PhD. With his studying completed, Anders devised academic courses for prisoners in the UK and USA and taught drama inside prisons in both countries.

Anders Lustgarten won the inaugural Harold Pinter Playwright’s Award for If You Don’t Let Us Dream We Won’t Let You Sleep at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs. He is currently under commission to the RSC and the National Theatre among several others, and adapted David Peace’s The Damned United for the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

His play Lampedusa had two runs at the Soho Theatre – back by popular demand – and at Hightide. The incredibly relevant piece about the current refugee crisis toured in 2016 and continues to be performed around the world.

The Seven Acts of Mercy, opened at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon to critical acclaim in Winter 2016. His play The Secret Theatre played at the Globe in the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Theatre.

Anders is developing original projects for television and radio. He’s also a long-standing political activist who’s been arrested in four continents.


I have vast experience as script editor (Waking The Dead, BBC, Inspector Morse, ITV + many other shows) and producer (Margery & Gladys, Making Waves, First Sign Of Madness, all ITV) and as script consultant ( working with many different writers and production companies.

I currently run (and initiated) the annual Channel 4 screenwriting course (now in its 10th year). I have run many courses, including a week-long screenwriting workshop (for the BBC) for new film-makers in the Middle East, regular script-editing courses for the Screenskills, I am one of the 10 ‘Masters’ behind the new MA Dramatic Writing course at Central St Martins \ Drama Centre, London; and I have taught screenwriting or script-editing courses recently for BBC Studios, BBC writers room, Fremantle and Endemol.

Places Strictly Limited to 20!

We want everyone who comes to the course to feel they get heard and to get the maximum out of it, so we have a strict limit on the number of people we will let in!

What Does It Cost?

For this whole day of creativity boosting exercises, plus hearing all about how an outstanding modern writer gets her ideas and her inspiration, we’re asking just £95. No ‘Early Bird’ discount complications – JUST AN INCREDIBLY REASONABLE PRICE.


As this course usually sells out some weeks in advance of the course, EARLY BOOKING IS ADVISED.

I look forward to seeing you there…

Phil Shelley

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