Writing scripts isn't easy, but the good news is that many of the challenges are technical and technical skills can be learnt. All About Writing launches its first Screenwriting Course of 2020 on 2 March, run by two highly experienced writing professionals.
They have joined forces to design a five-week online crash course in film and television writing, which will take you through the skills you'll need to write professional and innovative scripts.
The Crash Course in Screenwriting is one of the most exciting projects I've been involved in, says Michele Rowe, whose career has morphed from writing for film and television into writing novels, the first of which, What Hidden Lies, won the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award.
Award-winning script writer Richard Beynon, past head writer of local soaps Isidingo, Scandal and Isibaya, has written hundreds of scripts for television, and is a founder partner of the creative writing school, All About Writing.
"We've covered all the essential bases," he says. "In just five weeks, we believe that participants will learn the key skills of writing a worthwhile script."
There are many reasons to do this course, to write your own script being just one of them. It will help you appreciate more deeply this most compelling of modern art forms. It will provide you with the creative excitement of stretching your boundaries.
And perhaps most importantly for anyone working in other areas of the film and television industry, it offers lessons in thinking visually. In forces one to think in terms of showing, rather than telling.
All About Writing have called it a crash course because you'll be driven through two modules a week for five weeks. Their carefully calibrated notes will introduce you to one essential aspect of the craft at a time - and culminate with an assignment that will bed down your new understanding.
Your two facilitators will give you comprehensive feedback on every assignment. And, in line with All About Writing's motto, they promise to be honest, but kind.
Here is what a past participant, Sally Andrew, has to say about the course: "I really enjoyed this course. There was a lovely combination of theory and practice: readings, scripts, movie excerpts to watch, and screen-writing exercises. Richard and Michele gave such careful, considered and constructive feedback to our assignments. I learned a lot and had good fun too. Thank you!"
Sally, of course, is the author of the fabulous Tannie Maria mysteries- two down and more, we understand, in the pipeline. Plus, we hope, the enticing possibility of a movie.
Lance Jooste, who has also done the Crash Course, says: "The Screenwriting Crash Course was an incredible learning experience with in-depth feedback from Michele and Richard on each assignment. I found their feedback challenged me to dig beneath the surface in my storytelling and gave me new inspiration to continue writing."
About teaching the course, Michele Rowe concludes: "One of the thrills of teaching other writers how to write screenplays, is seeing this same verve, immediacy and energy taking shape in their assignments, to witness them catch the bug, to see how much fun and originality they bring to the medium...
"Both Richard and I are always astonished at how inventive our participants are, at how much they enjoy the courses, at how much they bring to the process."
The course costs R6 300. Aspirant screen and script writers can find more information, and sign up here: