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19 Jun 2021

Reflective Screenwriting & Pitching


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1 day from 19 June, 2021

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM BST




Marie McCluskey


This course is designed for those who have already written a first draft of a speculative screenplay, or have an advanced storyboarded idea, and want to develop their work in the context of pitching.

This course is different in scope to most of those on offer as it’s starting point is how the industry operates to source ‘great ideas’, and how they progress from great idea to being produced and finding their way onto the screen. In a sense, we are reverse engineering the idea from the industry perspective, by aiming to understand what producers and broadcasters need to know about your idea before they can consider taking it to production.

This course will aim to better understand the reflective aspect of writing that producers and TV executives are interested in: A 'great idea' is only as good as it's writer's capacity to inject their own experiences into the characters, in other words, to be able to reflect on their own life experiences and invest this deeper emotional understanding into the life of their characters. This doesn't mean you can only write about your own cultural or social background. What producers are looking for is a writer who can empathically witness human experiences from all walks of life, and inject these into universal characters, whether your script is fantasy or political thriller, comedy or romance.

Many new writers start by devising what we would call a ‘great idea’, and hope that this will interest a producer due to the originality of the idea. What I’m referring to here, might be something like this: new writer is lucky enough to get a pitch spot with a producer or broadcaster, and says: “I’ve got a great idea for a film: three heroin addicts and a violent alcoholic hang out, get high or drunk, fight and generally abuse each other”. This approach is unlikely to get anywhere in the film industry, even though it does quite aptly sum up what the industry calls “the world” of the story, the world of Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie and Spud. But in this case, the book had already been written, which is a great advantage to any project, as, quite often, it’s really just too hard trying to convey how a ‘great idea’ will end up looking on the screen and possibly becoming a cult classic.

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