Producers and audiences are hungrier than ever for stories rooted in reality, whether ‘based on’ real events or just ‘inspired by’ them. This course will give you the tools to develop a 'based on a true story' script for a feature film or a multi-part television series.
How do scriptwriters stay faithful to the facts while making the narrative work dramatically? How many liberties can you take before you have left reality behind altogether?
Encompassing stories of true crimes, financial and political scandals, historical injustices, space exploration, and biopics of everyone from Elton John, Marie Curie, and Brian Clough, to Laurel and Hardy, and Stephen Hawking, the ‘based on real events’ script is having a moment.
This short course is for anyone currently writing a film or television script based on real events, or anyone thinking about starting one and exploring scriptwriting. Previous scriptwriting experience is not a requirement, though it would be helpful.
Through a staged development process, you will explore techniques for representing the "truth" of a true story while at the same time creating compelling drama.
After choosing your story, and seeing whether it is suitable for adaption, you will identify your main characters and begin to develop them. You will learn about basic story structure, identify your main plot points, and create a detailed step-outline that will give you a scene-by-scene map of the story. You will learn how to work with images and dialogue and the basics of script formatting. Finally, you will discuss the next steps in terms of getting your script made.
At the end of the course, you will have a document that you can further develop into a finished "based on a true story" script, and a knowledge of how to move forward.
Delve into scriptwriting
You can remain at any stage of the process until you feel you have fully mastered the brief. If you want to stretch yourself further, you will be able to write Act 1 (the first 28-33 pages) of your script (or more) and submit it for written feedback.
At every stage, we will consider how these scriptwriting techniques are applied in true story adaptations. Some considerations may include:
- What are sources of possible true stories?
- How to decide on the appropriate format (e.g. feature film, TV), style (e.g. linear and naturalistic, experimental, and non-linear) and genre.
- How to handle exposition without boring the viewer.
- The role of research – how much is too much?
- The big one: How far can you deviate from the facts for dramatic purposes?
Classes will be a combination of lectures and in-class workshops. You will also develop your script editing skills by giving feedback on your classmates' work in guided sessions. We will also view and discuss dramatisations of true stories to see how other writers have solved true story-adaptation problems.
We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at email@example.com so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible.
Please note our short courses sell-out quickly, so early booking is advisable.
Starting date, Tuesday 6 Apr 2021
6.30-8.30pm | 8 weeks
If you have any questions about this course please contact shortcourses (@gold.ac.uk) .
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