Six weeks on Thursdays from 9 January to 13 February 2020, 19.00-21.00.

Lecturer: David Lemon

This course will take place in the Education Room at Hackney Picturehouse.

Have an idea for a feature film or TV series? Not sure where to begin? Using tried and trusted techniques along with clips from cinema classics old and new this practical course is for anyone keen on telling stories for screens big and small. Over the course you will learn and develop the tools to help you turn that first spark of inspiration into a ‘blueprint’ for a feature, TV pilot or short.

David Lemon’s writing credits include the feature films FAINTHEART (Film4) starring Eddie Marsan, CONTAINMENT (2015) starring Lee Ross (Eastenders) and Louise Brealey (Sherlock) as well as documentaries on such classic British films as THE 39 STEPS THE RED SHOES and BRIEF ENCOUNTER. David also lectures on screenwriting at Central St Martins and the Metfilm School in Ealing Studios.



Week 1: What is screenwriting?

In week 1, we will look at the role of the screenwriter, how it has evolved, and how screen stories differ from other forms of storytelling such as novels and writing for the stage. We will also share tips on developing ideas and getting those first thoughts down on paper/laptop, as well as the purpose of both log lines and pitching.


Week 2: Structure

Week 2 will look at the structure underpinning both film and TV stories, and how we can apply them to our own work. We will look at the role of pre-planning in building a story, from outlines to note cards. 


Week 3: Character

This week will look at the ways in which screenwriters convey character on screen, and the importance of ‘show, don’t tell’. We will also look at character descriptions and why action invariably speaks louder than words. The films we will look at will include: Little Miss Sunshine, His Girl Friday & Young Adult.


Week 4: Dialogue

Week 4 will focus on dialogue and the challenges of creating convincing dialogue that feels spontaneous and fresh, even when you’re re-writing it for the 10th time! We will also look at the importance of subtext-and some things to avoid courtesy of one of the worst films ever made…!


Week 5: Genre

This week will focus on the role genre plays both in terms of the decisions we make as storytellers (how do we want our audience to feel?) and as audience members. We will look at some of the key genres (horror, coming of age, thriller), how ‘comedy’ isn’t really a genre, and our current era of the ‘genre mash up’.


Week 6: The finished script

Our final week will focus on two key areas: Techniques generations of writers have used to engage audiences, such as set-ups and pay offs and what to do once a script is finished and ready to share with the world. We will look at agents, copyright (and why stealing ideas very rarely happens) and the opportunities out there for new voices.


Tickets are £80 for the full six-week course (£75 concession / £70 Picturehouse Members)

  • Release Date :
  • 31 Oct 2019
  • Certificate :
  • TBC
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