HANDS-ON SCREENWRITING

Online Screenwriting Courses

View coursesContact us

Courses

A Writing Community

Learn with support and encouragement from fellow writers.

Manage Your Own Time 

Our courses are semi-synchronous, fitting in with your lifestyle.

Craft Your Craft

All courses have a strong practical component. You learn by writing.

Working Writers

Our course coaches are all working screenwriters.

Online Platform

Our courses are hosted on a professional open-source learning platform.

Available courses

When you sign up for one of our courses you will be give access to a moodle open-source learning platform where all the course information, videos, notes and assignments will be easily accessible using your personal login details.

Screenwriting tips

Make sure that your Point Of No Return means just that…point of no return.

Your first act should be the “pull back” that shoots your character into the narrative of the rest of your story. Like a pinball machine, Act 1 is when you pull back the shooter that sends the ball into the machine. You need to be sure that once you let go that shooter the ball flies all the way through the next 70 or so minutes of your story. One way of doing this is to make sure that when your main character leaves the status quo world (at the First Act Turning Point, sometimes known as the Point Of No Return) that s/he cannot return.

The audience should know that there is no way the main character can get back to the “status quo” without going on a long journey. So…once your character has crossed that bridge into the “special world”…make sure that you burn that bridge!

Receive reminders about when our courses start and more screenwriting tips by signing up to our mailing list:

Our Course Coaches

Matthew Kalil

Matthew Kalil

Screenwriter, director and lecturer

Matthew has an MA in Screenwriting from the Northern Film School, Leeds, UK and has been teaching and writing screenplays for the last 15 years. He has written on various TV shows including the international Emmy Award winning, SOS.

His scripts and plays have received various funding and awards from institutes such as Yorkshire and Humberside Arts, The National Arts Council, The South African Screenwriting Institute and The National Film and Video Foundation.

He has held lecturing positions, and given guest lectures, at various institutions including the University of Cape Town, City Varsity, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, AFDA Film School and TISH at NYU, to name a few.

Shirley Johnston

Shirley Johnston

Screenwriter, director and lecturer

Shirley has been writing for film and television for the past sixteen years, working on over 9 different shows. Traffic!, a crime series she created, was nominated for a SAFTA Award and a WGSA Muse Award and is on it’s second season. She wrote the feature film ‘Felix’ which has won seventeen local and international awards.

Her first screenplay, Clean Hands, won the M-Net Best Screenwriting Award in 1999 and her first stage play, Plastics, won the national SACPAC prize in 1993.

Shirley has also worked as a multi-camera television director on Madam and Eve, Shooting Stars and Backstage. She currently lectures part-time is working on three writing projects for Penguin Films.

Resources

Screenwriting Unpacked image

Screenwriting Unpacked

A very accessible 185-page book that introduces you to all aspects of screenwriting. If you are a novice, it’s a must.

Screenwriting Unpacked is a distillation of lessons learnt over 15 years of writing and teaching screenwriting. It also incorporates lessons learnt by the great screenwriting gurus that have been focussed and honed down into this volume.

Chapters in the book cover:
Stories and how we find them, Formatting and why it is vital, how to create memorable Characters, Writing habits that will save your life, theories on Structure, writing great Dialogue, creating a compelling Scene and how to tackle Re-writing.

You are more than welcome to download a PDF SAMPLE of the book here.

PDF copies available for R 350.

For more information visit the contact section.

Screenplay Formatting

Screenplay Formatting Guide

A unique 40-page guide on not just how but WHY to format scripts. Before you start writing make sure that you consult this booklet.

Examples and lessons learnt on common screenplay writing errors. Turn your script into a blueprint that clearly communicates your vision to the team of filmmakers who are going to use your words to turn your idea into a reality.

Follow the guidelines outlined in detail in this booklet to prepare your script for the professional world.

You are more than welcome to download a PDF SAMPLE of the book here.

PDF copies available for R 200 per booklet.

For more information visit the contact section.

Retreats

“The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s pants to the seat of one’s chair.” – Kingsley Amis

It helps if that chair is somewhere beautiful. For writers wanting to break through the blocks in the way of their story or to experiment with new ideas, our unique writing workshops offer a safe and creative space to think deeply and write freely.

Share a weekend, or a week, away with fellow writers all developing key elements of their work. Interspersed with lectures and one-on-one feedback sessions, as well as hearty meals and meditative walks, a writer’s retreat is an essential tool in bringing a story to life.

Visit South Africa, where humans first started telling stories, and get inspired.

Contact us for information about the next retreat.

To book, visit the contact section and send us a message.

Testimonials

Precious Makgaretsa

The course was incredible and an eye opener. I now have renewed respect for filmmakers, directors and writers. As well as better understanding of how the story-telling machine works.

Precious MakgaretsaACT Student
Alex Lategan

Fantastic notes, comprehensive and easy to follow and more importantly applicable for a beginner as gives all the ‘ need to know’ to enable us to produce a professional looking script.

Alex LateganACT Student
Pete O’Donoghue

Subtle guidance and thorough understanding of script craft and story telling will help refine your good idea into a great script.

Pete O’DonoghueWriter
Dr Lesley Marx

Matthew Kalil is one of our superstar screenwriting teachers.

Dr Lesley Marx Associate Professor, Centre for Film and Media Studies
Rachel Wood

I have never experienced anyone who can so adroitly analyze material, identify the weaknesses, and relay that information as succinctly or as kindly as Matthew. He is absolutely invaluable.

Rachel WoodDirector
Ross Devenish

See beyond the page to the images that the writer hopes will eventually emerge in the script, particularly at the stage when the writer has difficulty in seeing further than the words themselves…

Ross DevenishWriter

Contact us

Get more information by sending a message via the contact form provided below or you can send a message stating which course you would like to take part in. All payments will be done through a PayPal account. Details of this will be sent to you once you have signed up for a course.

7 + 1 = ?

Copyright © Write for the screen. All rights reserved - Created and published by MikeleDeSousa