I had the privilege of conducting five days of screenwriting classes for the WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) earlier this month in Evaton, 80kms south of Johannesburg. The classes were held at the Mafutsana Community Hall, and directed specifically at aspiring writers in the Vaal Area. Sponsored by the GFC (Gauteng Film Commission), the classes are part of the WGSA Skills Lab programme. Thanks to all involved for both the hospitality and the funding.
ASPIRANT SCREENWRITERS FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS
Over 60 applications were received and the WGSA selected a class of 30 to attend. Those lucky enough to make the grade were from a cross section of the community, ranging in age from their 20’s to their 60’s, and in occupation from writers to union representatives and till operators.
The class divided into groups to test their stories on their peers.
SO MUCH CONTENT – SO LITTLE TIME
The gruelling programme was devised by the Scribe Writers Room loosely based on our series of ten Basic Screenwriting Classes, which is in the middle of its second season in Johannesburg, running on Saturday mornings at Urban Brew Studios. Those classes are also run in collaboration with the WGSA and members receive a discounted rate when attending. (If you are interested in attending the next series drop Richard an e-mail here.)
Discussion of every type was encouraged, and there were no stupid questions…
The days were long and tough, with less than 40 hours to run through the essentials of Intellectual Property, Formatting, Story, Genre, Structure, Characters, the Story World, Action and Dialogue. In addition some time was allocated to Loglines and the Premise. No surprise there was also homework four nights in a row.
From day one, each member of the class was encouraged and shown how to develop their own new unique, story which would be written and submitted as part of the course requirement at the end of the week. They were motivated by the prize of a free entry into the Muse Awards if they came out on top.
Before I knew it the week had passed and it was time to say goodbye to a newly acquired group of friend and colleagues. The WGSA will announce the winners of the short script competition in due course, but for now there are 30 aspirant writers out there armed with the tools to write fresh new South African stories. I look forward to seeing some of them on the big screen.
Mixing up the groups for different input makes for stronger stories.
Feedback from the class was anonymous but still extremely positive, some of which is quoted below;
“The class exceeded my expectation it was great!”
“This was such a great experience. I learnt a lot.”
“I love it; writers block is a thing of the past now for me.”
“I can now write my script without confusion.”
“I didn’t even know what a script looked like, let alone where to start when attempting to write. But after this course I can proudly say I am a scriptwriter.”
“I learned so much in such a short time. I feel well equipped to make a success of my career.”
“I have attended scriptwriting workshops before and I only understood what has been said all along in this workshop.”
“The classes are perfectly done as well as the content, including the facilitator Richard H Nosworthy. He was so patient with everyone and answered every question with such clarity; an excellent tutor and very approachable.”
“The presentations were good and he took his time to make sure each student understand their work and practical exercises.”
“The facilitator was very clear and patient, always willing to answer our questions. It was the best thing in my life. Now I can safely say I am a writer.”
“I enjoyed the one-on-one Conversations with Richard. They were informative.”