parsing the lesson

My brain is slowly recovering from the Screen Analysis Course, taught by Beth Serlin and organised by FÁS Screen Training Ireland, I attended recently.

It was an intensive six-day hothouse, which scrutinised the fundamental components of drama on a scene level, and built upon them upwards into larger chunks: sequences and acts. I was part of a lovely gang of talented writers, and together we pushed through the long, intellectually challenging days. We had writing exercises every night, and a comprehensive written assessment at the end. Although it extended our working day it meant we immediately implemented the lessons of the day.

Our teacher, Beth Serlin, was thoughtful, approachable, and possessed a thorough command of the subject. It was a fantastic, if tiring, experience. I’ve just finished typing up and organising all my notes (which is not something I always do). It allowed me to run through the main concepts again, and cement them in my head. It also insured that in a couple of months I won’t be staring at my squiggly writing and wondering, “huh?”

It will take some time to integrate all the advice I learned, but in the meantime I now possess a practical set of tools to help me write better, more effective, screenplays. It also reminded me why I love screenwriting so much.

Of course, any programme or workshop is only worthwhile if you continue to write and build upon what you’ve been taught. I’m already pondering my next screenwriting project. It’s an idea that’s been knocking around in my head for a number of years. It would make a good summer project.

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