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Exploring Genre – Screenplay Unlimited Thriller Workshop

Tutors: Emmanuel Oberg

Date: Monday, June 24th, 2019

Duration: 2 days

Venue: Dublin TBC

Cost: €190

Course Profile:

This programme is aimed at writers, development personnel, directors and editors who wish to hone their understanding of storytelling in thrillers.  It is required that applicants have either attended Emmanuel Oberg’s Advanced Development Workshop or read his book- “Screenwriting Unchained: Reclaim your Creative Freedom and Master Story Structure”.

The aim of the workshop is to equip filmmakers with a detailed understanding of the principles of screen writing for the thriller genre.


  • The difference between a thriller, a suspense story, a mystery, a whodunit, a crime/detective story, a chiller.
  • The three types of terrorterror, horror and gross out. Which one should we be looking for in a thriller?
  • Different types of thrillers: psychological, sci-fi, action, horror, revenge, mystery, spy, conspiracy, crime, dystopian and eco- thrillers, just a few of the many sub-genres. What do they all have in common?
  • Which story-type is almost always used for thrillers and why?
  • How to make the most of Maslow and get a thrilling M-Factor?
  • Thrillers and budget: everything is possible.
  • High concept and fear: Can you pitch two thrills with one line?
  • Anatomy of a thriller, or how we generate, sustain and escalate the essential elements of a thriller: emotional identification, anxiety and frustration, tension and suspense, pity and fear, hope and anticipation, terror and horror.
  • A good set-up, or how to design a thrilling opening sequence.
  • The Cold Start.
  • The Teaser Flash-Back.
  • The protagonist: Why we have to care about the characters, especially in a thriller.
  • The antagonist: Why do we fear the opposition? How do we avoid cardboard villains and create strong believable, motivated, thrilling antagonists?
  • Thrillers and craft: McGuffin, Red Herring, Cliffhanger, Plot Twist, Mid-Act Climax and Encore Twist.
  • Managing conflict: How do we design a thrilling storyline, and
    • how do we break it up into thrilling scenes and sequences? How
    • do we keep the pace up?.
  • Managing information: using dramatic irony to generate
    • suspense; raising the stakes with surprises; making sure
    • mystery doesn’t kill suspense or prevent identification.
  • Designing a thrilling climax: How to avoid an anti-climax or a deus ex machina; how to deliver a satisfying final twist; how to avoid late
  • Developing a Plot-Led Thriller.
  • Developing a Character-Led Thriller.
  • Developing a Theme-Led Thriller.
  • Developing a Thriller as a hybrid or an exception.
  • The Rewrite Stuff: 12 Steps to a Stronger Thriller, or how to tackle the next draft of your project.

Throughout the workshop, we’ll use many film clips and case studies to illustrate various dramatic tools, story-types and sub-genres.

Participant Profile:

This course is open to writers, development personnel, directors and editors who wish to hone their storytelling craft in the thriller genre.

Application Procedure:

Please apply online attaching a current CV at by 10:00 am on the 13th of June. For further information please contact

*Please note places on this course are limited.

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