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The First Draft And Beyond

Tutors: Rachel O’Flanagan, Mary Kate O’Flanagan

Date: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Duration: 27th to 30th January 2016, followed by 10 weeks of Project Meetings and a 2 day final Workshop in early April.

Venue: Dublin TBC

Cost: €350

Course Profile:

This intensive, project-based, development programme is aimed at screenwriters and creative teams behind first and second-time Feature Films. Participants should have a strong film project ready to progress from outline to first draft, or from first to revised draft. Eight projects will be chosen to take part. Following the opening workshops on the craft of screenwriting, participants will then have one-on-one input and guidance on their own scripts.

The tutors’ approach is to help writers to find the best realised versions of their stories, while also disseminating a shared approach to the understanding of screen story. They are especially interested in an audience-centred approach to the story. Particular attention is given to creating a deeper understanding of how plot works on screen, and how it relates directly to character. They will interrogate the key ingredient of dramatic tension – how to create it and how to sustain it, and how the use of sequences can focus a narrative.

The programme consists of three parts, at the end of which each writer/team should have a cohesive first or second draft, or a strong outline and the first twenty five pages. Please note that the approach is collaborative and writers will be asked to share pages and read each other’s work. Confidentiality and mutual respect is required.

Part One – Workshop, 4 days. This focuses on the Sequence Approach as an effective tool to mapping out story and character and includes:
Daily Film Analysis – showing how the theory works in practice.
Writing the Opening Sequence.
Character And Plot – clarifying the essence of your character.
Crafting The Scene – tools for writing and rewriting key moments.

Part Two – One to one Project Meetings: Writers will develop their projects further with regular input from their assigned tutor. Each participant/team will receive five meetings. Writers will be paired and read and respond to each other’s work. Participant Script Editors are also asked to attend these meetings.

Part Three – Final 2 day Workshop: A morning or afternoon will be devoted to each project, with all participants partaking in the sessions, as guided by the tutors.

About the Tutors: Story Consultants Mary Kate and Rachel O’Flanagan have worked together for many years under the umbrella of script consultancy, A Dramatic Improvement. They work internationally, and have designed and delivered training in the craft of screenwriting in Ireland, across Europe and in Africa. In the last year, Rachel and Mary Kate have given workshops on screenwriting and character in Prague, Plzen, Malta, Cologne, Wales, London and Ireland. Mary Kate is a working screenwriter, holds an MA in screenwriting and is a Grand Slam Champion Storyteller at The Moth. Rachel has 20 years of experience in developing and script editing feature films, TV series and single dramas. Irish projects include Good Vibrations, The Stag, My Brothers, The Running Mate, Showbands and The Clinic. She has worked as a guest lecturer at the Huston Film School, IADT, Film Base, DCU and STI. She has trained under North By Northwest and Arista. Rachel and Mary Kate have a special interest in Danish Film and TV, having lived there for many years.

Participant Profile:

Writers should have already completed a feature film script, a short film, or the equivalent – a novel or stage play. Participants can apply as individual writers, or as a team – Writer, Producer and Director or Development Executive. We would especially encourage teams to apply. There are also a small number of places on the course for script editors. Applicant script editors may be freelance, attached to production companies, or Readers who wish to upskill – but all must have relevant industry experience and seeking to broaden that experience.

Application Procedure:

Please apply online at with your current CV. Please also email your film script or outline (in PDF or Word format) to Only applications with a script or outline attached can be considered. Script editors should also apply on line with a CV.
The Deadline for applications is Friday, January 8th, 2016 at 5pm.

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