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The Story Fix: Solving Story Problems in Factual Programmes

Tutors: Nigel Levy, Writer/Director

Date: Monday, June 17th, 2019

Duration: 1 day

Venue: Dublin TBC

Cost: €150

Course Profile:

In this one-day seminar, Nigel Levy will share his unique approach to fixing stories.  By exploring story at its most fundamental structural level, it will give participants the security to recognise and fix story issues – from development to problems in the edit. Issues such as: Why does the story run out of steam? Why do we have to remake the opening over and over again? How can we produce a satisfying ending? Why does it seem like a list and not a story? How can we make this story work at feature length – and what exactly is missing? What does it mean when the chronology of events doesn’t seem to match the story you are trying to tell? Why does this just feel wrong?

Nigel’s approach is based on the latest theories in story analysis. Using before and after samples from multiple examples of his work, this seminar will cover:

  • What a story is – and the difference between a story and a tale.
  • The concept of the story mind, and how we can explore the argument a story is making.
  • The difference between structure and storytelling. How both are vital, but it is essential to be able to separate out the two in order to identify where your problem lies.
  • Throughlines. How breaking open the story into fundamental through lines gives you complete control of your story, and the ability to add richness without compromising elements you already possess.
  • What exactly is an act, where does this idea emerge from and how can we use them in our structure?
  • Genre and theme, which naturally emerge from structure. How can you define them, or find them, in your programme?
  • How do you accurately add drama or jeopardy? Option locks and time locks, and how having both will only confuse your audience.
  • The danger of reacting to your story rather than constructing it.
  • What do we mean when we are asking a character to go on a ‘journey’?
  • Fool-proof ways to know the scenes that are needed to begin and end your film.
  • Software tools that can help you with the process.

These are fundamental insights that can help any story that you are working on, in any genre. From commissioning editors watching a cut that just isn’t working to pitching an idea, these concepts will give a security in understanding story that will stay with your throughout your career.

Participant Profile:

This one-day course is aimed at producers and directors, executive producers and commissioning editors seeking to enhance their storytelling and problem-solving skills.

Application Procedure:

Please apply online by Thursday, June 6th at 12:00 pm attaching a current CV with your application.  For further details please email Críona Sexton at

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