Becoming a successful scriptwriter, as with any specialist skill, requires a significant period of apprenticeship usually comprising several years.
The best advice that can be given to writers who wish to learn their craft is to write.
However training courses, whether long or short, can serve as a useful introduction or refresher. Courses can provide newer writers with an understanding of the basics and assist more experienced writers to hone their skills.
Writers of all levels will find some of the following helpful.
Whitireia Polytechnic has an established online scriptwriting course. Contact Programme Co-ordinator Pip Byrne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waiariki Polytechnic is also offering an online screenwriting course with tutor Owen Bullock. Starts 18 August. Cost $571. Contact Jaarna Hoskinson 0800 924 274.
Auckland University’s Dept of Continuing Education
runs weekend and summer/winter workshops introduction to screenwriting. Contact Jo Davies, Programme Manager, tel 373 7599 ext 88693.
Victoria University of Wellington – Writing for Theatre
This course provides grounding in the art and craft of writing scripts for live performance. Students will develop an understanding of structure, theatricality, story, character, action, dialogue and scene construction. Note: this course is limited to 12 students, with entry decided on the basis of a writing sample that must be submitted with your application by 10 December in the year prior to enrolment.
Writing for Theatre is taught by the School of English, Film, Theatre, Media, part of the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.
Auckland University of Technology – Master of Creative Writing for Screenwriters
The Master of Creative Writing (MCW) for Screenwriters is a dedicated stream of masterclasses for writers who want to bring their ideas to the screen.
This challenging and inspiring programme will take you from idea to second draft screenplay in a form ready to present to film companies.
AUT’s aim is to provide expert advice and a supportive environment. Original screenplays, adaptations and commissioned projects are welcome.
A small class size keeps the focus on your writing. Script and industry mentor Andrew Bancroft will help you identify all the options available to you as your script progresses, and push you to your creative limits. (Other leading screenwriting practitioners are available as mentors, by negotiation).
Whitireia – Creative Writing
The most important elements are your passion for, and commitment to, writing. Students come from all age groups and backgrounds. Whitireia offers four full-time courses and several part-time options.
- The NZWG library, with over 1,000 items including books, scripts, DVDs, audio and videotapes and scriptwriting magazines, is the largest specialist library on the subject in NZ. Borrowing is restricted to NZWG members. Items may be posted out throughout the country. We have recently been able to add the Timpson Collection of nearly 1,000 classic and modern feature movie and television scripts to the library.
- Courses are advertised in the NZWG E-bulletin that is published weekly. This publication is distributed to NZWG members only.
- The NZWG stocks Syd Field’s Screenwriting Workshop on DVD for purchase.
- The NZWG stocks John Truby’s Great Screenwriting Course on DVD for purchase.
- Workshops on the business of writing as well as on the craft of writing are offered by the WG from time to time. Guild members are given priority information and bookings. (Please note: The Guild does not hold a separate database for distributing information other than to members.)
- www.ScreenwritingGoldmine.com is a website for aspiring screenwriters that includes access to experienced UK writer Phil Gladwin’s Goldmine Screenwriting course.
- The NZ Screen Council website contains a list of accredited screen industry training courses.
- Script To Screen offers regular panel discussion and networking events, principally in Auckland.
- Onfilm is the only industry specific magazine published in NZ.