Location: via Zoom
Course dates: Saturdays from 8 May – 17 July 2021 (half term break Saturday 19 June)
About The Course
Suitable for beginners and the more experienced alike, and for all genres of drama.
This weekly course of three-hour online workshops runs for 10 weeks, with a break in the middle for writing, which coincides with half term.
The first five weeks will address the principles of drama writing, with reference to existing scripts, but what makes this course unique are the remaining sessions, when excerpts of participants' own work will be brought to life by actors; not only will attendees hear their dialogue transitioning off the page, they’ll also gain valuable feedback from actors at Drama Studio London, who will disclose what they need from the writer in order to portray authentic, 3-D characters.
We’ll cover everything from initial concept - why some ideas work and others don’t - to the specific technicalities of scriptwriting, encompassing structure, the development of plot and subplots, choice of characters, and the creation of memorable, idiosyncratic dialogue.
Sam Mack (current student) : "So far I have thoroughly enjoyed the writing course. As someone who is new to screenwriting it has been incredibly useful and insightful and has given me a lot to think about with regards to how to approach writing a script for different mediums, character development and tools that are needed to drive a story forward. I am looking forward to getting feedback on my script when we work with actors, as it will give us an opportunity to hear what they need from a script and how to incorporate that into my writing. All in all it is a very useful course and I would definitely recommend it to new and experienced writers alike as I believe there is something for everyone to learn."
Diane, what can I expect from the sessions?
The foundations of general drama writing will be covered - plot, characters and their development, dialogue - and then the different requirements for each medium; for instance, where to start the story (this will most likely be different for a stage play from a screenplay). In the second part of the course, when actors attend the sessions to bring the scripts to life, they will offer invaluable feedback on your dialogue, and what they need from it.
How interactive are the sessions?
Very interactive. You can ask questions/discuss points at any time, and there will be lots of in-class exercises. I will make a point of involving every attendee.
How do the participants interact with each other?
In class, we’ll be on Zoom. Outside class - many cohorts start WhatsApp groups to stay in touch and support each other.
How much time should I expect to spend writing between sessions.
I expect most attendees will start writing straight away or are already working on something by the time they embark on the course. How much time you give to this between sessions is up to you - as much as you want. Obviously, you will learn more when presenting your own scripts for discussion and feedback, but you will still find the sessions instructive when discussing and listening to others' scripts.
What happens in between sessions?
What I will usually do is suggest works to be watched / scripts read to be before the next session, in order for a group discussion to be had about them (all the suggestions are usually chosen because they are exemplary examples of whatever facet of writing we've been talking about or are about to talk about).
Will you be setting tasks between sessions?
Since everyone will be writing for different mediums, and/or be at different places in the process, I won’t be setting writing exercises. The early weeks of the course will inform your writing for the second part of the course, when you'll get my feedback, the actors' feedback, and feedback from the rest of the group.
About The Course Leader
Diane says; "This unique short course not only teaches the nuts and bolts of drama writing, but also employs actors to perform participants' individual work; this offers indispensable information on how the writing sounds off the page, and crucially, feedback on the type of dialogue actors require to create realistic characters."
Starting out as a music director in fringe theatre for the satirical show Newsrevue in West London, Diane subsequently became the show's script editor and one of its regular directors, working on multiple runs in London and Edinburgh over a period of five years.
Diane spent another five years as a BBC Comedy Producer & Director (One Foot In The Grave, The News Quiz), where she worked with many of the country's top names in the industry, including Alistair McGowan, Rory Bremner, Harry Hill, Ian Hislop, Paul Merton, Richard Wilson, Alan Coren, Willie Rushton, Andrew Sachs, and Barry Took. Leaving to freelance in both comedy and drama for every conceivable medium, she also worked as a performer, and broadcaster. She has written two stage plays - S.C.U.K. and Readers Wives - and lived in Nice for a couple of years, where she worked as a creative copywriter and features journalist. She also has a degree in Politics.
As a writer, Diane is renowned for her stylishly witty and sharp material; as a teacher, she is well-known for being able to hone in instantly on problems, possessing an equally swift ability to offer practical solutions.
Diane lectures at Goldsmiths (scriptwriting and practical theatre-making), in addition to teaching at various well-known drama and film schools in London and Brighton. She is a member of The Writers Guild of Great Britain.
Read our short interview with Diane on our blog.