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SCREENWRITERS WORKSHOP (article first published : 2005-12-6)

After many years of being taken for granted, screenwriters in South Africa are now recognised as being as important as directors are in making films.

A weekend workshop for screenwriters takes place at the SABC in Durban, on December 10 and 11, guiding aspirant screenwriters through the process of writing a screenplay that could make a difference in the local film and TV industries and possibly break into the international arena.

Hosted by the SABC, the weekend workshop is presented by Cape Town based The Writing Studio, an independent training institution, with published playwright and film journalist Daniel Dercksen, a qualified Education, Training and Development Practitioner, taking the writers through the write paces. Daniel is visiting Durban to facilitate a scriptwriting workshop at the Kwa Mashu Film Festival, involving 20 emerging filmmakers from the communities.

The Weekend Workshop for Scriptwriters is designed to take writers through the essential steps of writing a professional screenplay for feature film, or short film, and is also ideal for writers who are interested in writing for television and the stage, as well as novelists interested in adapting their writing to the big screen.

It examines the writing process and explores the world of contemporary filmmaking and films, with emphasis on completing a successful draft of an original screenplay that will reflect the uniqueness and rich history of South Africa, and can be forwarded to producers internationally.

Hard work, great passion, unwavering determination and commitment are as essential to successful screenwriting as they are to any other creative endeavour. The Writing Studio will provide the teaching, the student must provide the passion and, hopefully, the talent. With strict adherence to the rituals of writing and learning, students will have the opportunity to develop a feature length screenplay of 90 - 120 pages. The extent to which each student takes his or her work will depend entirely on his or her own dedication and pace.

During the workshop the writers will look at how to develop their writing skills, find their 'writer's voice', how to market themselves and take ownership of their writing. It includes developing ideas from concept to shooting script, bringing characters to life, understanding the relationship between structure and the screenplay, and how to design scenes and sequences to its full dramatic potential.

The weekend workshop follows in the tradition of other workshops presented by The Writing Studio the past eight years throughout South Africa.

The cost of the weekend workshop is R900, with a discounted rate of R700 for students, scholars and pensioners. Bursaries are available on discretion for disadvantaged writers.

The workshop takes place on December 10 and 11 from 09h00 to 18h00. For the full agenda on the workshop and how to sign up visit the website: www.writingstudio.co.za , email info@writingstudio.co.za or call 021 425 5355.




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