This course is for anyone who writes (or wants to write) drama for film or TV and would like to know more about how and why story principles work.
We teach this Master’s-level course in groups of up to 15 people. You can book as an individual, or you can block-book a class for your team. Often production companies enrol small teams to unify their approach to telling dramatic stories.
The course is suitable if you:
- Write for TV, film, radio or stage – or would like to move into screenwriting from another form, such as novel-writing
- Have an MA in TV, Film or Writing and would like to gain practical industry-level skills
- Work as a screenwriter and would like a refresher on story structure
- Are a team developing drama, and would like to share a common vocabulary of story
- Would like to see the blueprint underlying all successful stories, and learn how to manipulate it to tell more effective stories
- Need to discover why your stories aren’t working – and how to fix them
- Would like to develop new effective writing habits and take yourself more seriously as a writer
- Need to produce a professional treatment for an idea
- Enjoy the discipline of deadlines and peer feedback
- Want to join a friendly and supportive small group of learners
- Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course
Session 1: Introduction to Story (1) – You’ll start by learning the grammar of storytelling and the essential elements of a story, and experiment with summing up a protagonist’s wants and needs.
Session 2: Introduction to Story (2) – We build on the basic building blocks of the archetypal story identified in Session 1, examining structural form in more detail. We’ll look at the inciting incident, the character’s journey and story endings (crisis, climax and resolution).
Session 3: Essential Story Tools – This is about ‘breaking’ a story into its component parts to see whether it’s working as well as it could. You’ll also experiment with three-act structure. By the end of this session you should be able to deconstruct any story and understand how to fix parts that don’t work.
Session 4: Five-Act Structure – Now we break down a story into five acts and look at why this is such an invaluable tool for dramatic storytellers. You’ll learn the art of identifying turning points and the all-important midpoint, and experiment with rewriting a broken story in five parts.
Session 5: Building Stories – We introduce the basic building blocks of stories – scenes – and explain why you need to get inside characters’ heads to make them work. You’ll use the knowledge you’ve gained to plan an original story in five parts.
Session 6: Top Story Tips – By now you should know how to create a story, test its elements to make sure it works, and structure it into beats, scenes and acts. This session offers simple tips that will inspire you to look at stories and scripts with a fresh eye. If you have a problem with a story, this session will provide the solution.
Session 7: Write Your Own Treatment – We look at the difference between a synopsis and a treatment, then learn the rules for writing a successful professional-standard treatment.
Submit your treatment for an original idea and receive a detailed one-to-one feedback report from your tutor.
At the end of the course you’ll have everything you need, including expert feedback, to move onto our Story for Pitch Decks course, and prepare to pitch your idea at agents and commissioners.
During this course, there will also be a Live Q&A session with a featured screenwriter.
Join our alumni
After your course, you can join our online alumni community where you’ll meet our growing network of past students. You’ll be able to:
- Rejoin your classmates in a private forum
- Continue to access an archived version of your course materials
- Meet alumni from other courses and share work for feedback
- Join discussions about screenwriting, script editing and the industry
- Attend live chats with guest writers and industry folk
Mentoring and one-to-one feedback
The John Yorke Story tutor team offer mentoring, script reads and reports. We are happy to quote by job or script, or to arrange a longer mentoring scheme as you work on a specific story idea. We’ll create a package to suit you, so for more information please email [email protected]
If you are a writer based in North of Tyne, you may be eligible for a bursary discount through New Writing North.
You can submit your application through this site.
This course is open to writers all over the globe. If you are based anywhere else in the world, you can buy now here.