Write a Short Film Script

Write a screenplay in a week! This fun and interactive course will explore the process of writing for screen, from idea to finished script. It will show how to generate ideas, develop a story for visual drama, flesh out characters, write sparkling dialogue, and get it all down in professional script format. No previous experience necessary – just bring enthusiasm and imagination.

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Layout and present a script in a professional manner.
  • Develop an idea into a workable story.
  • Write effectively for film and television.
  • Critique scripts, diagnose problems and find solutions.

Write a Short Film Script

Room G32, Paterson's Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh
Start date
5 days
Day(s) and Times(s)
Mon 31 July – Fri 4 Aug, 10.00am – 4.00pm
Subject Area
Douglas Dougan
Room G32, Paterson's Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh
Time of Day
  • Ideas Generation - What constitutes a good idea for a film story? Students will work in groups to research and develop ideas.
  • How a Film Story Works - Lecture, film clips and discussion on the key screenwriting topics of story development and film structure.
  • Developing Your Story and Plot - In guided writing exercises, students work in groups and individually to plan their story and then plot their film (includes peer-to-peer class feedback session)
  • Character Design and Visual Storytelling - Create dramatic characters for their own story and make them live and speak.
  • Write your story for the visual medium - Imagery, symbolism and how to write action.
  • Writing the Treatment - Polishing and presenting your script (individual or group feedback session).

Lectures and analysis of clips/script excerpts, practical exercises to work on individually and in groups to master the skills demonstrated.

Core Readings

Cooper, P., & Dancyger, K., 2004,(Third Edition) Writing The Short Film. UK: Focal Press.
Vogler, C., 2007, (Third Edition) The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structures for Storytellers and Screenwriters, USA: Michael Wiese.
Goldman, W., 1996, Adventures in the Screen Trade, UK: Abacus.

Web Sources

Internet Movie Script Database
BBC Script Archive
The Daily Script

Class Handouts

Class handouts will be provided.

If you feel you have specific requirements to enable you to study with us, please contact our Student Support Team by email StudentSupport.COL@ed.ac.uk or by phone 0131 650 4400 to arrange a confidential discussion. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010.