The Write Journey: 12 Steps To Writing The Perfect Screenplay

Take Ownership of your Story

Following in the tradition of 19 years of extensive workshops throughout South Africa, and courses internationally, The Write Journey is an interactive course for writers who would like to write a screenplay for feature film or television.

The Write Journey 1

The Write Journey Course is presented by Daniel Dercksen, the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio, has been a published film and theatre journalist for 30 years and has been teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa the past 19 years.

The Write Journey is a journey into the world of story, empowering you to take ownership of the creative journey, and creative expression.

Screenwriting is a highly disciplined form of storytelling, one that comes closer to poetry writing than to many forms of prose. Screenwriting is, in fact, probably the best discipline to teach the rules and structure of storytelling and is thus invaluable to any writer. Richard Krevolin: How To Adapt Anything Into A Screenplay

The Write Journey not only offers a journey into the world of story, but also an introspective exploration into what it takes to be a screenwriter, writing for film or television.

It’s how you live your life that matters, and in the living of your life it’s how you approach your work and your place as an observer of the world around you, and the responsibilities of that,  that will determine your level of happiness and fulfillment – and that all has to come before professional results.

The course deals with how to write your story, but there’s also how to be the person doing the writing.

When you start writing a new story it is so easy to be overwhelmed by the intricate detail of what happens in the story – the parts that make up the story – that you forget about the whole story.

Take a look at the success stories of writers and filmmakers who have taken The Write Journey

  • Once we receive your registration form and deposit details you are ready to take the journey. You will have the choice of commencing at your own pace or work according to set deadlines.
  • The course is done online, via email, offering a one-on-one interaction between yourself and your coach.
  • There are 12 units (with sub-sections); each section consists of user-friendly and comprehensive notes that includes self-tasks (which you complete at your own time), and a task
  • You will read through the notes which include self-activities (for you to complete in your own space and at your own pace) and tasks (for you to complete and forward via email).
  • Once your coach has read through your task and there are no questions pertaining to the specific unit, you commence to the next step.

Contact us for more information and to register

The Write Journey is an interactive, intimate and introspective 12-Step journey into story and writing the perfect screenplay

Journey into who you are as a storyteller and storymaker

Let’s take a closer look at who you are as a writer and what you are writing, or want to write. If you want to write a screenplay, there are some fundamentals you have to know from the outset, before start thinking about writing your masterwork, and explore your strengths and weaknesses as a writer

Journey into what it takes to be a screenwriter and how to read a film

As a screenwriter you have to know the medium you are writing for, understand the differences between the writing process and the film process, know how to read and evaluate a film, and what it takes to be a screenwriter in South Africa.

Journey into what type of story you are writing and who you are writing for

You have to know what type of story you want to write, and understand the conventions imposed by genre; know who you are writing for and how position your audience, and be clear about what it is you want to say by writing your story and have a clear thematic purpose. You will explore your theme, which opens up your story’s inner value system so that you can make a conscious connection with what the story really wants to communicate to your reader or audience.

Journey into developing the premise and concept of your idea

Let’s take a closer look at what you want to write about. The Write Journey begins with that perpetual question: What is it you want to write? What is this idea that you want to develop into a story?  You will deconstruct your idea, define your premise and concept and map your journey from premise to final draft.

Journey into defining and developing your characters

Let’s take a closer look at the people who live in your story. You will define your characters, look at how to bring your characters to life, how to use visual dynamics to reveal character, write a character’s biography, and how to write dialogue.

Journey into structuring your story

Let’s take a closer look at structure.  At this stage there will be a traffic jam exploding in your head with all the overload of information you have to now organise into cohesive logic. This is where you use structure to make sense of your story, and create story logic.

Journey into plotting your story

Let’s take a closer look at plotting your story, using the ideal plot that you will set in motion to keep people involved in your story from start to finish, explore 14 structural points to ground your story, and develop substantial subplots.

Journey into outlining your story

Let’s take a closer look at your story outline. You will explore the events that happen in your story from start to finish and define the story events (the parts) that will make up your story.

Journey into crafting your story

Let’s take a closer look at crafting your story. You will use a card outline to turn your story events into traditional scenes and sequence that are functional and amplifies your theme.

Journey into writing your first draft

You will look at the process of writing and re-writing your first draft.

Journey into formatting your story

Let’s take a closer look at format.  You will write the first 10 pages of your story that will be evaluated. You will receive feedback and continue to write your first draft.

Journey into copyright and selling your story

Let’s take a closer look at writing a professional Top Sheet with confidence and clarity.  Now that you own your story, you are empowered to work according the specific deadlines. And be able to give producers and publishers a definite date of delivery without any stress.

The Write Journey is not only a course for screenwriters

Although the course is aimed at screenwriters:

  • It is ideal for novelists and playwrights who would like to adapt their stories into a visual medium.
  • It is perfect for first-time writers who would like to define their writing skills, and also recommended for seasoned writers who are trapped in the web of re-writes and unfinished projects, or lost in the maze of the daunting writing process.

The course turns theory into practice and ideas inside out.

It explores the full dramatic or comedic potential of stories and empowers storytellers to write a compelling story that will reflect the uniqueness of their culture, history and experience.

”I’m a writer learning the process of film making and production, with the goal of building an international film production company. I took this course  to better learn the script writing process. At first I was a little hesitant cause in all my prior research, the people who wrote the material came off rather passive aggressive, condescending, and otherwise were discouraging. Daniel’s course is quite encouraging, straightforward, and easy to understand. While it was challenging in certain areas, he encourages his students to ask questions, and think critically and creatively. To anyone who’s looking to better hone their skills in writing, I would recommend his courses.”

Sam Mann ,  Tucson, Arizona

Your Writing Coach

Daniel Dercksen, the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio, has been a published film and theatre journalist for 30 years and has been teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa the past 19 years.

Our proud Graduates

2016 is a great year for proud graduates of The Writing Studio, whose careers were launched by The Write Journey.

Graduates of previous workshops include writer-producer-director Uga Carlisi (Alison,  winning the Best Documentary at the Asia Pacific International Film Festival), producer-director-screenwriter Henk Pretorius (Leading Lady, Bakgat, Fanie Fourie Se Lobola, Modder en Bloed), screenwriter Tertius Kapp (winning SAFTA award for the screenplay of Dis Ek, Anna/ wrote the play Rooigrond), writer-director Anthony Silverston (Khumba, Triggerfish Animation),producer screenwriter and filmmaker Sallas de Jager (Free State, Roepman, Verraaiers, Musiek vir die agtergrond and Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux), writer and director John Barker (Wonderboy for President,, Spud 3: Learning to Fly, Bunny Chow and How To Steal a Million), producer-writer-director Bonginhlanhla Ncube and screenwriter Carl Roddam (Safe Bet), writer-director and producer Jasyn Howes (Lost in Transmission, A, Deadman),  award-winning playwright Neil Coppen (Abnormal Loads, Animal Farm) and Jeremeo Le Cordeur (Pizza’s Here, Risk, and Jerry), novelists Lauren Beukes (Zoo City, The Shining Girls, Zoo City (winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award), Moxyland and Broken Monsters), Gary Hirson (The Magic That is Ours and Calm in Storm) and Consuelo Roland (who received acclaim for her Lady Limbo Novel, and was Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Award and received an Honorary mention for the Olive Schreiner Prize for her novel The Good Cemetery Guide); writer-director and producer Edmund Mhlongo (Founder, Director · KCAP/ Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre ), and Tenda Madima (whose collection of short stories, Ri khou dzedza, won the African Heritage Literature Award in 1997, and A Victim of Circumstances won the South African Translator’s Institute Literary Award in 2000)

Contact us for more information and to register


‘’You are amazing – an independent creative force in a world of one liners – a lonely soul driven by the magic of the word and the honesty of a true intellectual. I salute you for all that you are …and I honour you for all that you are not!” Jans Rautenbach, veteran filmmaker, Katrina, Jannie Totsiens, Die Kandidaat, Abraham

‘’’After The Write Journey I had a much better understanding regarding the basic principles of writing for film.  With a good foundation you give yourself the opportunity to explore any genre.  I’m for that reason extremely grateful for what I learned at your workshop.” Producer, writer and director Sallas de Jager, Free State, Roepman, Verraaiers, Musiek vir die agtergrond and Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux

‘’I started my “formal” training at a short course in writing from The Writing Studio at fifteen. It gave me a better understanding of how visuals are used to tell a story. No one dreamed or thought I am going to be making films .” Writer-director Henk Pretorius, Leading Lady, Bakgat! Bakgat 2, Fanie Fourie’s Labola, Producer of Modder en Bloed  – attended first workshop in 1998 

“For anyone looking to venture in to the arena of script writing, this course is a must. You can learn only so much off the Internet, and while there are great resources available, they are often hard to understand, contain a great deal of reading, and sometimes not be comprehensive enough. The Write Journey is a must for anyone who wishes to seriously consider writing screenplays (and while my intent at the workshop was for films, both feature and short, the principles we were taught certainly translate to stage, television, and even a novel).” Andrew Germishuys, SAMDB (South African Movie Database) 

“I enjoyed ‘The Write Journey’. It enriched my limited knowledge of screenwriting and I’m looking forward to applying the skills/knowledge I picked up with future endeavors. I found the course really insightful, constructive and informative. You equip students with a structure to hang their ideas on and start to build. Your supportive attitude also helps people get their ideas into sharper focus and while there’s a lot to take in, I think people feel much more prepared to tackle projects after completing The Write Journey.” Stephen ‘Spling’ Aspeling, Movie Critic Online… 2Oceansvibe | All4Women | SPL!NG | Techsmart Radio… CapeTalk 567 | Fine Music Radio | Chai FM | Radio 702/ Print… Techsmart Mag | Weekend Post

“Each and every module so far has left me excited and inspired. Working through the material in my own time has given me the opportunity to spend more time exploring/questioning my story.” Catherine Quirk, I.T Business Intelligence Developer (but BMus (Wits) graduate)

Daniel Dercksen’s course offers an insightful and inspiring introduction into the craft and art of storytelling. Great motivation to help one begin that rather daunting and solitary task of transferring ones story from the imagination to the page. Writer/director Neil Coppen, creator of Tin Bucket Drum, Tree Boy, and Abnormal Loads and winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre, 2011, as well as the Naledi Award for Best South African Play (Abnormal Loads), 2013

If I had attended it some five or ten years ago, so many things would have changed in my career, as well as life in general. Elelwani Ramaite-Mafadza, a lecturer at the University of Venda, as well as a researcher in the Indigenous Music and Oral History Project and involved in the CUPP project which is a project involved in rural development

“…everyone has a story. The door that The Writing Studio opened for me was my first introduction to my love and appreciation for film. Today I am a Director and a Scriptwriter. My call to adventure has just begun but in order to know where I’m going, I have never forgotten my roots… I have to say thank you to Daniel Dercksen for introducing me to the world of scriptwriting. For it has opened so many doors for me, my family and friends, since my first writing lesson.” Ross Van Leeve, shortlisted in Kevin Spacey Jameson’s First Short Film Competition.