The Write Drama course for playwrights
Examine the raw material of drama, the art of the drama, what it takes to be a dramatist in South Africa, and how to get your plays on to the stage and festival circuit.
Module 1: Who are you as a writer?
Introduction to course and completing a questionnaire that will give an overview of who you are as a writer, what you want to achieve as a playwright, and your writing (current and future projects).
Module 2: Writing for Theatre
Storytelling is a prolific art form that rivals all other activities such as work, play and exercise during the hours we are awake. You will tell and take in stories as much as you sleep, and even when you are dreaming.As a playwright you are a storyteller who happens to write for a live medium. Theatre is a visual medium that dramatises a basic story line. It deals in images, characters and action. Playwriting done well is an art, but it always begins as a craft.
Module 3: The Writing Process versus making live theatre
The text or script is the starting point of the theatrical performance. The script, scenario, or plan is what the director uses as a blue print to build a production from. The process is the coordination of the creative efforts usually headed up in theatre by the director. It is the pure process by which the playwright’s work is brought to realization by the director, actors, designers, technicians, dancers, musicians, and any other collaborators that come together on the script, scenario, or plan. This is the works in progress stage.
Module 4: Aristotle’s Six Elements of Drama
Most successful playwrights follow the theories of playwriting and drama that were established over two thousand years ago by a man named Aristotle. In his works the Poetics Aristotle outlined the six elements of drama in his critical analysis of the classical Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex written by the Greek playwright, Sophocles, in the fifth century B.C. The six elements as they are outlined involve: Thought, Theme, Ideas; Action or Plot; Characters; Language; Music; and Spectacle.
Module 5: Knowing what to write
Art is choice. Choice making is at the heart of all creative expressions. There are several building blocks that will make a solid idea. Develop your premise and concept.What is your story about? You have to have a clear understanding of what story it is you are trying to tell. What are you trying to say by writing your story? Understanding theme. Knowing who you are writing for. Explore genre and genre conventions.
Module 6: Researching your idea
Too many writers start writing and working on a play with only a vague, half-baked idea in their heads. Feed your talent. Talent must be stimulated by facts and ideas. If you haven’t lived an idea, should you write it? YES. Do research. Gather your material any way you can. The hardest part of writing is knowing what to write. Many writers approach their screenplays without enough preparation; they are so anxious to begin writing the text that they don’t take the time to explore and develop the relationships between the action and the characters.
Module 7: Who to write about
All memorable and successful drama have one thing in common. Not genre. Not budgets. Not even a good story. They all have memorable characters that have become part of our culture. Character is the essential foundation of the screenplay. It is the heart, soul and nervous system of your story. Before you put a word to paper, you must know character. Your aim is to create characters an audience wants to spend time with. Your aim is to create heroes, villains and every complicated variation of human nature in between. Identify and define the primary characters in your play.
Module 8: Bring your characters to life
In order to fully understand WHO you are writing about, and making the most of the character in your story, it is important to ensure that you REALLY KNOW WHO YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT. Most writers make the mistake of thinking they know their characters, but when it comes to the reading of script, their characters are lifeless, soulless, and does not have any depth. In order for the writer to create 3-dimensional characters audiences (and the writer) can fall in love with, despise and hate, envy and admire, there are elements that define who the people in your story are, what their function in the story is, and what makes them unique
Module 9: Visual Dynamics of Character
If you are writing for stage you have to make use of visual dynamics to bring your characters to life. This will allow you to show the audience what the character is thinking, or add to the complex nature of the character. If you are writing for the visual medium you have to make use of visual dynamics to bring your characters to life. This will allow you to show the audience what the character is thinking, or add to the complex nature of the character.
Module 10: The Art of Plotting the Action
Structure is the spine you hang your story on. When you sit down and write a play, you must approach your story as a whole. A story is composed in parts – characters, plot, action, dialogue, scenes, sequences, incidents, events – and you as a writer, must fashion these PARTS into a WHOLE, a definite shape and form, complete with beginning, middle and end.
Module 11: Format and 6 Steps of Writing a First Draft
The first draft of your play is not a play. You will probably write anything from 4 – 12 drafts and, once you submit your spec draft (draft X) to a theatre, it becomes a first draft. If you shortcut the process it’s a surrogate treatment.
Module 12: The first 10 pages
At the end of the course you will write the first 10 pages, and then work individually with trainer Dercksen on on-on-one sessions to develop and complete a draft that will be evaluated by The Write Agency, and then forwarded to potential producers locally and internationally.
How does the course work?
- Once we receive your registration form and deposit details you are ready to take a step in the write direction. You will have the choice of commencing at your own pace or work according to set deadlines.
- There are 12 modules (with sub-sections) in each course.
- Each module 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 trainer has read through your task and there are no questions pertaining to the specific unit, you commence to the next module.