If you have completed the draft of a screenplay, stageplay, or manuscript for a novel, it is vital to find out whether or not your story works. It could mean the end of all your hard work and your career as a writer if you hand poorly written and undeveloped projects over to producers, directors, publishers or potential investors.
If you want your script or manuscript polished professionally, The Writing Studio will turn your copy into exciting and thrilling narrative, into words and images that jump off the page and characters that resonate.
Scripts/ manuscripts can be submitted to be edited by Daniel E. Dercksen, the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio.
The script editor is mainly an emotional archaeologist who will unearth the missing pieces of the puzzle.
The editing process will be a collaborative process between the writer and editor.
As an emotional archaeologist who will unearth the missing pieces of the puzzle, the script editor will focus:
- The thematic purpose of the story
- The characters and dialogue
- The structural flaws in the plotting
- The narrative style
- The tempo, pace and rhythm of the story
As a published film and theatre journalist for 40 years, and teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa the past 20 years, Daniel has now relocated to the heart of the Karoo where he focuses on the development/ editing / and ghost writing of screenplays/ manuscripts.
The Write Journey weekend workshop for writers will be on 28 & 29 October 2023 at the Women’s Library in Cape Town and takes you from inspiration to writing the first pages of your novel, screenplay, or stageplay. Read more
In August 2023 Daniel edited the screenplay The Calling for Mireille Shimba, who will hold a reading of her poignant screenplay in Cape Town (dates/ venue to be confirmed)
“I am thrilled with the excellent work Daniel has done, I am amazed with his professionalism, my screenplay turned from an ordinary screenplay to an extraordinary screenplay.. I started Daniel’s The Write Journey course in 2021, this course has given me me a different perspective and understanding on how to write a compelling story.. I have learned so much ..I feel so equipped and confident now after completing this course. I would recommend this course to everyone, especially first time writers, this course provides the necessary tools to become an excellent writer.”
In 2023 Daniel edited the screenplay Must Fall for Moopi Mothibeli, who is currently in the US negotiating his screenplay.
“Daniel Dercksen’s edit work on the script Must Fall was clean and very professional. My script makes for an easier read because of the layout and polish work you implemented. I am more than happy with the outcome,” says Moopi Mothibeli, who was born in Sebokeng and graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a theatre degree in Drama. He followed this up with a Master of Fine Arts degree from The Ohio State University.
In 2023 Daniel edited director and screenwriter Germain Atabe Ayum’s Silent Tears. His latest film Dark Beauty was selected by Silicon Valley African Film Festival in California, for best feature film in 2022, and nominated by Sotambe International Film Festival for best director in 2022. Atabe Ayum also wrote and directed Mzamo, a 2020 feature film now airing on Mnet – DStv, and received a silver award from International Independent Film Festival, USA, in 2020.
“I enjoyed every moment with Daniel Dercksen in the editing of my Screenplay, Silent Tears. His professional experience, passion, and quest for excellence transformed my story from a simple draft to a fully developed screenplay, ready for production. He also assisted me greatly with my Treatment and Top Sheet.” Writer-director Germain Atabe
In 2022 Daniel was fortunate to team up with Tracy Lee Swinson in editing her remarkable true story Unbreakable.
“A special thank you going out to Daniel of The Writing Studio who assisted me in editing and getting my book Unbreakable ready to submit to the publishers.”
“Today is a momentous occasion I have been signed up by Austin Macauley Publishers of London. Finally my story-Autobiography is going to published! This is a dream come true I am so grateful for all the amazing people in my life that came along on this journey with me.”
In 2021 Daniel was contracted for 8-months by the NFVF (The National Film and Video Foundation) to serve as story editor on the screenplay of Karen Van Schalkwyk’s Ren, which is currently in development.
We developed REN over the period of 2021 and what Daniel Dercksen gave to the process was a complete commitment and unwavering compassion for the story. REN is now at a stage, thanks to Daniel’s theoretical knowledge of the structure and the tools of screenwriting, where it is ready to seek production finance.
They say that a great story editor must have the following traits: excellent language and writing skills, creativity, and imagination to come up with original ideas, motivation, and belief in your work, and good marketing skills. Daniel has all of these. He has worked tirelessly to help other writers and developed his own unique stories throughout the years. His knowledge of the craft extends to music, art, and literature, and he has one of the finest minds when it comes to knowing movies from all ages. He has helped me with his uncompromising technique and his non-judgemental nature.
I could not have asked for a more thorough and professional approach to REN. Daniel gave me notes and also helped structure what needed to be done. We met our deadlines and the work was done, REN is now at a stage where I can confidently say as the writer, that I am happy with the story. It takes a great story editor to get stories where they need to be.” The journey with my screenplay editor, Daniel has been smooth sailing. In fact – it was blissful! His unique editing method – reading the script and reacting to it as if watching the movie, ensures that he: pays close attention to every factual detail and picks up any misconstruction, clarifies all fuzziness in action descriptions so that the visual image stays clear in the reader’s mind, evaluates the narrative on its level of character, story, plot, dialogue and cinematic engagement (instead of forcing the script to fit into a specific genre/structural recipe).
Writer-director Karen Van Schalkwyk (Adventures of Supermama / Ren)
The journey with my screenplay editor, Daniel Dercksen (The Writing Studio) has been smooth sailing. In fact – it was blissful! His unique editing method – reading the script and reacting to it as if watching the movie, ensures that he: pays close attention to every factual detail and picks up any misconstruction, clarifies all fuzziness in action descriptions so that the visual image stays clear in the reader’s mind, evaluates the narrative on its level of character, story, plot, dialogue and cinematic engagement (instead of forcing the script to fit into a specific genre/structural recipe).
The organic and creative nature of the collaborative process was very rewarding and uplifting. I strongly recommend Daniel as editor. He has the rare ability to see into the mind of the artist and from there navigate the writing of the script into a polished, seamless blueprint for an engaging film. Thanks Daniel! You rock! Libé Ferreira – Former Head of Drama department at The National School of the Arts /
Former Writer, Casting Director, Acting Coach at Franz Marx Films (Screenplay: What’s In Your Suitcase, 2020)
Daniel was a most valuable and expert pair of eyes recently when I had to convert a story to a short film script. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to polish a script to be submitted with confidence. Will most certainly turn to him again with future scripts. “Many thanks. You were definitely the right person to consult. Very happy with the final outcome.”
Savyra Meyer-Lippold (Illustrator, animator, copywriter & screenwriter: https://www.savyra.com/ )