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Dialogue Writing Workshop

AFTRS-Australian Film Television and Radio School

About the Course

The Writing Dialogue Workshop focuses on how to write affecting dialogue while screenwriting for any platform. It is an experiential course that focuses on an essential element of screen craft that is often overlooked in the broader discussion of how to write a screenplay.


Over two days this course will investigate effective and affecting approaches to onscreen speech in the varying modes of voice-over, inner-voice, monologue and dialogue, naturalism and non-naturalism.

The crucial role of subtext in dialogue will be investigated through case studies, individual tasks and group exercises. Students will have the opportunity to workshop dialogue from their own writing and explore improvisation as a process for defining and refining character via the spoken word. 


Students are asked to bring along the following:

1. 1-2 page two-hander dialogue scene written by you. The scene should encompass a tension between two people that escalates to a climax and includes a sense of closure. 
2. A one-sentence synopsis of the scene that sets the Who, Where, What of the drama.
3. Two lines of dialogue between two people, written verbatim, that the student has overheard. 


A graduate of AFTRS, Jonathan made numerous shorts films that have screened at major film festivals and have sold internationally. Despondent Divorcee and This Film Is A Dogwere both selected for Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. This Film Is A Dogalso won Tropfest.

In 2007 he made Emulsion, a low budget black and white Super 8 feature. Emulsionscreened at the Brisbane International Film Festival, Cinema des Antipodes in Cannes and Ozflix in Toronto. He wrote and directed The Tender Hook (starring Hugo Weaving, Rose Byrne, Matt Le Nevez and Pia Miranda) which was released in 2008 by Icon Film and was nominated for five AFI awards and a AWGIE award for best feature screenplay. It was released in North America as The Boxer And The Bombshell (in France it was titled, The Sweet Taste Of Blood.)

Jonathan has several feature films in development. These include the WW2 production, In The Name of War, currently at financing stage and Lone Wolf, an innovative adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent. From 2009- 2014 Jonathan was a Directing Lecturer at AFTRS. In 2017 he completed a PhD at Macquarie University.

Have any questions? Please get in touch: or 1300 065 281


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