Intro to Screenwriting

AFTRS-Australian Film Television and Radio School

About the Course

Led by award winning writer/director Jonathan Ogilvie (The Tender Hook), you’ll be given hands-on methods for building the foundations of Character, Story and Structure used by professional screenwriters, illustrated with key moments from a wide range of films, from Black Swan to Raging Bull, from Bicycle Thieves to Breaking Bad, from Charlie Chaplin to Christopher Nolan.

You’ll also have the opportunity to get feedback on your movie ideas and on a scene of your choice.

What you will Learn

This course covers the following, at an introductory level:

  • Story Ideas- mining your own experiences
  • Principles of Screenwriting - Learning the ropes.
  • Conventional Structure- The Restorative 3 Acts.
  • The Hero’s Journey- The path most travelled.A
  • Alternative Structures - Every story has a beginning, middle and end. (But not necessarily in that order.)
  • Developing dimensional characters- Protagonists and Antagonists.
  • Dramatic Premise- The controlling idea of a screenplay.
  • Big Print- Conveying dramatic tone on the page.
  • Dialogue- Text and Subtext.
  • Suspense - How to put an audience on the edge of their seats.
  • Writing the short film - the differences between short and long form drama
  • Suspense - How to put an audience on the edge of their seats.
  • Dramatic Irony and its alternatives - A pinch of Hitchcock.
  • Writing the short film - the differences between short and long form drama.


Student feedback:

‘This has been the best educational experience I have ever attended. I will be rebooking for two to three other courses…’

‘The tutor was an absolute delight of a over these past 2 days! I found him to be very informative with what seems to be plenty of experience under his belt. I started the course unsure of what I would think about my screenwriting abilities and definitely feel confident that I can go forth and make my mark on the screenwriting world! I am also seriously considering the screenwriting graduate diploma.’

‘I found the tutor's experience and knowledge was really beneficial. Coming from having no experience I feel confident to finally get started. I came from Adelaide just to do this course and you made it 100% worthwhile. Thank you.’

‘Brilliantly run course which gave me many additional writing tools to draw on.’

‘A fantastic experience. I’ll be back!’


About the Tutor: Jonathan Ogilvie

?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 Dog were both selected for Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. 
This Film Is A Dog also won Tropfest.

In 2007 he made Emulsion, a low budget black and white Super 8 feature. Emulsion screened 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.

This course is only open to students aged 18 +. If you are under 18, you will not be eligible to attend this course.


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