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Short Film Screenwriting Intensive

AFTRS-Australian Film Television and Radio School

About the Course

Write a completed short film script in five days, while learning the fundamentals of screenwriting.


Students will learn from writer/director Jonathan Ogilvie (The Tender Hook) -- a Tropfest winner and twice nominated for the Palme D'or - Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival.

Jonathan and inspiring guest speakers will guide your stories from initial idea through treatment and draft stage, to a finished, polished script ready to be pitched on the final day (don't be nervous -- we'll show you how).

Story structure, theme, character, roadblocks, arcs, tension, conflict and resolution will be explored as they are used in filmmaking through fast paced lectures and workshops.

With five days and a maximum of eight page scripts, students will have to get clever!


You will need to do some writing in the evenings during the 5 days of this course. Before the course, Jonathan Ogilvie would like students to have watched both 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) and Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016) before the first day of the course.


"The course succinctly communicated the basics of screenwriting and provided me with a sound foundation of screenwriting"

"A thoughtfully constructed course with brilliant, knowledgeable tutors…I learned a lot"

"Excellent, stimulating, informative, wide-reaching, extremely helpful tutors"

‘I really appreciated Jonathan’s communication. He explained what he meant and showed us examples. I found this effective.’

‘This course was thoroughly engaging. Jonathan was very knowledgeable and a great teacher. I also appreciated his interest in the student’s individual ideas. I learnt so much and the pitch wasn’t that bad.’

“I adored this course, it gave me the fundamentals of both long and short screenwriting in a manner that was engaging and informative.”


A graduate of AFTRS, Jonathan has 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 NZ/AUS co-production, In The Name of War (producers Trevor Haysom and Greg Duffy), 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. He is currently completing a PhD at Macquarie University.


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