THE EFFECTIVE SCRIPT/STORY WRITING WORKSHOP
The technical quality of African films is getting better, and increasing attention is being paid to the business of film to produce quality films that will make the industry viable. Nigeria is gradually moving in that direction. And yet while there are obviously discernible strides, African films are largely considered mediocre and are still not garnering the Box Office numbers and festival wins that will make Africa competitive on the global stage.
But it is all about storytelling. Often staring in our faces, but unrecognized is the fact that, first and foremost, the effectiveness of any film depends on the story being told and how effectively the story is told. While Africa has the advantage of unique cultures and stories, however, just having a good and unique story does not make the story effective and attractive. Even if technically well-made and financed, a badly structured and told story will lead to a flop at the Box Office.
A successful film is one that is successful at the Box Office (and to some extent at film festivals) so African scriptwriters and film producers have to learn to move beyond just unique and inspiring stories to creating well-structured and effectively told stories for the cinema.
The Effective Script/Storytelling and Writing Workshop is intended to help film writers/producers to improve their story-writing and storytelling skills to create better-told and well-structured films that will be attractive for cinema enthusiasts. There are stages of storytelling and writing that have to be mastered beyond simply being inspired to tell a story.
Well-structured and effective storytelling is important not only to make our films attract the numbers we need in the Box Offices but also to catch the eyes of financiers as potential investors for African film industries. The technical quality of films and the business of film are important aspects of developing the industry, but without effectively told cinema stories, our films will still be considered mediocre.
IMPORTANCE OF WORKSHOP
Beyond the development of advanced skills for Ugandan filmmakers, the training workshop may be an important first step (as part of other training projects) through which the UCC can identify potentially good film projects and filmmakers to bring to the attention of investors, broadcasters, distributors, sponsors and platforms around the world for potential collaborations, sponsorships, investments, sales and advertising opportunities.
The masterclass offers insights and a holistic understanding of the benefits of the steps of effective storytelling. Participants will achieve the following:
- Master the skills to write inspired stories to improve the effectiveness and success of films;
- Learn the steps for turning inspired stories into effective film stories; and
- Become effective film storytellers and writers, with the skills to write engaging film stories for the Box Office.
- Understanding what a SUCCESSFUL FILM is and its IMPORTANT ELEMENTS;
- Understanding STORYTELLING AND WRITING AS CREATIVITY and what that means for telling effective stories;
- Understanding the important EMPATHETIC COMPONENTS (character, desire, conflicts, danger, emotions, etc) of effective storytelling and how to use them masterfully to affect an audience;
- Consciously mastering the VARIOUS STAGES OF EFFECTIVE STORYTELLING AND WRITING:
- Going through THE INSPIRATIONAL PHASE OF STORYTELLING and learning to go beyond EUREKA to get inspired.
- Mastering the IDEATIONAL PHASE of storytelling and what it entails in creating effective story meanings and messages.
- Mastering the CONVENTIONAL PHASE of storytelling and writing — learning to impose discipline (tried conventions and structures) on inspiring stories to make them effective.
- Learning to deconstruct a film using the components of effective storytelling discussed to identify strengths and weaknesses of a film; and
- Applying the techniques of effective storytelling to inspired story ideas to improve and strengthen the planned film story.
THE VIRTUAL EVENT
Due to the COVID-19 limitations, the Workshop is designed as a virtual/digital workshop using Zoom conferencing and Zoom Webinar sessions. Instead of a more traditional event with a major focus on audience patronage to a particular event space, the Storytelling Workshop will be a digital ZOOM event.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND THE WORKSHOP?
Qualified applicantsshould be writers/producers with substantially developed story ideas that they are about to move into the screenwriting stage or trying to pitch for financing. The projects may include feature films, documentaries or animation. Applicants must ensure that the project is a Ugandan conceived and owned project.
For the Workshop to be effective and impactful, the workshop will be intimate and only serious filmmakers with well-developed story ideas for production will be selected. About 15-20 participants will be selected to participate in the Workshop. The deadline for application submission is on the ……. 2021.
Applicants must submit the following:
- A log-line for their project story
- One paragraph summary of the story
- Two-three page treatment of the story
The Workshop methodology is a combination of lecture presentation, film appreciation, and practical exercise – three (3) critical components in teaching filmmaking.
The Workshop is designed as five (5) events expected to happen on five (5) different days over one week:
- Event 1 (Monday 9 am – 12 pm): A Webinar-facilitator led lecture exploring the processes and dimensions of effective storytelling (led by Professor Abraham)
- Event 2 (Tuesday): Viewing appreciation of two films BELLA (Ugandan) and DREAM CHASER (MTFA-WA Nigerian) – similar in conception and story ideas – using the dimensions of effective storytelling addressed in Event 1 Lecture
- Event 3 (Wednesday 9 am – 11 am): Zoom conference film appreciation and discussion of the two (2) films using the attributes of effective storytelling to access the strengths and weaknesses of the films. What is well done and what could have been done better.
- Event 4 (Friday): Individual project 15-minute pitch presentation by participants and feedback from Workshop facilitator (and possibly a panel of three (3) experts). Each participant will have a total of 30 minutes (presentation and facilitator feedback). Pitch presentation will be based on the dimensions of effective storytelling as discussed in Workshop presentations. (While presentation to all Workshop participants would encourage the sharing of ideas and learning from each other, the proprietary nature of individual projects and concerns about guarding an individual’s intellectual property, unfortunately, discourages that).
Presentation Requirements –The Presentations will be made in PowerPoint that will entail the following:
- Log-line of film;
- One sentence synopsis of the film;
- Two-three page treatment for the story– 3rd person, the present tense portrayal of the story as it will appear on the screen;
- Discussion of Inspiration for the story (sources of story and research done);
- Description of the main characters, conflicts, danger, emotional highlights of film;
- Ideation components – topic, theme, the premise of the story (the message you want to communicate to your audience and how you want to affect them); and
- The five-stage plot structure of the story and their highlights (as they fit into exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement) for the film.
NOTE: Event 4 exercise will be handed out at the beginning of the Workshop and ideas for the presentation will be developed during workshop lecture and film appreciation. The concepts and ideas will be applied to the individual projects and developed on Thursday, for the presentation on Friday. The presentations should be emailed to the facilitator (Thursday evening before the presentation on Friday).