Screen Skills Ireland

#Training: The First Draft and Beyond writing course with Screen Skills Ireland

Tutors: Rachel O’Flanagan, Mary Kate O’Flanagan
Part 1: Tuesday, 18th – Friday, 21st June
Part 2: 12 weeks of writing time with guidance from tutors
Part 3: Thursday, 12th and Friday, 13th September
Venue: Dublin TBC
Cost: €350

Course Profile

This intensive, project-based, development programme is aimed at screenwriters and creative teams behind first and second-time Feature Films. Participants should have a strong film project ready to progress from outline to first draft, or from first to revised draft. Eight projects will be chosen to participate. In the first week there will be lectures on the craft of screenwriting and each project will be workshopped. Between June and September participants will have individual input and guidance as they rewrite. Finally the groups will come together again for two days in September for more intensive input.

The tutors’ approach is to help writers to find the best realised versions of their stories, while also disseminating a shared approach to writing for the screen. They are especially interested in an audience-centred approach to the story. Particular attention is given to creating a deeper understanding of how plot works on screen, and how it relates to character. They will interrogate the key ingredient of dramatic tension – how to create it, how to sustain it, and how to use sequences to focus narrative.

The programme consists of three parts, at the end of which each writer/team should have a cohesive first or second draft, or a strong outline and the first twenty five pages. Please note that the approach is collaborative and writers will be asked to share pages and read each other’s work. Confidentiality and mutual respect is required. This training is an investment in the participants. Only those who are committed to completing the work required should apply.

Part One – Workshop (4 days):

This focuses on the Sequence Approach as a tool to mapping out story and character and includes:

  • Daily Film Analysis – showing how the theory works in practice
  • Writing the Opening Sequence
  • Character And Plot – clarifying the essence of your character
  • Initial Workshops of Works-In-Progress in groups of four projects.

Part Two – Guided Rewrite Meetings (12 weeks):

  • Writers will develop their projects further with regular input from their assigned tutor. There will be four meetings for each project. Writers will be paired and asked to read and respond to each other’s work as part of their training. Participant Script Editors are also asked to attend these meetings.

Part Three – Final Workshop (2 days):

  • Crafting The Scene – tools for writing and rewriting key moments. This will concentrate on the finer work of rewriting scenes once the story structure is sound.
  • A further workshop session will be devoted to each project, with all participants partaking in the sessions, as guided by the tutors.

Participant Profile

Eight projects will be selected in total. Writers should have already completed a feature film script, a short film, novel or stage play. Participants can apply as individual writers, or as a team – Writer, Producer and Director or Development Executive. We would especially encourage teams to apply. There are also a small number of places on the course for script editors. Applicant script editors may be freelance, attached to production companies, or script readers who wish to upskill – but must have relevant industry experience and be seeking to broaden that experience. Participants must be able to attend all of the dates of the programme schedule.

Screen Skills Ireland will offer additional support to two writers / teams from minority/disadvantaged backgrounds by waiving their participation fees and preserving two places for their attendance. This support is intended to encourage greater diversity of creative writing voices and they will be reserved specifically for participants who would otherwise not be able to take part.

If you are a writer from a minority group or have been educationally disadvantaged and are interested in participating in this course, please contact Grainne Bennett directly at

All Screen Skills Ireland programmes and places are open to everyone regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

Application Procedure

Please apply online at with your current CV. Please also email your outline (no longer that 10 pages, in PDF or Word format) to screenwriting

Only project applications with an outline attached can be considered. Script editors should also apply through the website with a CV.

The Deadline for applications is 10:00 am on Thursday, the 16th of May.