Must-have resources, great tips, competitions and more... join our community today!
Sign up

Screenwriting Stage 1

Your writing future, take 1…

We open on a classroom, interior. Inside an expert tutor shows how to create scripts with realistic characters and story arcs. When suddenly… More detail

Upcoming course dates


StartsSaturday 8 and 15 October 2016

Location Melbourne
The Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067

WhenSaturday classes
(two consecutive Saturdays)


Presenter Tim Gooding

Book Now

We run this course in Melbourne every 6 months (or so). Click here to be the first to know about new dates!
Want the online version of this course?Click here to register your interest

Course description

How to turn your idea into a finished screenplay

Everyone has an idea for a film. Some people even get around to writing, or at least starting, a script. Many don’t. Screenwriting Stage 1 is for both these categories.

Whether you’ve had an idea for a blockbuster brewing in your head for ages, or if you’re brand new to the craft, this course will help you get the idea out of your imagination and into an engaging movie script.

The course is delivered by a professional screenwriter, working in both film and television, comedy and drama, for over 30 years.

You’ll learn the fundamental elements of screenwriting

Screenwriting Stage 1 is a practice-based course in the fundamentals of screenwriting, with principal focus on three basics:

  • Character
  • Story
  • Structure

If you’re a complete novice, you’ll be given the means to begin developing a script and the tools to get past the terror of the blank page.

So even if you don’t have a pre-existing idea for a screenplay, that means you’ll be guided in generating an idea for a short film and then develop it into a workable screenplay over the five weeks of the course.

The tools you need to write a movie screenplay

However, if you already have a script, or part of one, Screenwriting Stage 1 will equip you with the tools to analyse what you’ve written and to judge the quality of your screenplay.

  •     What’s working well in your screenplay?
  •     What isn’t working and, more importantly, why?
  •     What must you do to make your screenplay better?

This course delivers practical ways of improving your script.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  •     The ideal way to structure your story.
  •     What you need to include in your plot.
  •     How to write characters people love to watch.
  •     Why pressure is the catalyst of character.
  •     The difference between story and plot.
  •     How to write the most audience-engaging narrative.
  •     Genre, style and theme – and how this applies to your screenplay.
  •     What you must do before you even start writing.
  •     And MUCH more.

By the conclusion of this course, the aim is that you will have completed a first draft screenplay for a short film. You’ll receive professional feedback both during and on completion of the draft script, with a view to proceeding to further drafts.

Once you have completed Screenwriting Stage 1, most students continue with Screenwriting Stage 2. This is important to keep your momentum going and help you create a compelling screenplay.

Imagine: And the winner is …

Whether you want to write a popular Oscar-winning film like The Social Network, an iconic movie like Apocalypse Now or a blockbuster like Skyfall, your journey starts here. OK, you won’t win a Golden Globe next week, but you’ll be taking your first steps in learning the art and craft of screenwriting.

Writing movies is very different to other forms of creative writing. There’s nothing quite like seeing your words eventually come to life on the big (or sometimes small) screen. You’ll learn the skills you need to transfer the movie that’s currently playing in your mind onto paper – so that you have a strong, well-structured script that can end up in production.

Enrol now. Then start drafting your acceptance speech!

Exclusive access to our AWC Graduates’ Club

Want to know where all the cool kids hang out? The Graduates’ Club of course! Now, calm down – there’s no cigars, leather armchairs or loud ticking grandfather clocks here. But it IS exclusive invitation only (on completion of a course) and it’s free!  Meet other writers online and share successes, seek help or just get something off your chest. Many students believe this ‘legacy learning’ is one of the most valuable things about our AWC community, and who are we to argue?

So if you want to receive feedback, support and a heads-up on opportunities … join the Club!

Your presenters

  • Tim Gooding

    Tim Gooding, Melbourne

    Tim Gooding writes for stage, film and television. He is also a musician and songwriter. Tim’s feature film... View Profile

Graduate testimonials

  • "I enjoyed being in such a creative environment. I found that it really assisted in inspiring me to write. Tim has a wonderful enthusiasm for film and writing that I found reinvigorated my writing and also encouraged me to analyse films at a deeper level."

    - Sally Davies

    "Tim is truly enthusiastic about the craft of screenwriting and he instills that in his students. He has been a practitioner for many years and he certainly brought that to bear in class, simplifying and demystifying the whole process. With Tim's help, I finally finished one of the many screenplays sitting in a folder on my laptop gathering dust. Thanks Tim!"

    - Brendan Casey

    "Tim is great. He’s very helpful and obviously knows his stuff, he’s also enthusiastic and inspirational. I've been struggling with some aspects of my writing for years and in this short course Tim has opened a few doors by revealing that rather than a mystery there is a simplicity to the process of writing for the screen. He has inspired me with the confidence to keep plugging away. Already my work has improved and I feel motivated to keep pushing on with my writing."

    - Chris Mitchell

    "Tim knew his stuff, was full of interesting tips and suggestions, and has an obvious passion for story, craft and all things cinematic. I loved Tim's presentations on the nature of screen storytelling – character, plot and structure. Very interesting and educational. The Australian Writers' Centre is the best place to do a writing course."

    - James Boggs

    "I loved Tim’s enthusiasm and extensive industry knowledge and experience. He has a wonderful ability to impart knowledge and was very supportive and gave constructive criticism on our short script projects."

    - Arky Michael