Screenwriting workshop

From .

  • June 21, 2012 18:30–19:30

Cinecam, the Student Film-making Society is proud to present its first SCREENWRITING WORKSHOP, to be run by Clare Foster on Thursday 21 June, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Judith Wilson Studio (English Faculty). The event is FREE, but is first come first served, so to guarantee a place drop Emilie a line ( and indicate any past experience as critics, writers, artists or performers: Clare is keen to empower those who already have artistic skills in other areas, and are curious about film. (If you have film experience tell us that too.)


  1. The Context

An overview of the film business from the point of view of a would-be idea, treatment, screenplay, screenwriter, or filmmaker entering the marketplace in Britain or the US. This part of the workshop is aimed at speeding up your understanding of the industry's confusing interplay of fictions and truths. Clare will explain how initial access is less important than developing relationships over time which are grounded in a continuously evolving portfolio of properties (scripts, shorts, plays, TV) or experience, and good current knowledge about who has been, and is, making what (festivals, Q & As, trades etc). By the end you will understand why a great feature script will not do you any good if it doesn't reach the right circuits at the right time, via the right set of relationships and the signals they send.

  1. The Text

A nuts and bolts crash course in how to think about screenwriting as an art, and about the individual writer's process (how to get it out of you - technical strategies). Clare will talk about the many ways of thinking about and creating 'film', and within that, the constants which endure: audience, end, timing, image. The experience of 'reading' should recreate - and not disturb - the experience of watching, in terms of both pace and voice. Clare will cover 'what is a film idea?', pitch versus treatment - and the importance of knowing which one to choose; workshopping ('devising') with cameras; and the key role of exhibition contexts. Clare will share an 8-step first draft programme she has taught in LA for many years, which guarantees a) you'll have a script at the end of it and b) if you don't like it, you will know why, and will have learned something valuable. After this first draft experience, she will describe the next steps (2nd, 3rd and 4th drafts) which are in some ways the hardest - certainly, they require a completely different set of writing skills.

Biography: After an undergraduate degree in Classics Clare taught Greek literature as a Knox fellow at Harvard before going to UCLA film school (1989-93), where her short films and feature scripts launched a career as a screenwriter. She specialized in adapting literary material for the prestige/art house divisions of the major studios, working with eg Mike Newell, Kristin Scott-Thomas, and Geena Davis on material by eg Sebastian Faulkes, John Updike and Flora Fraser, for companies like Fox Searchlight, Film Four, New Line and Sony Pictures Classics. This creative practice informs a current interest in theorizing about adaptation and performance, especially of canonical or ‘classic’ texts. In the new digital era she would like to see the practice of screenwriting and filmmaking become a regular part of Cambridge University life.