Dialogue Writing with Stephen Cleary


This workshop ran in April 2016. To be notified when we next run it click here.


“Stephen is one of the world’s leading development consultants. He is a master of the screen storytelling arts and has a deep understanding of the alchemy that makes a story leap off the page, as well as a highly sought-after developer with an innate ability to help writers to create their best work.”

Open Channel is pleased to be hosting Stephen Cleary’s internationally renowned Dialogue Writing workshop for the first time in Australia.

Dialogue is a script’s shop window; it’s what people – producers, actors, financiers, distributors, and the public – look through in order to see the story beyond. Great dialogue won’t ensure your project gets up, but weak dialogue ensures it won’t, because it never gets beyond a first read.

Writing great dialogue is a skill, but if the underlying fabric of your scenes isn’t working, you can’t just write great dialogue over the top of it. Dialogue is where a scene flowers, but those flowers have roots than go right down into the story. So writing great dialogue takes you back through your story as a vital part of the story development process.

This two-day workshop guides you through the world of dialogue, exploring how speech patterns, rhythm, musicality, vocabulary and syntax all define character, and show how subtext and status underpin all conversations, and how a writer can use this to create unique dialogue voice.

The workshop is presented by Stephen Cleary, full of examples from film and television and will require you to write brief dialogue scenes yourself, three or four times each day.

The content of the workshop is new and original, based on work Stephen has been doing for the past two years.


The workshop is for individuals involved in the writing and development of drama for the screen: features, documentary features, TV drama both series and one-offs and online.

This workshop is not suitable for people approaching screenwriting for the first time. It is designed for people with a degree of experience and who are prepared to discuss their projects in a collaborative workshop environment.

Participants will need to be willing to discuss their project within the class.


Click here to download a pdf course outline of the two-day workshop.

Stephen Cleary also offers an independent one-on-one script consultancy service on a fee-for-service basis. More information about this service will be made available during the workshop.


Click here to express your interest in this course.

3710162_300x300TUTOR – STEPHEN CLEARY

Stephen Cleary works internationally as key consultant on features and television, including with the very successful SAFC FilmLab program. Stephen has worked as a producer and director of music films and documentaries, specialising in jazz and R&B. As well as working in development as a consultant and trainer for over the last 15 years, Stephen has produced two mid-range features and executive produced over 60 short films. More than 80 features that Stephen has developed have gone into production, at all budget levels, in more than a dozen different countries and a variety of languages. Stephen also lectures regularly for the Victorian College of the Arts.

Stephen is story consultant on the BBC TV series Hinterland, now going into its third series. He developed 52 Tuesdays, The Infinite Man, Inner Demon, Touch, My Mistress, The Death and Life of Otto Bloom which is about to go into production, story consultant on Graceful Girls which recently won best documentary at MIFF, on Bad Girls, currently shooting in WA, on the Swedish film Nordic Light to be directed by Dolph Lungren, on the BBC Film’s Wrong Planet, on the Piki Films (NZ) Achtung Bro. Stephen was a consultant on documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? currently airing on Netflix and was author of Nina Simone’s autobiography (as ghost writer).

Website: http://www.stephenclearyfilm.com

Stephen Cleary on IMDB



Daniel Schultheis
t. 03 8327 2009
e. training@openchannel.org.au