Screen Adaptation Seminar

Dates & TimesSaturday and Sunday, 17th - 18th September 2016 (10:00am - 5:00pm)
Contact Hours12
Fee$415 Open Channel Members / $495 Non-Members (inc GST)
Not a member? Sign up here
LocationOpen Channel, 476 Docklands Drive, Docklands VIC 3008
How to apply?Applications for this workshop close 5pm, Thursday 15th September 2016 (unless sold out prior)
Click here to apply.


Script expert Michael Brindley’s two-day Screen Adaptation Seminar prepares practicing screenwriters to successfully adapt source material for the small or big screen.

“Adaptations come in all shapes and sizes from films based on books and plays to sequels and remakes. They are often referred to as crude imitations and occasionally cited as enlightened reinventions. Whether they are praised or criticised, the act of creating a second version of an original thing brings with it many artistic challenges and economic rewards.” – Matthew Hancock, The Case for More Adaptations in the Australian film industry, AFTRS Occasional Paper

Accomplished Screenwriter, Development Consultant and Film Theorist MICHAEL BRINDLEY is teaching an intensive two-day seminar designed to lay a strong theoretical and practical foundation for Screenwriters on the art and craft of adapting material (novels, short stories, stage plays, historical/factual material and even other cinematic works) for the screen as narrative drama.

As the ostensible ‘story content’ already exists, the emphasis here is on the employment of screenwriting  craft in translating from one medium, usually print, to cinematic form.

A second emphasis is on criteria  for the choice of source material  for adaptation to screen narrative drama – i.e. on the suitability, amenability and quality of the source material for adaptation. This involves, first, a thorough knowledge and understanding of the proposed source material on its own terms.

The seminar also seeks to provide students with an understanding of the rationales  of adaptation (as opposed to the creation of ‘original’ work): artistic, cultural and commercial.


The seminar is for practicing screenwriters engaged in or about to embark on an adaptation project. Participants will ideally  have written  work published or produced, but primarily will possess a genuine interest in taking  their writing into a new form. It is also of interest to prose fiction writers, playwrights and journalists contemplating a move into screenwriting, or Producers or Directors looking to gain a deeper understanding of the art and craft of adaptation.


Participants will learn about:

  • kinds of adaptation
  • differences between screen and print narratives
  • restrictions, limitations and demands of adaptation
  • issues in translating underlying source material into a dramatic screen story
  • principles of screenwriting craft applied to screenplay adaptation

Participants will gain an appreciation of the craft of adaptation, and will examine, comprehend and analyse:

  • a range of models (precedents) to study the theory in a real context
  • select opportunities to explore fellow participants’  questions about their own projects

At the end of the seminar, you will have the developed practical tools and skills to:

  • select appropriate source material for adaptation
  • apply screenwriting principles to your own work
  • present a screen story adaptation as a ‘pitch ‘ and short documents
  • understand some of the legal issues involved

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


Applications Close: 5pm, Thursday 15th September 2016 (unless sold out prior)

Click here to apply.

View our terms and conditions.

Interstate course applicants: Please await course confirmation prior to booking flights and accommodation.

 TUTOR – Michael Brindley

Screen Adaptation SeminarMichael has worked extensively as a Script Consultant and reader for all Australian government film funding bodies and for the New Zealand Film Commission. When he ran the Australian Film Commission Script Office in 1987-8, he was responsible for the entire script development budget.

A Screenwriter since 1978, when he graduated from the AFTRS, his credits include Prisoner, Punishment, Taurus Rising, Bellamy, Blue Heelers and Police Rescue. He was a staff Script Editor on the top-rating A Country Practice and went on to become Story Producer on this show.

Michael co-wrote the award-winning feature film, Shame. It went on to worldwide theatrical distribution and was remade as a telemovie for US Lifetime cable. He wrote the ABC mini-series Half A World Away and, with Karin Altmann, the top-rating telemovie One Way Ticket.

On the AFI award-winning Series I & II of Geoffrey Atherden’s Grass Roots Michael was a Writer and the series Script and Story Editor. He was the ABC Network Executive supervising MDA-Medical Defence Australia Series I & II, which won three AFI awards, including Best Television Drama.

Michael has lectured at RMIT University (where he was a founding teacher in the Advanced Diploma In Professional Screenwriting), La Trobe University, VCA and AFTRS. He devised and taught courses in Adaptation, Script Analysis and Feature Film Writing.

In 1996 Michael received the AWG Hector Crawford Award for Script Editing.


“When The Movie Network asked for the 12-Book YA blockbuster Conspiracy 365 be adapted for The Family Channel I was so lucky Michael Brindley agreed to take on this massive challenge.  His experience, knowledge and craft skills inspire all who work with him.”
– Linda Klejus, Producer, Conspiracy 365

“Working on the development of my next feature film, the screenwriter has bought the heart to the story and Michael Brindley the craft.  Working together they are bringing this story ever closer to production and I am grateful for Michael’s wise input.”
– Jannine Barnes, Producer, Downriver

Read more endorsements about Michael on the scriptWorks website.


Daniel Schultheis
t. 03 8327 2009