Scene Writing with David Rapsey


Level: Advanced
Course code
Date/s & times:
half day introduction 20 June, plus 10 sessions Fridays 930am-430pm, 27 June – 12 September, 2014
Contact hours: 63 hours group study
Places: 4 short course places available alongside full time scriptshop students
Fee: $1,040 (full fee) $950 (members) – fee excludes one on one mentoring component or accredited project assessment
Prerequisites: Must be or join as a current Open Channel member to apply, and have a screen project in development.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 9.36.41 AM“Write in a white heat. Let no one tell you there are rules that have to be followed. But then, revise in a cool and level headed mood. In rewriting there are rules which help you engage your audience in the story you want to tell. The most important rule is: Make your characters take risks that the audience can hardly imagine. Risks in love, in war, in peace, in drunkenness and chastity. Tell your story over and over again. If your listeners lose concentration, go back to the drawing board until every moment of your telling has them on the edge of their seat. Camera moves, sound effects, lighting and music can enhance the storytelling, but they count for nothing if you audience isn’t riveted by your tale of lust, revenge, confusion, panic or horror. Primary coloured emotions. Life lived in a dangerous lane; but remember there is nothing more dangerous than intimacy. If you can write a cinema sequence so that it surprises, delights, engages an audience, you will eventually manage to write the script. Screenwriting, in this sense, is rarely taught in film schools. Learning what McKee or Vogler or even Aristotle said about dramatic structure is not the same thing as writing at the sequence level. But that is how the audience experiences a film. What the audience experiences must be the screenwriter’s first priority.”

This module introduces students to the micro level of story flow.  Participants will learn to create and control the drama of various types of sequences and scenes. The Module focuses on the structure and rhetoric of a sequence or group of related scenes within a screenplay for a feature film or TV drama.

Participants are introduced to the concepts of framing the dramatic question for a sequence, charting the reversals and will explore a range of storytelling techniques which allow the writer to engage the audience and manage the progress of the drama in the most effective and exciting way possible. The dynamics of opening sequences, nadir sequences, expositional scenes, climaxes and endings are explored. Sessions will consist of a combination of presentation of relevant concepts and exercises in utilising these concepts in the participant’s own scripts.  The outcome will be a high level of skill in writing a sequence or group of scenes. This is an intensely collaborative workshop where you will receive constructive criticism from the facilitator, and from your classmates.Successful completion of the course can provide credit toward our full development-focused qualification program if you are interested in taking your studies further.


David Rapsey (Producer of Feature Films Lake Mungo, Blackfellas; Creator/Writer/Producer TV Series Ship to Shore; Story creator team, Lead Writer TV mini series Driven Wild; Story Producer/writer- Miniseries Driven Crazy, Clowning Around I and II ; Story Producer, TV series RAW FM; Writer, Editor TV miniseries Mercury ; Series Director Kicking Around, Falcon Island ; Writer TV Series Pirate Islands ; Writer-Feature Documentary River of Giants, Distant Lens; Adjunct Professor, Creative Media, RMIT; Head of Development and Production, Barron Entertainment; Lecturer, Medieval Literature, UWA; Writer- various radio plays and documentaries, CBC FM Radio Drama Channel

Who should do this course? 
Any Writer, Producer or Director wishing to develop and understanding of the creative side of film and TV.

Important: You should either have a script or be working on a script to apply for this course.

Where can I go after this course?
Graduates leave with the skills and knowledge required to develop a longform project for the screen as part of the creative team, or working as an independent script reader or script editor.

Are you interested in being Accredited for this course?
This course can be completed as part of our full program, SCRIPTSHOP: Advanced Diploma of Screen & Media (Features and TV Series Development Program)

How do I Enrol?
Please apply by making an expression of interest using our Eventbrite portal below and we will be in touch with further details. Your application is non-binding and not confirmed until payment has been made.