S&Co Workshops and Retreats
MAKE YOUR WORK BETTER WHILE HAVING FUN!
THE S&CO SIX STEPS COURSE
A brand new course for writers whose new script might otherwise remain forever in their head!
NEXT ONLINE COURSE, JANUARY TO MAY 2024
Once a month, evening sessions from 7-9pm GMT on Sundays
Total price for five 2-hour Zoom sessions and reading materials: £99
Our six-month 'S&CO SCRIPTWRITING TOOLKIT' course (2023's is currently underway) is great for writers who want to learn technique as they write a play, pilot or feature script.
But not everyone wants tuition. For many, the real gold is receiving support and constructive notes from other writers, as well as the all-important deadlines we set.
They make you accountable, and galvanise you into action, scene by scene!
We racked our brains to work out a way to offer structure and camaraderie at an affordable price, and have come up with a brand new programme called S&CO SIX STEPS. These take you from starting block in January, to finish line in April, for just £99 all in!
For experienced screenwriters or playwrights with one or more full-length scipts under their belt, the next course will start in early January 2024 (your new year’s resolution, right?) and runs until May 2024.
The SIX STEPS programme is perfect if you’d like to exchange verbal and written notes – and receive support – from 3-5 other writers. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, because exposure to other people’s work will educate and inspire, as well as entertain.
WHAT YOU GET
We won’t teach you (though individual consultations are available), but will:
- administrate and curate
- set up, host and introduce Zoom meetings
- send you S&Co readers’ templates to inform your notes
- check all writers fulfil their monthly commitments to their group
- facilitate a midway change of groups to get fresh eyes on your work
- send you relevant bonus information and useful links each month
- cast professional S&Co Actors to perform a short scene from selected scripts in the last session (nothing beats seeing your work come off the page)!
Plus, of course, there's the joy of a completed first draft at the end!
Before you start, we’ll ask for a short script sample (5-10 pages) to assess your level, so we can place you in the best group. We’ll also want to know what you intend to write (medium, genre and length).
Each month, there will be manageable deadlines to meet. A few days before every session, you'll send your work to other people in your group to read and prepare notes, while you'll read theirs and make notes for them. So you must factor in time to read and make notes on scripts submitted by your group of around four writers. You're likely to form a cohesive bond.
2023 DATES (2024's will be posted after the current course ends)
STEP 1 – WEDNESDAY 4 JANUARY I’ll connect you with other writers in your group by email, so you’ll have a few days to send each other a provisional scene plan, logline, beat sheet and/or outline before the first session. Homework: You'll need to make notes on the work you receive, to discuss at the first meeting on 8 January.
STEP 2 – SUNDAY 8 JANUARY Introduction by Zanna, meet all other writers online, then go to small-group breakout rooms to discuss each other’s ideas and how they – or the beats – could be improved. Homework: Adjust your script’s structure if necessary. Write approximately 25% of your script and send the draft to your group by Tuesday 7 February. Make notes on scripts you receive, to be discussed in the Sunday session, then emailed.
STEP 3 – SUNDAY 12 FEBRUARY Whole-group discussion, then into your breakout groups to discuss each fledgling script. What you like, what works, what's unclear or illogical. Homework: Write the next 25% and send the draft to your group by Tuesday 7 March. Make notes on scripts you receive, to be discussed in the Sunday session, then emailed.
STEP 4 – SUNDAY 12 MARCH Whole-group discussion, then move into breakout groups to discuss each half-finished play or screenplay. The next day, S&Co will give you details of new groups, so you all get fresh eyes on your work. Homework: Aim to get 75% of your script written, and send the draft to your NEW group by Tuesday 11 April. Make notes on scripts you receive, to be discussed in the Sunday session, then emailed. Are there plot holes, are characters believable?
STEP 5 – SUNDAY 16 APRIL Whole-group discussion, then move into breakout groups with your NEW group to discuss each play or screenplay. Homework: Write the final act of your script and send the complete draft to your group by Tuesday 9 May. Write notes on scripts you receive, to be discussed in the Sunday session (time allowing), then emailed.
STEP 6 – SUNDAY 14 MAY Whole-group discussion, then we will see short scenes from selected scripts performed on Zoom by our professional S&Co Actors, then discussed by them and all writers. This is always fun, and revealing, and there may also be limited time for final breakout room chats. If not, you'll send written notes the following day (and we will happily facilitate a further Zoom session on request).
Is this course what you want or need? Or a present (hint, hint!) someone could buy you? The first step is the easiest, so take it NOW and sign up below!
THE LEGENDARY S&CO 'SCRIPTWRITING TOOLKIT' COURSE
Write a Full-length Play or Screenplay in Six Months
BOOK BELOW FOR THE NEXT ONLINE COURSE, SEPTEMBER 2023 - FEBRUARY 2024
Afternoon sessions from 3pm-6pm (UK-time) on Sundays - dates tbc.
Total price for six 3-hour Zoom sessions, course notes, recordings and reading materials: £260
It's like a Scriptwriting MA for playwrights and screenwriters... but at a fraction of the cost!
'I needed to find a writers group to help me with motivation, so this was one of the reasons I joined the course. However, I have also really benefited from the tutorials. I did a playwriting MA back in 2005/06 and have either forgotten a lot or the course wasn't up to much, as I have learnt a huge amount in these sessions! I am very happy with my group and they have provided me with excellent feedback. Joining the course is the best decision I've made this year.' J. Howard, Playwright.
'This course allowed me to find a community of writers who support me, push me, and encourage me as I write and re-write and re-write. It allowed me to see that writing is a collaborative process... You don't need to just sit alone at your desk (pulling your hair out)!' Jennifer Fernandez, Scriptwriter.
'I learned a lot, met some great fellow writers, had my imagination stretched by reading their scripts (many in genres I’ve never read before), had a really good time and reached Fade Out on my own a couple of weeks early! I just wish there was a “Return of the Toolkit” follow up. If there was, I’d book a place quicker than a lawyer grabbing his fee.' Andrew Campbell, Screenwriter.'
'Best investment I have made in my craft.' Joan Bigwood, Playwright.
'Zanna Cardash and Alex Hollister's tutelage is knowledgeable, inspiring, supportive and very important to me, always constructive and kind. The two go up and beyond to help us writers grow. I am very thankful, also for the wonderful funny, witty, educative, supportive, likeable and knowledgeable group they matched me to. I am truly very sad that the six months are over.' Anna Brehm, Screenwriter.
'Toolkit is 6 months of brilliant company and uplifting learning. I feel like my skill has shot up many levels and have gained some invaluable connections. We had an absolute blast, and came away not just far better at our craft but with actual shiny scripts of different lengths ready to enter here and send out there!' Tony Ali, Screenwriter.
Ready to write your first - or next - pilot or a feature? Or an audio play, or a full-length theatrical piece? Perhaps you'd like to enter competitions like our Scriptwriters & Co International Festival, but don't feel ready to submit. Maybe you need a spec script to send to potential agents or producers.
It's tough without support, but save yourself the price of a Master's degree course. Whether you're an experienced scriptwriter or penning your first piece, our taught, tutor-led Scriptwriting Toolkit course is for you. We'll help you to write an entire script from scratch for just £260 - that's little more than £40 per session.
Each monthly event will start with tuition and a whole-group discussion. S&Co leaders Zanna Cardash and Alex Hollister will ensure you learn craft - and develop a professional toolkit of skills - as your play or screenplay takes shape. No matter if it's only in your head or you've already started writing. We'll guide you to make it the best it can be, via a mixture of tutorials and group workshops. There are 18 hours of tutoring/workshops, plus homework. And after each session, we'll send you a link to the recording, as well as course notes and lots of extra links/information to help you improve your work and knowledge of the industry. And at our final meeting, selected students (as voted for by their group members) will get to see their scripts performed online by professional S&Co Actors.
PLEASE NOTE: We reserve the right to make tweaks to improve the published programme or tutorials in response to feedback from our students.
You can't drop in and out. It's a six-month course, paid in full on booking, at the end of which (subject to your commitment and attendance) you should have written a complete piece. You're also likely to have formed a cohesive bond with your group's other members, which means you can continue to support one another, long after the course is finished. If you'd like to pre-register with no obligation, and receive a notification when enrolment starts, please email us.
We'll ask you to submit a sample scene in early September, before we start, but it's not competitive. This simply helps us to assess your current skills and place people in the best possible groups. Additionally, we'll want to know which type of script you'll write: stage/audio play or feature/pilot screenplay. These are:
- Feature-length screenplay (60-110 pages)
- Pilot, TV or shorter film script (30-60 pages)
- Full-length stage play (60-110 pages)
- One-act audio or shorter stage play (30-60 pages)
Each month, there will be manageable deadlines to meet. Shortly before each session, you'll send your work to other people in your group to read and prepare notes, while you'll read theirs and make notes for them. This means that, in the week before each session, you must factor in time to read and make notes on scripts submitted by your group of 3-6 writers.
For the benefit of all 'Scriptwriting Toolkit' students, we will not accept (and will refund) any writers whose sample scripts show they're not yet ready to do the course. We also reserve the right to remove any student who fails to attend monthly workshops on more than two occasions, or to provide notes for others in their group in a timely fashion, and without a suitable explanation, with no refund offered.
Trouble-shooter one-to-ones! At any stage, students can request a private Zoom tutorial with Zanna or Alex (£30 per 30 minutes) to discuss your script.
All sessions on the 2022 course, dates below, are from 7pm-10pm GMT on Wednesdays. The schedule allows students to finish and polish in time to submit in good time for our final festival entry date of 2 April 2023 (with a festival discount code, to boot!):
MONTH ONE – WEDNESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2022: PLANNING: BEAT SHEETS, OUTLINES, BIBLES, LOGLINES
TUTORIAL: First, we'll all introduce ourselves and students will say what they intend to write. Then we'll discuss the best way to plan storylines and characters via beat sheets, outlines and bibles, and how (and when) to create strong loglines. WORKSHOP: You'll meet the people in your small group, with whom you'll initially share your work. Come equipped with your idea, ready to discuss the basic premise and characters. HOMEWORK: Write a provisional logline and beat sheet/scene plan for your script and send it to your group by 10pm on Friday 21 October. Read and make notes on loglines/beat sheets/scene plans submitted by fellow group members, to be discussed in the next session, then emailed the day after.
MONTH TWO – WEDNESDAY 26 OCTOBER 2022: STRUCTURE, SEQUENCING, STORY
TUTORIAL: Did Aristotle get it right? One act, three acts or five? Creating the perfect plot and story arc for your genre. Is your idea more suited to a linear or non-linear format? Creating an effective narrative structure for audio, stage or screen. Is it really wrong to use flashbacks? Is conflict essential? The hero's journey: constructing a script with great turning points. After tuition you'll return to your group. WORKSHOP: Each group member gives notes on other students' beat sheets or scene plans. What you like, what works, and what's unclear or illogical. HOMEWORK: Write 30% of your script and send the draft to your group by 10pm on Friday 18 November. Read and make notes on scripts sent to you by fellow group members, to be discussed in November's session, then emailed the day after.
MONTH THREE – WEDNESDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2022: CHARACTER, DIALOGUE AND VOICE
TUTORIAL: How to build three-dimensional characters. The critical differences between writing dialogue for screen, stage and audio. Creating emotional depth, so characters inspire empathy, ensuring the audience longs for your protagonist to succeed against all odds, or for their nemesis to be vanquished - often despite deep or unlikeable character flaws. The importance of backstories. Why characters should have external and internal wants and needs. Writing realistic dialogue that drives the story. Showing your 'voice'. At the end of the session we'll move everyone to new, smaller groups. Writing notes on fewer scripts means you can give each one more attention, and provide (and look forward to receiving) the best possible notes. A new group also exposes you to different styles of writing, and assures fresh eyes on your own work. WORKSHOP: Work through notes with your ORIGINAL group. What's good, what needs more thought. HOMEWORK: Write the second 30% of your script. Send the entire new draft to your NEW group by 10pm on Friday 23 December. Read and make notes on scripts sent to you by other new group members, to be discussed in December's session, and emailed.
MONTH FOUR – WEDNESDAY 28 DECEMBER 2022: FORMATTING, PROOFREADING AND REVISIONS
TUTORIAL: Basic intro to formatting your screenplay or play. Vomit drafts - yes or no? Dealing with writers' block. The importance of proofreading before sending out your script. How to incorporate revisions effectively. How to edit, tweak, rewrite or replace a poor scene from scratch. Thinking in words or images. WORKSHOP: Each group goes through notes on other people's scripts. What's better, what still needs more thought. Are there plot holes or characters that need to be refined? HOMEWORK: Write more of the first draft of your script - around 80% is expected, but finish it if you can! - and send it to your group by 10pm on Friday 20 January 2023. Read and make notes on co-students' work, to be discussed in January's session, then emailed .
MONTH FIVE – WEDNESDAY 25 JANUARY 2023: SCRIPT ANALYSIS
We'll start with the TUTORIAL: Zanna (stage) and Alex (screen) will each take a scene (or scenes) from a well-known script and deep-dive into what works (or doesn't) to help you recognise good techniques and avoid pitfalls. This will encompass everything we've covered to date: plot, structure, characters, dialogue and format. WORKSHOP: Your scripts should now be in far better shape. Each group explains their notes on other people's work, now focusing on character notes and finer details, including scenes that may need to be cut or even deleted. Additionally, each group designates a writer to have a short excerpt from their script read aloud in next month's session. HOMEWORK: The chosen writer from each group should send us, asap, a polished 3-page scene to be table-read by professional S&Co Actors. You will all submit a complete first draft of your script to your group by 17 February 2023, and exchange notes no later than the day after Toolkit 6 . Note: These will not be discussed at the final session, but will be invaluable when you polish your scripts, ready for sending to comps or producers.
MONTH SIX – WEDNESDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2023: NEXT STEPS: CONTESTS, PITCHES, PRODUCERS/AGENTS
Again, we'll kick off with the WORKSHOP: Nominated writers will have their scene read aloud and discussed by tutors and other students. Note: You will not exchange verbal notes this month. TUTORIAL: Next steps in the business, including whether to enter comps, pitch docs, and how to pitch live and approach an agent or producer, followed by an open forum session led by students' questions. HOMEWORK: The final countdown and test! In the next weeks you'll each swap finished drafts with a writer who's never seen your script before. They'll prepare notes for you and you'll reciprocate. Since the course will now be over, you can discuss and agree the deadline for note-giving between you. After that, you're all encouraged to keep in touch!
THAT'S IT! Your Toolkit course and script are ready to polish until they shine, and (we hope) find their way in the industry!
ENROL HERE FOR SEPTEMBER 2023!
S&CO ONLINE WORKSHOP: CREATING CREDIBLE CHARACTERS
Just £35 for a 3-hour session - SORRY, OCTOBER SESSION POSTPONED DUE TO COVID
Make your characters fly off the page!
This online workshop, which will help you build three-dimensional characters that are credible - and watchable. It's not just a matter of convincing dialogue. You also need to build empathy, so the audience longs for your protagonist to succeed against all odds, or for his or her nemesis to be vanquished - even if they may have deep and unlikeable character flaws!
Additionally, you have to consider characters' external and internal wants and needs (yes, they're different!). And if all that's not enough, you have to ensure these people are not just convincing, but engaging enough to hold an audience's attention. This means your dialogue must be realistic, with a different voice for each person, and defined backstories that the viewer might never see, but which inform their decisions and actions.
S&Co's Artistic director Zanna Cardash will show you simple techniques that will ensure you know your characters so well that you can predict exactly how they'll respond to any situation that's thrown at them by others - and you! You'll also learn how to give them emotional depth, so they can develop and change during their journey.
You won't just learn the essentials that will make your characters fly off the page, but will enjoy carefully designed writing exercises that will help you develop your scriptwriting skills. This workshop will also cover the essential differences between writing for stage or screen.
S&CO ZOOM PERFORMANCES
This is an incredible experience for any writer, and the best way to find out exactly what works and - more importantly - what doesn't.
Subject to cast availabilty (we have the powerto cast almost every role that's thrown at us), we can organise a Zoom performance of your script by S&Co Actors. We have around 30 company memmbers plus the contacts to source more if necessary, and can record your performance and send it to you to forward to whoever you like. You don't even have to attend (though most writers do)!
Prices start at £150 for up to ten pages (assuming up to three professional actors); £200 for scripts of 11-30 pages (up to five actors); £300 for a pilot or shorter play of up to 69 pages (up to to four actors) and £400 for a full-length feature or stage play of 70-120 pages (up to six actors).
Please email to discuss your needs, since prices always depend on the number of actors and pages, and don't forget that actors can often double, playing more than one character each.
Combine this with Script Consultancy and you'll be on your way to a far better script - guaranteed!
S&CO WRITING RETREATS
Next date to be announced when it feels safe!
Our Writing Retreats aren't just for playwrights and screenwriters. All writers - novelists, poets, you name it - are welcome to book, because the day isn't about 'learning'. It's a chance for you to get your head down and... well, write.
Put to one side that your kitchen's a health hazard, there's a Netflix series you need to binge-watch, the kids are fighting again or you really need to repoint the brickwork before creating the next scene, chapter or verse. This is a chance to get your head down without distractions. The biggest domestic dilemma you'll face: which pastry to choose on arrival.
There's no formal tuition, though writer and copy editor Zanna Cardash will be on hand to read and comment on scenes or passages, assist with blockers and offer advice. All you need to bring is your notepad and pen or a laptop - and some great ideas. We provide: desk space at a large table - oven-baked breakfast pastries - unlimited tea and coffee - a scrummy platter lunch - a beautiful and conducive environment - and, not least, the chance to form supportive friendships with other writers. Oh, and a few little treats might be thrown in during the inevitable afternoon lull. (Nobody said chocolate, obviously.)
Imagine a day's productive work in the luxury of the splendid, historic Elder Rooms in Bath, and the company of like-minded writers. Bliss!
Please sign up for our newsletter to be first to find out when new dates are announced. Questions? Special dietary requirements? Advice on where to stay? No problem. Just email.
Writing Retreat: £50.00 to include a breakfast pastry, unlimited hot drinks, a shared 'sandwiches and chips' lunch - and oodles of creative camaraderie!