Writing Drama (Online)

Overview

Drama is a hugely popular art form. This creative and critical course will help students to turn their passion for drama, whether stage, radio, television, or film, into the craft of dramatic writing, and to understand and appreciate the work of established dramatists.

Listen to Nicholas McInerny talking about the course:

People love drama. Theatre attendance exceeds that of football matches every week, and television audiences are still counted in their millions. Radio's popularity is increasing, and Cinema receipts rose to a record level last year. At the heart of all this drama is the script - the focus of our course. The approach of this course is both creative and critical. After a methodological introduction, students will learn the key elements of successful dramatic writing: structure; characterisation; dialogue; and be shown how to employ these in their own work. They will also acquire greater understanding of the four main media: stage; radio; television; and film; as well as insights into genre and adaptation. This course is for anyone who wants to write drama, or to learn more about how drama is written, in an environment that is supportive and inspirational.

For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

1. In The Beginning

  • All for one, one for all
  • Online resources
  • The Writer’s journal
  • Don’t get it right, get it written
  • Audiences

2. Where do Stories come from?

  • Nothing new under the sun
  • What works best?
  • Building a world
  • The iceberg principle
  • Giving the audience what they want but not in the way they expect it
  • Working through the complexity to the simplicity beyond

3. Structure 1: Building Blocks

  • The rules
  • Changing the rules
  • Rules within rules
  • The 3 R’s
  • Story v plot v narrative
  • Exposition

4. Structure 2: Focus

  • Who is Hamlet?
  • Dialectics
  • Axis and currency
  • Author, author!
  • Moral centre

5. Structure 3: Variations on a Theme

  • Genre
  • Working with genre
  • Genre in television and film
  • Anti-genre and high concept
  • Cops ‘n docs
  • Adaptation
  • Adaptation – Different takes

6. Characterisation

  • Character – A short history
  • Character – Base camp
  • Character – Inner v outer
  • Character = action
  • Conflict and jeopardy
  • Sympathy v empathy

7.  Dialogue

  • Function
  • Status
  • Sub-text and metaphor
  • Soliloquy
  • Theatre, radio, television or film?
  • Finding a voice
  • Show, don’t tell

8. Making a Scene

  • Scenes – Programme
  • Scenes – Context
  • Scene – Action
  • Scene – Situations
  • The obligatory scene

9. Difference and Similarity

  • Writing for the theatre
  • Writing for the radio
  • Writing for television
  • Writing for film
  • Format

10. From Page to Stage

  • Collaboration
  • Rewriting and editing
  • Script editing
  • Opportunities
  • Expectations

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.

Certification

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

See more information on CATS point

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting the final course assignment. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.

Fees

Description Costs
EU Fee £420.00
Non-EU Fee £495.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00

Tutor

Dr Louis Greenberg

Louis Greenberg is a writer and fiction editor with a doctorate in modern English literature. Under his own name and co-writing as S.L. Grey, he has published eight novels including The MallThe Apartment and Green Valley. Louis has studied scriptwriting, theatre set design and film finance; he has written a novel about immersive theatre and two of his books are in film development. An Advanced Professional member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, Louis has edited fiction for several major publishers.

Course aims

This course will enable students to:

  • Develop a series of key technical skills that are intrinsic to all dramatic writing.
  • Develop further understanding of both the similarities and differences between Stage, Radio, TV and Film.
  • Practise individually and collectively exercises designed to improve their skills as dramatists.
  • Gain a greater understanding of the collaborative nature of dramatic writing within the context of evaluating both their own and other's work.
  • Build a writerly practice around the 'Portfolio' model.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will understand:

  • Key elements of successful dramatic writing.
  • The practical application of those elements in their own work.
  • The collaborative process involved in seeing a project though from initial idea to completion of first draft.


By the end of this course students will have gained the following skills:

  • Enhanced ability to employ a number of techniques in their writing.
  • An increased confidence in the use of those techniques, and their application.
  • An awareness that they are writing out of their 'influences' and into their own 'voice'.

Assessment methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 1,500 words due at the end of the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link: https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/english-language-requirements

Application

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.