Intro to Screenwriting

Sydney - Aug 13 2016

AFTRS Sydney
Aug 13 2016 - Aug 14 2016
Attendance Pattern
Two days, Sat & Sun, 9am to 5pm
Jonathan Ogilvie
Course fee
$325 / $290

Brisbane - Sep 17 2016

The Edge, State Library of Queensland
Sep 17 2016 - Sep 18 2016
Attendance Pattern
Two days, Sat & Sun, 9am to 5pm
Jonathan Ogilvie
Course fee
$325 / $290

Ready to get serious about writing that screenplay?  Get all the tools you need in this two day course!

Led by award winning writer/director Jonathan Ogilvie (The Tender Hook), you’ll be given hands-on methods for building the foundations of Character, Story and Structure used by professional screenwriters, illustrated with key moments from a wide range of films, from Black Swan to Raging Bull, from Bicycle Thieves to Breaking Bad, from Charlie Chaplin to Christopher Nolan.

You’ll also have the opportunity to get feedback on your movie ideas and on a scene of your choice.




  • SESSION 1: It all begins with a story
  • What is a story and why do we tell them?  Why are movie stories special? The difference between Story and Plot
  • SESSION 2: How movies handle story
  • The three main approaches to Screenplay Structure:  Three Act Structure, Sequence Structure & The Hero’s Journey: the pros, the cons and the crossovers


  • SESSION 3: How to make your story work
  • What’s my Concept?  What’s my Premise?  What’s the difference?
  • The one question you want your audience to ask, when you want them to ask it and why it matters
  • Conflict, where to find it, how to build it and why your story means nothing without it
  • SESSION 4: Breaking your story idea down
  • The six key beats in any story. What are they, and how do I know if I’m using them to maximum effect?
  • A Beginning, Middle and End…but not necessarily in that order.
  • Five approaches to alternative structures, and how to use them without sinking your story
  • Logline, Story Synopsis and Plot Synopsis - a chance to share your stories

Day 2 - SUNDAY


  • SESSION 5: Character is Story is Theme
  • Why all great stories begin and end with great characters… and how you can build them
  • Understanding and harnessing Formative Experience, Incompleteness, Motivating Desire, External Want, Internal Need, Masks, Acting Out & Character Arcs
  • SESSION 6: Scene Structure
  • 8 key questions that will make every scene better
  • Subtext: What is it and how can you create it? 
  • Exposition: How can you deliver crucial story information without boring your audience?
  • Emotion: What is the audience feeling?  What is the character feeling?  What’s the connection? 
  • Visuals: How to craft lean, vivid and dynamic descriptions


  • SESSION 7: Collaborative scene writing exercise
  • SESSION 8: How do I get there from here? 
  • Building your Story from first inspiration to first draft
  • How to use Beat Sheets, Outlines and Treatments
  • Finding your groove - where when and how YOU write
  • Calling for backup - Screenwriting books, software, consultants and other resources
  • Q&A
  • Share your scenes


Student feedback:

‘This has been the best educational experience I have ever attended. I will be rebooking for two to three other courses…’

‘The tutor was an absolute delight of a over these past 2 days! I found him to be very informative with what seems to be plenty of experience under his belt. I started the course unsure of what I would think about my screenwriting abilities and definitely feel confident that I can go forth and make my mark on the screenwriting world! I am also seriously considering the screenwriting graduate diploma.’

‘I found the tutor's experience and knowledge was really beneficial. Coming from having no experience I feel confident to finally get started. I came from Adelaide just to do this course and you made it 100% worthwhile. Thank you.’

‘Brilliantly run course which gave me many additional writing tools to draw on.’

‘A fantastic experience. I’ll be back!’


About the Tutor: Jonathan Ogilvie

A graduate of AFTRS, Jonathan has made numerous shorts films that have screened at major film festivals and have sold internationally. Despondent Divorcee and This Film Is A Dog were both selected for Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. This Film Is A Dog also won Tropfest.

In 2007 he made Emulsion, a low budget black and white Super 8 feature. Emulsion screened at the Brisbane International Film Festival, Cinema des Antipodes in Cannes and Ozflix in Toronto. He wrote and directed The Tender Hook (starring Hugo Weaving, Rose Byrne, Matt Le Nevez and Pia Miranda) which was released in 2008 by Icon Film and was nominated for five AFI awards and a AWGIE award for best feature screenplay. It was released in North America as The Boxer And The Bombshell (in France it was titled, The Sweet Taste Of Blood.)

Jonathan has several feature films in development. These include the WW2 NZ/AUS co-production, In The Name of War (producers Trevor Haysom and Greg Duffy), currently at financing stage and Lone Wolf, an innovative adaptation of Joseph ConradThe Secret Agent. From 2009- 2014 Jonathan was a Directing Lecturer at AFTRS. He is currently completing a PhD at Macquarie University.

Have any questions? Please get in touch: or 1300 065 281


***DISCLAIMER*** AFTRS reserves the right to cancel any course for any reason at any time. In the event of a course being cancelled a full refund of course fees will be provided. If a participant wishes to withdraw from a course, they may do so up to 15 days before the course commences and get a full refund. Cancellations 14 days or less before course commencement will incur a fee. For more information on AFTRS Open's policies, including refund policies, please see our policies page​