Certificate Programme in Screenwriting for Web & TV Series | (6 months)

Course Specifications:

Duration: 6 Months.
Eligibility: Graduate, in any stream.
Awarded by: Whistling Woods International.
Entrance Process: Assignment & Interview.
Course Commences: July 2020.

Course Overview and Structure:
The Certificate Course in Writing for Television and Web Fiction is structured to create professional writers for the TV and Web industry. It is a 24 week or 6-month course. The course is divided into two terms of 10 weeks each, along with a 2 week-long break between terms. A week for this course will be a 5-day work week and each day will have 2-hour or 3-hour sessions. Some days might be 8-hour sessions. The week will be divided into 2-3 days of lectures and concept training and two days of writing under supervision/assistance. This course will also include basic foundation training on all aspects of Television medium. Students will be exposed to camera, editing, direction and sound in the first week of Term One.

Course Objectives:
The course will be writing-intensive, with constant instruction and mentorship from leading TV/Web screenwriters. Students will come away not only with the knowledge of episodic writing, but also with two full ‘bibles’ for one TV program and One Web show, in different genres, ready to be pitched to broadcasters. After completion of this course, participants will:

1. Be well trained in the fundamentals of TV writing, which will put them on par with working professionals in the TV/Web industry.
2. Have a professional approach while dealing with producers’ directors and broadcasters.
3. Have been exposed to different streams of thoughts in TV/Web writing which will help them come up with out of the box ideas and stories.
4. Be capable of taking someone else’s (Producer/ director/ broadcaster/Web Platform) idea and developing it into a full-fledged script.

Course Features and Highlights:

Guest Faculty and Masterclasses: Renowned TV & Web Writers come regularly during the term and conduct master classes with the students during the two terms. In this one-day session the writers share their writing practise, their inspirations, their writing technique and show examples from their shows and explain principles to the students. Students also get a master class/lecture from educator Scriptwriter Anjum Rajabali on, ‘Mythology & Psychology’ & ‘Mahabharata’. This will take place either in Term One or Two depending on the schedule of the visiting faculty. There will also be a one-day in-depth session on the importance of ‘The Navarasa’ in Indian dramaturgy.

Mentoring: Students will be divided into groups of 3-4 and each group will receive mentoring from an Industry professional/faculty. The mentoring will be on a one on one basis.

Assignments: During the two terms students will choose a TV/Web show of their choice and have a screening in class. Screenings dates are tentatively scheduled for every Friday of the week. Post the screening the student will explain why he/she chose the show keeping in mind character, plot and structure. This is a student initiative where the teacher/mentor is an observer. In this exercise over the period of 22 weeks all students will showcase one show of their choice and have discussion on the same. Ideally half the number of students will screen their shows in Term One and the remaining students will screen their shows in Term Two. Apart from this, the faculty themselves will screen a TV/Web show once a week and it will be critically analysed in class. In the second term students will be divided into groups of 3-4 and they will be asked to read/discuss a play of their choice to/with the class. The students will select a play from amongst suggested plays from the works of Badal Sircar, Mohan Rakesh, Harishankar Parsai, Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard, Moliere etc.

Readings and References: Students will read ‘The Art of Dramatic Writing’ By Lajos Egri and make a presentation on their understanding of the book. They will also be given a two-day lecture on Robert Mckee’s seminal book, ‘Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting’ Apart from this, students will read ‘The Mahabharata’ by Kamala Subramanium and will have a class discussion on the characters, story arc, plot and sub plots of the myth in Term II.

Course Content and Syllabus:

TERM 1:

The first week of the course will be dedicated to Orientation in which students will be exposed to direction, cinematography, sound & editing. The first term will have the students being exposed to all the basics tools of writing for TV. They will also be exposed in these twenty weeks to all the genres of TV writing. Soap Operas, Thrillers, Comedies, Sitcom’s, Supernatural/Paranormal series and writing for the web. The first term will have the students writing a 13-part 1-hour series on Human Relationship Drama. The students at the end of the first term ideally should have a Bible ready. This Bible includes, A Concept Note, Character Sketches, Broad Story, Episodic Story of 4 episodes, Screenplay of First Episode, And the Pilot episode which would be a shooting script with dialogues. At the end of the first term students would be evaluated on their performance with regards to the Bible they have created and also at the one on one mentoring sessions and participation in class discussions.

Module 1 (4 weeks) Ideation/Creation of a Concept: What is a good idea? How does one come up with an idea? Students are made to go through various Exercises and field trips to understand how an idea is created and developed. Concept/story idea: What makes a good concept/idea for television? What are the elements necessary for an idea/concept to become a winning story? What is a concept/idea? How is it different from a full-fledged story? High- end concepts. Examples of recent television successes of good concepts/ideas. Concept to story (The process): How is a concept/idea developed into a full-fledged story? What elements are required in creating a good story? Define story in two lines. Create characters for your story; create obstacles, dramatic points in the story. The plot: – Its importance, twists in plots. Examples of plots twists from current and old successful soaps. Television stories end? If they do then how to end a story? Different kinds of story: The daily soap story, the series story, the comedy, the thriller story, Tv miniseries stories and stories for TV films. How are they different? Story Elements – Characters: How to create interesting characters? What makes characters tick? Different kinds of characters, the protagonist, hero/heroine, the antagonist, subsidiary characters, relief characters. Character stories/biographies, Polarisation of characters in a story, changing equation among characters.

Module 2 (5 weeks) Teleplay – Elements of Teleplay: How to weave story into an interesting teleplay? What is teleplay? How is it different from story? What elements constitute interesting teleplay? Examples of recent episodes from hit serials. Examining the reason for their success. What is a sub plot? How is it important to the story and teleplay? How to weave subplots into main story and teleplay. Graphing of story for Teleplay: Creation of milestones/Plot points in the story. Running parallel tracks of subplots along with main story. Interweaving of subplots with milestones of main story and plot points. Difference in Teleplay of various kinds of stories: How to write teleplay for comedy, daily soap, weekly soap, miniseries, one hour episode, Tv film. Teleplay of an Episode: What constitutes episodic teleplay? Creating of parallel tracks and its importance in weaving teleplay of episodes. Cliff-hanger end/The hook: How to create cliff hanger ends to episodes? Its importance. The importance of Scene: What is a scene? How to create scenes for teleplay? Breaking of individual tracks into scenes. How do scenes lead to story forward? The opening scene, the end scene, the filler scene. The Dana dalna scene. Its importance. The recurring theme scene, its importance. Character exposition scene. What is character exposition? Its importance! Plot exposition scene, its importance. Examples of all the above concepts.

Module 3 (1 week) Dialogue: What is dialogue? Importance of dialogues. What elements constitute good dialogue? Dialogues in character exposition. Dialogues for different genres like comedy, soap, thriller and Tv film.

TERM 2:

Module 1 (3 Weeks): The first week will be dedicated to Workshops on Genre specific writing with workshops on Comedy, Thriller/Mystery, Mythology & Web Series. A Simulated Writers Room Workshop will follow this for two weeks. In this workshop Students will be divided into four Writer’s room and will be taken through the ropes of working in a Writer’s Room. Simultaneously all students will be working on a concept for a Web Series. At the end of the Workshop the Teaching Staff will choose the best four concepts amongst students’ submissions for the Writer’s Room. The four students whose concepts have got chosen will be the head writers and the rest of the class will be divided into the four groups to form the four Writer’s room.

Module 2 (7 Weeks): Students will work in the writer’s room and come out with a Bible at the end of the 24th Week. This Web series bible will have a two-page concept note, a detailed 5-6 page story document, one episodic story which each student of the writer’s room will write and one teleplay with dialogue which each student will write as part of the writer’s room. Each submission will have two drafts and each draft will have a mentor giving the group and individual students feedback.

Course Fee:

Total Fee: Rs. 200,000 + G.S.T.
Fee Payment Plan: Acceptance Fee (payable on Admission): Rs. 100,000 + 18,000 (G.S.T.) = Rs. 118,000.
1st Installment (payable on Registration Day): Rs. 75,000 + 13,500 (G.S.T.) = Rs. 88,500.
2nd Installment (payable after 11 weeks): Rs. 25,000 + 4,500 (G.S.T.) = Rs. 29,500.