Recently I have been exploring possible dramatic content as I develop “Down the Rabbit Hole” into a musical show. I realised that including a script will aid the storytelling and transitions between musical scenes. So, I grabbed my copy of Alice in Wonderland but quickly became puzzled about adapting and distilling this nonsensical yet fantastic story into dialogue and stage directions that a small ensemble could perform.
I started to research playwriting to see if I could find any books on this subject. Whilst I was googling, I came across an online short course hosted by RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) titled “Playwriting for Actors.” The five-day period focused on teaching the participants the basics of writing drama from the perspective of a trained actor because they know what it is like to play good parts and bad. It begs the question: What is the solution to bad roles? Write better ones.
I was able to enrol on this course thanks to the financial support of my DYCP (Develop Your Creative Practise) grant from Arts Council England. And goodness, our teacher, Paul Sirett, did not squander a minute or a dime. Within the five days, I wrote independently and collaboratively scripts for theatre, feature film, radio, a one-person play, a TV Series Bible and a musical. I found it quite remarkable how much we managed to cover in such a short space of time. Paul led intricately planned exercises, which stealthily revealed playwriting techniques and theories as the tasks reached their culmination during our group reflections. This meant that we learnt through application. As a new playwright, I found this teaching method very freeing. It encouraged me not to over-sensor my writing and appreciate the process of writing drafts.
Our teacher Paul Sirett is an award-winning playwright, musician and dramaturg. His plays have been produced in London’s West End and theatres throughout the UK and worldwide. Despite his incredible resume, he was very approachable and was able to adapt his activities to suit our group’s diverse interests and abilities. I appreciated that he created an environment that allowed us to feel confident to share our writing out loud and sometimes sung! As a result, our group of international strangers are hoping to create a writer’s group so that we can continue to meet and share our scripts. This will definitely help me to hold myself accountable for my creative endeavours.
Here are some links to useful resources I discovered during the week:
If you would like to read some professional scripts, you can access TV, Radio and Film scripts (for free) via the BBC’s Writers Room: Script Library – Writersroom (bbc.co.uk). I found this visually very informative, as I could see how the different genres required different formatting and writing styles.
I particularly enjoyed reading the TV Show Bible explanation written by Studiobinder: How to Make a TV Show Bible [Series Bible Examples & PDF] — TV Writing (studiobinder.com). Whilst on this site, I discovered their Scriptwriting blog, where they explore famous movies and share their screenplays with analysis via their YouTube Channel. For example, here is their blog post on “Parasite” Parasite Screenplay PDF Download: Plot, Characters and Ending (studiobinder.com)
I am lucky to know a few writers through my blog and I’d love to hear if you know of any resources or books which I could read to help improve my writing.