Write an Oscar worthy short film (5 days)

language: Arabic

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5 August 2019 - 9 August 2019
Time: 5:00 PM
Duration: 3 hours


Knowledge Tower
Floor 8 - Classroom -02,03


Suitable for 16+ years.

Learn to write a thematically rich and character-driven short film, from concept to final draft, taught by the first and only Oscar nominated Arab writer/director in the short film category. The course will cover developing ideas, and characters that are unique to you and your style, then progressing to writing a professional Hollywood-style screenplay, learning how to pitch it to producers, get it made into a film, and finally how to make a living as a screenwriter.

Day 1 
• The short film landscape in MENA, worldwide, and the Oscars. Basil will share his journey as writer from starting out, learning the craft, making mistakes and to going all the way to the Oscars. (We will watch AVE MARIA [15min] to use for reference throughout the course.) 
• Developing and brainstorming story ideas that are thematically rich and character-driven. (How to write a premise, theme, characters -protagonist/antagonist, synopsis, structure, beat- sheet and outline). 

Day 2 
• Building the story: story acts, character’s journey/arc, intention & obstacles, and setup & payoffs. How to make it unique, exciting and to stick out of the crowd. 
• Writing the first draft: honing the craft, writing habits, techniques, screenwriting software and the standard script format. 

Day 3 
• Writing scenes and dialogue: building the scene list, scene intention, scene objective, verbal agenda/subtext, and writing the actual script. 
• 1-on-1 feedback sessions: on character & synopsis ideas. Bring out elements, characters and setting that are unique to each participant. (15min - 20min each, depending on number) 

Day 4 
• Rewrites: 90% of screenwriting is rewriting and polishing up your script. (how to receive notes, picking the script apart, taking out what doesn’t work, editing dialogue) 
• The Polish: make it presentable, receive feedback from writer groups, trimming the fat, p.o.v of reader, and finally language & spelling. 
• Option 1: 1-on-1 feedback sessions: further feedback for the remaining participants (15min - 20min each) 
• Option 2: Screening short films: discussing the plot, structure, dialogue and identifying what worked and what didn’t work, and why their story mattered. 

Day 5 
• Pitching your film: practical tips on how to win over producers and directors, and what they can do for your film script, the process of filmmaking, protecting your ideas, and the writer’s role in the film world. (This will include a pitching exercise) 
• A career as a screenwriter: marketing yourself, applying for funding, how to conduct yourself, working to deadlines, collaborating, getting work, expectations vs. reality, getting an agent, understanding writing contracts and hitting it big. 

Workshop Prerequisites: White Board or Flipchart, Markers, TV or Projector, Papers or Notebooks and Pens and Pencils 
Trainer Name: Basil Khalil 
Workshop Level: Beginner 

Basil Khalil is an Oscar® and Palme d’Or nominated screenwriter and director of Palestinian- British-Irish heritage with work screened at more than 300 film festivals and winning over 40 awards. Basil’s Oscar nominated short film AVE MARIA was described by the New York Times as; “The Middle Eastern answer to ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’”. It was the first short film to receive a theatrical release in the MENA region, and went on to make over $3 million in US box office. As a member of AMPAS (the Oscars), Basil is part of the committees that nominate short films, animated features, international feature films and student shorts for the Oscars, and also votes for the winning films in all categories. He also works as a programmer and jury member at a number of international film festivals where he watches over 500 short films a year.