Screen Canberra, UC plot innovative course directing writers from page to screen | Riotact

Screen Canberra, UC plot innovative course directing writers from page to screen | Riotact
Fleur Ferris sits in a film studio amid TV screens, boom mic and lighting.

Best-selling and award-winning novelist, Fleur Ferris is part of the new Graduate Certificate for potential screenwriters. Photo: Supplied.

Published writers in the Canberra region with their sights set on the big screen no longer have to travel out of the Territory to hone their skills.

Thanks to Screen Canberra, they can apply for a place in the Writing Dramatic Screen Plays unit, part of the University of Canberra’s (UC) Graduate Certificate in Screen Development.

The course is designed for writers who believe their work can make it on to the big screen so are keen to learn and master the art of screenwriting.

Places in the course are sponsored so successful applicants can learn the process of transforming a novel or story into a screenplay.

It’s already proven a winner for Fleur Ferris, a best-selling and award-winning novelist who enrolled in the course to expand her skills. As a direct result, she now has offers of options on two of her manuscripts and is in talks with producers.

“I hoped to gain knowledge and skills that would help me write saleable material and to gain ongoing employment in the screen industry,” she said. “The assessments are practical and prepare you for employment in the industry.

“The more you put in, the more you get out of it.”

She said part of her assessment was to pitch her work to “real-world” producers.

“We prepared pitch material and screenplays for this assessment and then we received feedback from these industry professionals about our work and pitching. I edited my work accordingly and then used the same material at Screen Canberra’s PitchFest, where I pitched to producers from Australia, the UK and USA.

“Out of this came great opportunities for future collaboration, offers of option on two of my manuscripts and ongoing conversations with producers.”

Chief executive officer at Screen Canberra, Holly Trueman, said her organisation was thrilled to offer the sponsorship to Canberra writers.

“This initiative not only supports our local talent but will also bring fresh and diverse narratives to our screen industry,” she said.

“Participants will receive guidance from some of the industry’s most seasoned screenwriters and professionals, learning what makes a story resonate on screen and transforming their narrative into a screenplay.”

She said the program was not just about learning. It was also about “connecting” with participants to establish valuable contacts in the film industry, people who could help boost careers.

To be eligible, you must be a published author, have a book you want adapted for the screen, live in the Canberra region, have a Bachelor Degree in a field approved by the UC and can commit to the six-month online course starting 29 July, 2024.

Applications close Friday 14 July 2024. Interested candidates are invited to apply online.