Theatre is the oldest form of dramatic storytelling, and many still consider it the most electrifying.
Nothing beats the intensity of actors sharing the same air as the audience. The laughs, gasps and tears happen live and on the spot. But before a great play is performed, a great play has to be written and somebody has to write them. You are here because you want to be counted among those who write and write well.
A play will not soar in performance unless it's great on the page. This Online Course will teach you how to tell a story that is theatrical and produceable from a Christian perspective.
On top of that you will learn about:
·How to write an engaging plot
·How to choose the perfect setting for your play
I will also teach you important lessons about how and where you can market your work. Whether you seek to write skits, one-acts or full-length plays, traditional or experimental, this is where you will learn to do it. I will show you how to write plays that will bless audiences and keep them asking and coming back for more.
With the knowledge you gain from this course you will fully understand the techniques involved in taking a play from merely a concept to a finished draft. Using a balance of lectures and assignments/exercises, this course will give you a firm grounding in all the basics of Christian playwriting. Everything is presented in a clear, straightforward manner.
I'm very excited about this ministry and honored that God has given me the opportunity to play such a great role in the development and advancement of drama in the church. I cherish the opportunity to pass on this trade and these skills to you.
This first video answers the questions, 'Who am I?' 'What do I do?' and 'What can you expect to learn from me?'
I always like to set a foundation before I teach or preach on any topic. This opens our understanding a little bit for what is to follow, and it also helps us to understand the kind of mindset we need in approaching the topic to be discussed.
We need to know the different types of plays that we can write. Though our focus will be on completing or modifying a full length play, understanding the different types will help us apply the necessary knowledge to the kind of plays that we write. For instance, there are some writers who try to get a full length play out of a one act idea.
This is not particularly a difficult question, but one that I think I should briefly address just the same as its a very common question. There are writers who have a hard time coming up with ideas, and there are others who have ideas but don't see themselves as writers. Either way, we need to know some of the sources from which we can come up with ideas.
In this lesson, scenes and acts will be defined. I also want to look at what is known as the three act structure. This is key to story telling and applies to most types of writing, i.e. screenwriting, novel writing, short story, etc. I have read many stories that do not apply this principle, and it only highlights how important it is for us to grasp this unique concept.
Every story begins with a blank page. The process of developing your story is the act of filling out those blank pages. For writers, this is a magical process. We create worlds, characters and ideas that bring freshness and life to just about any topic. We refer to this process as Story Development. At this stage you will need the 60 word synopsis you wrote for the second assignment.
Plots and Subplots is the foundation for every story. As a matter of fact, it could very well be the definition of a story. Let's talk about this for a while and see if you agree.
It would be impossible to tell a story without characters. They are the ones who tell and drive the story, and usually our story will be about the characters and the different situations and circumstances they face. Imagine removing all characters from the Bible. What would be left? That should give you an idea of how important characters are.
Writing compelling dialogue is key to a good script. The importance of learning this art cannot be over-emphasized. it may seem difficult for many, but it can be learnt with practice.
Formatting your play script may vary from publisher to publisher, but there are some similarities that I will teach you in this lesson. Pay keen attention to how you format your play as it could be the deciding factor in accepting or rejecting your finished manuscript.
The Theme of your play is probably the least important of all that we have discussed so far. Truth is, it may not even be necessary to identify the underlying theme of your story, as members of your audience will have different interpretations, and some aspect of your story may be more relevant to one than it is to another. But just so you know, let's talk about theme.
Conflict is easier to create than we think, and it is vital to the overall structure of a play. Without conflict, our story lacks appeal, realism and fun. Conflict entertains, adds suspense, creates mystery and laughter. It is the conflict that fuels the climax and determines the impact the story will have on the audience.
Every story should have a climax and a resolution. The absence of these two can have a devastating impact on your story. Even if your storytelling skills are weak, a very good climax and a satisfying resolution can make up for that. So let's talk about this for a little bit, and hopefully you will gain a better understanding of how they work to make your story an ultimate success.
The thought of rewriting is frightening for most writers...okay, let me speak for myself at this stage. The thought of revisiting a written play and searching for plot holes and inconsistencies...the decision to cut characters, change setting, rework dialogue, enhance scenes, research facts, creating character attributes that distinguishes each character, etc can be a very long, frustrating and heart breaking experience. But it must be done. As a matter of fact, real writing is rewriting so lets talk about this.
I get tons of email with this question, so let me address it here. Apparently there are many who have written plays for their church or a specific group, and have performed this play...but not sure what to so with the script afterwards. Some of these scripts could use a polishing, applying all the principles taught here, but most are really good plays that deserve to be performed over and over again. I hope these simple tips can help.
I went to a seminar once, and an executive from a prominent publishing house was speaking. I didn't know her, but apparently she knew me as she pointed me out as an example for what she was talking about. Many of us sit around and wait for someone to like our product and invest in it, or propel us forward, but there is another way. Like our Father, we have the ability to create, so if a market seemingly don't exist for your kind of work, create it. That, in a nutshell, is what I did. I will tell you the steps I took to be where I am, with a little guidance from a mentor of course.
So what really is the fifteen commandment? Truth is, I have been passing on to you all the rules of playwriting that are applied by working, professional writers. What I haven't told you yet, is that some rules can be broken but that's only if you know what you are doing. I will share some of those here.
Cleveland O. McLeish is an Author, Entrepreneur, Playwright, Screenwriter, Ghostwriter and Teacher. He studied Creative Writing at the University of the West Indies, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Gotham Writers Workshop, Christian Writers Guild and The Writers Bureau. Presently, he holds a Diploma in Urban Ministry and is pursuing his Masters of Arts in Religion with Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He serves as Youth Director and Lay-Minister in the Church of God of Prophecy, along with his wife Nordia.