The #1 reason most screenplays fail is because the characters are underdeveloped

CHARACTER MASTERCLASS is here to solve that problem with our deep-dive, psychological approach towards character development. In what we believe to be the most comprehensive character-based training programme that there is, you will learn:

  • How to develop complex, compelling and memorable characters

  • How to craft emotionally-truthful, character-driven stories that keep your audiences engaged

  • How to create fascinating character relationships that keep your audiences coming back

  • How to structure your screen stories from a character-first approach

And how do we do this?

Our masterclass combines:

  • Character-first development

    Since we engage with stories through their characters, rather than structure or plot, we take a character-first approach towards story development. We'll teach you how to create emotionally-truthful characters who your readers won't forget.

  • Insights from psychology

    We dig deep into human psychology in teaching you how to create compelling and complex characters that keep your readers and audiences emotionally engaged.

  • Approaches that work

    Our courses are based on tried-and-tested workshops that we've been running for industry partners over the last 5 years.

  • Blended learning

    Combining the best of online teaching via videos, worksheets and questionnaires with group and personal Zoom sessions, we'll provide you with the best of both worlds, allowing you to take this course from anywhere in the world in your own time.

  • Tutor feedback and support

    We'll be with you every step of the way to help guide you through the videos and exercises. We'll provide written feedback on the key development exercises as well as a one-hour 1:1 at the end of the programme to discuss your development as a writer.

Course curriculum

    1. Welcome! How to work with this course

    2. Character, theme and story

    3. Developing tension

    4. What makes a character compelling?

    5. Brainstorming new characters

    6. EXERCISE: Developing a new character

    7. Key Points

    1. Developing your protagonist's goal and need

    2. Giving your protagonist strong beliefs

    3. Using a moodboard to develop your character

    4. Key Points

    1. Developing character complexity

    2. Extroversion - Introversion

    3. Agreeable - Disagreeable

    4. Neuroticism - Emotional Stability

    5. Conscientious - Unconscientious

    6. Open to Experience - Closed to Experience

    7. Personality Questionnaire

    1. Character Transformation and Writing from the Flaw

    2. Why the Flaw is so Important

    3. When people transform

    1. From Character Transformation to Story Structure

    2. Setting up your character in crisis

    3. The Inciting Incident

    4. Posing the Central Dramatic Question

    5. Accepting the Challenge: Break into Act 2

    6. Into Act 2

    7. The Midpoint

    8. Act 2 Part 2

    9. The Lowpoint

    10. Break into Act 3

    11. The Climax

    12. The Denouement or Resolution

    13. Structuring the Tragedy

    14. Alternatives to Three Act Structure

    1. Creating Secondary Characters and Compelling Relationships

    2. Developing contrasting secondary characters using the Big Five

    3. Using the Interpersonal Circumplex to develop character relationships

    4. Styles of relationship and attachment theory

    5. Creating dynamic relationships and chemistry between your characters

    6. Issues of representation in creating a diverse cast

    7. KEY POINTS: Creating secondary characters and compelling character relationships

About this course

  • £750.00
  • 11-week programme
  • Begins 17th September 2022
  • Cohort of 10

Wondering if our MASTERCLASS is for you?

This 11-week programme is for serious screenwriters of all levels who want to significantly advance their writing by learning how to create create more believable, compelling and memorable characters that grab their audience's attention and continue to keep them engaged.

  • Learn how to develop unique, believable compelling characters that grab your readers' and audience's attention and keep them engaged

  • Learn how to get your characters down on the page through action, dialogue and subtext that reveals personality, beliefs, intentions and emotions

  • Develop your screen ideas from first concept for a character through to your first-draft film or TV pilot screenplay in your own time, from anywhere in the world, while benefitting from full tutor support every step of the way

Bursaries

With the very generous support of ScreenSkills, UK-based screenwriters may be eligible for a training bursary for this course, but you'll need to apply at least ONE MONTH before the course begins.

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Social proof: testimonials

“I would urge any film practitioner of drama, or indeed any writer of the narrative form, to take Kira-Anne's course on character. I’ve been a writer, director and producer for over twenty years, but this course is a game changer. Her marvellously researched and executed course is hugely enlightening and makes palatable many otherwise complex concepts. I had epiphany after epiphany. It has helped me hugely as a screenwriter and has also had a significant impact on my approach as a director. Kira-Anne not only has a fabulously incisive understanding, but also has the humility, warmth and sheer humanity to convey the information so that it is readily absorbed and immediately useable. Do this course and just feel the empowerment that new understanding will bring! I cannot recommend it enough!!”

Wyndham Price, Writer/Director, Spinning Head Films (Winner BAFTA Cymru, Best Film)

“By the end of this course, you’ll know your characters better than you know yourself. I have yet to come across a workshop that goes into greater detail when plotting the personality, voice, and transformation of a character. Absolutely fascinating and invaluable to all fiction writers.”

Lili Kent, Writer

“I took Kira-Anne's course as I was struggling with getting to know my protagonist in my first draft. The content of the course was incredibly helpful for getting me through those first tricky patches, and Kira-Anne's questions and exercises led me to think about my characters from a different angle -- by week two I had managed to solve my issues! A very engaging, interesting course, with useful content and resources. Kira-Anne was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable tutor who was always happy to answer any questions we had.”

Hannah King, Author (She and I, 2022)

“I just wanted to say thank you for a brilliant course. It has been hugely interesting. It has made me rethink the detail in my characters, how they act and why. It has also reinforced some of the intuitive thinking that I'd had and built into my characters already. So thank you. There have also been things I've learnt about myself - traits I have and identify with, how I respond to characters I see on screen and how others in the group either respond differently or similarly. From that perspective, it was as much a personal journey. ”

GJ Sibson, Writer

FAQ

  • How long will I need to spend on this course every week?

    We suggest putting aside around 3 hours every week to watch the course videos, read through the worksheets and case studies, then brainstorm ideas for your characters and work through the set exercises.

  • What will I need to complete this course?

    You'll need an internet connection that is sufficient to watch the videos and access live Zoom classes, as well as pens and paper and any screenwriting software of your choice (eg Final Draft, Highland 2 or Arc Studio Pro). A printer will be useful to print the downloadable worksheets, but isn't essential. There are also a number of films and TV series that we refer to and recommend watching and which are accessible via the main streamers. These aren't, however, essential viewing.

  • How much feedback will I get from you?

    You'll receive written feedback on four exercises. These relate to your character's personality, their introduction in your screenplay, a monologue and the structure of your TV pilot episode or feature film. We also have three live one-hour long Zoom sessions. The first two are group sessions, in which we'll get to know each other as well as our characters. The third is a one-to-one in which we'll discuss any final questions you may have about your character, your writing or career development plans after this programme. If you also wish to book a full consultation on a draft or final screenplay you may also add this to your package.

  • I already have an MA in Creative Writing / Screenwriting. Won't I already have covered everything you teach in this course?

    No. While we recap the basics, we provide completely new tools and insights from evidence-based psychology to help you create far more compelling characters.

  • Does that mean that this course is mostly for Advanced writers?

    No. This course is fully comprehensive, taking you from the basics to advanced character development. That's because we provide new insights into this process at every stage along the way.

  • What if I have additional questions along the way?

    Because we're keeping the cohort sizes small, if there is anything you don't understand, you are always very welcome to get in touch with any questions - either via our dedicated Facebook Community page or via email.

  • Is the course all quite academic and theoretical?

    No. This is a very practical course. While plenty of theory is included in this course, it is all clearly explained in the simplest terms and illustrated by plenty of examples from well-known film and TV series.

  • I've read your book and plenty of others on screenwriting and character development. Is there really anything else to learn?

    We think there is plenty. There are several areas included in this Masterclass that aren't covered in my book - or any others. Also, working through a very practical course, with assignments and film and TV clips illustrating every stage of the development process, is a very different experience to reading a book.

  • How long do I have to access the videos and worksheets in this course?

    You'll have access to the course for a full year, which means that you'll have the ability to watch the videos as many times as you want and download worksheets for any new characters that you want to get started on. The other advantage of this is that while we encourage you to complete the course and exercises within 11-weeks, simply because you'll have full cohort support during this time, if you need longer, that's entirely up to you.