Friday, 13 November 2020 17:35

An Interview with Diane Messias

diane messias

Welcome to Drama Studio London, Diane Messias. We're very excited that you'll be running our online course Writing For Stage and Screen in January 2021. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Thanks, DSL. Well, these days, I’m primarily a drama writer and script consultant, though in the past I was a BBC Comedy Producer/Director, with a credit list which includes One Foot In The Grave. Before that, I was a theatre director, and before that, (going back 100 years), a theatre music director. I’ve also worked in TV and film, and have been a performer myself. 

Having written for and worked with many household names in British drama and comedy - Harry Hill, Alistair McGowan, Ian Hislop, Rory Bremner, Willie Rushton, Andrew Sachs, to name a few - I've been teaching all forms of scriptwriting for the past 10 years in assorted drama schools, at The Screen & Film School, and Goldsmiths, University of London.

I’m 5’1”, like cats, and have a GSOH. (Oh, sorry, wrong site).

Who do you think this online course, Writing For Stage and Screen, is for?

It’s for anyone (beginner, or more experienced) who has an interest in knowing how narrative works in the form of drama – what each character is there to do, where their dialogue comes from, how they develop throughout their journey – and who would like to learn how the general building blocks of drama open the door to writing any genre of dramatic storytelling: comedy; horror; thriller; romance; fantasy…

What makes this course unique?

I’m glad you asked! A few aspects, in fact: primarily, having actors bring participants’ scripts alive in the second part of the course, along with their invaluable feedback on what they need from the dialogue as performers. Secondly, a comprehensive overview on drama writing for different mediums. Thirdly (‘sixthly’ isn’t going to work, is it?), after each session I will send attendees an email listing the points we covered that week, with links for further research, and suggestions for scripts to read, films/plays to watch to prepare for the coming week’s topic.  And lastly (never start a sentence with ‘and’), having a tutor with wide experience in so many areas of the business, which gives her an unparalleled perspective of the decision-making drama writers face with every aspect of their script.

What can people expect to get out of the course?

An understanding of story arcs, how to choose characters, what motivates characters, how to write dialogue, when not to write dialogue, the importance of sub-plots… We’ll also cover the difference between writing for the stage as opposed to the screen (film & TV), as both have their own templates, beginning with something as basic as where to start the story. In addition, in-class exercises, analysis of well-known existing works in theatre, film and TV as exemplary examples of plotting, character development and dialogue, along with other, less successful works as a study of How Not To Write. Oh, and er, fun. (Is that allowed?)

Thank you, Diane. We very much look forward to working with you.

The Online Course Writing For Stage and Screen is available to book now