Story for
Script Development

The training

Learn the story-shaping skills you need to thrive in the HETV drama arena.

  • Location: Online
  • Duration: 7 weeks
  • Skill level: Intermediate
  • Sessions: 6

This professional development course trains you to identify issues with scripts, solve key story problems, and craft polite, constructive and positive notes for writers.

Explore ways to tackle issues with tone, focus, streamlining and storylining, while honing characterisation and agency. Then apply what you’ve learned to fix story problems using live scripts.

This practical training is designed in mind for aspiring script editors and those already working in the industry who’d like to gain a more specific narrative vocabulary for communicating with writers, or to develop more ambitious stories.

Study with a small group and an expert tutor. You’ll emerge with increased confidence in judging story ideas, distilling a story to its essence, working with writers and the wider team, and crafting stories that resonate with audiences worldwide.

CPD certified

Our professional skills training has been independently accredited for integrity and quality. All learners receive certificates of completion detailing CPD learning hours.

ScreenSkills bursaries

You may be eligible for a ScreenSkills training bursary for this course. See 'bursary information' further down this page.

Our team

Meet the experts

John Yorke

Course Director

John is widely acknowledged as the UK’s foremost expert on story and Into the Woods is the bestselling book on the subject in the UK. John’s worked on some of the world’s most lucrative, widely viewed and critically acclaimed TV drama, from EastEnders to Shameless, Life on Mars and Wolf Hall.

More about John
Matt Telfer

Matt Telfer

Course Tutor

Matt has extensive experience in film development, development production for multimedia ideas, and consultancy. He’s assessed novels for adaptation for Celador, Euston Films, Miramax and Film Four and worked as a script editor during a stint at Granada. He went to Lime scouting new writers and developed Sally Wainwright’s Bonkers (ITV) and Jeanette Winterson’s Ingenious (BBC1).

More about Matt
Caroline Young

Caroline Young

Course Tutor

Caroline is a freelance script editor. She started her career working in development for BBC Drama Series and on EastEnders before leaving for the world of freelancery. During that time she has script edited multiple projects including Eternal Law (Kudos for ITV), Fortitude (Fifty Fathoms for Sky Atlantic) and Hooten & The Lady (Red Planet for Sky 1).

More about Caroline
Maud Dromgoole

Maud Dromgoole

Course Moderator

Maud is a writer from South East London. She writes for theatre, radio and television and also works as a reader, script editor and lifeguard. She trained on BBC Drama Room and Royal Court Invitational Group and has projects in development with Warp Films and Hampstead Theatre.

More about Maud

Things to know

This CPD training is for those working in (or who want to work in) TV or film who are looking to learn the mechanics of story structure and how apply it practically, especially in HETV drama. It’s suitable if you:

  • Work as a script editor, script reader, development assistant, trainee script editor, researcher, storyliner, story assistant, or story supervisor
  • Work with writers in other roles, such as agenting or as an exec
  • Need to be able to pinpoint problems in a script more quickly… and express your thoughts more effectively
  • Are looking to understand storylining over a series or ways to work with larger scale stories
  • Would like to feel more confident in giving notes to writers, including giving notes you’d rather not give
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

This professional training allows you to:

  • Acquire the key story skills script editors need, including understanding the blueprint underlying every successful story and crafting constructive notes for writers
  • Master story structure, and use the principles of narrative to diagnose and fix story problems
  • Refresh your skills and understand decisions you’ve always made using instinct
  • Gain a more specific narrative vocabulary for communicating with writers
  • Distill your thoughts to produce clear headline notes and succinct billings
  • Gain greater understanding of industry expectations and processes
  • Network with others working in development, and with the tutor team and industry guests

Session 1: Introduction to Storytelling

We start on the grammar of storytelling and look at the script production process and industry roles. You’ll make notes on a TX’d script and precis the protagonist’s journey through the first act.

Session 2: Basic Building Blocks

We focus on the basic building blocks used in dramatic storytelling and what makes a good story. We’ll look at the HETV market and audiences, and the specific opportunities and constraints the form presents. We will ask you to write a billing for an episode.

Session 3: Fixing Stories that Don’t Work

We look at how to ‘break a story’. You’ll learn John’s 10 key questions and by the end should be able to deconstruct any story and understand what needs to be done to fix any problems. You’ll apply those principles by giving headline notes on a live script.

Session 4: Mastering Structure

We break down a story into three and five acts and examine midpoints and turning points. We’ll introduce key ways to read a script and look at storylining across a series. You’ll break a script into five parts and give notes on a deeply problematic script.

Session 5: Giving and Receiving Notes

We look at ways of acting on notes and assess a script at scene level. We’ll examine the script-editing process from the viewpoint of the writer and the wider team. You’ll compare a first-draft script with a TX’d version, looking at ‘artistic’ best vs tone, focus and streamlining.

Session 6: Putting it All Together

In this two-week final session, John offers his top tips to help you recap everything learned through the previous sessions. At the end you’ll submit notes to self and a set of headline notes on an unscreened development pilot script, and receive detailed one-to-one feedback from your tutor.

This course has been made possible by the support of ScreenSkills, and has been approved as part of an informal or formal continuing professional development (CPD) programme. You may be eligible for a training bursary for this course. Apply direct to ScreenSkills here, at least four weeks before the course start date.

As this counts as CPD training, you may also be able to get funding from your employer to do it.

Join our alumni – After your course, you can join our online alumni community where you’ll meet our growing network of past students. You’ll be able to.

  • Rejoin your classmates in a private forum
  • Continue to access an archived version of your course materials
  • Meet alumni from other courses and share work for feedback
  • Join discussions about screenwriting, script editing and the industry
  • Attend live chats with guest writers and industry folk

Mentoring and one-to-one feedback – Our team offer mentoring, script reads and reports. We are happy to quote by job or script, or to arrange a longer mentoring scheme as you work on a specific story idea. We’ll create a package to suit you, so please email [email protected].

How it Works

Our training’s taught 100% online in small groups with a designated tutor and moderator on-hand throughout.

It’s an active learning experience where you’ll read, watch and practise exercises in your own time before submitting assignments for peer and tutor feedback. You’ll then review and refine your work as you get better and better.

Fit the course around your work and time zone – just allow 5-7 hours to work through each session.

It’s both flexible and structured. Social and yet gives you space. Find out more about how we teach.

John Yorke Storycon
Our Alumni

What people say


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