In light of this, Audsley went back to basics and talked about the methods employed used to write a scene. He described scenes as "the Lego bricks of a screenplay" and emphasised the importance that each scene plays in setting up the next in order to create a cohesive sequence.
The main exercise of the workshop was to write an opening scene by the end of the three hour session. Daunting as that was to do Audlsey quickly put us at ease reassuring us that we would get there by following a fool proof template. Our starting point was to choose a scenario, a time and place that our scene would take place. Once we had our scenarios we were invited to share them aloud with the group, again a daunting prospect but ultimately very helpful.
The rest of the workshop carried on in this way, breaking down all the components of a scene. We focused on our protagonist and his/her goal, then the obstacle that they would need to overcome and finally how they overcame it.
"Never underestimate the value of a small obstacle, they build and reveal something about the character and how they deal with it."
Audsley then told us about a useful technique that he often used himself, to throw a metaphorical hand grenade into the mix.
"7 out of 10 times nothing happens, but sometimes something really amazing happens that changes your opinion of the character which can be beneficial to later scenes."
Audsley emphasised how this technique helps to make the scene unpredictable, something that is strongly appreciated as an audience member.
On the role of the screenwriter, Audsley described them as essential to the filmmaking process. He also highlighted a key consideration when setting out to write a screenplay.
"The role of the screenwriter is to make sure all their scenes are crucial to the story and that none of them can be cut. If scenes are cut it wastes all that time and money spent on filming the scene. The job of writer therefore is to minimise that. Scenes must be carefully considered and must work."
The workshop was a great success with a strong sense of participation from everyone who attended.
MannIn Shorts are a filmmaking organisation who encourage filmmaking in all its forms on the Isle of Man. Find out more about them here.
Alistair Audsley is a Film Producer best known for Leni Leni, Stronger Than Bullets and The Watchmaker's Apprentice. You can find more information about him here.
More info about Isle of Man Arts Council funding can be found here.