Writer, facilitator and self-publisher Gary Hirson changes the world > A graduate of The Writing Studio's workshop in 2007, Gary Hirson has just launched his 3rd developmental interactive book for the youth - The Journey that's Ours, marking his 4th book in total. One being a photographic coffee-table book - Down The Line. "My goal is to inspire the youth into understanding and believing in themselves, and that their goals and dreams are worth pursuing. This I do by the way of my books, talks at schools and goal-setting workshops which I facilitate. I also believe that one must have the courage of their convictions which has resulted in all of my books being independently published.(After my publisher went out of business) This has been done using the self- development tools which I write about. More about my books, talks and workshops can be viewed at www.calminstorm.com
Writer-director Henk Pretorius on top of the world > Writer-director Henk Pretorius attended our first workshop for screenwriters and filmmakers in Pretoria in 1998. It marked Pretorius' first step into filmmaking and the birth of The Writing Studio? "The workshop gave me a better understanding of how visuals are used to tell a story. I remember us talking a lot about subtext and the effect it had on the audience. I was only 15 years old back then, so I remember it also made my teachers cringe when I wrote richer, yet more controversial stories in my Afrikaans literature class. Some gave me a 1 out of 10, others seem to think I am going to be a Proffesor at an University. No one dreamed or thought I am going to be making films.." Henk Pretorius talks about Fanie Fourie's Lobola Henk Pretorius talks about Bakgat
Henk Pretorius talks about Bakgat 2
The Write Agency transforms words into action > One of the most active independent training initiative in South Africa, The Writing Studio has been presenting workshops and courses in scriptwriting and filmmaking throughout South Africa during the past 19 years with the aim of developing the craft of writers and filmmakers. The 19 years saw the birth of many new, original scripts that echo the unique voice of South African writers, with stories reflecting specific cultures, experiences and histories that embrace universal qualities. At present, The Write Agency has more than 20 fully developed screenplays. It has never been a more fruitful time to be a scriptwriter in South Africa. The production of local films and international co-productions have increased drastically during the last few years and everyone is looking for South African stories. The Write Agency has representation in Los Angeles and the UK with two former graduates of The Writing Studio. Read more
Teaming up with PANSA >A significant force of creativity and innovative opportunities celebrated the art of storytelling and the craft of writing with The Writing Studio and the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) teaming up to present workshops, story and play readings at the studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. The first workshop 'The Drama of Writing a Play', took 15 writers through the steps of writing a play and culminated in a successful performance of scenes from their work during the last session. www.pansa.org.za
NFVF's Sediba Spark course >Mary Gumsley, who is a graduate of The Writing Studio and attended several workshops, was selected as one of the participants in the NFVF's Sediba Spark course
One-on-One with producers > Daniel Dercksen did an exclsusive workshop for Producer Alan Lawson and his writers on their screenplay for 'Code of War', that was pitched to producers in Dublin in May 2012 and is currently in development. "Thank you for an illuminating workshop. For the insight that I now have in the birth of a script; especially the development of a front page, log line and tag line. I am still the producer at heart but with the couple of movies that I am nudging forward with development I know what I am looking for in the scripts,." says Producer Alan Lawson, Birdfilm (South Africa)
Playwright Neil Coppen >Writer-director Neil Coppen, who is a graduate of The Writing Studio, won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre, 2011. As the creator of Tin Bucket Drum and Tree Boy, and Abnormal Loads, his latest play Little Foot was commissioned by The Market theatre and premiered at the Grahamstown festival before running in JHB. He then heads for New York with a tour of Tin Bucket Drum. And for those who missed Abnormal Loads, Neil is working on the screenplay and we will be able to see it on the big screen. Says Coppen: "Daniels workshop offers an insightful and inspiring introduction into the craft and art of storytelling. Great motivation to help one begin that rather daunting and solitary task of transferring ones story from the imagination to the page."
Filmmaker John Barker > Writer-director Johan Barker, a graduate of The Writing Studio, released his film 31 Million Reasons. This is the fictionalised story about local detective Ronnie, who has illusions of being above the criminal class and desperately wants to clean up his act. Ronnie is given the opportunity to go legit by a security guard... but only by orchestrating the biggest cash heist in South African history. Read more
Adventure of Supermama > Producer-screenwriter-director and esteemed journalist Karen van Schalkwyk attended The Writing Studio's writer's workshop close on 10 years ago. She was so inspired by the workshop that she wrote her first screenplay, Ren in 2003. Karen then applied to The Binger Film Institute with the screenplay and was selected to be one of writers for a five month screenwriting course in Amsterdam in 2004. In 2006 she wrote her short film: The Adventures of Supermama which was distributed in cinemas nationwide by Ster Kinekor Distribution. In 2007 her partners, Damon Berry and Ben Tjibe under their company Googelplex Productions, further developed the screenplay with the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) on their Spark and Sediba Writer's programmes in 2009/2010. In July 2011 the Supermama was selected as three South African projects to attend IFP-No Boarders in New York (one of the biggest independent film markets in the world) in September where she will pitch the film to a variety of investors, distributors and sales agents. The Adventures of Supermama will go into production in 2012. Ren is still a work in progress but will be produced as a film. Karen has worked on numerous projects and continues to hone her craft as a writer/director. Website
Script Editor and mentor> Daniel Dercksen worked as a script editor and mentor during three months of one-on-on sessions, Marc Le Plat's script on a famous South African musical icon is now ready for development and doing the rounds in Los Angeles. Marc attended two of the workshops before writing a draft of his script. "You know the drill. Months of slaving away over the computer from midnight to dawn, placing your characters in action-inducing settings along with some scintillating dialogue when, suddenly, you can't see the wood for the trees? The train has is running at speed but out of track. At risk of mixing so many metaphors, screen-writing can sometimes seem like swimming through a mud bath - you know where you want to go, but you often end up off course. Which is why I found the one-on-one sessions with Daniel Dercksen of the Writing Studio invaluable in helping me realize a draft of my script that not only has pace, but a defined structure, emotive expansion and fully recognizable characters. One-on-one sessions enable you to get to the heart of your story, realize and address any fundamental structural flaws and gain insight into your characters in an intelligent, step-by-step fashion. As Miles Davis put it with regards to jazz: learn all the notes then just forget about them. What he was trying to say, I guess, is if you want to really learn to play jazz, get the structure right and then get lost in the music. Which is what I learnt in one-on-one sessions at the Writing Studio to to fully manifest my script."
Firelions > Writing Studio graduates Lisa Starr Jane and Nic Latouf have started a group in support or writers, filmmakers and performaers called Firelions…
Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre > Following three years of workshops at at the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre in Kwa Mashu as part of their annual Kwa Mashu Film Festival resulted in the graduates to form their own writing and film club, gathering a weekly basis to continue sharpening their craft.
See: 2001 to 2010