Writing and Genre Workshops with Ian Long
Stimulating ideas, finding new and forgotten ways to create compelling stories
What's are the workshops for?
What they say
"Profound and detailed ... a very interesting and unusual take on the subject."
"The information provided, and Ian's thoughts, really opened my eyes ... "
"Brilliant, I am leaving with 6 or 7 workable ideas."
"I'm thinking about my stories in new ways, and how I'll apply what I've learnt."
"A very useful way to learn about key areas and current tropes."
"Very to-the-point and detailed. I'd recommend it to a wide range of writers."
"Good for provoking new ways of thinking about your projects."
"Great workshop, wonderful tutor, an enjoyable and insightful foray into the deep disturbances of the horror genre."
"Covered the topic well, with lots of interesting and useful clips to emphasise key points."
I'm a London-based writer, script editor, teacher and graphic artist, and Head of Consultancy at Euroscript. I've worked as a story consultant for the UK Film Council, Script Factory, and many independent film companies and writers.
I've taught my workshops at the BFI, Tampere and Riga Film Festivals, Cinemagic Belfast and Dublin, and numerous other locations, as well as teaching them for Euroscript.
landline: +44 20 8455 6166
mobile: +44 79337 59939
Creating Fear in Films
Fear is a fundamental emotion. Almost all genres require a level of fear - and audiences demand it.
Some of our best-loved cinema memories involve frightening characters, scary moods and shocking moments. At some level, it seems, we need cinema to terrify us.
Many genres - not just horror, but also thrillers, crime stories, war films, and others - must deliver fear in a variety of convincing ways.
But what is fear, exactly? Why do people want (or need) to be scared? And how can we successfully weave fear into powerful stories?
The workshop answers these questions by going deeply into human psychology and showing how the vivid and power,
Its concepts are illustrated with carefully-chosen clips, and stimulating exercises will help you to master the ideas and apply them to your own work.
Deep Narrative Design
We’re living in a golden era of narrative. To compete, we need to make viewers feel like participants in, not just spectators of, our stories.
This workshop gathers methods from the history of cinema as well as cutting-edge techniques used in the latest films, TV series and novels.
It shows how themes, emotions and questions can be deeply embedded in stories in ways which make them truly gripping.
Deep narrative design principles can help to define structure and characterisation as well as your visual and sonic approach, ensuring that all these elements work together to support the story.
The workshop includes comprehensive coverage of the many, ever-developing ways that suspense operates in stories (shows like BREAKING BAD, MAD MEN and DEXTER wouldn't have worked at all without using a wide variety of suspense methods).
Neo Noir and the Dark Thriller
Dramatising the divisions in human nature
Do you find antiheroes and flawed, conflicted or damaged protagonists intriguing?
Are you attracted to stories that resist the easy certainty of happy endings and neat resolutions?
Do you suspect that human psychology and motivations are more twisted and disturbed than many people are willing to admit?
Then the Dark Thriller/Neo-Noir is probably the genre you should be writing - and you need to know more about it.
Ne Noir incorporates stories of addiction and obsession, doomed love, deluded detectives and corrupt institutions.
This workshop unpacks the genre to find the ideas that make it tick, and shows how these can be applied to make great new stories.
Exploring our primal fears and urges
Horror allows writers and filmmakers to create "embodied metaphors", incarnations of deep emotions like anger, grief as well as .
This can greatly intensify the cinematic interest of stories, increasing their stakes, heightening their emotions and opening up visual possibilities.
For these reasons, horror gives writers and filmmakers enormous creative potential, enabling them to deal with primal issues that other types of story merely skate around.
Now is a good time to write in this demanding genre, whose recently embraced new audiences by emphasising its more 'artistic' aspects.
The workshop will help you think through the horror genre in new and creative ways, and open up your work to fresh possibilities.
Script Reading and Assessment
Writing Very Short Films
Screenplays are the blueprints of the movie-making process, and everyone who works in film - from actors to technicians, producers to financiers - needs to know how to read and assess them.
Read correctly, they can reveal every element of a film's eventual appearance on the screen.
Films often take years to make, and represent a real investment of time, emotion and creativity. You need to be sure that the story you're working on will justify your efforts.
Unlike the other workshops here, this is a five-week evening class. As you learn how to write reports for producers and writers, you'll be working on "live" projects whose writers will give feedback on your work.
The course will give you the tools you need to assess projects from all angles, including plot, dialogue, genre, commercial potential, originality, characterisation, and visual appeal.
“A film can never be too short” – Paul Bassett Davies
There's an increasing number of outlets for very short films, from festivals like the Extremely Shorts Film Festival to adverts, commercials and movie trailers.
But what can be done in this format, and how is it best to approach the challenge of making something meaningful in a very short time-frame?
Arguably, all art works best when operating under some kind of constraint: reduced duration is a powerful constraint, and can produce memorable work when it's seen as an asset, rather than the opposite.
The workshop will help you to understand what works best in the form, what doesn’t work at all, and how very shorts film can be made in really original and memorable ways.
Creating new story worlds by boldly extending ideas
Science Fiction is a "mega-genre" which can put a fresh, interesting spin on almost every kind of story.
Science Fiction can be poetic (Andrei Tarkovsky's STALKER), comedic/satirical (Woody Allen's SLEEPER), horrific (Ridley Scott's ALIEN), romantic (Spike Jonze's HER), epic (STAR WARS) . . .
And one major reason for its popularity is its inherently cinematic quality. It lets writers construct entire worlds in which to test their ideas.
The workshop spotlights this world-building aspect - something which is increasingly important in the environment of games and long-form TV.
Whether you're new to Science Fiction or have already worked in the genre, this workshop will take your thoughts in new, creative directions.