Workshop med Stephen Cleary


If you are interested in exploring structuring stories at a new depth, then I have designed an Advanced Story Workshop looking at different, more complex ways of understanding stories.

Writers, directors, producers and story executives are all welcome.

As well as discovering and exploring five basic ways of structuring a story, we’ll look at asking and answering questions that all of us have asked at one time or another about stories we are working on. What if my story doesn’t seem to fit a traditional shape? What if my story is influenced by ideas beyond the Western tradition? What if my story is simply non-traditional? Must I try to force it into a different shape?

There are other questions too. What effect on the structure and plotting of your story does the gender of the protagonist have, if any? Because if character and plot are different ways of looking at the same thing, then surely if you change the nature of the character, you must change the nature of the plot?

What if I want to use the nature of my characters to lead me to the structure of my story? Can I do that? How?

Is it true that cinema protagonists work best if solitary whilst TV drama series protagonists work best in partnerships or groups? Why?

Is it true that successful movies are plot driven whereas successful TV series are character driven? What does this actually mean when it comes to mapping out the
structure of your script for one or the other? And what about theme? How does my theme impact on my story’s structure? All of these questions will be explored in this workshop. And we’ll take one whole afternoon to deep dive into the best kept story secret of all, Narrative Point of View. I guarantee that once you have understood NPOV in all its aspects, you will never stop using it in your writing and development practice. And the only place you can find out about it is in this workshop. Come along for two days of intense story exploration, full of clips, conversations and thought-provoking perspectives. And 50 pages of notes to take away when you’re done.

Stephen Cleary

Pris Dkk 1875 incl. moms. Forplejning gennem dagene er inkluderet.

Kurset afholdes på Nordisk Film, Mosedalsvej 14, 2500 Valby

Tilmeld dig ved at skrive til med kontakt informationer samt profession.

Advanced Story Workshop

Day One:


• Recap: the principles of plot sequences and the relationship to character.

• Special sequences, exploring more deeply:
The opening sequence: unfolding your story The Antagonist’s sequence: organizing the forces of opposition – The closing sequence: structuring the audience’s cathartic moment

• New areas: Structuring with character Short-term and long-term story questions


• Mixing plot and character: the grand design

• Structure and Genre

• Expanding your structural palette: Thematic sequences – Theme driven cinema stories – Theme driven TV series

Day Two:


• Radical structures: Imagistic sequences – poetic cinema and poetic scenes
Theme/character mixes: arthouse cinema, TV mainstream

• Genres of character: structuring from the inside out Loners and Partners Team players and Team Leaders

AFTERNOON • Narrative Point of View Defining your audience’s perspective on your story – Controlling what they feel – How to make a character more liked without changing their character – The secret of an irresistible villain Changing NPOV intensity depending on where you are in the story. As usual the workshop will be accompanied by notes on all areas covered, including all slides shown over the two days.


Stephen Cleary has worked in film and television for over 20 years. As Head of Development at the UK national film Agency he developed Before the Rain, (winner Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival), Rob Roy, Butterfly Kiss, Love and Death on Long Island and many others. Stephen founded and ran Arista, Europe’s largest private film
development agency from 1996 to 2006. Graduates of Arista program have written, directed or produced over 250 feature films and thousands of hours of television drama. He produced the feature New Year’s Day, in 2001 and co-produced Goodbye Charlie Bright in 2002. He co-wrote the feature films Alexandria, produced in 1998, and Buddha’s Little Finger, produced in 2013. In partnership with the South Australian Film Corporation, he designed and implemented the Filmlab low-budget feature initiative, resulting in the internationally acclaimed features 52 Tuesdays and The Infinite Man among others. He was development consultant on the BBC drama series Hinterland and a recent development initiative led to Stephen initiating and developing the multi award-winning feature Sweet Country. He was the lead consultant on the Academy Award nominated and Emmy winning documentary What Happened Miss Simone? He also wrote, with Nina Simone, her autobiography I Put A Spell On You. He has consulted on many feature films, documentaries and TV series in Scandinavia over the past five years.