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Award-winning Play & Screenplay writer of the ‘Mamma Mia!’ films joins our writing workshop

cathjohnworkshop-1Getting the chance to speak with one of Hollywood’s most renowned and talented screenwriters, doesn’t happen every day! It did happen to us though last week, when we had the pleasure and the honour to have the incredible Catherine Johnson with us for a two-hour writing workshop!

Catherine Johnson, award winning Play and Screeplay writer of the “Mamma Mia!” films, and also screenplay writer for Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Cher, was here at Redmaids’ High, to co-host a screenplay writing workshop for students aged 14-18 years, led by our Head of English, and creative writer, Clare Rodliffe. The event was one of the free pre-challenge workshops in filmmaking, improv acting and film editing, for the ‘Bristol Schools 48 Hour Film Challenge’. 

It was such a rare and unique opportunity for all of us who attended the workshop to be there and get a taste of the breadth of her knowledge and expertise in the field. Mrs Johnson engaged brilliantly with the students who joined the event and shared some key hints and tips with them: ‘Don’t be afraid of an empty page, just write’, ‘Be prepared to draft and draft again’, ‘Start with a character’s name and build their personality from there. Get to know your character’ ‘Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings, i.e. to cut your favourite ideas because they just aren’t working’, ‘Knowing when you’re wrong and knowing when you’re right’, ‘Show, don’t tell!’.

Sarah Bramley-Dymond, Co-ordinator for the 'Bristol Schools 48-Hour Film Challenge' and Head of IT at Redmaids’ High, commented, “Getting the chance to take part in the 48 Hour Challenge is so much more than just the buzz of making an original film in 48 hours. It's also about providing students with the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of industry professionals before the challenge too. 

We were incredibly lucky to have the screenplay writer of 'Mama Mia!' Catherine Johnson with us for a brilliant workshop which was led by creative writer Clare Rodliffe. Students from QEH Boys and Colston School stunned us with their original  ideas in the two- hour writing workshop.”

One of our aspiring and award-winning student writers Cecilia, shared with us her experience: “I had an amazing time on the workshop and it was not only instructive but enjoyable too. There was a really nice creative atmosphere, and it felt easy to share and collaborate.

Catherine Johnson was very friendly and approachable, which I honestly did not expect from such a talented and successful screenwriter. She shared amazing advice and ideas, the one that resonated with me most was not to be scared when starting out and that the first draft and idea will change a lot as you go along. I feel very encouraged by the workshop and I am glad I took part.”.

If you missed this workshop, there is still time to sign up for the 48 Hour Film Challenge. If you would like to enter, all you need to do is complete the registration form below. Deadline for entries is this Friday, 17th June. For more information on the challenge click here.

There are also places left on the Improv Acting workshop this Thursday, 16 June - again just complete the form here. It would be great to have as many teams as possible taking part and this year there are prizes!

 

Date Posted: 14 June, 2022

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