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This 2-day module is an extension of our 3-day Advanced Development Workshop. The participants are expected to have either attended the main workshop or to have read Screenwriting Unchained, as this module is based on the innovative Story-Type Method® introduced in the book/main workshop.

This workshop covers the following topics:

Day 1

  • Writing a thriller with the Story-Type Method: Structural tips and advice
  • Thriller Subgenres: What do they all have in common?
  • How to use story-types and Maslow in a thriller
  • Developing a Plot-Led Thriller
  • Case Study: Gravity (A. Cuarón) or Minority Report (S. Spielberg)

Day 2

  • Developing a Character-Led Thriller
  • Case study: Shutter Island (M. Scorsese), Falling Down (J. Schumacher) or The Girl on the Train (T. Taylor)
  • Developing a Theme-Led Thriller
  • Case study: Traffic (S. Soderbergh)
  • Developing a Thriller as a Hybrid or an Exception
  • Case studies: The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (C. Hanson), Memento (C. Nolan) and Gone Girl (D. Fincher)

Photo Credit: Mathis Beutel

What's in it for you?

Feeling bored, confused or constrained by the old paradigms? Yet you’d like to write a tightly structured thriller that sells? You’ve come to the right place!

Based on the innovative Story-Type Method®, this two-day workshop explores essential tools for developing a successful thriller, either for Film or TV.

For example, we'll explain how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs applies to thrillers specifically. We’ll explore the many sub-genres, as well as one of the most important aspects of thriller writing, which is the management of information / audience POV through the use of mystery, surprise and dramatic irony. To write a great thriller, it’s essential to be aware of the difference between a whodunit and a suspense story. We’ll also discuss Cold Starts and Encore Twists, which are often used in this popular genre.

From creating edge-of-the-seat tension to crafting a satisfying ending, your thriller writing skills will greatly improve with a clearer understanding of these tools.

Using clips, examples and detailed case studies from successful thrillers such as Misery, Minority Report, Se7en, Gravity, The Silence of the Lambs, Taken, Falling Down, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Children of Men, The Fugitive, Hidden, Heat, Mute Witness, The Bourne Trilogy, Breakdown, Jaws, North by Northwest, Memento and many others, we’ll look at the storytelling tools and techniques needed to master this very popular genre.

2-day Thriller Workshop for Screen Skills Ireland

Terrific workshop. Emmanuel drilled down into the essence of various types of thrillers. Enlightening and inspiring. Delivered with passion and insight. I recommend Emmanuel’s Story-type method workshop for any writer, producer or director interesting in finding the most efficient and effective way to tell their story.

Ferdia Mac Anna

Thriller Lecture for the London Screenwriters’ Festival

I enjoyed Emmanuel’s lecture ‘Writing a Thriller that Producers Want to Make and Audiences want to Watch’ which he gave at the London Screenwriters’ Festival 2017. I found his talk plus these notes extremely useful in creating the structure for the thriller I am writing.

Rita Wheeler

2-day Thriller Workshop for Screen Skills Ireland

The Thriller Writing workshop I attended was extremely useful and Emmanuel gave us notes and advice that I will without a doubt revisit during the writing process. I would highly recommend attending his workshops.

Dave Thorpe
Our Advanced Development Workshop has been commissioned by:

Writing a Successful Thriller Workshop:
Fees on January 1st, 2020

All amounts exclusive of 20% VAT, when applicable

Independent Production Company
£3,995.00(3-9 participants)
  • Includes preparation and delivery
  • Travel & accommodation costs on top
  • A/V equipment / Meeting room not included
Get more information

Would you like to bring your script development skills to the next level and give your thriller project a total makeover?

This package will train creative producers, development execs, story editors and writer/directors working for the same independent production company, making sure that everyone in the team is on the same page and equipped with the best tools when discussing thrillers. A separate slate assessment service can be arranged (fee to be defined depending on the number of projects in development in the company).

One or more extra day(s) for project work can also be booked alongside the workshop to allow meetings on individual projects immediately after the last day. See the next column for more details.

This 2-day module is an extension of our 3-day advanced development workshop. Participants are expected to have attended the main workshop or read Screenwriting Unchained.

Optional One On One Day
£1,995.00For project work meetings
  • Includes preparation and delivery
  • Up to four projects per day (90mn meetings)
  • Actual fee varies, written notes optional (see below)
Get more information

While the Thriller Workshop is very practical and allows the participants to focus on a specific project if they want to, there is no time during the workshop to discuss individual projects (except maybe briefly during the breaks!).

A number of extra days can therefore be booked along with the workshop to make time for specific projects to be read in advance and discussed with the creative team (producer, writer, director) immediately after the last day.

This fee includes preparation work for up to four projects. It varies depending on the exact number of projects and the actual amount of work requested (for example, written notes given after the meeting are an extra cost).

Beyond the strength and weaknesses of the screenplay, we'll try to look at the bigger picture and discuss which resources might be needed to move each project forward and which potential partner(s) might be involved.

Regional/National Fund or Studio
£4,995.00(10-20 participants)
  • Includes preparation and delivery
  • Travel and accommodation costs on top
  • A/V equipment / Meeting room not included
Get more information

This version of the workshop is aimed at regional / national funds or  organisations who would like to train a larger number of participants (usually up to twenty). It's also the option a studio would go for to train a larger development team and/or to train all the writers working with them in development.

The content of the workshop can be fine-tuned to a specific audience (for example producers, story editors and development execs, or writers and directors).

While the tools are the same, the approach can be slightly different depending on the participants' role in development. This being said, the workshop works equally well with a mixed audience as long as participants have roughly the same level of experience.

This 2-day module is an extension of our 3-day advanced development workshop. Participants are expected to have attended the main workshop or read Screenwriting Unchained.

What People Say About Our Thriller Workshop

Average Rating: 5 stars (based on 3 ratings)

2-day Thriller Workshop for Screen Skills Ireland

Terrific workshop. Emmanuel drilled down into the essence of various types of thrillers. Enlightening and inspiring. Delivered with passion and insight. I recommend Emmanuel’s Story-type method workshop for any writer, producer or director interesting in finding the most efficient and effective way to tell their story.

Ferdia Mac Anna

Thriller Lecture for the London Screenwriters’ Festival

I enjoyed Emmanuel’s lecture ‘Writing a Thriller that Producers Want to Make and Audiences want to Watch’ which he gave at the London Screenwriters’ Festival 2017. I found his talk plus these notes extremely useful in creating the structure for the thriller I am writing.

Rita Wheeler

2-day Thriller Workshop for Screen Skills Ireland

The Thriller Writing workshop I attended was extremely useful and Emmanuel gave us notes and advice that I will without a doubt revisit during the writing process. I would highly recommend attending his workshops.

Dave Thorpe
If you attended the workshop
Please consider leaving a testimonial, it would be much appreciated!

References

ACE Producers (NL)
Cologne International Film school - Production department (G)
Creative England
Creative Europe Ireland
Creative Europe Belgium
Ealing Studios (UK)
FAS / Screen Training Ireland
Film I Väst - Svenska Filminstitutet (SE)
FilmLab Norge (NW)
Film Kolevtiv (CZ)
Ideal Audience / Kaleo Films (F)
iFeatures (UK)
Jim Henson's Creature Shop (UK)
Media Desk Galway (IR)
Medienboard Berlin Brandebourg (G)
Mitteldeutsche MedienForderung (G)
NEM Zagreb (CR)
Pipedream Pictures (UK)
Screen Skills Ireland
Screen West Midlands (UK)
Swedish Film Institute (SE)
UK Film Council - Development Fund (UK)
Zephyr Films (UK)
Zimmedia (SA/UK)