STORY/SCRIPT EDITING & CONSULTING SERVICES
As a Story/Script Editor and Consultant, I draw upon 30 years of working in the dramatic arts. This includes my training in acting and improvisation, performing, directing, and teaching, as well as writing, co-writing, and serving as a dramaturge for theatrical productions. I’ve designed and facilitated Storytelling/Screenwriting and Writing Comedy courses for many fledgling filmmakers, including employees of two Academy Award nominated Irish animation studios.
As a professional screenwriter myself, I’ve had the joy of working with many experienced consultants and editors, all of whom inform my own such services.
If you choose me as your Story/Script Editor and Consultant, I guarantee prompt and clear communication – the key ingredient to creating a collaborative, virtual working environment. This can include verbal consultations via phone, Skype or Facetime.
Below are descriptions of my services and the fees, but the parameters of every project, including practical concerns such as timing and budgets, vary greatly. So, I’m flexible and open to discussing what can be done to serve your needs and achieve your goals within your means.
"I've hired John Dawson as a script editor for many projects and I find him to be the best and most professional I have ever worked with. He does not impose his own opinions and sees the your story/screenplay through to its final stages of development. I highly recommend John" Trevor Courtney - Igloo Animations, Dublin
“John Dawson's knowledge in the areas of storytelling and the craft of screenwriting is immense. He has a deep understanding of structure, theme, characterization, and plotting and is able to convey these extremely effectively. His brilliant advice on my own screenplay 'A Time of Life' - the story of Irish poet W.B. Yeats (with support from Bord Scannan/Irish Film Board) made an incredible difference and helped to hone it to the highest and most professional level.” Dr. Robert Monroe, PhD - Screenwriter/Novelist, Ohio, USA
THE STORY: Story Editing & Consultation at the outline/treatment stage
“Audiences are harder to please if you’re just giving them effects, but they’re easy to please if it’s a good story.” Steven Spielberg
Effective Story consulting starts at the outline and/or treatment stage, before a screenplay draft has been written. It is here, right at the beginning, that the essential foundation blocks to a story’s architecture must be created correctly and laid down appropriately. The various services that I provide are as follows:
Fee: €180.00 (US$210.00, £160.00)
After reading your outline/treatment, I offer a two-hour maximum verbal consultation via phone, Skype or Facetime. We’ll discuss my initial reactions and feedback as well as your vision and goals, all to assist you in the development of your story.
This consultation can be broken up into two sessions and can include co-writer(s), director and producer(s) if they are attached to your project.
STORY EDITING AND CONSULTATION – Basic Level
Fee: €350.00 (US$405.00 , £305.00)
1. An 8-page maximum written report that constructively critiques your outline/treatment by sighting strengths, pointing out weaknesses, as well as suggestions for your consideration. My notes are broken down into eight Story Components: theme, character, plot and structure, conflict, logic, story form, pacing, tone & genre.
2. Spot Notes directly on your actual outline/treatment document.
3. Verbal consultation(s) via phone, Skype or Facetime up to 1 hour maximum. This can be spilt into two sessions if so desired.
STORY EDITING AND CONSULTATION – Advanced Level
Fee: €570.00 (US$660.00, £500)
1. Two 8 to 10-page maximum written reports that constructively critique your outline/treatments by sighting strengths, pointing out weaknesses, as well as suggestions for your consideration. My notes are broken down into eight Story Components: theme, character, plot and structure, conflict, logic, story form, pacing, tone & genre. After reading and analyzing your initial outline/treatment, my first report is written and submitted. This is used by the writer(s) to aid in a rewrite. After reading and analyzing your rewrite, my second report is written and submitted.
This Advanced level is more detailed than the Basic and is intended to assist the writer(s) in a more ‘hands-on’ way with rewrites to achieve a very polished, well constructed story that can then move into the script development stage where a first draft of a screenplay can be written.
2. Spot Notes directly on your actual outline/treatment documents, the initial one and the rewrite.
3. Verbal consultation(s) via phone, Skype or Facetime up to 2 hours maximum. This can be spilt into three sessions if so desired and can include co-writer(s), director and producer(s).
THE SCRIPT: Script Editing & Consultation for screenplays
"To make a great film you need three things: the script, the script, and the script" Alfred Hitchcock
The next logical stage of proper development is adapting the Story Outline/Treatment into the Screenplay (or the Script). The various services that I provide are as follows:
BASIC LEVEL - from a first or early screenplay draft
Fee: €700.00 (US$815.00, £615.00.)
1. One 10 to 15-page maximum report that constructively critiques the screenplay in the areas of: characterization, relationships, plot & structure, quality of dialogue, story execution & possible screenplay form issues, audience & marketability.
2. Spot Notes directly on your actual screenplay document. Your document needs to be submitted in FINAL DRAFT.
3. Verbal consultation(s) via phone, Skype or Facetime up to 2 hours maximum. This can be spilt into two sessions if so desired.
ADVANCED LEVEL – from a screenplay at a more advanced stage
Fee: €1,150.00 (US$1,340.00, £1010.00)
1. Two very detailed 10 to 15-page maximum reports that constructively critique the screenplays in the areas of: characterization, relationships, plot & structure, quality of dialogue, story execution & possible screenplay form issues, audience & marketability. After reading and analyzing your initial screenplay draft, my first report is written and submitted. This is used by the writer(s) to aid in a rewrite. After reading and analyzing your rewrite draft, my second report is written and submitted.
This Advanced level is more detailed than the Basic and is intended to assist the writer(s) in a more ‘hands-on’ way with rewrites to achieve a very polished draft that may progress towards a casting and preproduction stage.
2. Spot Notes directly on your actual screenplay documents. Your documents need to be submitted in FINAL DRAFT.
3. Verbal consultation(s) via phone, Skype or Facetime up to 3 hours maximum. This can be broken up into multiple sessions if so desired and can include co-writer(s), director and producer(s).
TELEVISION SERIES IN DEVELOPMENT
I provide custom designed, bespoke packages to writers, producers, and production companies who are developing TV series projects, either in live action or animated.
This can include editor’s report(s) and consultation on the various components of a pitch page: IE the bible, loglines, the pilot episode screenplay, character descriptions, episode outlines (sometimes referred to as Springboards), promotional ‘teaser’ trailer scripts, etc.
My fee is dependent on what a client requires and the time involved in fulfilling their needs to achieve a powerful and compelling ‘can’t refuse/must see’ series.
TRAINING FOR WRITERS
STORYTELLING & SCREENWRITING
This 5 part, intensive, beginner/intermediate level course delves deeply into how to create a powerful and timeless story and what it takes to translate that into a professional quality screenplay.
Part 1 – Weeks one to two: Storytelling
'Story' - its role in the human experience – myths, fairy tales, fables, parables
Story components: theme, character and archetypes, structures, plotting,
genres; their themes and components, form
Part 2 – Weeks three to five: Screenwriting:
Format and proper screenplay language, dialogue writing, character development, tone, visual grammar, writing loglines and treatments, proper development process, the business of being a writer
Participant Profile: This course is aimed at anyone interested in creating stories, both short and full length, for the big and small screens. Writers in other disciplines (short stories, novels, poets, playwrights, comics, graphic novels) who are looking to develop new skills are welcome.
For course dates, times, cost and enrolling details, go to ‘WhatWhenCost’ on the site menu above.
“I’ve done many script and screenplay classes over the years, and found John’s invaluably insightful. He really broke down plot structure and character development in a way that clarified the process of building an engaging story. Highly recommended!” Nicky Phelan - Oscar Nominated Director of 'Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty' and Series Director at Brown Bag Films
"i found the class broke down the structure and dialogue of scripting like no other I have taken. It was extremely helpful' Bronagh O’Hanlon - Creator/ Series Director of the Disney Jr's 'Gilbert and Sadie' at Brown Bag Films
“One of the best classes I’ve done to date, I have learned a huge amount about Story and Screenwriting and got a great insight of the dos and don’ts in the industry. John’s knowledge is endless and his passion for writing keeps you highly interested” Darren Murray - 2D Artist, Brown Bag Films, Dublin
“John Dawson’s screenwriting workshop really helped me to understand story and screenwriting principles and how to implement them in my own work. His passion for film is palpable and incredibly motivating and his concise breakdown of scriptwriting has been deeply beneficial in easing and guiding me towards my own finished piece." Anahita Tabarsi - Digital Media Co-ordinator, Brown Bag Films, Dublin
Feature Film Screenwriting
This 5-part, intensive, intermediate level course will delve deeply into how to craft a powerful and highly professional quality feature length screenplay for either an animated or live action film
Weeks One & Two: The Story
Story: its function in society and its components, Structure: the architecture of a story: analysis of 3 Act and 5 Act The Character Roadmap: the importance of change
Plot: scenes, acts, turning points, pacing
Week Three: The Screenplay
Dialogue writing, character development, tone, visual grammar,
Genre: the components and themes of each, Working against Genre: the ‘break-able’ rules and combining genres
Week Four: Proper Screenplay Language and Form - part two
Writing outlines and treatments, The Process of Writing: inspiration, conceptual thinking, the core idea, 3D thinking, Create your Logline: Assignment - part one
Animation vs Live Action: the differences and similarities
Proper development process, The business of being a writer, Pitch your Logline: Assignment - part two
Participant Profile: This course is aimed at those interested in writing feature length screenplays including experienced writers who want to hone their existing skills and those from other disciplines who want to develop new ones.
For course dates, times, cost and enrolling details, go to ‘WhatWhenCost’ on the site menu above.
This 5-part, beginner/intermediate level course delves deeply into the nature of comedy, its components, styles, and how to create its effect in stories for the screen, both short and feature length.
Weeks One and Two - Comedy in cinema – a historical overview, The Comedic Effect – why we laugh and the subjectivity of humor, verbal humor, physical humor, visual humor
Structure: the architecture of a story - 3 Act and 5 Act structures
Proper Screenplay Language and Form
Week Three - Creating comedic characters, themes and premises
Genres of comedy: similarities & differences of screwball, rom com,
satire, slap stick, spoof, buddy comedy, etc.
Tone: Light vs. Dark – the importance of irony
Dramatic genres turned comic – IE horror comedy, action comedy
Week Four - Creating comedic core ideas and situations
Comedic characters, Physical Humor, Verbal Humor,
Comedic Devises: callbacks, running gags, visual and & prop gags
Using improvisation as a writing tool
Pitch your comedy idea and discuss – part one
Week Five - From Screenplay to Screen - Analysis of an Award Winning feature length screenplay (provided to participants and pre-read before class) and an in-class discussion during a live screening of the completed film
Pitch your comedy idea and discuss – part two
Participant Profile: This course is perfect for writers/comedians/performers involved in sketch comedy, improv, and stand-up comedy as well as short story writers, novelists, and screenwriters.
For course dates, times and cost, go to ‘WhatWhenCost’ on the site menu above.
"John’s knowledge of comedy and how to create it is immense. The training I have done with him in improvisation and sketch comedy writing constantly informs my own work to this day and will do so long into the future. I highly recommend this workshop for all who want to tickle an audience’s funny bone. His passion is infectious and you will always leave the class with a smile on your face and fire in your soul.” Richard Keane – Episodic Director at Brown Bag Films, Dublin