Shorts by Forties (Women only) (Age: 25-45)

This class will teach participants the basics of script writing so that they can write original scripts for short films 1-5 minutes long. It is designed for women 25-45 years old who are interested in learning more about digital storytelling, script writing, and the basics of filmmaking.

Class Outline

Week One
 Welcome, Introductions, Opening Notes                                                            

  1. The 3 Act Structure in Storytelling - Explanation, exploration, and practice with the classic Greek structure of storytelling with using 3 major divisions when telling a story.
  2. Break
  3. Script Outlines – Generate 3-5 ideas - Everyone will have time to brainstorm and write 3 different script ideas using the principles of the 3 Act Structure and also receive feedback on them                                                          
  4. 3. Pitch Rounds: 30-second pitches to other participants - Participants will be introduced to the idea of the “art of a pitch” or the 30 seconds to 1-minute filmmakers have to convince funders to invest in them. Using their script outlines, they will choose 1 film to pitch to the entire workshop in order to receive feedback.
  5. Break          
  6. Film Screening: The Lunch Date by Adam Davidson, Short Film winner, Oscar (1989)

Week Two

 Scene Work

  1. What is the character doing, how are they changing, and how is the story progressing? - Showing internal and external conflict in film through character development in storytelling/script writing.
  2. Storyboarding and envisioning a story - Understanding the role of a storyboard in helping to prepare the actor/director/crew for filming.
  3. Break
  4. Revisions of story outlines - Choosing 1 project to hone in on and create a compelling storyboard around the story outlines by applying the information about character development learned in this week’s seminar.
  5. Re-pitch strongest ideas - In small groups, participants will re-pitch their chosen project for more feedback and further revision.
  6. Break
  7. Film Screening: A Dog’s Life (Charlie Chaplin)

Week Three

  1. Mentor Meetings, 1:1 with Facilitator - Each participant will have 10 minutes to discuss her project with the facilitator in a one-on-one setting to ask questions.
  2. Write, Reflect, Revise final story choice - Self-guided rewrite of chosen script
  3. Break
  4. Ins/Outs of planning a shoot - An overview of the practical considerations of filming (lighting, sound, weather etc.)
  5. Break
  6. Final film concept presentations - Each participant will present her selected project to the entire group.
  7. Film Screening: Alive in Joburg (Neill Blomkamp))

Week Four

  1. Finalize script drafts - Self-guided work on the final version of the screenplay to make sure it is ready for shooting.
  2. Looking further outside the story for inspiration/expansion - Spend some research time looking at how others have treated similar ideas, themes, stories, and characters.
  3. Break
  4. Peer Review Final Concepts - Final round of small group pitches to test the story ideas and polish them off.
  5. Film Screening: Kung Fury (David Sandberg)

Please note: VCUQatar reserves the right to cancel classes for which not enough participants are registered. Already paid fees will be refunded.

Please do not purchase materials until VCUQatar has sent final course confirmation.

Items to buy for this class

Participants will bring their own laptops, notebooks, writing materials, etc. 

On occasions, there may be some more materials to be bought and brought in if and when advised by the instructor.

Where to buy your materials

Most of the materials are available from any art supply shop, for example:

  • Cass Art (Fire station): Community Classes students get a 15% discount upon presenting the registration ticket
  • Jarir Bookstore: on Rayyan Road or Salwa Road
  • Color Note: on Al Nasser Street
  • Ibn Al Qayyim: at Markhiya Roundabout
  • Al Rawnaq

Register »

Terms & Conditions apply

Participants must buy their own materials

Mon, 29 Aug, 2022
Mon, 19 Sep, 2022


Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had two sons, and became a writer.  She has since published eight e-books, including a momoir for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me; a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies; a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories; and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace.

Her coming of age novel, An Unlikely Goddess, won the SheWrites New Novelist competition in 2011.

Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. The Domestics is an inside look into compound life, the day-to-day dynamics between housemaids and their employers.

After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines. To learn more about her work visit her website.