What Works and What Doesn’t!

– by Na’a Murad; conductor of Enfiniti Academy’s Scriptwriting Workshop in March 2017

A famous screenplay writer (whose name escapes me, unfortunately) said: “A screenplay in itself is not a work of art. It is an invitation to create a work of art.” I totally agree with this and I would actually go one step further and say that it is nearly impossible to create an exceptional film or play without an exceptional script to begin with.

The screenplay writer, in Malaysia, is a sadly undervalued species, when in reality they should be one of the most important parts of the stage play and filmmaking process! As a result…well, switch on your TV and watch some Malaysian TV shows and movies and you’ll see the unfortunate lost opportunities.

Part of the problem is that financiers, producers and directors don’t always see the value of scriptwriters. The larger part of the problem is that young people entering the field don’t want to be SCRIPTWRITERS!

I have taught at Film School and find that only ONE IN FIVE of the students want to write. I keep hearing, “I hate writing dialogue” OR “I am more of a visual person”. I want to change that! I want writers to come forward and be in the position to “invite others to create works of art.”

I meet so many young (and not so young) people who are passionate about writing and recognize that improved scripts will elevate the stage, film/TV industry. If good scriptwriters flood the industry, their influence will be felt. Someone hopefully, will notice!

I never considered myself a teacher, an instructor or a mentor. Although having parents who were both educators, I respect the profession very much. Four years ago, when Joanna Bessey invited me to conduct a Scriptwriting Workshop at Enfiniti Academy, I thought: “That’s mad! I can’t teach!” Then I started thinking of what I learned in Film School and as a professional. What if I fused the two experiences?

Based on the workshops I have been conducting at Enfiniti Academy over the past four years, the process has changed a lot. Through student writing exercises, I learnt a lot from the participants about what works and what doesn’t!

The DNA of the workshops hasn’t changed and the foundations of learning how to be a good writer are simple. For me, the more I write, the more I understand writing. The same principle underlies every discipline.

While teaching in Film School, I discovered some theories are so complicated, so pedantic, that the students feel that they are doing Advance Calculus. No theories in writing, unless it can be worked on and tested in an easy, unfussy manner.

Collaborative writing will allow ideas to grow, to take unexpected twists and to gain full potential. This comes from my experiences of writing, for many years, with that large collection of brilliantly creative maniacs called The Instant Café Society. This exercise will give a guidance to illustrate how any given idea has infinite potential.

To help more in learning about writing, watching exciting, classic movie clips is insightful and fun!

As for this year’s workshop in March, I will add a brand new foundation into the DNA. Each participant will walk away having written a complete Short Film script or at least a detailed treatment of one! Again, something I am taking from the Film School. A sense of mission, a target will make the workshop more exciting.

Also, the participants will have opportunity to have their works eventually performed by Enfiniti Academy’s Acting students. And again, this is something from my professional life: “There is no greater joy for a TRUE SCRIPTWRITER, than to see their work come to life.”

And that, people, is my invitation to the few who are compelled to write and create works of art!


Join acclaimed director and writer NA’A MURAD (Buli, Kopitiam, Buddies and Talk About Love – 1st Runner Up for Best Sitcom at the Asian Television Awards) in this hands-on SCRIPTWRITING WORKSHOP that focuses on ACTUALLY writing not just theory! The 4-day workshop will be happening on the 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th March 2017 at Enfiniti Academy. For registration and enquiries, contact us at +603.6142.8115 OR e-mail enact@enfiniti.com.my

Scriptwriting Workshop starts this March!

3 thoughts on “What Works and What Doesn’t!

  1. Having worked with some local producers, it feels like most financiers don’t find production to be a collaborative effort. I try to gear the scripts I write to be as open as possible to allow for changes and adjustments as needed, to cater to the artists or designers or vocal artists in animation productions. Often, they seem to want a rigid script to follow, full and complete before starting production, adjusted to what they think they can do without attempting anything different
    I think I’ve been lucky with some of these producers I’ve worked with, and had wonderfully collaborative work relationship, and it IS such a joy to watch those words come to life. But I’ve also been with some productions where I’ve had to rewrite over 80% of a script because their artist can’t animate what’s been written (even after approval).

    I’ve yet to have anything done in live-action though.
    Anyway, thanks for the article.

    Liked by 1 person

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