John Yorke Story: Story for Script Development

Learn the script-development and story-shaping skills you need to thrive in the booming HETV drama arena

A new generation of UK high end TV (HETV) shows are transforming how TV drama is conceived and made — drama is more ambitious than ever before, requiring bigger stories and larger, more complex teams. This seven-week course, run with our partners at John Yorke Story, will give you the story-structure and note-giving skills needed to step up and thrive in this growth area of TV production. You’ll become familiar with the key components of story structure and how to put them together to create a successful story. You’ll work out what makes stories resonate with TV audiences worldwide. You’ll master story structure, then apply those principles to diagnose and fix script problems within the context of an HETV production. Along the way you’ll develop increased judgement and self-confidence in selecting and presenting story ideas, distilling a story to its essence, working with writers, collating revisions on a script, pitching to a wider team, and giving and receiving notes.

Creative Skillset HETV logo

This course has been made possible by the support of Creative Skillset, and has been approved as part of an informal or formal continuing professional development (CPD) programme.

As this is a professional development course, you may be able to get funding from your employer to do it. All participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of completion evidencing their learning and study hours.


Start date: 28 May 2018
Duration: 7 weeks
Skill level: All
Session length: Weekly
Sessions: 6
Price: £900 (inc. VAT)

Course Director

Story for Script Development is for anyone working in TV drama, including editors, development assistants, trainee script editors, researchers, storyliners, story assistants, story supervisors and anyone else looking to learn the mechanics of story structure and apply that practical understanding to high end TV drama.

We teach this course in groups of up to 15 people. You can book as an individual for the group course, and production companies can block-book a dedicated class exclusively for their teams.

The course is suitable if you:

  • Are a trainee script editor, researcher or story assistant and want to learn how to plan and structure drama scripts
  • Are responsible for making high end TV drama, including editors and series producers
  • Want to move into HETV and learn more about the story expectations of the market and audience
  • Would like to sharpen your story structure skills and learn how to work with large-scale stories
  • Want to understand storylining over a series
  • Need to discover why scripts aren’t working — and how to fix them
  • Want to get better at collating and presenting notes, including giving notes you’d rather not give
  • Need to gain experience and confidence in working with writers
  • Are looking for a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

You’ll discover the underlying structure of all successful stories, learn the essential elements every HETV drama needs, and practise applying this understanding to your work in script development.

Throughout the course you’ll study real-world scripts that work — and some that don’t — to help you understand how thinking in story terms can help you identify and tackle problems, and make your note-giving more effective at all stages of the development process.

Along the way, you’ll be working within a supportive community keen to share their experiences.

Session 1: Introduction to storytelling
Session 2: Basic building blocks
Session 3: Fixing stories that don’t work
Session 4: Mastering act structure
Session 5: Giving and receiving notes
Session 6: Putting it all together



We teach this course in our online classroom, which is open 24/7 so you can fit learning around your work, family and friends. You’ll work in a small group of learners so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the weekly sessions.

You’ll learn from:

  • Short podcasts from John Yorke
  • Short videos from John Yorke and/or other industry experts
  • Written guidance notes and carefully selected reading and viewing lists
  • Practical exercises and prompts to help you experiment and practise your script skills
  • Guided discussions with your group
  • Weekly tutor input and feedback on your final assignment in each session
  • Live chat with your tutor and a script executive, and a Q&A forum with John Yorke
  • The opportunity to share your work and give and receive feedback from fellow writers
  • Detailed feedback on your final script notes at the end of the course from your tutor and John Yorke

You’ll need:

  • 5-7 hours per week to work through the course
  • A notebook and pen or pencil, if you like to make notes by hand
  • Access to the following films on DVD or via streaming sites:
    • Jaws and The Crown
  • A laptop or computer* with:
    • A reliable broadband internet connection
    • Speakers or headphones
    • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari
    • Microsoft Word. If you don’t have this you can download Open Office free
    • Adobe Reader, latest version. Download free
    • QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free

*You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

Join our alumni

After your course, you can join our online alumni where you’ll meet our growing network of past students. The alumni is a friendly group of writers who support each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing.

Within our online alumni area you can:

  • Rejoin your classmates on a private forum, together with access to an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
  • Meet alumni from other courses and groups and share your writing for feedback
  • Join discussions about reading, writing and ideas
  • Retain access to our online resources area, which we constantly update with interesting and informative links
  • Chat with other people in our online alumni chatroom. We also host live chats with guest tutors here

Mentoring and one-to-one feedback

The John Yorke Story tutor team offer mentoring, script reads and reports. We are happy to quote by job or script, or to arrange a longer mentoring scheme as you work on a specific story idea. We’ll create a package to suit you, so for more information please email

Taking things further

If you would like to continue on to another Professional Writing Academy, or John Yorke Story course, you'll receive a 15% discount.

Watch John Yorke’s Google talk 


What our students say...

I have previously attended script courses, for example, the Robert McKee one, and there is no comparison. John Yorke’s teaching methods are far more in depth and vibrant and the industry guests full of inspiration, generous with their hot tips and insightful.


What our students say...

The course has helped me move strides ahead in my writing. I wasn’t completely aware of this until my co-writer stopped me mid-structural-analysis of an episode and asked which lesson of the course had made me so good at analysing structure. That was a pretty huge compliment.


What our students say...

I’ve learned so much and feel I understand the elements required to make a story tick. And I’ve somehow absorbed those over the duration of this course to the point where they feel really natural and intuitive and I find myself watching TV and picking them out time after time.


What our students say...

I found the clips really useful in illustrating the taught material. It was also useful having the lecture notes to take away, but it was the clips that really made me understand what I was being taught.


What our students say...

All the help and feedback during the course has been fantastic, and as a result of the course, I feel much more confident about tackling difficult story lines than I ever have done before.


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Price: £900 (inc. VAT)
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