Writing A Screenplay That Works

Aspirant screenwriters will receive hands-on experience in writing the first 10 pages of their screenplay in The Writing Studio’s The Write Journey workshop that takes place on Saturday November 8 and 15 from 10am until 6pm.

The workshop is presented by Daniel Dercksen, a published playwright and screenwriter, who has been teaching workshops throughout South Africa the past 15 years, with filmmakers like Henk Pretorius (Bakgat, Leading Lady), John Barker (How to Steal a Million, Spud 3) and Sallas de Jager (Roepman, Verraaiers, Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux) as proud graduates of previous workshops.

The outcome-based The Write Journey workshop looks at how to conceptualise and explore ideas, amplifying thematic purpose, defining and developing characters, and plotting and structuring the story to make the most of its comedic of dramatic potential.

At the end of the 2-Saturday workshop the writers will write the first 10 pages, and then work individually with trainer Dercksen on on-on-one sessions to develop and complete a draft that will be evaluated by The Write Agency, and then forwarded to potential producers locally and internationally.

The Writing Studio is an independent training initiative that celebrates the art of storytelling and the craft of writing, fostering the talent of proudly South African storytellers and storymakers.

Daniel Dercksen, the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative has been a published film and theatre journalist for 30 years and has been teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa the past 19 years.

During this time, Dercksen presented a Master Class for Screenwriters at the Talent Campus at the Sithengi Film and TV Market in Cape Town, facilitated   a ‘Directing Actors’ workshop with acclaimed actor Eriq Ebouaney, launched an evening course in scriptwriting at the City Varsity Film TV and Multimedia School in Cape Town, presented annual community workshops the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre in Kwa Mashu as part of the Kwa Mashu Film Festival, a course for the Cape Film Commission at the Ikapa Youth Film Festival, a Masterclass at the 2012 Kunjanimation Animation Festival, served as guest speaker and Judge at the 2013 48 Hours Film Project and presented a workshop for animators at Blackginger TV (2013).

As a qualified ETD Practitioner (Education, Training and Development) – accredited by SAQA (The South African Qualifications Authority) and working in accordance with the principles of the Department of Education – Dercksen’s workshops focus on outcomes-based education, training and development.

The Write Journey workshop takes place at The Writing Studio in Greenpoint, Cape Town on Saturday, November 8 and 15 from 10am until 6pm.

For registration send an email to or call Daniel on 072 474 1079. Visit the website for more information.


Double International Win For South African Movie Four Corners

Ian Gabriel’s South African thriller Four Corners achieved a double win last night at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival where it played in competition with films from the USA and around the world. The film received the Best International Feature award and walked away with the evening’s top honour winning Best Feature (International or USA) beating out Tommy Lee Jones directorial outing The Homesman starring Hilary Swank and Meryl Streep which received the Best Feature (USA) Award.

The festival screened to 10 000 film enthusiasts in the famous Santa Fe desert Art centre, where some 80 film titles were on show. Veteran actress Shirley MacLaine received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Four Corners will screen next week as part of the United Kingdom 20 Years of Democracy tour, with screenings across Wales Scotland and England before going on general UK cinema release. Ian Gabriel will travel to UK for the Democracy Tour Q&A sessions which will be launched next week by Labour Peer Lord Paul Boateng.

DVD’s of Four Corners are available at Musica stores or online through

Four Corners was produced by Giant Films and Moonlighting Films, with the assistance of the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa and the Industrial Development Corporation.


Neil Patrick Harris To Host The 2015 Oscars

Award-winning star of stage and screen Neil Patrick Harris will host the 87th Oscars®, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. This will be Harris’ first time hosting the ceremony. The show will air live on ABC on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015.

“We are thrilled to have Neil host the Oscars,” said Zadan and Meron. “We have known him his entire adult life, and we have watched him explode as a great performer in feature films, television and stage. To work with him on the Oscars is the perfect storm, all of his resources and talent coming together on a global stage.”

“It is truly an honor and a thrill to be asked to host this year’s Academy Awards. I grew up watching the Oscars and was always in such awe of some of the greats who hosted the show,” said Harris. “To be asked to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, and everyone else who had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket list dream come true.”

“We share Craig and Neil’s excitement in welcoming the incredibly talented Neil Patrick Harris,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President. “He is the consummate entertainer. Neil’s distinctive charm and showmanship make him the ideal host to honor the Oscar legacy and ensure we all enjoy another unforgettable celebration.”

“Neil is a terrific actor, singer, risk-taker and collaborator,” said Dawn Hudson, Academy CEO. “We can’t wait to see the show that he and Craig and Neil create together.”

“Neil Patrick Harris is highly energetic and a definitive entertainer,” said Paul Lee. “We are thrilled to have him as our 2015 Oscar host.”

A triple-threat performer, Harris has enjoyed a successful career in entertainment. He can currently be seen starring opposite Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in David Fincher’s critically-acclaimed feature film, “Gone Girl.” Harris garnered multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe award nominations for his role as Barney Stinson on the hit television series, “How I Met Your Mother,” and he won an Emmy for his guest-starring role on “Glee” in 2010. He also recently starred in the title role of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway, earning the 2014 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Harris served as host of the 61st and 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as the 63rd, 65th, 66th and 67th Tony Awards, for which he won four Emmys. Most recently, Harris added the title of author to his list of accomplishments with the release of his autobiography from Crown Publishing, “Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography.”

The last two Oscars telecasts, which were produced by Zadan and Meron, received a major spike in the ratings. The 86th Oscars was TV’s most-watched entertainment event in 10 years and attracted the biggest viewership since 2000, with more than 45 million viewers. The show resulted in dramatic gains in younger demos and social media conversation, with more than one billion impressions generated on Twitter and 25 million interactions happening on Facebook on Oscar Sunday. Additionally, the star-studded “selfie” became the most retweeted photo of all time with 32.8 million views.

The Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 4 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.


Lone Survivor (DVD): Review

The Film

Marcus Luttrell leads a team of soldiers to capture a high value enemy soldier. During this mission, they are discovered by some locals friendly with the enemy, and not too long after find themselves in a huge firefight with hostiles.

Lone Survivor gets to the point of the story very quickly, and maintains a high level of adrenalin as the fight progresses. This is sure to be a film that any action or war story junkie is bound to watch over and over, as they are drawn into the story and engulfed in the action.

Read the SAMDB Review of the Lone Survivor cinema release.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, and there are no visible artefacts. It can also be scaled to an HD screen without looking too bad. The soundtrack makes a lot of use of a surround system, and is sure to cause many viewers to dodge at least one bullet or rocket fired on screen.

There are sadly no bonus features on this disc.

Lone Survivor is now available to purchase in South Africa.


Die Windpomp (DVD): Review

The Film

The story of young Hendri, a young man in his 20s, living in a retirement village. Here, he meets a colourful collection of characters who make up the population of senior citizens.

Hendri soon meets Tannie Marietjie, as she asks him for small favours, and in general, looks out for the young lad. Soon a friendship develops between the two. Soon Hendri is to meet Margot, a delightful young girl, when he quietly follows some people to a dam, with a windmill at the centre.

Not long, and a close bond develops between Hendri and Margot, the blossoming of love.

Die Windpomp is a story with some very interesting twists. Watching the film several times on DVD, one is sure to set out to look for those clues, and although viewers are likely to know the great plot twists, it is still an endearing film that teaches us to look to ourselves, and who we are, and accept love from those around us.

Read the SAMDB Review of Die Windpomp cinema release.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, meaning there are no visible artefacts, and it could be scaled up to HD without too many problems. The soundtrack does not lend itself to a surround mix, so keeps the viewer fixed on the action in front of their eyes.

There are no bonus features on the disc.

Die Windpomp is available now to purchase in South Africa.