Hone Your Skills as a Script Writer

By Ashok Kumar

Today we see several events related to Bollywood or mainly Bollywood based. Time has come now to look beyond Bollywood. In Sydney there is heaps of talent in the form of actors, directors and writers. And, we have an opportunity coming up on 6th June 2010 whereby an ordinary or hobby writer can emerge a prolific script witer or may even be writing a script for a Bollywood film.

Abhnay School of Performing Arts is conducting a Play-writing workshop for the aspiring Indian writers with world renowned Playwright, Producer, Director and Actor Alex Broun at Hurstville Entertainment Centre from 09.00 hrs to 1300 hrs.

Abhinay School of Performing Arts enables students to explore their creativity and learn essential acting skills. We will help you nurture and refine your creativity. Under the tutorship of accomplished theatre personality Aishveryaa Nidhi, you’ll learn the different nuances of acting, from analysing the script to improvisation and dialogue delivery. You’ll also get training in diction and body language.

Abhinay School of Performing Arts also invites experts (veteran actors and directors) from Australia and abroad to share their experiences and industry skills with the students, and sometimes develop ambitious theatre from scratch. As part of Abhinay Theatre, we’ve had workshops with eminent theatre director Arvind Gaur (of Asmita Theatre, New Delhi) and Dinesh Khanna (professor of acting at National School of Drama, New Delhi

Aishveryaa Nidhi is a Sydney-based actor and filmmaker. In 2009, she was nominated for the Best Actress Award in Short+Sweet Sydney (the biggest festival of 10-minute plays in the world), for her powerful performance in Mandragora, written by David Sharpe and directed by Lisa Eismen.

She is the Associate Producer of the 2006 Hollywood mystery- drama Beyond Life. More recently, she has co-directed the Aussie-Bollywood flick Flight to Bollywood.

Aish is also actively involved in popularising Indian theatre in Australia and New Zealand. As the Artistic Director of Sydney-based group, Abhinay Theatre, Aish has produced and acted in immensely popular theatre productions, such as Gandhari (solo performance), Kuntiputra Karna and Hamare Padosi.

 The Indian Sub-continent Times talked to Alex Broun about why the aspiring Indian writers should join the workshop and how the workshop could be beneficial for them.

The IST: The Ethinic Indian writers are wary of what subject to write on— since Short + Sweet audience is mainly Aussie. In other words how would the cultural gap fill in
AB: Australia is a very multi-cultural society and that is reflected in the audience of Short+Sweet – as anybody who comes along to Short+Sweet would discover. The Short+Sweet audience is by no means “anglo-celtic”. It is made up of Indian Australians, Chinese Australians, Japanese Australians, Lebanese Australians. Whatever ethnic origins you can think of they will be represented both on stage at Short+Sweet and in the audience. So Ethnic Indian writers shouldn’t worry about the audience. Just write a play on whatever subject you want to write it on and if it’s a good play the audience will enjoy it.
The IST: What subject would you suggest that would be appropriate for the Short+Sweet audience
AB: Write a play on any subject you like in any style you like. That’s the great thing about Short+Sweet. We present over 150 plays each year in Sydney so we’re looking for plays of all styles and subjects. The only restriction is the play must be ten minutes or less. Apart from that write whatever you like. For example if anyone wanted to approach us at Short+Sweet with a work drawing on the rich cultural heritage of India we would be delighted to have it. Someone just needs to come up with the script.
The IST :  How many Indians writers, actors and directors are active in Short & Sweet?
 AB: Some of our most talented artists in Short+Sweet are of Indian heritage. There is Uma Kali-Shakti, who is wonderfully talented Fijian-Indian actor, writer and director and we also have an Indian director – Sadashivam Rao, whose brilliant production of Rain and Ruin was one of our gala finalists in Sydney this year. There was also the very talented young writer and director Rajiv Rajendra who travelled over from Singapore to direct a play at Short+Sweet in Sydney this year, also the actress Karina Bracken and of course Aishveryaa Nidhi, one of our most talented actors, who was nominated for Best Actress for the entire festival last year. These are just a few of the wonderful artists of Indian origin who contribute to the Short+Sweet community.
The Artistic Director of Short+Sweet International, Mark Cleary, also travelled to India recently to explore the possibilities of launching Short+Sweet India – so look out for more news of that.
The IST : What makes a gripping and captivating script 
AB: The five criteria that we feel make up a good script at Short+Sweet are Character, Story, Dialogue, Dramatic Tension/Humour and Theatricality. But the secret to a really good ten minute play is a great middle. Something needs to happen around the four to six minute mark that both raises the stakes and accelerates the action. It’s like the car’s been cruising along at sixty and suddenly it accelerates to one hundred. The play speeds towards a thrilling but inevitable conclusion. If you get that right the audience will get so caught up in the characters and story they will forget they are even watching a play.”
The IST : What is expected of the workshop and where the participants will go from here
AB: The main aim of the workshop is to Inspire people to write a ten minute play and then Inform them with the tools to do it. At the course writers will learn about how to write a ten minute play and we hope that then they will go away and write a play that can then go on to be produced at Short+Sweet and other theatre festivals around the globe. Local Ethnic Communities can also form their own theatre companies and present work but again it all start with someone writing the play first. You can enter a play to Short+Sweet now as well. Just go to – http://www.shortandsweet.org/shortsweet-theatre/submit-script 
The IST: Also, would appreciate if you would like to give any message for the Indian budding writers
AB: The message I would give to budding Indian writers is write. Just write. You’ll never know what you can come up with unless you try. Begin now. Join a theatre group, write a play, take an acting class – get involved. Do my playwrighting course! If you want to be involved in the industry then get involved at whatever level you can. There’s very little chance you’re going to be discovered sitting in your lounge room. Get out and do something and who knows what might happen. Also read the plays available on my website – www.alexbroun.com – where you can read, download and even perform my work for free. If you are interested in reading some ten minute plays – that’s a good place to start.

For details of the workshop interested writers may contact Aishveryaa Nidhi, President of Abhinay Theatre on 0488200222 or visit www.abhinay.com.au email abhinay.schoolofperformingarts@gmail.com

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About Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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