Shot by Shot: A Workshop for Directors, with Josh Appignanesi

What makes a filmmaker distinctive? And what does it mean to tell a story cinematically? This two-day workshop with director and writer Josh Appignanesi (The Infidel; Song of Songs) aims to help emerging and early-career film directors answer these overarching questions by addressing in richly practical detail the fundamental question of visual storytelling: how and why do you choose which shots to tell your story with?

Generously interspersed with clips and practical storyboarding exercises, this workshop will help you develop your directorial identity and achieve your directorial vision by giving you an expert-led grounding in:

  • The technical aspects of shot selection needed to tell a story your way: composition, framing, blocking and positioning of actors, background, palette, costume, lenses, light, and camera movement
  • How to create suspense and involvement in the edit by arranging your various shots in relation to each other
  • How to use repetition and inversion of shots to create a coherent system of images that build into a moving and memorable visual story
  • How to refer to and exploit the audience’s assumptions about genre
  • How to apply these ideas practically in your prep and on set, so that you get the shots you want as well as the coverage you need

Part of the workshop will be dedicated to analysing participants’ own work. Those attending are therefore encouraged – though by no means required – to share one of their own short films. This should be supplied on a properly written DVD and have a maximum running time of 10 minutes. Further details will be sent on registration, but you will be asked to provide a copy before the workshop for tech testing.

When: 22-23 April. Tuesday: 9.00am - 4.00 pm (registration from 8.50am). Wednesday: 10.00am – 5.00pm (registration from 9.50am).

Where: Tyneside Cinema, 10 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE1 6QG

Who is this for? Only 14 places are available on this workshop. It is open to a full spectrum of experience levels but preference will be given to writer-directors who have already made some short films and are ready to pursue longer-form scripted drama. Applicants must be creative professionals based in the North East of England who meet the criteria indicated here.


We will contact successful applicants by the end of Friday 11 April. If you are selected you will need to put down an attendance deposit of £50 to secure your place - though, thanks to the support of our funders, this will be reimbursed on completion of the full course to delegates who meet the eligibility criteria.


About Josh Appignanesi 

Josh is a writer/director based in London. He directed the comedy feature The Infidel, starring Omid Djalili, Richard Schiff, Matt Lucas and Archie Panjabi, scripted by David Baddiel. He also directed acclaimed art-house feature Song Of Songs, starring Natalie Press and co-written with Jay Basu. He has written and directed short films, music videos, documentaries, commercials and artworks, working with actors such as John Malkovich and David Tennant, and collaborating with artist Martin Creed among others. He mentors, advises and teaches internationally for various institutions including the London Film School, the Met Film School and Film London.


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