Storytelling for The Screen: An Introduction to Story for Creative Collaborators.

Cinema and television are narrative media, so a deep understanding how stories work is an advantage for everyone working in the industry. No matter what your role is in the creative process, being able to deconstruct a script and harness your talents to serve the story is an invaluable skill.

This day-long workshop examines the basic building blocks of story, especially as it works in film and television. We will look at:

  • Why We Tell Stories
  • How Stories on Screen Differ from Other Narrative Media
  • Audience Participation in the Story
  • Creating and Sustaining Dramatic Tension
  • When (and Why) to Withhold Information and When to Share It
  • How to Find The Beginning, Middle and End of Your Story
  • How to Choose what to Keep and What to Pare Away in a Second Draft
  • Plot and Character  – How They Are Intertwined

The morning will be a lecture with q & a. There will be examples from different short films. The afternoon will consist of a film analysis, showing the theory we have at work.  This workshop will suit people interested in Writing, Directing, Editing and Acting for The Screen.

Tutor: Mary Kate O Flanagan is an award-winning screenwriter and story consultant in the European film and television industry. She teaches story in The UK, The US, South Africa, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, Romania, The Czech Republic, Norway, Slovakia, Poland, Iceland and Malta as well as in Ireland. With her sister Rachel O’Flanagan, she gives training in the storytelling skills of cinema and television. They have lived in several countries and are particularly interested in the stories individuals and peoples tell about themselves and how those stories inevitably shape their futures.

Mary Kate is Ireland’s First Grand Slam Champion Storyteller at The Moth, a title she won at The Abbey Theatre in October 2015. She is also The Grand Slam Champion Storyteller at The Moth in LA, a title she won in January 2017.

Date:  None currently scheduled.

Time:  10am – 5pm

Location: Bow Street

Fee: €100

Applications: Please send CV to:


I have both participated in workshops with Mary Kate and received notes from her on projects of my own. She has an extraordinary diagnostic ability when it comes to finding problems in story structure and – just as important – she has a mercifully gentle touch when it comes to delivering the news – never proscriptive, never doctrinaire, just a very sure sense of what audiences respond to and how best to shape the story that the writer wants to tell. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of film and brings joy, humor and patience to a difficult process. It’s been my great pleasure to work alongside her.”   Lisa Albert, Writer-Producer, Mad Men

I have known Rachel and Mary Kate professionally for ten years and Mary Kate has been my colleague on numerous programmes around Europe, working  with experienced and emerging screenwriters. Their understanding of storytelling for the screen is second to none and they are clear and organised communicators. Their enthusiasm for their subject in infectious and they are very popular with participants. They have the gift of giving encouragement to writers. They are organised, diligent and generous with their time and attentions. I’d recommend them to anyone who needs help writing a story as their skills are rare to find.”  Martin Daniel, Professor of Screenwriting, USC.

I have known Mary Kate  and Rachel for ten years in a variety of capacities: MK as a writer, and both as script editor s and as  teachers of screenwriting. I have had the opportunity to see them interact with writers and producers, give feedback and helpful advice to struggling writers and in every area, they have excelled. The O’Flanagans have a terrific story sense, a very keen ability to zero in on both the strengths and weaknesses of a given story and then to guide a writer through the difficulties of grappling with the story problems presented. Mary Kate and Rachel have developed a gentle, understated approach when dealing with writers (a notoriously thin-skinned breed) that sets them at ease and allows advice, feedback, brainstorming and all-around help sink in effectively”. David Howard, Author The Tools of Screenwriting and How to Write A Great Screenplay