AFDA | Script Camp | April 2024



Only two weeks to go until the first term is done and dusted. It’s Monday, and I’m working from home again. The first five weeks of the term were crazy with all the driving back and forth and coming in every day. But the second half has been better-paced because I only had to be on campus about two or three times a week.

I spend the morning posting my ‘Boy & Girl’ short script on my website, update my March newsletter and post it online, answer emails to various universities, and also add more slides to my PowerPoint Presentation that I will have to do on Thursday. All in all, good start to the week.


We have our writing session this morning, and Caleb reads my Boy & Girl script out loud to the whole class. The feedback is positive; Andrina says it’s interesting, and Caleb says he immediately notices that story structuring is one of my strengths, and that I know how to build tension in my stories.. Reading my script out loud also shows gaps in my basic understanding of how scripts need to be written, such as adding ‘FADE IN’ and ‘FADE OUT’; ‘EXTERIOR’ vs ‘INTERIOR’; the characters’ ages need to be added in the descriptions; add more audio and visual cues, etc. 

To my surprise, Caleb says I will need to write the Group Film by myself this coming weekend. I thought it was going to be a group writing project next week during ‘Script Camp’… but it seems like I have to do it by myself. It’s a bit of a strange turn; nonetheless, I’m willing to take on this challenge. The film will be 24 minutes in total, which means that I will need to write 24 pages this weekend. 

Later on, we all attend Dr. Moodley’s last class for the term. She discusses reflexivity and positionality with us. I find both highly interesting and informative. I’ve really enjoyed my classes with her this term. 

We are each given a fun exercise where we have to write a paragraph on the story of our lives, and in this way share with the group how the first scene of our ‘life movie’ would start. It is fascinating to hear everyone’s stories; it’s even more fascinating to see how they view their own lives. It’s a shame AFDA doesn’t make the students’ lives and their stories part of the curriculum for making short films. I think so much gold could come out of it It’s like Chulu says, ‘We could start our own production company based off this group and make films that focus on our lives…’


I practice my PowerPoint presentation in front of my mom today, and I realize I have way too many slides with a heavy heart, I cut it from 24 slides to only 15 slides I practice it a few times until I feel that I’m ready for my presentation tomorrow afternoon.


My writing class is so interesting today. Caleb teaches us the basic principles of adaptation. This is something I’ve long been interested in. I love reading books, then watching the films/television series to analyze how they did it, and vice versaDefinitely something I’d love to do one day. ‘You can adapt any medium into a film – art, poetry, books, articles, theatre, computer games, comic books, children’s toys, etc,’ Caleb teaches us.

And then it’s time for our presentations. No one wants to go first, so I volunteer. The feedback that I receive from Ms. Kock and Mr. Wilby is incredibly encouraging:

Ms. Kock:

  • You’re very professional
  • You presented it very confidently
  • Your presentation is polished and well-thought-through
  • You already have a very good understanding of your topic
  • Very well done
  • Need to find a theoretical framework before you start
  • What is your overall aim and purpose (the broad view)?
  • Some of your statements were very profound – like ‘invisible disability

Mr Wilby:

  • Maybe focus just on the SA film industry, not Hollywood 
  • Ask the deaf actors about their personal experiences, and interview them after you’ve done the questionnaire


It’s the weekend, and I have a huge task in front of me: I have to write the first draft of my concept idea. Because I’ve already started with the research notes for my thesis subject, I can use those notes for my script. It helps me immensely because now I don’t have to do my research all over again. 

I focus on the 10 Beats structure that Caleb taught us in writing class, and I write the structure around it. I also watch two episodes for inspiration – Only Murders In The Building Season 1 – Episode 07 and Hawkeye Season 1 – Episode 1. Both these episodes feature persons with hearing loss, and how they view their worlds. And then I start writing my script.


It’s day three of writing the script for ‘Read My Lips’, and I get to 11 pages. I had hoped to write all 24 pages, but it’s taking much more time than I initially thought it would. My mom reads the first 11 pages, and she’s ‘blown away by the whole story.’ This encourages me. Tomorrow, I’ll finish the first draft. 


I get up early and edit the first 11 pages, then I add 5 more pages of writing. It comes to a total of 16 pages. I am exhausted. Even though I didn’t write 24 pages, I am still satisfied with how the whole story turned out. I decide it’s enough for now; I will have a whole week to edit, polish, and add more scenes/dialogue. I print out five copies of the script – one for each writer and one for Caleb. I’m ready for tomorrow!



I wake up early to the smell of muffins in the oven. My sweet mother made a batch for me and the other writers. I drive to Port Elizabeth, and the road is full of new potholes because of the heavy rain this past weekend. There are also more trucks than usual. 

Before we officially kick off Script Camp, the writers each share what their hopes are for this week:

  • Seraya – I want the script to get to the point
  • Andrina – I want the locations to not be difficult to find and shoot
  • Mr Wilby – I want a screenplay in relation to each department in this group

So far, so good. Then we do a first read of the script, and then the producer and actors give positive feedback: 

  • Xabi – I like that the three actors are different now – there’s just one deaf character
  • Chulu –It is engaging, I want to find out more about the characters and the subtext is amazing
  • Seraya – Well done; this story was not easy to write
  • Andrina – I love that you have a flashback in the beginning, as well as in the end again

However, the group decides that the script might be too difficult to shoot, especially where continuity is concerned and we don’t have a director (yet). 

We use the rest of the day to brainstorm new ideas. Caleb suggests that we switch over to comedy, but the others want to stay within the crime/thriller genre. We play around some more with ideas, until I make a (not so) new suggestion, and the group loves the new concept idea. This means that I will need to stay at home tomorrow to write the new one. My first script and draft are thrown out completely. I am disappointed, but not all is lost because I can still use that script for the second script that I have to write this year. 


I get up early and start working on the script. I write the first 10 pages, which means I’m halfway there. I decide it’s more than enough to work on for now. I first want to hear from the rest of the group if it’s a good start before I finish the rest of the script on Thursday.


On my way to campus, I almost have a massive car accident: 

Just as I’m about to enter Port Elizabeth, an ambulance driver starts to change lanes, but he doesn’t see me and almost slams into my car. I hoot for a long time to warn him of his (almost) fatal mistake, and thankfully, he swerves back into his lane just in time. My whole body is shaking by the time I arrive on campus. I am so grateful that I am still okay. My mom sends me a message of prayer, to cut off the shock and trauma from what just happened. Silently, I say thank you to Jesus the whole day for protecting me.

We read through the new draft, and everyone is satisfied and happy with the new concept and storyline. Speech claps his hands in applause when we’re done reading it, and Chulu says, ‘I really like it – good job.’ Seraya – the producer – says, ‘It’s stunning.’

I had hoped to finish writing my written proposal for my thesis this week, for the deadline is tomorrow. It’s the same paper that will be sent to my soon-to-be supervisor. However, writing the new script is taking up all of my time, so I ask for an extension on the deadline. Mr. Wilby says it’s fine, I can write the proposal this weekend and send it on Monday. I am relieved. Now I can fully focus on just the script.


I’m incredibly tired todaybut I push through and write 10 more pages. Finally done, I print a copy for myself and go to bed early.


I have my moments where I find myself smiling for no reason. Even though I am extremely tired this week, I can’t believe that I finally get to do this. This is what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a teen in high school I want to write stories, be it for film or television. This is what I want to do with my life. 

Mr. Wilby comes to our class again and asks for an update on the script. ‘It’s commendable that you got this far,’ he says. He also says that the new script concept sounds much simpler and more doable for the crew. 

The rest of the group is happy with how the script turned out. We edit it a bit more, and with great relief, I send in the first official draft to Mr. Wilby. Script Camp – and the first term – is officially over.

Leave a Reply