FAQs

Education (1)

Courses in prose writing and scriptwriting are offered by many tertiary institutions (universities), film schools and individuals, as well as the WGSA.

You need to be clear on the following before choosing a course:

  1. What do you want to learn? For example, do you want to learn the basics of writing, or have you written a script that you want to polish and improve?
  2. How much time do you have? Are you in a situation where you can study full-time or part-time? Or do you only want to explore your interest in writing by doing a weekend course?
  3. How much can you afford to pay? Some courses are subsidised, like the Spark course run by the NFVF, but most courses are run as commercial ventures, and a fee is payable.
  4. WGSA offers monthly day sessions with local experts, and once a year a two-day session with an international expert.
    Please feel free to contact the WGSA or check the website for information of our courses on offer.

Hollywood (1)

Congratulations! All successful films start with an amazing script. However, there’s mostly a huge reality check in store for writers who think their script is what Hollywood has been waiting for. Statistics show that for every one script that is turned into a film in Hollywood, 1000 scripts were read and rejected. (And that’s not counting the number of scripts written, but which were never read.) Your script is probably amazing, however it’ll need to go through a great many doors before knocking on Hollywood’s gate.

Rather look at the local market first, and get a professional script assessment of your work done. Yes, that costs money, but it’ll help you improve your screenplay and up your chances of finding somebody to make a film of it. Enter your work in competitions, both local and international. If you win or get shortlisted in a competition, your name gets out there. You can also try to query reputable script agents or managers to help you get your script into the right hands. There are numerous sites on the internet which teach you how to write a query letter. Do your research and then approach as many people as possible. You’ll be lucky if you get a couple of responses, but that’s better than nothing. Just make sure that these respondees are reputable and are not just looking to make a quick buck out of you. Unfortunately there are many chancers out there.


Managers (1)

At this stage South Africa does not have a big enough market for script agents or managers to make a living out of representing clients. WGSA is in negotiation with potential local agents who also have international experience. We will let our members know when a local agency or management platform is ready to launch. In the meantime, The Script Shoppe on the WGSA website is designed to give local writers a place to market their work to local and international buyers.


Producers (2)

Congratulations! All successful films start with an amazing script. However, there’s mostly a huge reality check in store for writers who think their script is what Hollywood has been waiting for. Statistics show that for every one script that is turned into a film in Hollywood, 1000 scripts were read and rejected. (And that’s not counting the number of scripts written, but which were never read.) Your script is probably amazing, however it’ll need to go through a great many doors before knocking on Hollywood’s gate.

Rather look at the local market first, and get a professional script assessment of your work done. Yes, that costs money, but it’ll help you improve your screenplay and up your chances of finding somebody to make a film of it. Enter your work in competitions, both local and international. If you win or get shortlisted in a competition, your name gets out there. You can also try to query reputable script agents or managers to help you get your script into the right hands. There are numerous sites on the internet which teach you how to write a query letter. Do your research and then approach as many people as possible. You’ll be lucky if you get a couple of responses, but that’s better than nothing. Just make sure that these respondees are reputable and are not just looking to make a quick buck out of you. Unfortunately there are many chancers out there.


There are many independent producers in South Africa, ranging from large established production companies to emerging one-person operations. Most production companies have a niche area in which they work – be it features, corporates, commercials, TV dramas, TV soaps or documentaries. Sometimes they work in more than one genre, but there is usually one area that they are good at. Please contact the Independent Producers Organisation, with the genre of your script and they can provide you with a list of appropriate producers. The WGSA also offer a platform for its members to submit and market their products via our website, and we hold pitching sessions, where writers can pitch directly to local producers. Please look out for our mailed alerts or keep an eye on the website or our Facebook pages.


Screenplay (2)

Yes, sure. But then don’t be surprised if you receive no response. It is very, very unlikely that you will find a producer or a director or even a lowly script reader, who will read through 90-odd unsolicited pages. A more effective strategy is to NOT send the entire script. Rather, prepare a good logline and synopsis of the script, and use these to attract interest in response to calls for scripts, which you can find en-masse on the internet.. A logline is one paragraph which tells the reader who and what your story is about- the essence of the story or idea – and should not exceed 100 words. A synopsis consists of one to (at very most) 3 pages, which summarises the story or idea, gives a sense of the characters as well as the look and feel.

Before sending out your logline and synopsis, please ensure that you have secured copyright on your script by registering it with the WGSA Script Registry.


There is no provision in South African law to register ones copyright, other than copyright in a film as defined in the Copyright Act. What that means is that there is no copyright on an idea. It has to be written out to a minimum of synopsis length, and has to give a good outline of your characters, the problems they face and how they resolve their challenge. In other words, the more detail you put on paper, the better your chance of proving that a particular work is your Intellectual Property. The WGSA Script Registry allows you to lodge your synopsis, treatment and/or screenplay in a safe environment, and have it registered to your name on the date and time you submit it. This holds up in court as proof of ownership of the work as lodged. If you suspect that your work has been plagiarised , the copy you submitted to the registry will be compared to the work of the other party, and similarities in the story and character arcs as well as dialogue will be evaluated. Just changing names of characters and places is no longer sufficient to misappropriate a script or screenplay, and courts both locally and internationally have ruled very hard against people trying to steal other writers’ Intellectual Property.


Writing (4)

What do you want to write? A movie? A short story? A book? A TV programme? An article in a magazine? A stage play? A computer game? There are many different types of writing, and WGSA concentrates on performance writing., which means we do no actively work with prose writers like novelists, journalists or short story writers. But there often is an overlap between the different writing genres, so you can approach WGSA to help you get in touch with the right people.

Please also note that writing is not about being rich and famous. It’s about needing to write, about having something to say and doing it, even if you have to work in the middle of the night with an empty stomach.Writing is hard and frustrating work, the hardest you might ever do, but in the end it is also one of the most emotionally and creatively satisfying occupations you can get.

As Stephen King said, “I think that writers are made, not born or created out of dreams or childhood trauma – that becoming a writer is a direct result of conscious will. Of course there has to be some talent involved, but talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing.”


Yes, sure. But then don’t be surprised if you receive no response. It is very, very unlikely that you will find a producer or a director or even a lowly script reader, who will read through 90-odd unsolicited pages. A more effective strategy is to NOT send the entire script. Rather, prepare a good logline and synopsis of the script, and use these to attract interest in response to calls for scripts, which you can find en-masse on the internet.. A logline is one paragraph which tells the reader who and what your story is about- the essence of the story or idea – and should not exceed 100 words. A synopsis consists of one to (at very most) 3 pages, which summarises the story or idea, gives a sense of the characters as well as the look and feel.

Before sending out your logline and synopsis, please ensure that you have secured copyright on your script by registering it with the WGSA Script Registry.


There is no provision in South African law to register ones copyright, other than copyright in a film as defined in the Copyright Act. What that means is that there is no copyright on an idea. It has to be written out to a minimum of synopsis length, and has to give a good outline of your characters, the problems they face and how they resolve their challenge. In other words, the more detail you put on paper, the better your chance of proving that a particular work is your Intellectual Property. The WGSA Script Registry allows you to lodge your synopsis, treatment and/or screenplay in a safe environment, and have it registered to your name on the date and time you submit it. This holds up in court as proof of ownership of the work as lodged. If you suspect that your work has been plagiarised , the copy you submitted to the registry will be compared to the work of the other party, and similarities in the story and character arcs as well as dialogue will be evaluated. Just changing names of characters and places is no longer sufficient to misappropriate a script or screenplay, and courts both locally and internationally have ruled very hard against people trying to steal other writers’ Intellectual Property.


Courses in prose writing and scriptwriting are offered by many tertiary institutions (universities), film schools and individuals, as well as the WGSA.

You need to be clear on the following before choosing a course:

  1. What do you want to learn? For example, do you want to learn the basics of writing, or have you written a script that you want to polish and improve?
  2. How much time do you have? Are you in a situation where you can study full-time or part-time? Or do you only want to explore your interest in writing by doing a weekend course?
  3. How much can you afford to pay? Some courses are subsidised, like the Spark course run by the NFVF, but most courses are run as commercial ventures, and a fee is payable.
  4. WGSA offers monthly day sessions with local experts, and once a year a two-day session with an international expert.
    Please feel free to contact the WGSA or check the website for information of our courses on offer.