Ross Grayson BallTransform your Character (using plot and structure)


as featured in The Saturday Paper

with Ross Grayson Bell

Saturday 20 October 2018

Allen & Unwin - Sydney
83 Alexander St
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Get directions
(Please note access is via stairs)

Course fee: $295 / $250 alumni

Seeing fictional characters we care about undergo a transformation is one of the key elements of great storytelling. Whether reading or watching a story unfold on a screen or a stage we, the reader/audience, get to vicariously experience change in ways that might otherwise seem impossible in our own lives. It is that direct and often life-affirming connection with the reader/audience that makes stories of transformation so powerful.

Of course change is rarely easy. We are often dragged kicking and screaming to the realisation that something has to give. Similarly, our fictional characters need to be compelled to change. If it is easy for them, then there is no drama.

So how do we create characters that a reader/audience will care about? How do we compel those characters to change, creating the drama needed to engage the reader/audience? How do we then know transformation has occurred?

In this practical, one-day workshop, using examples from published works, plays and films, we will investigate:

• How plot, the character's outer journey, is used to bring about a character's transformation on an inner level.
• How to match the character with the right plot to enhance his or her transformation.
• How to create the character's belief system and use it to keep the character stagnant.
• How to break the nature of their belief system so transformation can happen.
• How structure (using the example of the Hero's Journey) can be used to arrange the plot to have the greatest impact on the character's inner journey.

Participants are encouraged to bring a character they are already working with to the workshop for a series of in-class exercises that will test those characters' 'willingness' or 'resistance' to change. Even if you intend your character to remain the same (and there are many great stories where that happens) this workshop will still be pertinent and empowering. The tools used to get a character to transform are the same ones that can force resistant characters to hold on to old patterns of behaviour.

Bring your characters and an open mind and let's make transformation happen!

***It is strongly recommended that all participants in the workshop have watched the film FIGHT CLUB prior to attending the seminar.***

The course includes:
• A full day's intensive tuition from 10am - 4pm
• Lunch and regular tea and coffee breaks
• A complimentary copy of a recent A&U publication

There are limited places available on this course. Book soon to avoid disappointment.


Testimonials from previous Transform your Character students


‘I have been to many different writing courses elsewhere over the past few years and this was the first time in a long time where I left feeling like I’d actually learnt something new. Ross is a fantastic tutor – he’s both welcoming and wise.’ Zoe

'Ross is a highly engaging, generous and knowledgeable teacher. He entertained the class with anecdotes about filmmaking and Hollywood, and showed new ways to approach character development, tension and plot. A wonderfully refreshing way to learn about story.' Sarah

‘I loved every minute. Ross is brilliant… incredibly warm, inclusive, helpful, insightful, open and encouraging. I’ve learned so much.’ Eleanor

‘First class… Really excellent and worthwhile day.’ Rob

‘The communication style of Ross is fabulous! Succinct, thorough, passionate.’ Alison

‘Ross was thorough and thoughtful – he explained in great detail and was entertaining as well… The course met my expectations and helped clarify my thoughts. Great value for money.’ Teri

‘Ross is a knowledgeable, personable and helpful presenter. He didn’t begrudge students eating into his break time with questions. I was impressed.’ Marco

Extract from The Saturday Paper's article by Sarah Price (Writing a Novel 2014 course scholarship winner) about Ross Grayson Bell teaching this course:
After 20 years in Hollywood, Grayson Bell has come home. He’s working on two local TV series, consulting for Screen Australia, mentoring writers, and today, teaching character and story at Faber Writing Academy in Sydney. Twelve people sit in his class, quiet to begin, almost reverent. They’ve driven from country towns, come across suburbs and flown from Melbourne. Desks are arranged in the shape of a horseshoe, hooked towards Grayson Bell. Surrounded by students, he begins: “When you are writing anything, you need to know your premise. What are you trying to say?” Part of the ease with getting Fight Club made came from his “absolute belief in it”, from his need for the message to go further than readers of the book. “It was such an important premise: ‘You have to break yourself apart to build something better.' 6 May, 2017


About the tutor

After a successful career in Hollywood as a producer, where he most notably developed and produced Fight Club for Twentieth Century Fox (starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton) and was Executive Producer of Under Suspicion for TF1 (starring Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman), Australian-born Ross Grayson Bell went on to find success as a screenwriter in London where he set up the Scouser-made-good story of Barry Cox at BBC Films, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Cantonese, and his adaptation of Tom Spanbauer's novel, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, landed him on the "Brit List" of best unproduced screenplays.

In 2009 Ross returned to Australia to take up a position as the Head of Screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School where he guided five students to Australian Writers' Guild Award nominations for the TV pilots they developed as part of their course work, with one student winning The Monte Miller Award for her pilot in 2013.

Simultaneously, Ross was commissioned to adapt Susan Duncan's memoir Salvation Creek, which was one of four projects selected in 2013 for Screen NSW's Aurora Feature Film Development Program.

Ross is currently serving his third year as Senior Judge of the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, working as an external script assessor for Screen Australia, lecturing on story, both in Australia and Malaysia, and is mentoring writers through the Australian Writers Mentoring Program. In 2014 he gave the Literary Address at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards and regularly convenes panels at Writers Festivals around the country.

Please note in the event of unforeseen circumstances, courses - including tutors and venues - may be subject to cancellation or change.


N.B. you will be charged a booking fee of 30 cents ($0.30). If you have done a course with us before, you qualify for our alumni discount so add your promotional code at the checkout to receive 15% off the full price, or ring us if you do not know the code on 02 8425 0171.

For further information contact Faber Writing Academy:
faberwritingacademy@allenandunwin.com or (02) 8425 0171