Workshops & Teaching

I design tailor-made workshops and teaching sessions on scriptwriting and story, varying from one-hour lectures, through three-hour masterclasses to week-long interactive workshops. These can be delivered both in person and online. I currently teach and mentor for Multichoice Talent Factory in sub-Saharan Africa and have previously taught scriptwriting at the University of Cape Town Centre for Film & Media Studies, and the University of the Witswatersrand Film & Television School.

Neil is one of the MultiChoice Talent Factory’s most valued facilitators, who effortlessly tailors his teaching methods to suit the specific needs and cultural nuances of different countries. He has an extraordinary ability to cater to filmmakers of varying skill levels. Whether he is teaching beginners who are just discovering their passion for filmmaking, or seasoned professionals seeking to refine their craft, Neil imparts knowledge and guidance that is both accessible and transformative.
- Nwabisa Matyumza, Director, MultiChoice Talent Factory

Story Consulting

Maybe your writers room lacks experience, or the show-runner is more focused on production; I can consult on the scripting process. This involves focused reading and detailed feedback on your proposal, storylines or draft scripts. Or it could mean mediating between creatives and other members of the team - producer, director, development executive - to agree a detailed way forward. This can be a one-off intervention, or ongoing.

His understanding of story and his way with words are second to none. One of the most important lessons I got from being in the same room with Neil is that, even as a head writer, you have to be humble enough to know you don’t always have the best ideas. You have to want to hear what others have to say.
- Chris Q Radebe, Head Writer (Uzalo, Gomora)

Script Editing

I have done a great deal of classic script editing - working alongside a scriptwriter, providing notes and support across many drafts throughout the development process.

One-Off Feedback

If you need an experienced outsider’s view on your script or project proposal, I can deliver detailed cover notes with a quick turnaround time.

Neil McCarthy as a writer is like a jazz maestro. He is a cool, easy and collaborative guy. Then when it comes down to it, he has a masterful creative edge.
- Rolie Nikiwe, TV & Features Director (Inside Story, Nothing For Mahala, Intersexions)

Producer-Focused Support

Once a commission has been landed, or funding is in place, tight turnaround times can become a challenge. I work with producers in a supporting role to deliver camera-ready scripts, mentor their writer or writing team through the development phase, and ensure the project stays on track in terms of quality and deadlines.

Neil is an exceptional head writer with a strong intuition that aligns that sweet spot between character-driven stories and dynamic plots.
- Manchester Mahapa, Creative Producer, Clive Morris Productions (Isono)

Rewrites & Polishes

Sometimes a writer can lose faith in a script, lose focus, or become caught up in other work. Sometimes producers attached to a project feel their existing draft would benefit from a fresh pair of eyes. I have extensive experience revisiting feature scripts by both emerging and established writers at various stages of development and moving them on via a forensic edit, rewrite or polish.

One of Neil’s great strengths is taking an existing script, identifying the intention, jettisoning what isn’t working, and finding solutions that are able to take it to the next level. He’s also a complete pleasure to work with. He approaches scripts with original writers attached collaboratively, respectfully and sensitively, which is an exceptional skill, especially for someone who also has his own unique voice.
- Sara Blecher, Director & Producer, Real Eyes Films (Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star, Mayfair, Ayanda)

Read more about "Mayfair"

Creative Mentoring

It’s not always clear what to do with a good story idea. Over a pre-agreed period of development time I offer a sounding board and consultation service that will help you develop the initial spark into a viable project. Together we expand your baseline idea to form a fleshed out story world, then find the characters to inhabit it and the phrases to describe it. This involves brainstorming over regular consultations, feedback on the proposal documents and setting achievable goals, while helping to hone your thoughts and channel your creative impulses.

Meeting Neil at a very early stage of my writing career shaped me, taught me professionalism and influenced how I tell stories. I had the privilege of being taught and mentored by Neil way back in 2007 at Rhythm City. His skills, patience, kindness and, most importantly, passion for storytelling and mentoring up-and-coming writers is the reason why most of us (myself included) are where we are today.
- Bonga Percy Vilakazi, Series Producer Tshedza Pictures (The River, Legacy)