Online Class: Screenwriting 101
with CEU Certificate*
Welcome to a basic, nuts-and-bolts online course designed for people who wish to write screenplays, but don't know much about it. Because screenwriting is demanding both technically and has such a small market for jobs and sales, this class attempts to go through each essential aspect needed for a beginner to get started, stick with it, and yes, make a sale or get a job.
In this course you will learn basic rules and skills. There's no excuse for a poorly formatted script -- you're really only wasting your time. Traditional three-act structure for film-stories can be debated endlessly, but it works, it's very functional, it's fairly easy to understand, and you'll need at least a passing familiarity with this mode of expression for your stories. We'll show you how to get in touch with the industry, the markets, what's selling, where to find opportunities and how to deal with industry people. Approach your work and work environment seriously, because you'll be spending a lot of time there. If you get a deal, don't get screwed for careless anticipation of the money involved, and if you get screwed, don't be surprised. And remember that if you can't make it to the top and win an Oscar for some super-big film you wrote, it's still a wonderful way to make a buck at your computer doing smaller gigs and 'for-hire' work.
Screenwriting is also therapy. It's good for you, and your imagination and thoughts will develop wonderfully as you work through each visualization---but be sensitive to the audience, don't exploit our world with endless images of violence and gore (at least not without a reason), and don't hop in bed with unethical projects or money-sources just because you can. It's a wild world for films and film-makers---stay on the bright side and keep it safe and legal.
The hope is that for the beginner, this course presents a working knowledge of what is needed to get started writing screenplays in a realistic and informed way. Beyond this, you're now free to roam where no screenwriter has gone before---and what a wonder it is to wonder.
At least a high school reading and writing educational level is required.
Understand your motivations for getting into screenwriting, and the realistic chances of success.
A brief look at the recent history of screenwriting and some well-known writers and scripts.
All course materials will be online and no outside purchases will be required.
The course consists of seventeen lessons. At the end of each lesson will be at least one writing assignment and a lesson review quiz based on the lesson material. A percentage grade will be given based on point accumulation.
Lesson 1: Why Get Into Screenwriting and What Are My Chances of Success?
Lesson 2: A Brief History of the Screenplay
Lesson 3: Markets, Current Trends, and Where Beginners Fit In
Lesson 4: Getting Started---Mastering Screenplay Format
Lesson 5: Story Types, Genre, and Targeting Your Script to Sell
Lesson 6: Mastering Plot, Story, and Basic Three Act Structure
Lesson 7: Mastering Characters and Character Development
Lesson 8: Writing Comedy
Lesson 9: How High is High Concept?
Lesson 10: Writing Action Stories
Lesson 11: Writing Dialogue
Lesson 12: Breaking Down the Barriers
Lesson 13: Work Environment and Professional Standards
Lesson 14: Submissions, Queries, and Loglines.
Lesson 15: Getting Representation
Lesson 16: Welcome to Hollywood
Lesson 17: Documentaries, Video Scripts and Other Types
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