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Scene-by-Scene: An Introduction to Screenwriting
February 18 - April 14$365
Designed for both new writers and writers new to screenwriting, Scene-by-Scene: An Introduction to Screenwriting provides writers all the essential building blocks, craft, tools, and instruction you need to write your first screenplay.
In this live course delivered via video conference and through conversation in our secure online classroom, learn how to structure and format a screenplay, what “visual storytelling” is, how to write dialogue that works, how to develop a relationship with time on the page, and get the fundamentals of story structure, building conflict, and character design.
The course will use a combination of lectures, film/television clips, short exercises, and access to professional screenplays to further develop your screenwriting familiarity and skill.
Writers will leave the course with a completed short screenplay and a stable of new visual storytelling skills.
(Yes, you heard that right. A completed screenplay).
Here are just a few of the things you will learn in the eight-week course:
– Script format and software
– How to read a script
– Basics of writing each component (slug lines, action, dialogue, transitions, etc.)
– How to tell a visual story (i.e. If you can’t see it, you can’t write it)
– Screenplay as collaborative blueprint (what you write tells others how to do their jobs, but also you shouldn’t tell others how to do their jobs)
– Basic story structure
– What does and doesn’t need to be written in screen (as opposed to prose)
– Time in screenwriting (playing time vs. story time)
– How to evaluate what you’re reading/writing (major questions to ask)
– Feedback/notes/table reads (there’s a process/etiquette)
– What to do with a script when it’s done
– Production 101
The online class is fully interactive and takes place via live video conference (which is also taped so you can watch it on replay), as well as in the online classroom, providing loads of opportunity to share work, talk through and practice craft issues, and ask questions about the genre.
Assignments, readings, and video clips will guide you on your screenplay writing journey. In the end, you will not only have a short finished script but have the opportunity to create a revision plan and revise it.
Isn’t a screenplay just a story?
Not exactly. While a screenplay tells a story, it is actually a blueprint for the final visual product. It will be used by the producers, directors, casting agents, actors, location scouts, set designers, costume department, etc. to bring together all the elements that make a movie or TV series. It is a very collaborative document– and the success of every department starts with the writer.
How is telling a story for the screen different from writing any other type of story?
Film and television are visual media. What is described in a book can range from the physical surroundings, to the smells, to the deepest thoughts and feelings of a character. We spend time in their internal world, getting to know them and bonding with them. In screenwriting, if it can’t be seen on the screen, it shouldn’t be in the script.
Screenwriting forces the writer to ask: “How do I SHOW what the character thinks and feels since I can’t TELL the audience directly?” This includes actions (smashing a plate to show anger) and dialogue that uses emotional subtext. Screenplays also use visual metaphors to convey story ideas.
Do I have to buy special software?
No. While screenwriters often do use special software like Final Draft or Move Magic Screenwriter, there are free online alternatives that will help you format your screenplay. Of course, once you fall in love with screenwriting, you may want to purchase the more comprehensive software, and we can talk about which software might be best for you.
What is the class format?
The class will meet in real time over interactive video conference every Thursday, from 8 p.m.- 9 p.m. EST to hear Rebecca’s lecture, assignments, and talk about the various craft, theory, and production elements in screenplay writing. Students will also have access to a dedicated online classroom for conversation and sharing work.