Introduction to Screenwriting

  • Code SW91
  • Student Ages 13-18

In this course, students will learn how to write for the screen, focusing on format, key principles of narrative structure, and the fundamentals of visual storytelling. Elements of Aristotle’s Poetics, Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and selected work from William Goldman will be covered. Homework will include reading screenplays, watching films or television while reading along, and telling either well-known or personal stories in a three-act structure. Student will leave this course with a developed sense of how to communicate stories.

Live Classes: Wednesdays, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, from June 5th to July 31st

Student Expectations: In preparation for class, students will be expected to read all handouts and homework and watch the required material. There will be some short writing assignments, but the focus will be on giving students the tools to write rather than on the production of documents.

Student Support: The instructor is available by email.

Feedback/Assessment: Feedback will be provided on written assignments, as well as in frequent one-on-one discussions.

Materials/Supplies: An emphasis will be placed on keeping this course free of additional costs. Screenplays will be made available to students in PDF form, and the assignments of what to read or watch will be based on each individual student’s interests. It is possible that a student may have to rent a title from an online streaming service or the public library, and there may be some minor costs associated with that. Students will also need to download an app for formatting, which is free of charge and takes up a negligible amount of computer space.

Prerequisites: Students should be able to read at a fifth-grade level and participate in course activities, including submitting thoughtful written work.

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