Scene-by-Scene: An Introduction to Screenwriting
The Fall session dates and format will be announced soon! Please contact us if you would like us to let you know when the course details are posted.
Screenplays are not works of art. They are invitations to others to collaborate on a work of art.
– Paul Schrader
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.
Fall 2019 Dates & Format TBA
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).
The Fall 2019 Dates & Format will be posted soon- please contact us if you’d like us to let you know when it’s time to register!
Here are just a few of the things you will learn:
– 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 taped so you can watch it on replay), and there is ample 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 mediums. 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?
Not at all! While screenwriting does use special software like Final Draftäand Move Magic Screenwriteräthere 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.
What is the class format?
The class will meet in real time over interactive video conference once a week for an hour 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.
How the Online Workshop Works
- After enrolling, you will receive an email with some information about your workshop. A few days before the workshop is to begin, you will receive your username and log in information for our secure online classroom.
- Once the course begins, you will have unlimited access to your secure online classroom. Log in any time to enjoy ongoing conversation, post work and feedback, and download materials from the instructor and fellow students 24/7.
- The class takes place over video conference with additional information, conversation, and resources posted in your online classroom. Each week, prior to the video meeting, you will receive an email with a link to your class’ video meeting. Click on it, and you’ll be able to take part in the interactive conversation.
Rebecca Hales is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Bell Media Prime Time TV program and holds an MFA from University of British Columbia. In 2016 she was awarded the Telefilm New Voices award at the Toronto Screenwriting Conference and was one of the Corus Entertainment Writer’s Apprentice Program participants at the Banff World Media Festival. Her credits include an episode of Travelers, the Showcase/Netflix sci-fi series from showrunner Brad Wright (Stargate franchise), working in the development room of Solstice, another Brad Wright original series, interning on the CTV drama series Saving Hope, and the Women in Film and Television Toronto Showcase award winning short film “Dissecting Gwen.” She is currently developing a political crime thriller with Rusty Halo Productions, a half-hour comedy series with creative partners in Toronto and LA, and multiple solo projects.