If you are a beginning screenwriter…

December 10th, 2012 by

If you have never written a screenplay, but want to try…

If you have tried to write a screenplay, but never managed to finish…

If you have written a screenplay or two, but know they should never see the light of day…

Some recommendations for you at Screenwriting Master Class, the unique online writing resource founded two years ago by Tom Benedek and myself.

Tom and I are professional screenwriters. We have worked in the business collectively for over 50 years. There are some things you can only learn by writing projects in Hollywood. Our experience on the front line of the business is reflected in the courses we teach: Solid theories and proven practices grounded in the reality of working as a professional screenwriter.

If you are just starting out on your journey as a screenwriter, here are some SMC resources available to you:

Introduction to Screenwriting: Tom teaches this 10-week class that covers the fundamentals of screenwriting, a terrific way to lock down a solid foundation on the craft. The next session begins January 28, 2013. Go here for more information.

Craft: We offer several 1-week classes covering specific aspects of the screenwriting craft including Character Development Keys, Create a Compelling Protagonist, Story Summaries: From Loglines to Beat Sheets, and Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling. These classes not only provide valuable information and insider tips, they are also a great way for first-timers to dip their toe into the world of online education [which by the way is really great].

Network Hollywood: Marketing Your Script / Building Your Career: Tom leads this 10-day online career strategy workshop that includes incredible access to the insights of key industry insiders — managers, agents, writers, producers — through video interviews and live chat sessions. An excellent way to learn the ins-and-outs of what to do once you have written an original screenplay. The next session begins March 14, 2013. For more information, go here.

Core: Over the last 2 years, I have written and class-tested eight Core classes, each based on a fundamental screenwriting principle covering Character, Plot, Concept, Theme, Scene, Style, Dialogue, and Time. I won’t be offering them again as individual classes until July 2013, but you can sign up for The Core Package which enables you to take all eight classes on a self-paced basis — and a steep discount.

TV: Tom teaches two classes in TV writing. TV: How to Write a 1-Hour Spec Pilot and TV: Pilot Creation Workshop. These classes have proved to be quite popular, so if you are interested in nuts and bolts of TV writing, check them both out.

I will be featuring Screenwriting Master Class classes each day this week. Schedule:

Tuesday: If you are an intermediate screenwriter…

Wednesday: If you are an advanced screenwriter…

Thursday: If you are looking for writing workshops…

Friday: If you want to learn a comprehensive approach to screenwriting…

I truly believe in what we do at SMC, not only because of the ideas we teach, but also because Tom and I are hands-on mentors, providing extensive interaction and feedback to each participating writer, everything from teleconferences to online forum feedback, written notes to individual consults.

We also love what we do.

Tom and I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!

6 thoughts on “If you are a beginning screenwriter…

  1. Scott, I’m thinking about the Network Hollywood course. Does this fill up fast? Is it limited to a small number of people?

    1. Scott says:

      Marc, it’s quite popular, but to my knowledge Tom doesn’t set a limit on enrollment. We do, however, in our workshops [6 max] to ensure quality feedback for all participants.

  2. Vijay Raman says:

    You guys are great..and your posts are very insightful, especially for screenwriters in asian countries like me..Wish I could get an opportunity to be a part of your workshops..thanks a ton

    1. Scott says:

      Vijay, all Screenwriting Master Class courses and workshops are online. This means you do almost all of the class work on your OWN time. The only live component is teleconference and we almost always figure out a time that works for people no matter what part of the world they live in.

      Off the top of my head, I have worked with writers in these countries: Canada, England, Iceland, Spain, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, India, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rico, Guatemala, and others.

      I love the online experience, it’s really THE best way to do education. I’ll do a post on the advantages of online education some time this week.

  3. ktb says:

    What would you recommend for a high school junior who is trying to figure out how his interests in film and writing will be connected in the future? Is a BA in a related field best or is it better to go for film school?

    1. Scott says:

      ktb, why don’t you email me and give me more particulars about your situation? Happy to give you some feedback.

      Generally speaking, there are some advantages to going to film school, an immersion in the craft being one of them. But since the odds of success in the entertainment business are considerable, this represents quite a risk. If you get into USC, UCLA, NYU or UT-Austin, to name a few, there is additional benefit of networking and connections in Hollywood. But again, consider the odds.

      There’s a lot to be said to study something else, a broad liberal arts major where you read great books, study music, art, history, politics, and the like. Join film groups, take film classes, maybe even minor in film studies if they have it. A key part to success as a writer of any sort [broadly speaking] is to live life. The more and wider experiences a person has, the more they can – at least theoretically – bring those experiences to their writing.

      Here’s an interesting possibility: At UNC-Chapel Hill, I teach in the Writing for Screen & Stage program. It’s a minor which means you can major in some area with less vocational risk involved and still explore screenwriting, playwriting, and film studies. To my knowledge, there is no other program like it in the U.S. including a History of American Screenwriting class, Film Analysis from a story perspective, and the ability to have by the end of your senior year two original screenplays, one full-length, one short film, and two play scripts, one full-length, one short play. Plus all the faculty, myself included, have extensive backgrounds working in Hollywood, so the theory is grounded in reality, not just a bunch of academics who don’t know their cinematic ass from a hole in the ground.

      But as I say, shoot me an email and we can talk further.

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