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Online Screenwriting Courses and Classes Overview

Online screenwriting courses are offered as part of certificate and degree programs in film and television, as well as through community education departments at colleges and universities. Many courses build skills that apply to all types of screenwriting. Others focus on specific media and story genres.

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Online Courses in Screenwriting

Below are some of the screenwriting courses that students will often find online.

  • Fundamentals of Screenwriting Course: This lecture class introduces the fundamentals of screenwriting, including character and scene development, structure, theme and locale. Students learn the history of drama and study the works of authors like Egri and Aristotle.
  • In-Depth Introduction to Screenwriting Course: This course, consisting of class discussion and lecture, provides students with an understanding of the structure of feature films and the vocabulary used by professional screenwriters when creating their work. Students use films and film sequences to take an in-depth look at screenwriting.
  • Screenwriting for Short Films Course: This course provides students with the skills required for short film screenwriting. Students learn how to write a first draft, develop characters, structure a story and rewrite. Students are also introduced to screenwriting competitions.
  • Formatting a Story Course: This course provides students with a comprehensive view of screenwriting, with focus on the screenplay format that is typically used in motion pictures. Students learn aspects of screenwriting, such as character development, formatting and structuring a story. Developing a short screenplay using different genres, such as thriller, comedy, romance and sci-fi is part of the course.
  • Introduction to Cinema Course: Students learn methods of storytelling in mainstream cinema. The course also explores beyond the mainstream. The unique characteristics of art film, documentary, third cinema and avant-garde films are discussed and compared.
  • Public Speaking Course: Students in this course will cover the importance of organizing speech. Topics like voice, articulation, and diction can aid the writing of dialogue which is an important part of screenwriting.
  • Studying the Craft Course: This course is designed to teach students about the importance of reading specific genres of work to enhance one's writing material. Texts will be examined for themes and approaches to effective writing techniques.

Program Information

Online courses in screenwriting can be found as part of certificate, undergraduate degree programs in film and/or television or a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting. They can also be found through extension departments at colleges and universities - such courses are often non-credit. Screenwriting courses are offered in both online and hybrid formats. Students learn the screenwriting tricks of the trade, including story structure, characterization, and scene work.

Bachelor's programs are widely available for online screenwriting courses in addition to certificate programs. Master's degrees are also available. Students in these programs will learn about storytelling, the fundamentals of screenwriting, and public speaking, among other topics.

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