Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.
Online course

An Introduction to Screenwriting

This online course explores the key concepts and fundamental principles involved in the process of screenwriting.

Why join the course?

Screenplays form the starting point for most dramatic films, the essential work from which all other filmmaking flows. All of the tender romance, terrifying action and memorable lines begin at the screenwriter’s desk. This free online course will introduce you to the basic elements and key concepts behind a professional screenplay.

The University of East Anglia’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing have built this course with instructors and recent alumni from their famed course in Creative Writing.

Where could this course take me?

The course is a must for anyone new to scriptwriting and for more experienced writers who wish to raise their scriptwriting to a professional level. It will establish a common vocabulary for approaching the screenplay and form the basis for upcoming courses in dramatic adaptation, the crime screenplay, and other genres and skills.

What and how will I learn?

You’ll learn from a mixture of basic theory, script analysis and practical exercises. We will explore key principles as they’re expressed in great films, then immediately apply these concepts. Videos, articles and discussion steps will offer you the opportunity to learn and engage with other learners on key concepts and ideas.

By the end of the course, you will understand the key concepts necessary to write an effective screenplay and be fluent in the language used to discuss the form.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

  • Basic characteristics of screen story
  • Development of a basic storyline
  • Story structures including The Three Act Structure and alternate story structures.
  • Characters and developing character outlines
  • The construction of scenes including the role of dialogue and character voice
  • The workflow for writing a first draft of feature film screenplay
  • The process for screenplay formatting
  • Writing – and finishing – a first draft

When would you like to start?

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explore key issues in the practice of creating screenplays
  • Explain the basic principles of the screenwriting process
  • Identify the essentials of the screenplay format
  • Discuss the construction of a professional script
  • Design a story 'pitch'

Who is the course for?

There are no formal requirements for this course, just an interest in screenwriting.

What do people say about this course?

This was such an insightful course that taught me so much about something I have given a lot of thought about. I really appreciate the lengths you have all gone to teach us the most important things about being a script-writer. Thank you all so much.

Alexandra Evans

A clear, concise and beautifully structured course. The video content is informative and lively, and the screenwriters are refreshingly down to earth in the way they talk about their processes. I am going to write a beat sheet, plough through a first draft without spending hours polishing each scene and I'm going to use some of the resources the course suggests. Thanks very much.

Mychaela S

Who will you learn with?

Michael Lengsfield

Screenwriter Michael Lengsfield teaches scriptwriting at the University of East Anglia, where he specializes in the theory and practice of dramatic adaptation. @Film_Adaptation

Who developed the course?

The University of East Anglia is an internationally renowned university providing top quality academic, social and cultural facilities to over 15,000 students from over 100 countries around the globe.

Supporters

funded by
Learners collage mobile
Join this course

Free
$0

  • Access to this course for 4 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes

Upgrade
$59

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Contact FutureLearn for Support