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Online course

An Introduction to Screenwriting

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

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Statement of Participation when you complete over half the course

Find out more

An Introduction to Screenwriting

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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.

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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
  • Date to be announced

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.

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

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Statement of Participation when you complete over half the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $69 (+ shipping) you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Statement of Participation

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Statement of Participation when you complete over half the course.

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  • Prove your hard work when applying to jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your commitment to learning
  • Help your CV or LinkedIn profile stand out

To receive a Statement of Participation you need to mark 50% of the steps on the course as complete.

Upgrade


Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join: