The best screenwriting workshops and film schools

Whether you have time for film school or only the occasional workshop, the items highlighted on this page are guaranteed to elevate your craft to a professional level.

W o r k s h o p s

Robert McKee's Story Seminar
Oscar and Emmy-winning writers--and yours truly--have attended Robert McKee's weekend-intensive Story and Genre seminars and for good reason: Mckee detests stories that suck and will provide the foundation you need to develop compelling stories. The Genre:Comedy seminar is particularly critical if you plan to write comedy. If you are a fan of Pixar films, you should note Pixar employees are required to attend McKee's seminars. This is one of the best seminars you can attend.

 

ScreenwritingU
This is producing-team Hal and Cheryl Croasmun's effort to develop a pool of professional screenwriters who want to succeed in Hollywood, and easily the best value for your dollar. Participate in a variety of online workshops to elevate your screenwriting to meet the high industry standards. Hal also organizes events in Los Angeles that brings writers together with producers at the major studios. I highly recommend ScreenwritingU.

 

David Freeman's Beyond Structure
David's weekend workshop, which I've attended, focuses on character and dialogue, and will leave you with techniques that are easy to apply to your story development. While it is "beyond" structure, what you'll discover is how character and story are fully connected.

 

Ellen Sandler Workshops
If you are developing a sitcom or a comedy online series you must study with Ellen Sandler. She is an industry veteran who has been nominated for an Emmy and will provide the guidance you need to develop your show.

 

Steve Kaplan's Comedy Intensive
One of the top comedy writing workshops in the industry, writers, producers and directors from ABC, Disney, Dreamworks, NBC, Paramount, Touchstone Television have studied with Steve.

 

Judith Weston Acting Studio
Judith teaches a variety of acting and directing workshops that will help you in ways other workshops cannot. Why? Because the more you, the writer, understand about acting and how actors approach their craft, the easier it will be for you to develop characters with depth and write scenes that reflect realistic character behavior.

 

 

F i l m   S c h o o l s

TheFilmSchool
If you want to attend a film school with renowned faculty but do not have the time or money to attend a school like USC, I highly recommend TheFilmSchool in Seattle. As a proud alum, I was blown away by how its intensive 3-week program transformed my understanding of the screenwriting craft. This school was founded by industry pros that include actor Tom Skerritt and screenwriting veteran Stewart Stern ("Rebel Without A Cause") and it will be one of the most memorable experiences in your life.

 

Univ. of Washington Screenwriting Certificate
If you live in Seattle and are looking for a night-time year-long certificate program, this is a popular one that always boasts industry pros as part of the faculty. Your local university may offer a similar program.

 

UCLA Online Courses
I haven't taken any UCLA courses but from their Web site: "The UCLA Extension Writers' Program offers more than 200 courses in feature film writing and television writing annually. Courses may be taken in the classroom and/or online. Courses are taught by over 90 instructors, who are produced writers or entertainment professionals possessing significant related experience."

 

Dov Simen's Web Film School
Dov's famous for inspiring do-it-yourself producers and this site has a multitude of online tutorials and more to help launch your career.

 

USC School of Cinematic Arts
I'm listing USC because it's still considered one of the best schools around, and a few of its alumni have sprouted a cottage industry of screenwriting instruction based on what they learned at USC.

 

A University Near You
No matter where you live, chances are there's a university or community college nearby that offers screenwriting courses. Even a basic "Intro to Screenwriting" night class will teach you some of the key things you need to know as well as introduce you to the local screenwriting subculture you never knew existed.

 

 

 




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