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If you have a?script you've been dying to write, our courses will help give you the push you need?to get it?down on paper. With?classes in writing the web series, screenwriting basics, TV writing, the business of screenwriting, and more, you'll have the opportunity to bring your ideas to life.
Registration for Screenwriting?is currently closed. ?Please check back soon to see future course offerings.
CE0303 - Screenwriting Basics
Spring 2019:? Thursdays: 01/17/2019 – 03/28/2019; 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Instructor: Jennifer Rapaport
The focus of this screenwriting workshop will be the basics: story, structure, character development, and dialogue. You’ll analyze films and learn proper screenplay format. By the semester’s end, you will have a first act, as well as an outline so you can complete your feature screenplay.
CE0307 - TV Writing (Online)
Spring 2019: ?01/14/2019 - 03/31/2019
10 week online course, with no class the week of March 4.
In this workshop style course, students will write an original 30-minute television pilot. They will explore the writing process from conception to a first draft of a teleplay. Critique is key, as students will present their work each week for peer feedback. Through this course, students will explore the genres and formats of television, develop skills in plot and character development, and gain experience writing in an open and collaborative environment.
Check below?to see descriptions of Screenwriting courses we have offered in the past, which are scheduled based on instructor availability.
CE0302 - The Business of Screenwriting
Alongside learning the craft of screen or television writing, and creating well-structured, emotionally involved scripts, it serves aspiring screen and television writers extremely well to gain familiarity with the business aspects of the entertainment industry early on. This course will discuss such topics as breaking in, Los Angeles, New York (and other significant film and television production hubs), source material, spec scripts, agents and managers, seeking representation, etc. It also will discuss trade publications and online resources, writers’ conferences, writing contests, pitch festivals, writers’ groups, and networking. It will provide an overview, as opposed to direct advice or endorsement, of these resources. Assignments for the course will be fun and practical. There is no prerequisite for the course, however, it will be helpful for class participants to have a work-in-progress that can be used as a basis for writing assignments during the class.
CE0309 - Writing the Short Script ?
Short films are often the calling-card of emerging screenwriters and directors, and often serve as proof-of-concept for an innovative story from a promising new voice; Whiplash, Cashback, The Babadook, and Saw all started as shorts. In Writing the Short Script, students will study the craft of writing short films by watching shorts, reading screenplays, and practicing writing through a sequence of exercises and original scripts. The class will alternate between intensive, supportive workshops, and short units isolating basic elements of screenwriting, including characterization, conflict, subtext, exposition, story/plot, tactics, and the "fourth wall". By the end of the class, students will have written (and begun revising) three short scripts.
CE0925 - Writing The Web Series
The rules of television have changed, once again, thanks to web series. Some of TV's most original shows, including Insecure, High Maintenance, and Broad City, picked up attention when they were still just on YouTube and Vimeo. Making a web series is a low-barrier way to develop and showcase your unique voice as a writer, director, animator, and/or actor. In this class, you will develop and workshop scripts for 2-3 episodes of your own original web series, meanwhile learning about production and distribution methods that have characterized successful web series in the past.
Head to our Registration and Payment page to learn more about registration and payment.
All students?must hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED to enroll in courses, workshops, and programs offered by the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs.
At the present time, Emerson College is not authorized to issue I-20s for study in its Professional Studies and Special Programs (“PSSP”) courses. Depending on an international student’s immigration status and personal circumstances, enrollment in a PSSP course may be permissible or may result in an immigration status violation. Maintaining valid immigration status while in the United States is the responsibility of the individual, not Emerson College. PSSP staff cannot advise individuals about their immigration status. If you have any questions about the requirements for maintenance of your specific immigration status, please contact the U.S. Consulate in your home country prior to enrolling in a PSSP program.
Emerson College's Screenwriting Program offers individuals the opportunity to learn the craft of screenwriting through a series of non-credit workshops designed to build writing skills along with knowledge of the screenplay form and structure.
Participants develop the ability to create scenarios and to analyze their own scripts as well as the work of others. Individuals may enroll in one or several multi-session workshops to match their personal goals.
Program Format and Location
Courses are held in-person on the Emerson College campus in Boston, MA, or online (for online courses). See individual course descriptions for dates and times. Specific building and room locations will be provided to enrolled students via confirmation email prior to the start of each on-campus course.
- To earn the certificate, complete any three (3) courses offered in the Screenwriting series.
- All individuals must complete coursework for a certificate program within a period of two calendar years from their initial date of registration.?
*Instructors scheduled based on availability. Frequent instructors in the past include:?
MJ Halberstadt?is a Boston-based writer for stage and screen focused on themes of LGBT experiences, political correctness, and privilege. His work has been developed and acknowledged by the BCA/CompanyOne PlayLab, Boston University's Creative Writing Global Fellowship, the Elliot Norton Award for "Outstanding New Script" (The Launch Prize), Halleloo Productions, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and Last Frontier Theatre Conference.?
Sam Lichtman?is an award-winning writer and filmmaker from Washington, DC. He graduated cum laude from American University in Washington, DC, where he received his BA in Film and Media Arts. He studied at Europe’s top film school, the Film and Television School of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague, concentrating in writing and directing fiction film. Sam is currently an MFA candidate at Emerson College where he is a Dean’s fellow, studying Film and Media Art. Sam wrote and directed a short film entitled, Opu?těny, shot entirely in the Czech Republic and recognized as the winner of the Visions Film Festival Craft Award at American University. His TV pilot East Los was a finalist at the international, Ivy Film Festival and received an honorable mention at the Acclaim Film and Television Screenplay Contest. Sam is currently working on a feature screenplay and a novel. His work as a freelance filmmaker has included clients such as Giorgio Armani, Volvo, and ESPN. Sam also spent time as a Junior Producer at Deutsche Welle International Broadcasting.
Janice Pieroni?is a senior affiliated faculty member at Emerson College, and has taught screenwriting, pilot writing, television writing, business of independent film production, and other subjects at Emerson. She will be teaching her 37th course at the College in Spring, 2018. Her entertainment experience includes working as an executive at Universal Studios, a co-writer for Universal Studios and its affiliates, and as an assistant to Martin Scorsese. Janice is a Member of Writers Guild of America and is currently developing her own film and television project.
Through Story Arts Management?, which Janice founded in 2004, Janice has worked with a national clientele of individuals to develop film, television, and book projects – developing and placing approximately 25 client nonfiction and fiction book projects with publishers such as Simon & Schuster, W.W. Norton, Wiley, and others, and guiding numerous client film or television projects into development with leading L.A. or New York producers.
A frequent and popular speaker, Janice has spoken at educational institutions such as Harvard University, Boston University, and Amherst College, as well as at writers’ conferences, professional organizations, and continuing education venues. Janice travels to L.A. and New York, meets with industry professionals, and attends professional conferences. Last summer, Janice taught seminars on screenwriting and breaking in as a film or television writer at the 55th Annual Cape Cod Writers Center Conference in Hyannis, MA and attended Writers Guild of America’s Retreat at Rancho Bernardo, CA.
Jennifer Rapaport is a Cambridge-based screenwriter with special interests in the female-driven narrative, family-centered drama, and the role of humor in dramatic storytelling. She is the writer and co-producer of several short films including Soul Candy, which premiered at the Dances With Films festival in Los Angeles. Her scripts have advanced in competitions including PAGE, Slamdance, Austin, and Bluecat, and have been finalists in the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival and the LA Femme International Film Festival, among others.
Marc Weinberg? began his career in the film industry as a story analyst working in development for studios and production companies, including 20th Century Fox, MGM, and Interscope Communications. A graduate of UCLA's acclaimed MFA program in screenwriting, Weinberg transitioned to professional writer with the sale of a supernatural thriller to USA Network. He was hired by A&E to write a feature-length biopic on the magician and escape artist Harry Houdini, and has sold scripts and story ideas that have been set up studios and production companies, including Paramount Pictures, Citadel Entertainment, and Dick Clark Productions. Weinberg's credits also include several episodes of scripted entertainment for the Discovery Channel.
A member of the Writers Guild of America, Weinberg is also in demand for his teaching and mentoring talents. He has taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses on screenwriting, production, film history, and genre at prestigious schools, including Brandeis University, Boston University, Dickinson College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2006, Weinberg was invited to lecture on story structure and development to the animators at Disney/Pixar Studios
Former Industry Guest Speakers
Paul Boghosian (film producer)
Susan Kouguell Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Susan Kouguell teaches screenwriting and film at Tufts University and Screenwriters Online, and presents screenwriting seminars nationwide. Her six short films are in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection and archives, won many international festivals, and were included in the Whitney Museum of Art's Biennial. She is the recipient of many grants and fellowships, among them the MacDowell Colony, Edward Albee Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts.
As chairperson of her motion picture consulting company, Su-City Pictures East, Susan works with more than 1,000 clients worldwide, including the major film studios. Susan worked as a story editor/researcher/production coordinator/crew on Louis Malle's documentary And the Pursuit of Happiness, story analyst for Miramax, Dustin Hoffman's Punch Productions, and Viacom, a consultant for Republic Pictures, and in the story and casting departments at Paramount Pictures.
Screenwriting credits include more than a dozen independent production companies, including Anjelica Films, and voiceover narrations for Miramax Films. She was the screenplay doctor and associate producer of Maria Escobedo's Rum & Coke and Jay Craven's Where the Rivers Flow North. Susan is the author of The Savvy Screenwriter: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! (St. Martin's Griffin) and her articles appear in MovieMaker Magazine, Scr(i)pt, Writer's Digest, Screenwriter, and on the WGA website.
Dara Marks, PhD?Dara Marks is a writer and leading international script consultant who has devoted the last 20 years to the development of a groundbreaking approach to the theory of the transformational arc and screenplay structure. Her unique method of story analysis has earned her top ratings by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as the best consultant in the business. She has worked with most major Hollywood studios and many independent filmmakers. She has recently received a doctorate degree in mythological studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Dara is a highly sought-after keynote speaker whose work is committed to the idea that a culture speaks through its stories. She offers workshops, seminars, and script development services. Dara lives in Ojai, California, with her husband and son.
PK Simonds (television writer)
Emerson College incorporates online learning best practices to offer a student-centric learning experience. All instructors are specifically trained and certified to teach in an online environment. Online courses will use the Emerson Online template in Canvas, which presents content in weekly modules.
Although Professional Studies online classes are asynchronous, meaning there is no set time to log in, these?classes will have a set ending date, as well as deadlines along the way that you will need to meet.
Most online courses include:
- Reading or viewing videos
- Participation in online discussions
- Researching and completing assignments
- Completing assignments in collaborative groups
Online courses require the same amount of time and effort as face-to-face courses. During a typical week, you wil spend approximately 1 – 2 hours per week reading and/or viewing videos, 2 hours participating in online discussions, and 3 – 4 hours completing assignments. Virtual office hours, advising, library services, writing center services, and accessibility services are available to you.
Tips for being a successful online student:
- Carefully read the course syllabus and identify important due dates and weekly assignments scheduled.
- Utilize virtual office hours to ask questions and get clarification on assignments.
- Review the course module at the beginning of the week and plan to allow enough time to complete your assignments.
- Participate in weekly discussion boards and engage regularly with your fellow students.
- Take advantage of the virtual resources available from Emerson’s library and writing center.
Emerson College reserves the right to change any provision of its programs and courses at any time. The College specifically reserves the right to change its tuition rates and any other financial charges. The College also reserves the right to rearrange its courses and class hours, to drop courses for which registration falls below the minimum enrollment, and to change instructor assignments.