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University of East Anglia

An Introduction to Screenwriting

University of East Anglia via FutureLearn


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.

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


  • Cinematic story, form and structure
    • Introducing the course
    • Cinematic story and form
    • Story structure
    • Reflections
  • Character, writing the scene and first draft
    • Introduction to Week 2
    • Character
    • Creating the scene
    • Writing your first draft
    • Next steps

Taught by

Michael Lengsfield


4.8 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 871 ratings

Start your review of An Introduction to Screenwriting

  • Zoe Aukim

    Zoe Aukim completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    The course had some really useful information for budding screenwriters. The highlights included some interesting discussions on character, different ways of approaching the first draft and information on how to correctly format a script.
  • Profile image for Sampson Yormekpe
    Sampson Yormekpe
    Explore screenwriting and best practices.
    Learn from East Anglia University how screenwriting methodologies are put into practice.
    Learn from East Anglia University how to manage scope, and schedule, in your writing.
  • Lee Morgan
    Excellent, some great insight and encouragement, made me approach scriptwriting in a much more structured and disciplined way
  • Pilar Reyes

    Pilar Reyes completed this course.

  • Profile image for Michela Perversi
    Michela Perversi

    Michela Perversi completed this course.

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