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Michigan State University

Write A Feature Length Screenplay For Film Or Television

Michigan State University via Coursera


Write a Full Length Feature Film Script In this course, you will write a complete, feature-length screenplay for film or television, be it a serious drama or romantic comedy or anything in between. You’ll learn to break down the creative process into components, and you’ll discover a structured process that allows you to produce a polished and pitch-ready script by the end of the course. Completing this project will increase your confidence in your ideas and abilities, and you’ll feel prepared to pitch your first script and get started on your next. This is a course designed to tap into your creativity and is based in "Active Learning". Most of the actual learning takes place within your own activities - that is, writing! You will learn by doing. Here is a link to a TRAILER for the course. To view the trailer, please copy and paste the link into your browser. Learner review: "Love the approach Professor Wheeler takes towards this course. It's to the point, easy to follow, and very informative! Would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in taking a Screenplay Writing course! The course curriculum is simple: We will adopt a professional writers room process in which you’ll write, post your work for peer review, share feedback with your peers and revise your work with the feedback you receive from your peers. That's how we do it in the real world. You will feel as if you were in a professional writers room yet no prior experience as a writer is required. I'm a proponent of Experiential Learning (Active Learning). My lectures are short (sometimes just two minutes long) and to the point, designed in a step-by-step process essential to your success as a script writer. I will guide you but I won’t "show" you how to write. I firmly believe that the only way to become a writer is to write, write, write. Learner Review: "I would like to thank this course instructor. It's an amazing course" What you’ll need to get started: As mentioned above, no prior script writing experience is required. To begin with, any basic word processor will do. During week two, you can choose to download some free scriptwriting software such as Celtx or Trelby or you may choose to purchase Final Draft, the industry standard, or you can continue to use your word processor and do your own script formatting. Learner Review: "Now I am a writer!" If you have any concerns regarding the protection of your original work, Coursera's privacy policy protects the learner's IP and you are indeed the sole owners of your work.


  • Week One - Creating The Idea
    • In Week One you will create a concept for your feature film, write up a pitch document, post that document, review the pitch documents of five of your peers and revise your concept with the feedback you get from your peers
  • Week Two: Logline and Dramatic Question
    • In Week Two you will create a Logline and a Dramatic Question for your feature film, post those documents, review the Logline and DramaticQuestion pitches of five of your peers and revise your work with the feedback you get from your peers
  • Week Three Create your character profile(s)
    • In Week Three you will create detailed descriptions of the main characters in your screenplay, post your character profiles, review the character profiles of five of your peers and revise your work with the feedback you get from your peers
  • Week Four: The Three Act Story Arc
    • In Week Four you will learn about the Three Act Structure for your feature film, you will write an outline for Act One and an outline for the First Ten Pages of your script, review the outlines of five of your peers and revise your work with the feedback you get from your peers
  • Week Five: Screenplay Formatting and Software
    • In Week Five, you will learn about the unique formatting in screenplay writing and you will learn to use screenplay software. You will become familiar with the software and practice with it, getting ready to begin your screenplay next week.
  • Week Six: Begin your screenplay
    • Week Six represents the actual beginning of your screenplay. You've created your idea, your logline, the dramatic question, your character profiles. You've outlined Act One and written your outline for your first ten pages. Now you're ready to transform that outline into script form. In this week you will complete the first ten pages of your unique screenplay.
  • Week Seven: The middle section of Act One
    • In Week Seven, you will write an outline for the middle section of Act One. After posting your outline and giving feedback to five of your peers, you will then write pages 11 to 20, post that piece of your screenplay and give feedback to your peers' work.
  • Week Eight: Write the final section of Act One
    • In Week Eight, you will write pages 21-30 which will close out Act One of your screen play. You will post your work and review the work of five of your peers.
  • Week Nine: Table read Act One
    • In Week Nine, you have the week off from writing. This week, you will get together with a few friends and read Act One of your screenplay, focusing on the dialogue.
  • Week Ten: Begin Act Two
    • In Week Ten, you will write part one of Act Two (pages 31-40)
  • Week Eleven: Write pages 41-50
    • In Week Eleven, you will write pages 41-50 of your screenplay
  • Week Twelve: Write pages 51-60
    • In Week Twelve you will write pages 51-60 and will pass the halfway point of your screenplay.
  • Week Thirteen: Write pages 61-70
    • In Week Thirteen you will write pages 61-70, pushing your screenplay towards the end of Act Two.
  • Week Fourteen: Write pages 71-80
    • In Week Fourteen, you will finish up Act Two, writing pages 71-80
  • Week Fifteen: Table read Acts One and Two
    • In Week Fifteen, you have the week off from writing. Instead, you will get together with a few friends and read Acts One and Two of your screenplay, focusing on the dialogue.
  • Week Sixteen: Write pages 81-90
    • In Week Sixteen, you will begin the final act of your screenplay.
  • Week Seventeen: Write pages 91-100
    • In Week Seventeen, you will write pages 91-100, completing the middle section of Act Three
  • Week Eighteen: Finish Act Three
    • In Week Eighteen, you will write pages 100-110, finishing the final Act of your screenplay.
  • Week Nineteen: Table read your entire script
  • Week Twenty: Finishing things up.
    • In Week Twenty, you will post your completed, polished script and review the finished work of three of your peers. Then you will write a cold open for your screenplay and a synopsis to submit to agents and producers.

Taught by

David Wheeler


4.6 rating at Coursera based on 205 ratings

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