Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

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  • Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

    I mean around $500. I can't afford the college or university courses as those cost thousands of dollars. I have tried to learn with just books and scripts, but I need a teacher and the support of a student group. I believe these are called MOOC courses.
    I post too much.

  • #2
    Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

    Oh boy... online classes... Where to start. I suggest other alternatives instead of online classes, which mostly seem overpriced to me, if not right-out rip-offs.


    FOR A GENERAL IDEA ON HOW SCREENPLAYS ARE WRITTEN

    Instead of a course, I would recommend you read as many screenplay from the yearly official Black List as you can (not the online Black list 2.0 hosting site). There are about 400 screenplays floating around somewhere online from these lists. You can find them using google searches. Just type "2015 black list screenplays". I would definitely start with the 2015 batch. Here is a list of titles from Hollywood deadline:

    http://deadline.com/2015/12/2015-bla...st-1201666353/


    FOR SPECIFIC ASPECTS THAT MAKE YOU THINK ABOUT THINGS

    I strongly recommend you read sites like www.johnaugust.com and listen to all their podcasts. For $25 you can buy an usb with their entire 250 podcast collection. You can also subscribe to the site as a premium member for $1.99 a month or something like that. There are also a ton of free tutorials on his site. He's probably the most generous professional writer out there in sharing what he knows.


    FOR GENERAL ISPIRATION

    There is a new online "masterclass" with Aaron Sorkin. It's $90. I doubt you'll learn screenwriting in the 25 lessons offered (5 hours of video), but it might be inspiring to see him talk about his craft.

    https://www.masterclass.com/classes/...-screenwriting


    FOR PROPER FORMATTING

    Just buy Final Draft and plug away based on what you learned reading all those screenplays from the first suggestion. If you need extra help with something just ask on forums like this one.


    IF YOU NEED A PEER SUPORT NETWORK

    Join or start a small writers group. It's amazing how much you can learn from others in this way.


    IF AFTER ALL THIS YOU STILL NEED A "STRUCTURED CLASS"

    Then I would enroll in a proper class at a local college. More fun than online and probably not a rip-off. If you can't afford "real" university courses (which are above $2,000), then you can search out community colleges. They typically go for less then $1,000 per course.
    Manfred Lopez Grem
    Writer - Director

    REEL - IMDB

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    • #3
      Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

      I suggest reading all of Terry Rossio's columns on Wordplayer.com. There is lots of good information in the discussion archives there and the ones here as well.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

        I took a class through Screenwriting Master Class and found it pretty helpful. They do group skype calls for instructor feedback, and then everyone gives each other feedback via forum posts as well. The classes range in price depending on how long or involved they are, but I think the in-depth workshop classes are around $500. Something like that.

        I would never say any class is a must, but I know what you mean about sometimes needing a more interactive class experience, and I had a good experience with that one when I was having trouble self-motivating.

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        • #5
          Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

          Originally posted by manfredlopez View Post
          FOR PROPER FORMATTING

          Just buy Final Draft and plug away based on what you learned reading all those screenplays from the first suggestion. If you need extra help with something just ask on forums like this one.
          There are cheaper alternatives than Final Draft -- including free alternatives -- that will automatically format your scripts properly.

          Online ... Amazon's Storywriter (free)
          Online ... YouMeScript (free)
          Online ... Celtx (free, but with paid versions with more features)
          Online ... WriterDuet (free, but -- I think -- there are also paid versions)
          Linux & Windows ... Trelby (free)
          Linux & Windows & Mac ... Fade In Pro (free trial, $49)

          I'm sure there are others.
          STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

            Joan mentioned Terry Rossio's articles (which are free). Terry is 1) an Oscar nominated screenwriter, 2) holds the current record for most paid for a spec screenplay (co-written with Bill Marsilii) 3) is the #3 Box Office screenwriter of all time...

            http://www.wordplayer.com/columns/welcome.html

            Also on the site, are a bunch of articles written by people like the guy who wrote BEVERLY HILLS COP and the producer of APOCALYPSE NOW and Frank Darabont and some guy named Stephen King:

            http://www.wordplayer.com/pros/welcome.html

            There's a lot of free screenwriting information out there, so start with that.

            - Bill
            Free Script Tips:
            http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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            • #7
              Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

              our Girl in Gray (Max)

              http://theafw.com/

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              • #8
                Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

                I really, really, really like the idea behind Stage 32, but unfortunately, it seems to exist solely to sell sh*t to wannabe writers.

                I'd say avoid crap like that (and as pointed out above, instead read FREE articles/information posted by professionals).
                Cufk, Tish, Sips.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

                  So I guess I will be the skeptical inquisitor here.

                  What exactly is so difficult? What do you not understand? If you can identify for us what your obstacles or uncertainties are, we might be able to help.

                  You really do not have to take a class to learn how to write a screenplay. I would agree fully that being part of a group would be helpful. But that kind of thing takes a lot of commitment from its members, and a group like that may be difficult to find. Writing is truly a solitary task. You can ask for feedback and for some specific technical advice, but then the burden is on you to look at a blank computer screen and begin sketching in some dialogue and action.

                  You just type in what the characters say and what they do. And you have some very general guidelines about how to do that — things like being efficient in the dialogue and action. You try to keep the dialogue and action lean and on point, so that the readers and viewers do not get bored. Those are just guidelines. The actual application takes practice — but it really is something that you can learn.

                  All of that relates to the how of writing.

                  Or is the problem really just that you do not know what to write? The what is a much more difficult problem to solve. But if you know what you want to write, the how is something that you can learn just by doing it. Feedback helps, and you can get that here by posting some pages.

                  You can post questions in the Basics forum about things that you do not know how to do. You can post some script pages in the forum dedicated to that.

                  Some people made software recommendations above. I only recommend ‹Fade In› these days, because it is a phenomenal program that only costs $50 US. And you can export text that you can post into the Script Pages forum with no formatting hassles; you only have to use [code] and [/code] tags around your posted text (at start and finish).

                  ‹Final Draft› is too expensive and does not compare favorably overall with ‹Fade In›. ‹Celtx› is not worth the effort, and ‹Trelby› is now abandonware with some distinct shortcomings. ‹Movie Magic Screenwriter› has apparently conceded the field in terms of updating its scriptwriting program, though the company still sells it along with some other software that has a special market in the film industry.

                  ‹Fade In› updates are free.

                  I wrote a Quick Start guide (a PDF) for ‹Fade In› which I will send to you if you want it. I have it available for free on my website, but I cannot go to my website at the moment to find the precise address (it is not indexed on the site).

                  EDIT: And, by the way, if you have any specific questions or some issues with which you would like some help, but you do not want to post publicly, you may write to me directly.

                  [email protected]

                  "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

                    Hey ComicBent--

                    I would LOVE to get your quick start PDF guide to <Fade In>! I have Final Draft 7.1 but I'm considering a new computer with Windows 10 and I do not want to buy another license for FD (already had the current license on 2 computers).

                    I loaded the free trial of Fade In, but I'm a complete techno idiot and got overwhelmed. An easy tutorial would sure help. Thanks!

                    Late Night Writer

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                    • #11
                      Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

                      Thank you for your responses to my thread, they are very helpful!
                      I post too much.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

                        Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
                        ‹Trelby› is now abandonware with some distinct shortcomings.
                        Actually, it's not. Supposedly "soon" a new version will be released. Maybe it should be called "HibernationWare." I guess I just don't know what its shortcomings are -- in Linux (at least) it saves well to Formatted Text and to PDF formats. It's what I use to post "snippets" to Done Deal.

                        At any rate, for someone who wants to learn basic screenplay formatting, it still works fine. (Although I don't know if there are any issues using it on Windows 8.x or 10.)

                        EDIT: I'm test driving Linux Mint 18 (based on Ubuntu 16.04) and Trelby won't install due to lack of support for python-wxgtk2.8 -- so, I guess, I should withdraw the Trelby suggestion -- at least until (if) they get this dependency issue solved. (I can still use it on my wife's Windows 7 machine and on Linux Mint 17.x -- based on Ubuntu 14.04). I have no way of knowing if Trelby will work on Windows 8.x and 10.

                        EDIT 2: Fade In Pro is impressive. I just installed the Demo version on this test of Linux Mint Mate 18 (running from thumb drive) and it's even slicker than it was when I tried it last -- a couple years ago.
                        Last edited by Centos; 07-06-2016, 03:06 PM.
                        STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

                          I agree with Comicbent, what do you feel are your deficiencies? Yes, you can take a course, BUT you can also learn everything you need to know on line. It's here for the taking.

                          Online courses can be a distraction from writing.

                          If you want to increase your knowledge about story structure and character motivation including flaws, weaknesses and arc, I would suggest this youtube series that will cost you nothing.

                          This guy is amazing. The information he gives is really grounded. It may seem simplistic at first, but he breaks down how to write a story really, really fast. That covers the first 5 webisodes, I think. Then he breaks it down with his own novel that he's writing as he's doing the webisodes.

                          Everything he says applies to screenwriting. I download his story structure guide and use it along with STC beat sheet for a quick visual check on my stories.

                          I've taken classes, I've worked with consultants, I've read and referred to countless books and these webisodes will save you time.

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54l835una7A watch them all straight through. It's worth it. This guy is really talented.

                          Then, the single biggest book that had impact on my writing was Karl Iglesias' "Writing for Emotional Impact." I have all of his DVDs from the Creative Writing expo. It will change you and your writing. Again-- amazing.

                          Truby has a terrific series of audio MP3 CDs that are very insightful. I listen to them in the car whenever I'm prepping a new spec. I have the entire series. I used his insights for both blockbusters and sci-fi epics with my last two specs. I listen to them over and over. I never get tired of them.

                          The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler -- a must have, imo.

                          The Hero's 2 JourneysThe 2-dvd version of both Christopher Vogler and Michael Hague on a film's inside and outside journey. You can play the video or rip it to an MP3 format and listen away.

                          Bill Martell's Little Blue Books and cds on the action and thriller genre-- amazing insightful. Good listening over and over. Also, his book on action that is out of print but available online. I think Terry Russio made a great comment about this book.

                          A series of three books: Positive Traits Thesaurus, Negative Traits Thesaurus, and The Emotion Thesaurus. In order to write great characters you must understand human nature. These three books are invaluable when crafting complex, three dimensional characters.

                          Save The Cat Invaluable resource.

                          Dave Mamet's memo to staff. If you don't have it, I can email it to you, just PM me.

                          Scirptnotes with John August and Craig Mazin. Listen to it religiously every week.

                          There are a sh!t ton of of videos on youtbe-- get watching.

                          You might not be able to get all this for $500, but if it's more, it's worth it. Every penny, imo.

                          I am currently reading Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriting because Aaron Sorkin says so, and I happen to be taking his new online class in like, 37 days.


                          Those are my recommends...
                          "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

                            Sorry to be so late in getting back to this, folks. Yesterday was a busy and tiring day.

                            PDF Versions
                            Here are some links to the PDF version of the Quick Start for Fade In. Various sizes are available. The smaller sizes will display pretty well on handheld devices without getting scrunched too much.

                            Ebook Versions
                            I love ebooks and the concept behind them. I had epub/Kindle versions, but I ran into problems because the various devices and software programs do things the way that they want to instead of following a standard. So I am still tweaking the ebook versions.

                            A Future Version
                            Also, for the future, I have a much longer version of this manual (not just a Quick Start) that discusses screenwriting in addition to being a manual to help you set up Fade In. To confess fully, I have been working on the longer version, off and on, for a couple of years, but one thing always leads to another in the discussions, and then I realize that it has all become boring. Right now I am in a lull in the work on it, but I will resume soon, I think.

                            Links to the PDF Versions

                            STANDARD US PAPER
                            (8.5 x 11")
                            http://www.rolandstroud.com/FadeIn/F...k-USLetter.pdf

                            A4 PAPER
                            Standard typing paper for most of the world.
                            (8.27 x 11.7" ... 210 x 297mm)
                            http://www.rolandstroud.com/FadeIn/FadeIn-Quick-A4.pdf

                            A5 PAPER/DISPLAY
                            Good for a large tablet.
                            (5.83 x 8.27" ... 148 x 210mm)
                            http://www.rolandstroud.com/FadeIn/FadeIn-Quick-A5.pdf

                            C6 PAPER/DISPLAY
                            Good for a small/medium-sized tablet; I use this size for my Galaxy Tab 7"
                            (4.49 x 6.38" ... 114 x 162mm)
                            http://www.rolandstroud.com/FadeIn/FadeIn-Quick-C6.pdf

                            A6 PAPER/DISPLAY
                            Good for a smartphone. I use this on my Android smartphone.
                            (4.13 x 5.83" ... 105 x 148mm)
                            http://www.rolandstroud.com/FadeIn/FadeIn-Quick-A6.pdf


                            I have not checked these for about three months. I think that they are all in good shape. However, if you find an error or something that I really messed up, let me know by Private Message or email. Of course, let me know if you cannot download these. I need to get an index up. Unfortunately I have been too busy to take the time. I will try to do better.


                            Thoughts on Trelby
                            When I posted my comments on Trelby, I swear that I thought of Centos, because I knew that he was a user of the program.

                            I opened Trelby just now to recheck some things.

                            My two big complaints about Trelby are:

                            (1) It is not Unicode-compliant. You are not able to make an em-dash, which is a - kind of dash, the dash that you see in most printed material. Frankly, I hate the old typewriter method of using -- for an em-dash in screenplays. By the way, depending on the program, these hyphen -- dashes sometime split apart at the end of a line. But back to Trelby. You cannot create an em-dash with the usual Windows code of 0151 for the character, nor can you create the Unicode version of it and paste it into Trelby. You are stuck in Typewriter Land.

                            (2) It is just plain clunky. I opened it a few minutes ago to recheck the em-dash issue, just to make sure, and I could not quickly figure out how to designate a line to be a Scene Heading or Action. Yes, I figured it out, but nothing is intuitive in the interface. I remember that when I tried to use it a few years ago, the Copy/Paste method was just crazy. Yes, I learned how to do it, but it was contrary to the usual way of doing things. I noticed that the Scene Heading is bold (which I do not want), and I vaguely remember that you can change that, but with Trelby you have to take time to figure out everything. It tends to be obscure, and the interface is pretty bleak-looking.

                            Anyway, Fade In at $50 is great. You can add the mobile version for your tablet/phone for $5. You have to keep the scripts, for the mobile version, in Dropbox. I have seen some people complain about this, but I am not sympathetic with those complaints when you can get a Dropbox account of 2 gigabytes for free.

                            Let me know if encounter any problems with the Quick Start. Again, sorry to be so late getting back to this.

                            [email protected]

                            "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Are there any online affordable courses about screenwriting?

                              Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
                              Thoughts on Trelby
                              When I posted my comments on Trelby, I swear that I thought of Centos, because I knew that he was a user of the program.
                              I've become that predictable?

                              Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
                              I opened Trelby just now to recheck some things.

                              My two big complaints about Trelby are:

                              (1) It is not Unicode-compliant. You are not able to make an em-dash, which is a — kind of dash, the dash that you see in most printed material. Frankly, I hate the old typewriter method of using -- for an em-dash in screenplays. By the way, depending on the program, these hyphen -- dashes sometime split apart at the end of a line. But back to Trelby. You cannot create an em-dash with the usual Windows code of 0151 for the character, nor can you create the Unicode version of it and paste it into Trelby. You are stuck in Typewriter Land.
                              That one's not a big deal to me. I still have fond memories of typewriters and, if Trelby's output looks "typewriter-ish" that's almost a plus for me -- if I was writing stuff with foreign language quotes that might be a different deal, but an em-dash vs "--" just makes it look more "authentic."

                              Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
                              (2) It is just plain clunky. I opened it a few minutes ago to recheck the em-dash issue, just to make sure, and I could not quickly figure out how to designate a line to be a Scene Heading or Action. Yes, I figured it out, but nothing is intuitive in the interface. I remember that when I tried to use it a few years ago, the Copy/Paste method was just crazy. Yes, I learned how to do it, but it was contrary to the usual way of doing things. I noticed that the Scene Heading is bold (which I do not want), and I vaguely remember that you can change that, but with Trelby you have to take time to figure out everything. It tends to be obscure, and the interface is pretty bleak-looking.
                              It's different, but I wouldn't say it's "clunky" -- at least not when you get used to it. Changing elements is easy, TAB key or Right-Click. I haven't done any copying an pasting in quite awhile -- so I'll have to take your word for that. The bold Scene Heading is easy to change (and even if you don't change it, it isn't passed on to the final PDF document). As for "bleak looking" -- I call that "clean." The first thing I did when I tried out the FADE IN: Demo was tried to make it looks as much like Trelby as I could. I like "simple."

                              Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
                              Anyway, Fade In at $50 is great.
                              Agreed. It's a good deal, if you need it. For as little as I use a screenplay formatter "free" is even better. Also, for someone who is just trying out screenplay writing, Trelby is free for learning screenplay formatting. I think the combination of YouMeScript and Trelby (for me) is about ideal. I can write anywhere I have an Internet connection and -- as long as I have one computer that will run Trelby -- I can import that script and make a PDF document or save in formatted text.

                              If I still used Windows machines I would probably still be using my old Move Magic Screenwriter. I still think for ease of use that was the best screenwriting program ever designed. Unfortunately it looks like MMS development has ended. (Development for MMS never really advanced much after the original developer of ScriptThing stopped working on it.)

                              Sorry to ramble. I agree that FADE IN: Pro is good -- but I feel duty bound to defend Trelby's "honor."
                              STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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