Introduction to Screenwriting for Short Films

, Actor, Director, Writer and Producer

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Jeremy Lanning

Jeremy Lanning

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Eric Edge

Eric Edge

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Salar Pashtoonyar

Salar Pashtoonyar

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Class Project

Write a screenplay for an 8-minute short film.

About the Class

I’ve been involved in the world of film since 2007 - acting, directing, producing, writing and teaching. In 2005 I started Rabbit Bandini Productions with my former acting school classmate, Vince Jolivette. Together we’ve produced upwards of 40 films, running the gamut from dramas to comedies; feature-length films to shorts.

Education has played an increasingly important part in my life, having had the opportunity to teach at USC, UCLA, CalArts and NYU. With this Skillshare class, Vince and I will make the lessons we’ve learned in the industry over the last decade accessible to students of any age, anywhere in the world.

This class is definitely geared towards beginners but designed for students of any skill level to find value. Never written for film before? Not a problem, we’ll walk you through our process for getting started. 

Project. Write a screenplay for an 8-minute short film adapted from one of the source texts listed below. As is the case with screenwriting generally, the most valuable part of this process will be giving and getting feedback on your work from your peers. 

Project Reward. Vince and I will review the top 10 most-liked projects and announce our favorite 3 writers, one of whom will receive 1-on-1 feedback on their work from us. Projects need to be submitted by July 24th, 2014 to qualify. 

Source Texts. I’ve chosen these texts specifically because they’re all written as vivid portraits or character studies which make for great short film fodder. 

  1. The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters (Free download available)
  2. Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small-Town Life by Sherwood Anderson
  3. Pastures of Heaven by John Steinbeck

What You'll Learn. 

This class will cover a variety of topics spanning the creative to the technical. Some of what we'll touch on includes: 

  • Concept Development & Adaptation. Articulating your screenplay vision when adapting from written works.
  • Budgeting for short films. The costs you'll need to keep in mind as you set out to write your screenplay. 
  • Screenplay formatting. The intricacies of proper screenplay formatting. 
  • Generating loglines and treatments. Pitching your screenplay to resonate with potential investors. 

More Information

Level: Beginner

School: Film & Video

Related Subjects: Screenwriting, Filmmaking

At a Glance

  • Non-Membership Class
  • 15 Video Lessons (1h 34m)
  • 2.4K Students
  • 96% Positive Reviews (54)
  • Self-Paced Online Class
  • 14-Day Money Back Guarantee

About the Teacher

James Franco

James Franco

Actor, Director, Writer and Producer

James Franco is an actor, director, screenwriter, producer, teacher and author. He began his career on Freaks and Geeks and received a Golden Globe Award for his performance in the bio...

96% Positive Reviews

Kat Dornian

Kat Dornian

I've really enjoyed this class. The resources are wonderful and the class interaction is really top notch.

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