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Six Month Screenwriting Intensive

January 20 - June 2, 2023Fridays, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. (20 sessions),


“Screenplays…are primarily a narrative blueprint for cinematic interpretation. They require certain beats, certain layouts, and certain terminology to communicate the visual and audio needs of an eventual production — a production that hundreds of professionals will collaborate on.”
– Ken Miyamoto, Screencraft

“The challenge of screenwriting is to say much in little and then take half of that little out and still preserve an effect of leisure and natural movement.”
– Raymond Chandler

The art and craft of writing for the screen is a skill that all authors would do well to have in their creative arsenals. On one level, prose fiction, memoir, non-fiction, all these forms have been, and will continue to be, sought out by the film industry as foundations for works in the visual storytelling realm. So, writers who bring with them a full understanding of the techniques—and very specific considerations—that go into bringing screen stories to life are adding a valuable component to their career qualifications.

Perhaps even more importantly, being able to offer screenplays among one’s catalogue of written works could add a new and potentially profitable set of skills to an author’s toolkit. Getting a handle on how those in movies and TV tell their stories will enrich and inspire the creative process in unexpected and energizing ways. Putting that knowledge into practice lets a writer generate a tangible art form that augments and amplifies their body of work.

This course is designed to guide you through the foundational elements of screenwriting, including structural, stylistic, and formatting archetypes that inform script creation, as you proceed toward a rough first draft screenplay or television pilot as the culmination of our coursework.

We will delve into modern standards of story construction along with the ancient roots of the traditional three-act structure. These theory elements will always be combined with hands-on writing exercises (some assigned as homework, others taking shape “improv” style within class time), reading and analyzing several produced scripts, and peer critiquing of your fellow authors’ projects as they take shape during our journey. In addition to structure, we will go deeply into character and dialogue, the importance of research, and the distinct demands of forging evocative, economical descriptive passages in screenplays.

This class meets 20 times between January 20 and June 3, 2023. A full schedule and syllabus is available upon request; email Susan at susan@literary-arts.org.

Access Program
We want our writing classes and Delves to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. Our Access Program offers writing class and Delve tuitions at a reduced rate. The access program for writing classes covers 60% of the class tuition. Most writing classes have at least one access spot available.

Please apply here for access rate tuition. Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org if you have questions.


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James Napoli

James Napoli’s MFA is from the London Film School. He is a professional story analyst, providing script evaluations to agents and producers in the film industry for more than fifteen years. He has written and directed award-winning short films, optioned several of his feature screenplays and is currently pitching a TV pilot script with an independent producer in Los Angeles. James created hundreds of original short plays in every genre as Head Writer for the XM/Sirius Live Radio Theater Program New Frequency. He is the author of the humor best-seller The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm, the co-creator of the cinema-themed comedy podcast Movies Not Movies, and has just completed a private eye novella, Plea from a Dead Silhouette. James teaches in the MFA in Professional Screenwriting Program at National University, and at Columbia College, Hollywood, where his subjects include Screenwriting, Script Analysis, Script Coverage and Film History.
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