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Check out these 15 script writing courses for beginners, free and paid, if you want to know how to begin script writing, how to start a career in script writing and where to find the best online screenwriting courses.
Start studying screenwriting from home today with professional and reputable distance e-learning providers, online workshops and well-known script writers.
Whether you want to write scripts for TV, movies, stage or radio, these 15 top script writing courses for beginners are for writers wanting to learn screenwriting.
1. Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting – Masterclass
As an example of one of the best screenwriting courses, "you’ll learn his rules of storytelling, dialogue, character development, and what makes a script actually sell. By the end, you’ll write screenplays that capture your audience’s attention".
An ideal script writing short course showing how to start your screenwriting career, this course enables members to view lessons from a successful and established screenwriter who is one of experts in this field. It is aimed at all levels of writers who have an interest in screenwriting for film/movies.
The lessons in this screenwriting course cover intention and obstacle, story ideas, developing characters, incorporating research, rules of story, film story arc, writing scenes, tackling rewrites, and much more.
Aaron Sorkin Script Writing – Masterclass
2. Shona Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television – Masterclass
As another example of one of the best screenwriting courses, "Shonda teaches you how to create compelling characters, write a pilot, pitch your idea, and stand out in the writers’ room. You’ll also get original pilot scripts, pitch notes, and series bibles from her shows".
Another ideal script writing short course to start your TV writing career, this course can benefit beginner to advanced writers who want to learn the key aspects of writing for TV from an industry expert.
The lessons in this television writing course include finding an idea, developing the concept, researching your story, creating memorable characters, pitching your show, tackling the process and structure of writing a script, writing authentic dialogue, editing your script, and much more.
Shona Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television – MasterClass
3. Writing Drama for Television with Jed Mercurio – BBC Maestro
Price: £80 one-off fee with no ongoing commitment
From BBC Maestro you can now learn from professionals and well-known experts in their field. Here you can learn script writing online from Jed Mercurio, one of Britain’s most successful television writers.
You receive "a complete course taught by Jed Mercurio, acclaimed screenwriter of Line of Duty, and Bodyguard. Designed to take you from first draft and set you on the path to final script".
During the 7 hours of video content covering 28 lessons, you will begin your journey into television writing and discover your value as a new writer, discover where to find ideas for your own television series, how to take your inspiration and turn it into a premise for a TV series, learn about the different types of series, and what every long-running TV show must have, how to create successful settings and invigorate well-trodden paths, and much more.
Writing Drama for Television – BBC Maestro
4. Visual Storytelling for Screenwriters [FREE] – Writers Write
This can be classed as one of the best free script writing courses for beginners. Writers Write has a wealth of free to access resources designed to keep young writers on the right path. When you first enter the world of script writing, this is a great place to start.
The course overview states “Take our free screenwriting course, with 30 exercises for screenwriters, and learn how to be a great visual storyteller”.
In as little as 14 lessons, this script writing course teaches you how to be a fully-fledged screen writer. Through learning the theory, performing tasks, adjusting your technique, and following the outlined examples, you can improve your script writing skills. They take a visual storytelling approach which most other courses don’t consider.
Visual Storytelling for Screenwriters – Writers Write
5. Learn How to Write a Script for Stage, Screen or Radio – UK Writers College
This course from UK Writers College is aimed for any budding screenwriter who wants to learn all the basics of scriptwriting in one course. It can help the novice take their work from pen to stage, help the advanced user polish a finished work, or can help when generating ideas for your next project.
This course offers expert and individual feedback, a flexible schedule, relevant and usable content, ongoing assessment. This scriptwriting course “breaks down the essentials of crafting a script" into ten modules.
We look at the different elements of scriptwriting in isolation before bringing them all together to create a short script that engages, entertains and is written in your own unique voice”.
Learn How to Write a Script for Stage, Screen or Radio – UK Writers College
6. An Introduction to Screenwriting [FREE] – FutureLearn
Price: FREE with paid certification
The University of East Anglia offers this introductory course via FutureLearn that helps you get to grips with the key elements of screenwriting. Explore concepts, discover fundamental ideas, and learn how to put together a killer script.
This course is free to join, but it does cost money to unlock certain features. If you want a certificate of completion, for example, you will have to pay a fee. Otherwise, the course is free. This script writing course covers a mix of basic theory, script analysis and practical execution. Between all three, you emerge with a well-rounded view of script writing.
If you’re looking for a free script writing courses for beginners, this could be the ideal option for you.
An Introduction to Screenwriting – FutureLearn
7. Scriptwriting: TV, Film, Stage and Radio Writing – Learn Direct
Learn how to write scripts for almost any occasion with this script writing course from Learn Direct. Among the basic elements and differences between the different types of script writing, it also teaches you the mechanics of the world that surrounds the big screen.
It will help you find an agent, set you up with ideas, and connect you with industry pros who can further your cause.
You are assigned your own tutor, learn through ongoing assessments, and receive CPD points for your hours spent learning.
Scriptwriting: TV, Film, Stage and Radio Writing – Learn Direct
8. Writing for Film – City Academy
The online writing for film course run by City Academy has set start dates and you will need to book a place. As one of the best screenwriting courses, you will study the likes of Hitchcock and Kubrick to bring the best in cinema scripts under your microscope.
Through this course, you will learn about the techniques specific to screenwriting. Once you have the basic elements in play, your one-on-one virtual tutor time allows you to learn from your mistakes and progress to the next level.
This course is for those who consider themselves to be writers already, who want to make the switch to script writing.
Writing for Film – City Academy
9. Writing Successfully for Stage [FREE] – edX
Price: Free with paid certification
Not all script writing is screenwriting for TV and movies, as another genre is writing for theater performance. Many scripts for stage can be adapted for film, but generally stage writing has a smaller budget, less location changes, and uses stage direction, set design and music to develop the play or show.
This script writing short course from the University of Cambridge via edX is free unless you would like to receive the completion certificate. The course duration is four weeks and the study time required is eight-ten hours per week.
The edX writing for the stage course involves learning the stage directions, techniques, and the spatial awareness you need to be successful at script writing. It will bring you closer to engaging and believable dialogue; improving your ability to research, organize, and plot; and will teach you about how producers, directors, and script writers all interact with one another.
This course could benefit you if you’re looking for a free script writing courses for beginners.
Writing Successfully for Stage – edX
10. Playwriting and Screenwriting – Oplex Careers
Where better to learn the key differences between the two main types of script writing than in a course designed to teach you both at once. This course brings you Level 3 CPD Award qualification with a PDF certificate included in the price. You can pay additional fees for a paper copy.
For one year, you will have access to the full range of course materials, which have full compatibility with Windows and MacOS. There are 11 course modules that cover beginner’s script writing right through to a more advanced writing level for screen. The course lasts 60 hours and comes with the support of a tutor full time.
This script writing course is fairly in-depth and aims to make you a better screenwriter.
The Playwriting and Screenwriting Course Details
11. Screenwriting 1: From Film Idea to Pitch
Ever wanted to study at the prestigious Oxford University? Well now you can. For a respectable fee, you will be taught how to develop a vague idea for a film into a fully fleshed out, well-written script. This course focuses on techniques, skill development, and learning how to stick out an idea for a full script.
This course helps you understand the ergonomics of film, how to incorporate research, and you will learn to expose, instead of using dialogue, to tell. If you want to become an advanced scriptwriter and give yourself the best chance at a film career, undertaking and completing this course will look fantastic on your literary CV.
Screenwriting 1: From Film Idea to Pitch – University of Oxford
Also from the University of Oxford:
Screenwriting 2: From Pitch to Screen – University of Oxford
This is Oxford University’s second option for learning to write specifically for screen. This workshop course focuses on the latter elements of developing a script. After you have successfully crafted an idea, how do you make it brilliant enough to be comfortable showing it to a funder, director or producer?
What happens between the original idea and the final, polished draft? How do you keep generating action, adding audience interest, and stopping it being boring? This is what Screenwriting 2 teaches.
View Screenwriting 2: From Pitch to Screen Course Details
12. Introduction to Screenwriting – UCLA Extension
Price: From $399.00
Another option for writers who want to learn how to produce film scripts, you will find a fairly thorough offering from UCLA Extension. This online script writing course has set start dates, and teaches you the basics of screenwriting via remote instruction.
Upon completion of this course you will be able to switch between genres, understand formatting, and know the difference between descriptive and script styles.
The course is “perfect for anyone getting started on their path to becoming a screenwriter. Each class offers a broad-strokes introduction to a different writing format, such as Feature Film, Television Specs, Television Pilots, Web Series, and Podcasting, plus a look at the business of writing”.
Introduction to Screenwriting – UCLA Extension
13. Finding Your Voice as a Playwright [FREE] – edX
Price: FREE with paid certification
Provided by the University of Cambridge via edX, this online screenwriting course teaches you scriptwriting to an intermediate level, and enables you to learn and develop your script writing knowledge.
This script writing short course runs for four weeks and takes up around ten hours of time per session. It will offer you writing advice, give you communication tips and, best of all, it will broaden your career understanding. If you already have a good grasp of writing creatively for performance, but you want to move forward with your career, then this is the course you need.
Finding Your Voice as a Playwright – edX
14. Learn to Write Movies: Screenwriting from Start to Finish – Simpliv
Price: $9.99 subject to change
Simpliv Learning offers a blow-by-blow breakdown of all the steps it takes to get a screenplay off the ground. This screenwriting course focuses on the screen elements of script writing, from start to finish.
This is a self-paced course which includes a completion certificate in the price, and offers lifetime access.
You will learn how to plan an entire movie through the completion of online workshops, videos, and examinations. This course focuses on the character creation aspects, the themes used in your writing, and how to structure your movie to Hollywood expectations.
Learn to Write Movies: Screenwriting from Start to Finish – Simpliv
15. Building your Screenplay [FREE] – edX
Price: FREE with paid certification
If you can spare eight-ten hours per week, you could learn how to build a screenplay from the beginning. Whether you are into screen writing or theatre writing, this University of Cambridge via edX online course is destined to take you straight to the top.
You will be taught how to plot, how to design and accentuate characters, and how to set a scene through exposition. This course also teaches you everything you need to know in order to start your career as a professional script writer.
On this course you will “learn to strengthen you skills as a screenwriter, while diversifying your knowledge and understanding of the demands of global film and TV production”.
Building your Screenplay – edX
Now you’ve decided to progress your screenwriting skills, learning from a professional script writing course will help you to develop your writing further.
Also, you can connect with other writers with the same interest and passion for writing who you can discuss ideas with or ask for advice and feedback.
If you make time to write each day, even for just a few minutes, and apply the techniques and tips from a writing class, you will see the improvements and your growth as a screenwriter.
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