Topic outline

  • About this course

    Screenplays form the starting point for most dramatic films, the essential work from which all other filmmaking flows. All of the tender romance, terrifying action and memorable lines begin at the screenwriter’s desk. This free online course will introduce you to the basic elements and key concepts behind a professional screenplay.

    The University of East Anglia’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing have built this course with instructors and recent alumni from their famed course in Creative Writing.

    Where could this course take me?

    The course is a must for anyone new to scriptwriting and for more experienced writers who wish to raise their scriptwriting to a professional level. It will establish a common vocabulary for approaching the screenplay and form the basis for upcoming courses in dramatic adaptation, the crime screenplay, and other genres and skills.

    What and how will I learn?

    There are no formal requirements for this course, just an interest in screenwriting.

    You’ll learn from a mixture of basic theory, script analysis and practical exercises. We will explore key principles as they’re expressed in great films, then immediately apply these concepts. Videos, articles and discussion steps will offer you the opportunity to learn and engage with other learners on key concepts and ideas.

    By the end of the course, you will understand the key concepts necessary to write an effective screenplay and be fluent in the language used to discuss the form.


    • Learning outcomes

      What topics will you cover?

      • Basic characteristics of screen story
      • Development of a basic storyline
      • Story structures including The Three Act Structure and alternate story structures
      • Characters and developing character outlines
      • The construction of scenes including the role of dialogue and character voice
      • The workflow for writing a first draft of feature film screenplay
      • The process for screenplay formatting
      • Writing – and finishing – a first draft

      What will you achieve?

      By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

      • Explore key issues in the practice of creating screenplays
      • Explain the basic principles of the screenwriting process
      • Identify the essentials of the screenplay format
      • Discuss the construction of a professional script
      • Design a story 'pitch'

      • Access this course

        This course by the University of East Anglia, is free on Future Learn:

        Duration: 2 weeks
        Weekly study: 3 hours

        Access this course via the following link:
        https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/screenwriting