If you're looking for some guidance on how to write your next (or current) screenplay, you may want to hit up James Franco. The actor/director/writer/producer/teacher (he's taught in the film and English departments at USC, UCLA, CalArts, and NYU) has joined forces with former classmate and Rabbit Bandini Productions co-founder Vince Jolivette, as well as Skillshare to offer a self-paced, online class on how to tackle short scripts, including 15 video lessons on concept development, budgeting, and pitching. Enrollment is now open and only costs $25 (or $20 with a Skillshare membership).
The cool thing about this class, entitled "Introduction to Screenwriting for Short Films", is that it's multi-dimensional -- in other words, it's not just a video that you watch and take notes on. There are 15 video lessons, but you're also given writing assignments, projects, literature, and resources. And the class is set up to let you go at your own pace, so if you've got a day job, a family, and are writing in your "free time", you can always come back to the lessons when it's convenient for you. As a side note, I can't tell you how much more writing I do when I have an assignment (with guidelines) due -- maybe that's my inner immature, undisciplined writer revealing herself, but it's true. Structure is definitely a huge boon to my writing.
Here's a list of topics the class will cover:
- 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.
Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to receive one-one-one feedback from Franco and Jolivette on one of their screenplay projects, an 8-minute short script adapted from one of the source texts from the class: The Spoon River Anthology, Winesburg, Ohio, or Pastures of Heaven. Students will submit their short screenplay on Skillshare, and Franco and Jolivette will read the 10 that receive the most likes, and whichever one they deem their favorite, they'll give the author feedback. The submission deadline is July 24th.
Some might look at this and say, "Classes = school, which also = no way!" But, you know, though we're called No Film School, that doesn't mean no film classes. Education is vital! If you're a thriving autodidact, wonderful, but some of you might want structure and a hand to guide you as you learn without the exorbitant cost of tuition that many (most?) film schools require. For that reason, Franco and Jolivette, with years of experience writing and producing films, offering online screenwriting classes for a nominal fee sounds like a great opportunity. Especially since Franco plans to use the money to fund projects of student filmmakers. (Also, if you don't like it after 14 days, you can get your money back!)
If you're interested, head on over to the course's page on Skillshare and enroll!