Audit a Michigan State University Screenwriting Course for Free

Are you interested in a guided attempt at writing a full feature-length film? 

There's nothing we love here more than a free resource, which is why I am excited to bring to you this free Michigan State screenwriting course.

You can audit the course for free, or there is a paid version where you get feedback and can participate in lectures. 

The course is taught by David Wheeler, lasts 93 hours, and has around 20 sessions to it. You’ll learn to break down the creative process into components, and you’ll discover a structured process that allows you to produce a polished and pitch-ready script by the end of the course. 

This is a course designed to tap into your creativity and is based in "Active Learning." Most of the actual learning takes place within your own activities—that is, writing! You will learn by doing.

Don't take it from me. One learner inside the course said, "Love the approach Professor Wheeler takes towards this course. It's to the point, easy to follow, and very informative! Would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in taking a screenplay writing course!"

if you're interested, head over to the Coursera page to sign up.

If you've taken it, let us know how it is in the comments.      

Your Comment


Sounds awesome! I just signed up

August 11, 2021 at 6:48AM, Edited August 11, 6:48AM

Bradley Brooks

I enrolled in this class over a year ago and I think it's absolutely fantastic!
People on a limited budget no longer have to spend hundreds of $$$ on film school or a private mentor! This online course is much better than the Master class one because it's free!You can take the course at your own pace and never need to worry about spending additional $$$ to renew it!! The web site offers a separate fee if you want to get certified but IMO it's not really worth it! Good Luck!!

August 12, 2021 at 8:39AM

Joseph Lobosco

I'm at around Week 9 of this course as a pro bono student. Within the limitations of Coursera's sub-optimal Web technology and peer-only feedback, Wheeler is doing a decent job.

It's hard to see how anyone could do better with a course designed to attract all-comers from nations across the world, utterly different degrees of knowledge of screenwriting and even of the English language itself. Props, indeed, to Wheeler for attempting this.

One very curious feature of the design of this course is the way it hovers uncertainly between pantsing and planning (gardening and architecture). Wheeler isn't, thankfully, an ultra-structuralist; he's a broad 3-Acter with recursion (everything: the whole story, the individual acts, down to each beat—they're all in three parts: beginning, middle and end (setup, development, payoff).

This makes perfect sense, particularly for the student mix the course is designed for. But it throws up a curious paradox. We plan Act 1 on this loose basis—but with absolutely no regard for where the story might be going in the subsequent acts. This is the wildest kind of pantsing.

As an experienced pantser myself, I was very happy to plunge in and I can see how this makes starting the course easy and attractive for students in general. But the inevitable outcome is that students arrive at the end of Act 1 (around Week 9, where I am now) somewhat baffled about the next step.

Does this explain why most of them seem to have dropped out? The requirement to press on to the following week is generally to make an appraisal of five peers. As of this writing, only three of my peers appear to be still in the game. Do I, can I, press on?

The nofilmschool write-up here suggests that for the paid-for version of this course you get feedback. My understanding is that for a small fee you receive a certificate at the end of the course but all feedback is still just peer-review.

There may be an extra tier at a higher price for which you receive conventional tutoring (you'll need to check this) but if the course is identical in all other respects with this one I'm not convinced that it would be value for any serious money.


September 10, 2021 at 2:24AM, Edited September 10, 2:24AM


I think this is a very good opportunity for students. Moreover, it is a chance for students who want to start their studies in the field of cinematography. For example, I have been looking for something like that for a long time, because I would like to study cinematographic skills. But, since this is related to creativity, I am afraid of coursework writing, because there may be no inspiration and then the grades will be bad. Fortunately, senior students showed me and now I know there is a service I can rely on. And if someone took this course, please share your impressions.

October 15, 2021 at 5:39AM, Edited October 15, 6:12AM


I am glad that there is an opportunity to attend free courses. I've heard about the University of Michigan many times and the reviews are only positive. I'm just finishing school and I'm getting ready to apply, so I'm writing an admissions essay and Discover more here to see what kind of information I need when I apply. Because I'm just a fan of writing a lot of stuff. That's why I'm taking this free screenwriting course from Professor Wheeler to learn how to write appropriately and intelligently. His approach is praised even in my state.

December 29, 2021 at 11:39AM, Edited December 29, 11:45AM