The Fundamentals of Screenwriting & Story Structure
4.2 (15 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
136 students enrolled

The Fundamentals of Screenwriting & Story Structure

Filmmaking is all about storytelling. Learn how to get your movie ideas out of your head and on the written page.
4.2 (15 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
136 students enrolled
Created by Kenn Crawford
Last updated 5/2019
English
English [Auto]
Current price: $89.99 Original price: $149.99 Discount: 40% off
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This course includes
  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • 15 articles
  • 2 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Screenwriting & Story Structure with a focus on Short Films
  • Proper Screenplay Formatting
  • The Fundamental Elements Needed to Write a Great Story
  • How to Create Believable Characters your Audience can Relate to
  • How to Write Realistic Dialog
  • Basic Filmmaking Principals so you can Write Screenplays that Can Be Shot on a Small Budget
  • CASE STUDIES of 3 Short Films and the Lessons Learned while Shooting them.
  • Some of the Equipment you’ll need if you want to Turn your Well-Crafted Script into a Low-Budget Film
Requirements
  • No previous experience required.
  • You have the passion and drive to learn this wonderful craft so you can tell the story you want to tell in a way that can be filmed.
  • You are dedicated to spend time practicing what you'll learn in this course
Description

Born in the trenches of low and no-budget filmmaking by an active indie filmmaker, this course won’t waste your time with irrelevant and outdated theory - you learn what you really need to know to get your story idea out of your head and on the written page in a format that can be shot by you or independent filmmakers without the need for a big budget.

With a focus on short films, because they're easier to write, easier to shoot, and cost the least amount to produce, you'll learn how to write a screenplay that people want to read and actors want to be in! You'll learn how to create compelling characters, how to write believable dialogue, how and why to use suspense, drama and conflict. You will learn the Screenwriting Elements you need to know, how to properly format and use them, and so much more!

“Natural and compelling dialogue is a key to screenplays that really stand out. Kenn Crawford understands the importance of effective dialogue; as a result, his screenplays flow perfectly. Kenn also structures his screenplays to maximize audience interest. His characters and situations feel real, and each story is compelling. I highly recommend Kenn Crawford’s course on screenplay writing. It will help you take your ideas and turn them into tightly written screenplays that are ready for production.”
~ Professor Michael G. MacDonald, Cape Breton University. Stage and Film Actor

“Kenn is a visual writer. His dialogue is natural, his settings real, and his stories entertaining. I was fortunate to have Kenn guide me through the screenwriting process for THE ROSE and THE TATTOO. Believe me when I say, if he can teach me how to write a screenplay, he can show anyone.”
~ Dan Yakimchuk, PhD., Cape Breton University.

“In a Kenn Crawford screenplay you get thought-provoking dialogue and a unique plot that keeps you reading until the very end. As a mentor, he showed me that creativity and a little courage can turn a good idea into a great script.”
~ Felix W. Pottie, Indie Screenwriter

"Kenn is a hardworking guerrilla film maker who embraces the DSLR revolution. He is proof you don’t need a million bucks to make a movie, just passion and elbow grease.”
~ Brett Holmes, Indie Screenwriter & Filmmaker


Who this course is for:
  • Anyone who wants to be a screenwriter but doesn’t know where to start.
  • If there’s something inside you that says “I always wanted to write a movie” - you’ve come to the right place.
  • If you watched movies or TV shows and thought “I could write a better movie than that.” but you're not sure how to get started - you’ve come to the right place.
  • If you’re just curious about writing but not sure if you want to do it yourself, you probably came to the wrong place because once you learn how uncomplicated writing and filmmaking can be, you’ll be hooked, and you’ll be left with the burning desire to finally start writing that movie you always dreamed of writing.
Course content
Expand all 79 lectures 04:22:28
+ Introduction
4 lectures 15:37

ADDENDUM: A new resource has been added to this video.

The Fundamentals of Screenwriting and Story Structure doesn't bog you down with a bunch of techie mumbo-jumbo that usually only confuses beginners. It's taught from the trenches of low and no-budget filmmaking. You'll learn what you really need to know from Kenn Crawford, an independent writer and filmmaker who is still in the trenches doing what he loves... writing and shooting short films.

Preview 06:01

One of things you will notice as you take this course is that some of the lessons are relatively short. I'm not here to waste your time - if it only takes a minute to explain the topic, you get a minute-long video!

In fact, this Free Preview lesson covers 2 topics and it's only a 3 minute, 22 second long video! That there shows you that I don't drag things out just to make it "look" longer and more in-depth - each video is jam-packed with valuable, usable information... so have a pen and paper ready to take notes!

Here' what we cover in this Free Preview Lesson:

  1. The Four Goals in all of Narrative Screenwriting

  2. The Four Emotions of your Protagonist

Preview 03:22

If you're new to distance education you should find the tips in this document helpful. If you've taken online courses in the past, this quick refresher should be equally as helpful.

Best of luck with your online studies,
Kenn

Preview 05:34
+ Overview of Screenwriting Basics
10 lectures 26:58
Download Your workbook
00:28
Who Are You Writing for?
01:01
Why Screenwriters Need to Keep Budget in Mind when Writing.
02:21
Screenwriting is Storytelling
02:23
Ready, Fire... Aim.
03:21
The 3-Act Structure
04:17
Story Structure
04:40
Action, Conflict & Drama
00:58
The First Step to Screenwriting
05:09
The Filmmaker's Triangle
02:20
+ The Three Fundamental Elements of Writing
5 lectures 09:14
Think Like a Screenwriter
02:44
The Fundamental Element of Suspense
02:21
The Fundamental Element of Drama
00:33
The Fundamental Element of Conflict
01:58
Action, Suspense, Conflict and Drama Addendum
01:38
+ Characters
3 lectures 09:17
Creating Believable Characters
06:32
Reactive vs. Passive Protagonist
00:53
Writing Exercises
01:52
+ Writing Better Dialog
7 lectures 21:52
But First... a word about audio
04:45
Writing Better Dialog
01:03
On the Nose Dialog
04:11
Say it, Don't Write it
01:39
Study People
03:58
Writing is Re-Writing
04:10
More on Show, Don't Tell
02:06
+ Screenwriting Mistakes
6 lectures 07:25
Screenwriting Mistakes Introduction
00:18
Character Names
01:07
Mistake #1 - Passive Lead Character
01:11
Mistake #2 - Mild Conflict or No Conflict at all
02:06
Mistake #3 - No or Mild Consequences
01:10
Mistake #4 - Being Technically Correct
01:33
+ Screenplay Formatting
8 lectures 17:23
Screenplay Formatting
03:26
Screenplay Elements
00:29
Story Parts
04:10
Scene Heading or Slugline
03:23
The Character Element
00:49
The Dialog Element
01:34
The Parenthetical Element
02:02

The screenwriting software I used to write some of the examples is Celtx (version2.9.7)  - it is an older, stand-alone version before Celtx went cloud based, but it gets the job done and I still occasionally use it. It depends on what and who I am writing for.

It's worth noting that the grey bar that surrounds the Scene Headings/Sluglines in the examples shown is only on the screen when you're writing to help you quickly find each scene heading; the script itself is not printed with that grey bar across the scene heading.

The Transition Element
01:30
+ Screenwriting Software
5 lectures 04:45
Screenwriting Software Introduction
00:35
Celtx
01:09
Final Draft
00:21
Fade In
00:27
What's the Best program to use?
02:13
+ Short Films
7 lectures 32:56
The Short Films - Introduction
02:06
The Final Goodbye
08:39
Lessons Learned: The Final Goodbye
08:39
The Battle Within
03:42
Lessons Learned: The Battle Within
01:32
Unscheduled Visit
05:48
Lessons Learned: Unscheduled Visit
02:28
+ What Your Story Needs
3 lectures 03:46
What your Story Needs
00:46
Finding the Next Great Idea
02:50
Addendum
00:10