[Editor’s Note: I’m busy as hell, so no time for reflecting on the past year and the new year. I will get to it shortly. In the meantime, here is a question I meant to answer some weeks ago.]

This question from Hong Kong:

Could you point me to a good online screenwriters course for absolute beginners.
I appreciate your help.
kind regards

AFI has a free introduction for beginners seminar online here. Other resources you will want to consult include the following:

First are the many sites that have downloadable screenplays, including the script gallery at screentalk.biz. I like this one because all the scripts are PDF files and, therefore, in there original format. You should read scripts voraciously.

Second, there are the wonderful columns at Wordplayer, the website run by A-list writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. You should read all of them. In fact, the entire site is terrific.

Third, the WGA west website has a number of great resources for writers, including columns on craft.

Fourth, there are a number of websites that explain traditional three-act screenplay structure. The substantial caveat on these is that every writer develops his or her own ideas about structure – so do not take any one set of ideas as gospel. In fact, some of them will just send you in the wrong direction. One example of a site that explains structure is Screenplay Mastery. I am not endorsing this site in particular; you should look at a number of sites to see different points of view.

I hope this gets you started. Good luck….

13 thoughts on “DISTANCE LEARNING”

  1. OFF Topic:
    Is it only me that have technical problems with wordplayer.com’s site? I can’t get in for a month now.

    IN Topic:
    All the blogs, pages and scripts out there is an excellent help to learn something free and fast.

  2. I have had no problems with wordplayer, but others have also complained, especially from outside the U.S. You might try using the IP address:

    [IP address removed at webmaster’s request.]

  3. I did get a reply on the mail, and it says that they have “trouble with visitors accessing too many pages too quickly — and at least twice last month”.


  4. The UCLA Extension also has online classes at relatively reasonable prices. Several years ago, I took a class through them and found it to be a good introduction to the craft. The instructor’s lectures were downloadable, and the class met online via a chatroom. I remember thinking how great it was having class members in Hong Kong, London and Norway. I also just noticed that UCLA Instructor Scott Myers was recently named online instructor of the year. I haven’t taken his course, but I did attend a seminar of his at the Santa Fe conference two years ago, and thought he was great. It might be worth looking into his class. Good luck!

  5. Haven’t been able to access the wordplay site for a few weeks, down here in Australia. This is typically in what would be afternoon and evening California time…

  6. Thanks so much for everyone’s feed back. I am rather nervous at moving forward. I am also very excited to find this wonderful creative community on line.

  7. I also cannot access wordplayer. I really hope they get the site fixed, I was going there daily (which according to taZ is a no no??)

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