Ah, winter. Fresh snow on the ground, a chill in the air, warm coats—or at least, that’s what I’m told. Here in Los Angeles it’s likely to be clear skies, sunny, and maybe sweater weather (if we’re lucky). But wherever you’re at geographically, winter brings with it a sense of renewal, of feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your goals. And what better way to start off 2014 than with a writing course. Dust off the old laptop, stock up on pens, and get ready for a winter lineup that’s sure to get your creative engine revving.

For the aspiring film and television writers out there, some of our imaginative new winter courses include:

Rewriting Your 1-Hour Spec or Pilot Script with instructor Greg Elliot

Whether you’ve written a pilot or a spec of an existing 1-hour drama, your goal is the same: to dig deeper, raise the stakes higher, stretch your characters further to make your script one that will leave an indelible mark on its readers. If you’re writing a pilot, have you introduced us to characters and situations that we want to come back to week after week? If you’re writing a spec of an existing show, have you been true to the characters and situations as we know them, and still told a story that is somehow new? In this course, you review the choices your characters make, the consequences of those choices, and how to make those consequences more dramatic. You look at your actions, your pacing, your tension and your stakes, among other things. The goal: to improve your script until it’s a story that demands the reader’s attention.

Creating a Web Series (Online) with instructor Bill Taub

With the explosion of web-based content and distribution platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Funny or Die, Crackle, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google coming on line faster than the speed of a pixel, writers have incredible opportunities to create and distribute their original creative content direct to the viewer. But writing a web series, be it fiction or nonfiction, comes with its own set of demands, including limited budgets and viewing devices. In this workshop, you learn how to create your own web series. Each episode will be no longer than five minutes. Within this new framework there are creative advantages and limitations. Through exploration and experimentation you organically conceive your idea, taking into consideration audience demands and patterns, write an episode, and execute a simple production. Also covered are ways to add a web based element to existing traditional media projects.

And for those creative writers out there, here are some new winter courses to help you find your muse:

Accessing the Power of Poetry: A Workshop for Readers and Writers with instructor Peter Serchuk

This course is designed for those who would like to enhance their experience with poetry as readers or writers or both–but who often find the poetry they encounter difficult to understand, much less enjoy. Through exploring a variety of work by poets, famous and not so famous, you learn how they use imagery, metaphor, tone, voice, and poetic form to create accessible, engaging, and affecting work. You also delve into the great range of styles and subjects these poets tackle, and see how they connect their personal experience to larger, more universal themes. For those interested in writing poetry, you receive assignments related to the specific styles and subjects under discussion. The goal for everyone is to experience an epiphany on the power of poetry to inspire, entertain, instruct, and fulfill, and, for those who wish to write, to have in-hand poems that reflect your particular stylistic and thematic interests.

Writing in Rhyme for Young Children (Online) with Terry Pierce

This course takes you into the world of writing stories for children using rhyme. After briefly reviewing the components of a good story such as story arc and characterization, you delve into exploring all the key elements of writing in rhyme: poetic voices, rhythm, rhyme, repetition, scansion, musicality and poetic forms used to tell a story. Short, fun writing exercises allow you to expand your awareness of poetic writing elements and their functions, and prepare you to work on a main project for the course: a picture book manuscript written in rhyme (or with rhyme as a strong component). Engaging in an ongoing feedback process overseen by the instructor, the course provides a “safe zone” for discussion of student work and helps you hone your own critique skills. The course goal is to complete a draft of a rhyming picture book manuscript.

Questions about these or other courses? Give us a ring or drop us a line and we’ll help you find the best class to help you meet your goals.

Alicia Wheeler is the Program Representative for Creative Writing (Online) and Events. 

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