Each year, the Writers’ Program offers master classes for advanced creative writers and screenwriters. Each master class is a six-to-nine month adventure for a supportive group of only 8 hand-picked students who work together to polish their writing projects. Master class students describe it as a challenging yet incredibly rewarding experience:

“The Master Class in Novel Writing was the best creative writing course I have ever taken. The instructor challenged me and as a consequence I learned so much about revision and novel structure.”—2013 Master Class in Novel Writing student

“The Master Class in Feature Film Writing is the best way to experience a screenwriting course. The 30- week format allows you to focus your attention on one project. The experience was challenging but effective!”—2013 Master Class in Feature Film Writing student

“This was a great class for so many reasons; the knowledgeable instructor, advice from industry professionals, and the 6-month format. And I loved my classmates.”—2012 Master Class in Television Writing

Planning is now underway for the 2014-2015 master classes. Beginning in fall, we’ll offer the Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-residency) with Lynn Hightower, the Master Class in Feature Film Writing with Steve Mazur, and the Master Class in Television Pilot Writing with Phil Kellard.

The Master Class in Novel Writing is a rigorous 9-month online/low residency program and is designed for committed writers who are serious about getting their novels published. At the 6-month mark, students and the instructor meet in Westwood for a 4-day residency that consists of work-shopping, guest speakers, an abundance of coffee, and a reading at a local bookstore. At the completion of the course, students submit their novel excerpts and a query letter to an established literary agent who considers the work and provides written feedback.

The Master Class in Feature Film Writing is an onsite class that meets once a week for nine months, and is for developing screenwriters who want to take a screenplay from concept through first draft, rewrite, and polish, with the goal of completing a professional-quality script ready for the marketplace. Each writer is encouraged to find his/her unique voice and style, while also developing healthy and productive writing habits. Guest speakers provide additional insights into the lives of successful working writers. At the end of the course, students submit work to an established agent, producer, manager or development executive who will read the full script and provide notes. Several scripts written in our master classes have gone on to win various prestigious competitions, including the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Screenwriting Competitions and the Academy Nicholl Fellowships.

This year we are also offering a Master Class in Television Pilot Writing. This course offers students of TV writing the same fantastic opportunity to work on their projects over the course of many months—6 months to be exact—while meeting on campus weekly with their selected cohort and instructor to workshop. In this highly focused and collaborative workshop environment, writers start with a concept for a series and develop it through outline, the pitch, first draft, re-write, and the final product: a polished pilot script ready to take out to agents, producers, studios, and networks. When the course wraps up, an industry professional reads through each student’s pilot and provides valuable feedback. We don’t offer this course every year, so don’t miss out!

With only 8 spots available in each of our master classes, students must apply to be accepted into the courses. Each summer, our master class instructors look at writing samples and cover letters to determine who will benefit most from this unique and intensive program. Consider this a giant step beyond the Writers’ Program’s 10-week advanced courses.

Check out our website in April for details on our 2014-15 master classes. Submissions are due in August, so get cracking on those scripts and manuscripts NOW!

More Master Class Praise from Students:

“The material was exactly what I wanted it to be. I was challenged every time I got a comment back from the instructor and it was extremely useful in my learning. I love the way the course is organized too, having the residency two-thirds of the way through the class.”—2012 Master Class in Novel Writing student

The scope of the material was broad over the course of the program, but each week was incredibly focused and helpful. I came in with certain goals that were fully met, and I always felt challenged. I learned a tremendous amount of information about writing a screenplay.”—2012 Master Class in Feature Film Writing student

“This class was so much fun! My instructor taught me to throw myself into both the minutia and the big picture of the creative process. It was also great to get outside perspective and suggestions on our pitches. I left with a completed script and more confidence in my writing!—2011 Master Class in Television Pilot Writing student

Alicia Wheeler is the Program Representative in Creative Writing (Online) and Events. Contact her at awheeler@uclaextension.edu or (310)794-1846.

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