Who says school’s out for summer? Don’t let warm weather and weekend getaways get in the way of your writing! Starting in July, the Writers’ Program has several new courses available for screenwriters and creative writers alike that will help keep your writing on track.

Creative Writing Courses

When you can take online courses from the comfort of your beach chair, there’s no reason not to write! If you’ve ever had the urge to write a short story based on real-life documents like diary entries, consider Yelizaveta Renfro‘s new course, Using Found Texts: Deepening Your Writing (Online). This unique course explores the richness of “found texts” (e.g emails, recipe collections, historical documents, social media) to help writers discover ways to incorporate them into their fiction and nonfiction projects.

Do you have 150 pages of a novel? Mark Sarvas will be teaching Advanced Novel Revision Techniques on the UCLA campus for students who have a complete or near complete first draft of a novel. Students will learn different revision techniques to attack problems in structure, character, voice, or language in their novel-in-progress.

For high school students on break, Creative Writing for High School Students (Grades 11 and 12) with Dennis Danziger is the perfect way to spend the summer developing a “writer’s voice”. Students will be writing in genres of short fiction, personal essay, and screenwriting.

Screenwriting Courses

On the screenwriting side of the spectrum, Lisa Medway is teaching a new course for feature film or television comedy writers. It’s called Lights! Camera! Comedy!, and it aims to teach students to come up with fresh premises, create iconic characters, build jokes, and structure 3-5 minute pieces (which also makes it ideal for writers of sketch comedy and/or webisodes).

Veteran TV writer/producer Phil Kellard is offering Finishing the Original 1-Hour Drama or Half-Hour Comedy Pilot for the first time; it’s a new course meant for television writing students who have finished an outline and first act of their comedic or dramatic pilots, either in a previous course or on their own.

For anyone looking to get a comprehensive overview of the screenwriting trade (from initial story concept all the way to having a saleable and marketable screenplay in hand), Alejandro Seri will lead a 1-day seminar called The Art, Craft, and Business of Screenwriting to help students develop a film that can produce big box office results. As a bonus, he’ll provide an education on the latest version of screenwriting software Final Draft.

And once that script is finished, the next big question is of course, “How do I get an agent?” Former Literary Agent Nancy Nigrosh can help with that! For the first time, her acclaimed course How to Get a Literary Agent and Launch Your Career as a Professional Screenwriter is available online. Nancy offers her unique experience and skill sets to help students visualize the entertainment business as a competitive contact sport with rules, levels, points, and goals, in order to find out what’s true, what’s false, who’s who, and most importantly, how to engage in professional partnerships with agents, managers, producers, fellow artists, and media executive buyers.

If you’re unsure about which course is right for you, our advisors are here 5 days a week to help. Call us at (310) 825-9415 or email writers@uclaextension.edu.

Jeff Bonnett is the Program Assistant for Screenwriting (Onsite & Online). Contact him at jbonnett@uclaextension.edu or (310) 206-1542.

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