New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Online Screenwriting

Online Feature Screenwriting Course

NYFA screenwriting graduate Chika Anadu accepted to Cannes Cinefoundation Residence Screenwriting school grad Jaime Espinal premieres play No Problemo Amigo NYFA screenwriting grad Naomi Sheridan nominated for Oscar


Do you have the ideas but lack the experience as a screenwriter to get them in screenplay form? Would expert instruction and feedback help shape your idea into a marketable screenplay? Now, you can receive professional instruction and feedback from an award winning screenwriter while you learn to write an original screenplay of 90-120 pages on your personal computer and on your own time schedule.

This course is equivalent to the eight-week screenwriting workshop that is available on-campus at the New York Film Academy. It is offered online over a nine-month period with online sessions once a week.

For more information please email or to register call 818-333-3558

Online Learning

The Screenwriting class is held completely online and was developed by the same faculty that created the rigorous curriculum that is used in our one-year classroom screenwriting program. Rather than gathering in a traditional classroom, students and instructors interact electronically, resulting in increased access for students by allowing them to control the time and place of their participation.

Lectures are made available weekly for download or stream, written lessons and assignments are posted for critique and the class interacts on an electronic course shell. Instructors are available electronically for support.

Our online school allows you to work independently and in groups, no matter where or when you work. When students log on to the Online School website, they can:
  • check their email.
  • complete coursework through electronic forums.
  • interact with their instructors and fellow students through electronic forums when and where they choose.
  • communicate online with classmates, instructors, and academic counselors.
  • complete 100% of their educational and administrative activities online.


Screenwriting is the foundation of which filmmaking is built on. A writer is very much like a craftsman who must train by doing—writing every day possible. This is why NYFA requires weekly deadlines for assignments and semi-weekly dealings for screenplay pages.

Over the course of thirty weeks (three ten-week quarters with breaks in-between) students are required to screen twenty-six video lectures, read several written lessons and assigned reading material (provided), turn in several written assignments, write the first draft of a screenplay, and to read and critique their fellow students' work. All lectures can be viewed at the students' convenience. Sample screenplays demonstrate concepts and help students prepare for assignments and for writing their own screenplay. Throughout the program students will receive extensive feedback and script notes from the instructor on their screenplay.

Upon completion of the program, students will have gained an in-depth understanding of story structure, character, conflict and dialogue, and finished the completed first draft of a feature length film script (90-120 pages); which students can pitch, produce, and try to sell.

Award Winning Instructors

Claude Kerven is the director of over 25 film and video segments for Saturday Night Live; “Starstruck,” Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Children’s Special, “High School Narc,” nominated for DGA Award, “Birthday Boy,” Nominated for Cable ACE Award, and “Candy Store,” winner Academy Award for Best Dramatic Student Film. Co-writer of “Mortal Thoughts,” starring Bruce Willis and Harvey Keitel, “The Shadow War,” for Universal Studios, and “Darkman and the Circus of Fear,” Prod. Sam Raimi. Has directed such actors as Eddie Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Billy Crystal, Viggo Mortensen, Martin Short, Stevie Wonder, Christopher Guest, Lily Tomlin, Jim Belushi, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Jerry Lewis, Peter Stormare and Elizabeth Moss.

Mary Sawyer received her MFA in Film from Columbia University and her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is the recipient of several writing awards and fellowships: CU/Nickelodeon Comedy Selectee, Robert MacNamara Foundation Writing Resident; Kathryn Parlan Hearst Screenwriting Fellowship, American Gem Short Screenplay Semi-Finalist. She worked as a Playwriting Artist in Residence in the Rhode Island Public Schools.

An independent filmmaker, screenwriter, playwright and actor, she currently teaches English, screenwriting, television writing and acting in New York City and surrounding areas. She has written screenplays for hire, consulted on domestic and international writing projects, written, directed and produced creative, corporate and educational films. Clients include Cinemotion, Columbia University, Olympus America, Anvil Chinook, Doug Keeves and Consuelo Gonzales. Her work has been produced in various venues including New York's Musical Theater Works and Tiny Mythic Theater Company’s American Livingroom Festival, and Trinity Repertory’s Experimental Black Box space.

Seth Michael Donsky is an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker and journalist whose short and feature films have been theatrically distributed in the U.S. and internationally. He has competed in numerous prestigious film festival including Berlin, Seattle and Cinequest. He is a member of The Actor's Studio playwrights directors workshop and of the Naked Angels ensemble in New York. His feature film “Twisted” is included in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent film collection.

Program Topics

  • Story Generation Story Generation introduces students to the workhorse of the screenwriting business -- treatments. On fast and furious deadlines, students will be expected to create two high concept screenplay ideas, flesh out characters, and organize their story structures. The end product will be two treatments, which can be used as the foundation for their feature-length screenplay.
  • Screenplay Analysis Screenplay Analysis is designed to further students' knowledge of the intricacies of feature-length screenwriting. Each week, students will be required to read a script prior to an in-class screening of that same film. The instructor will then critique the film as it is screened, offering minute-by-minute observations focusing on such topics as subplot development, visual storytelling, turning points, planting and pay-off, and character development.
  • Elements of Screenwriting Elements of Screenwriting introduces students to the craft of screenwriting, establishing a foundation for all future writing. Through lectures and clips, the instructor will highlight a specific topic that students will then analyze in classroom discussion and practice through skill-building exercises.
  • Screenplay Workshop Sessions Screenplay Workshop Sessions are student-driven classes in which student work is evaluated and critiqued. Deadlines will be established that guide students in the development of a feature-length screenplay from logline to treatment, then from outline to screenplay. Each student will be allocated one-half hour of workshop time every month in which his/her work will be critiqued. A constructive, creative and supportive atmosphere will be strongly encouraged.

    In the second half of the year the workshops continue, providing students an arena in which to complete the final draft of their screenplay. This will be the perfect place for students to practice the art of discipline, as they will be expected to work at their own rates and to present scenes only every month.

    Screenplay formatting will be a major focus, and students will learn how to write scene descriptions, to describe characters and locations, and to develop action sequences. Course topics covered include:

    • classic screenplay structure
    • elements of the scene
    • developing the character
    • character arcs
    • antagonists
    • dialogue
    • writing the visual image
    • theme
    • conflict
    • flashbacks
    • fantasy sequences and dream sequences
    • voiceover
    • text and subtext
    • developing your writing style
    • tone and genre
    • visualization
    • revealing exposition
    • creating a compelling second act
    • climaxes and resolutions
    • beats of the scene

Dates & Tuition


Tuition: $4,500 (USD)

Location & Available Dates

For Online:
Oct 3, 2016

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