Overview of our One-Year Screenwriting Program
The New York Film Academy recognizes the critical role writers play in the creation of every film and television show.
Yet, writing talent alone is not enough to create successful work in these mediums. Screenwriting is a learned craft, and a writer must write every day to train for the demands of this field, and to truly understand the elements that make a screenplay or teleplay functional, as well as engaging.
In addition to learning the conventions of the writing craft, in our One-year Screenwriting Program, students are given the support and structure to write and meet deadlines. Students write intensively throughout the course and complete several projects with the assistance of constructive critique from instructors, as well as peers.
What makes our Screenwriting Programs unique?
Over the course of the year, each student writes two featurelength screenplays, plus one television "spec" script along with a number of treatments.
As part of a fully integrated program, students explore related areas of filmmaking that help to improve their screenplays and put them into a real-world context. Thus, in addition to writing classes, students study film craft, acting, pitching, and cinema studies, as they apply to screenwriting. Students also write, direct and edit a short digital film or scene from a feature script.
Upon completion of the program, students not only understand story structure, character, conflict and dialogue, but also leave the Academy with finished products that they can pitch, produce, and try to sell.
In the One-Year Screenwriting Program, students are taught the art of screenwriting through courses in both film studies and screenplay/script analysis.
Students are assigned several writing projects. These projects are subject to critique from instructors and peers during inclass workshops.
SEMESTER ONE OVERVIEW
Screenwriters are cinematic storytellers. The genesis of any film project is an idea or concept that must be fleshed out into a fully formed screenplay deemed worthy of production. During Semester One, students are introduced to the screenwriter's tools, and develop the skills necessary for writing. Students are encouraged to be creative, but are also taught to think of the screenplay as a tool—the definitive industry tool-- used to articulate an idea or concept to a production team, including producers, financiers, directors, and actors. Standard formatting and industry expectations are studied and analyzed during writing workshops and lectures.
SEMESTER ONE OBJECTIVES
- WGA format and copyright law.
- In depth study of classic screenplay structure, character arcs, theme, conflict, flashbacks, voiceover, subtext, style, tone, visualization, discipline, and genre.
- Critical concepts in film history.
- Theory and practice of acting to understand good dialogue and appropriate behavior.
- Write a treatment for a feature length film.
- Write an outline for a feature length film.
- Write a first draft of a speculative (“spec”) feature length screenplay.
SEMESTER TWO OVERVIEW
The second semester challenges students to develop their craft artistically and technically, and to progress beyond their earlier experiments with the feature length screenplay. In an advanced workshop, students may choose between revising the screenplay draft written in the first semester or they may begin writing a new feature length screenplay. Students are expected to share revised or newly written material in workshops. During Semester Two, students broaden their understanding of the medium and develop additional material for television.
SEMESTER TWO OBJECTIVES
- Fundamentals of film directing.
- In depth look at treatment writing.
- In depth study of the pitch.
- Standard conventions of TV writing.
- Revise draft of "spec" or write a new "spec" script.
- Direct a short film or scene.
- Write and perform a pitch.