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New York Film Academy Screenwriting

One Year Hands-on Conservatory Screenwriting Program

Screenwriting students read lines from a screenplay on stage NYFA guest speaker screenwriter Robert Towne NYFA screenwriting student at PitchFest NYFA guest speaker screenwriter Buck Henry

Overview of our 1-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

LEARNING GOALS
  • 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.
WRITING GOALS
  • 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

LEARNING GOALS
  • Fundamentals of film directing.
  • In depth look at treatment writing.
  • In depth study of the pitch.
  • Standard conventions of TV writing.
WRITING GOALS
  • Revise draft of "spec" or write a new "spec" script.
  • Direct a short film or scene.
  • Write and perform a pitch.


Course Description

  • Elements of Screenwriting This course introduces students to the craft of screenwriting, establishing a foundation for all future writing. Through lectures and clips, the instructor highlights specific topics that are analyzed in classroom discussion and practiced through skill-building exercises. Topics include: Classic Screenplay Structure, the Elements of the Scene, Developing the Character, Character Arcs, Antagonists, Dialogue, Writing the Visual Image, Introduction to Final Draft, Theme, Conflict, Flashbacks, Fantasy Sequences and Dream Sequences, Voice-Over, Text and Subtext, Developing Your Writing Style, Tone and Genre, Visualization, Revealing Exposition, Creating a Compelling Second Act, Climaxes and Resolutions, and the Beats of the Scene. Screenplay formatting is a major focus, and students learn how to write scene description, to describe characters and locations, and to develop action sequences. The course also includes script-to-screen analysis, comparing well-known films to their original screenplays.
  • Screenplay Analysis This course is designed to further students' knowledge of the intricacies of feature-length screenwriting. Each week, students are required to view a film (or read the script) prior to an in-class screening of that same film. The instructor critiques the film as it is screened, offering minute-byminute observations focusing on such topics as subplot development, visual storytelling, turning points, planting and pay-off, and character development.
  • The Business of Screenwriting There are many "angles" to understand when approaching "the deal," and they differ from film to television. It is crucially important for a writer to protect his or her work both through Copyright Registration and registration through the Writer's Guild of America. The writer must also strategize about how to get his or her script into the right hands, in the correct manner, and for the appropriate market. Topics include: Agents, What Is Copyright?, How Do I Enforce My Copyright?, How to Register with the Writer's Guild of America?, Getting Your Script in the Right Hands, What To Do If You Don't Have an Agent, If the Deal Goes Through What You Need to Know, Options, Pay for Rewrites, Writing on Spec or for Hire, How a Television Deal Differs from a Film Deal.
  • Screenwriting Workshop I Workshop sessions are student-driven classes in which student work is evaluated and critiqued. Deadlines are established to guide students in the development of a featurelength screenplay from logline to treatment, then from outline to screenplay. Each student is allocated one hour of workshop time a week in which his/her work is critiqued. A constructive, creative and supportive atmosphere is maintained.
  • Cinema Studies The Cinema Studies course introduces students to critical concepts in film history and culture, and allows students the opportunity to engage deeply with individual films. Consisting of lectures, screenings, and group discussions, each session gives students the chance to consider classic and provocative films within the context of a broader film culture. Topics include:film genre; film history; film style; film criticism and cinemagoing practice; entertainment industry organization, and other topics in the culture of film.
  • Acting for Writers Acting for Writers introduces students to the theory and practice of the acting craft, using Stanislavski Method, improvisation, and scene and monologue work as starting points. Writing students explore how actors build characters and performance based upon the information provided in a film script, which allows them to write more powerful dialogue, develop more memorable characters, and create more effective dramatic actions. Upon completion of this course, writers have a new understanding of how their words are translated into performance, and this knowledge helps students refine their craft.
  • Special One-Week Seminar in Digital Filmmaking Similar to our One-Week Filmmaking Intensive, this intensive workshop trains students in the fundamentals of film directing, which in turn facilitates an understanding of the filmmaking process as it relates to screenwriting. It is our belief that a student who actually picks up a camera, blocks a scene and directs actors from a script is far better prepared to then write a screenplay. Writers who have had the opportunity to be behind the camera, and have translated a shot on the page into a shot in the camera, have a much sharper perspective on the way a director will use the written word. This knowledge is valuable to the writing process. Hands-on classes in directing, editing, cinematography, and production cover the creative and technical demands of telling a story with moving images. Working in crews of four, students make a short film or shoot a scene from one of their screenplays using digital video cameras. The students edit their footage with digitized sound on Final Cut Pro. At the end of the oneweek seminar, the final films are celebrated in a screening open to cast, crew, friends and family.
  • Treatment Writing This course introduces students to the workhorse of the screenwriting business – treatments. On fast and furious deadlines, students are expected to create two high concept screenplay ideas, flesh out characters, and organize their story structures. The end product is two treatments, which can be used as the foundation for the second feature-length screenplay, the pitch to be developed in the fourth quarter, and/or in conjunction with a student's producing package created for the One-year Producing Program.
  • Screenwriting Workshop II The workshops continue, providing students an arena in which to complete the first draft of their first screenplay or begin work on a second feature length screenplay. It is here where students must practice the art of discipline, as they are expected to work at their own pace and to present scenes only every other week.
  • Revision Class Having created three spec scripts during the course of the year, students are now ready to delve into the revision process. Each student's feature is read, strengths and weaknesses are identified and a strategy for revising thefeature is developed. Students then begin the process of rewriting. Workshop classes provide students the opportunity to hear their work read aloud and to receive constructive criticism from fellow students and the instructor.
  • Pitching Class Description: Pitching is crucial in the film and television business. Pitching is the ability to accurately and engagingly convey the basic outline of your story to another person, verbally, in a very short time. Working with experienced professionals, students practice pitching in a mock real-world session. They come up with characters and storylines (or use one of the treatments they developed in the second quarter), practice verbally pitching, and then pitch to the instructor, and receive feedback and comments to further their skills. Pitching practice and experience will be of great value for future screenwriting endeavors.
  • TV Writing: Sitcoms and One-Hour Dramas Even in these days of reality TV shows, Sitcoms and One-Hour dramas are still top ten hits. In this course, students choose to specialize in either writing the sitcom or writing the one-hour drama. Each class covers standard conventions, proper formatting, expected running times, styles of dialogue, and seasonal character and plot development. Students conceive, write and polish their own television spec script based on a show that is currently running on television, which can later be used as a writing sample.

Dates & Tuition

Fees Per Year

Tuition: $28,952 (USD)

Number of Semesters: 2




Location & Available Dates

For New York City:
January 2017 - September 2017
September 2017 - May 2018
January 2018 - September 2018
September 2018 - May 2019

For Los Angeles:
January 2017 - September 2017
September 2017 - May 2018
January 2018 - September 2018
September 2018 - May 2019

For Gold Coast Australia:
January 2017 - September 2017
May 2017 - January 2018
September 2017 - May 2018

For Sydney Australia:
January 2017 - September 2017
May 2017 - January 2018
September 2017 - May 2018

For South Beach Florida:
January 2017 - September 2017



Please note: Dates and Tuition are subject to change
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NUMBER OF SEMESTERS: 2
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