Participate in a collaborative one-year workshop under the mentorship of a produced screenwriter

» About the Professional Certificate Program in Screenwriting

This program employs a highly-intensive workshop approach to your writing. The Instructor, fellow students and special guests will read and discuss your work, augmented by video excerpts and analysis of feature films; produced and unproduced screenplays; as well as other types of writing, as available (and as time permits). We’ll discuss the basic building blocks of screenwriting, including generating strong central characters with needs, emphasizing the protagonist/antagonist conflict, character arc and self-revelation, three-act structure and the importance of a unique authorial voice…but most importantly, we’ll be writing (and re-writing).

In this program, you will:

  • Develop and hone foundational skills and storytelling tools: visual writing, screenplay format, dramatic scenes, exposition, time management, motifs (planting and payoff), dramatic irony, telegraphing, dangling causes
  • Create fully-dimensional characters drawn from real life; character arcs; economical, fresh, character-specific dialogue that employs subtext
  • Discover your personal vision and voice and learn to express it through theme
  • Be able to craft an effective Logline and gain practice in pitching it to others
  • Be able to craft a “Beat Sheet” and an Outline
  • Be able to transition from Logline to Beat Sheet to Outline, then to a finished screenplay
  • Learn how to effectively give and utilize critical feedback
  • Gain practical knowledge of today’s film market and learn strategies for getting material into the hands of executives and other decision-makers
  • Schedule
  • Deadlines
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  • Meet the Instructor
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  • Instruction: commencing Monday, September 29, 2014 through Friday, May 15, 2015

    Note: There will be no scheduled class during the following dates:

    • Thanksgiving Break: November 27 & 28
    • Holiday Break: December 15 - January 4
    • Spring Break: March 23 – March 27
    • Application Period: June 1 - September 1, 2014
      Please note: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all spots for the program are filled
    • Full Payment Due: Monday, September 22, 2014
  • 1.       Are there scholarships available?

    We do not offer scholarships for this program.

    2.      What are you looking for in an applicant?

    We are looking for students who have a passion for screenwriting, and are committed to growing in this area. Students should have strong writing skills, some storytelling ability and creative ideas.

    3.       Why do you ask for a transcript?

    We are not necessarily looking at your grades from undergrad, but want to see what classes you took and what experience you have from undergrad. This also helps us ensure that you have graduated with a Bachelor’s degree.

    4.       How competitive is the program?

    This is the first year we are holding this program so we do not know how many applicants we will get this year. We do expect the program to be competitive, especially since we are only taking 12 students. If you do not get in this year, we are hoping to offer more sections next year so you are encouraged to apply again next summer.

    5.       Will I receive credit for this course?

    No. This is a non-credit course, resulting in a Certificate of Completion, assuming one successfully fulfills the program criteria.

    6.       I’m not very proficient with technology, should I be worried?

    No, not at all. If you’re accepted into the program, your instructor will reach out to you ahead of time, to troubleshoot any possible problems. If you’ve been able to use Skype, or any other type of video-conferencing software, you’ll be able to use our Adobe Connect platform.

    7.       I want to write for TV – does this program allow for that?
    Yes and no. While this specific program is primarily suited towards writing screenplays for feature films, elements like character, dialogue, etc, are all elements that you can use no matter what medium you’re writing for. That being said, there is the possibility of an equivalent “Writing for TV” course to be offered in the future, as our online course offerings expand.

    8.       Are you able to accommodate students who are hard of hearing or voice-impaired?

    Yes. Granted that you are admitted into the program, in addition to other accommodations, our program can make use of closed captioning technology if needed.

    9.       When will I be notified of the time and day of the class?

    In your admissions application, you will have a chance to designate which time and day would be preferable for you.  Shortly after we have solidified our enrollment in early August, we will take into account the varying schedules and the time-zones, along with individual student requests, to create our two class sections – that is when you will be notified.

    10.       Two sections? What do you mean by that?

    To allow for instruction that tailors to previous experience, promotes individual attention and also allows for maximum flexibility, each class of twelve students will be broken up into two sections of six students apiece – placement being determined by prior writing experience and location/time-zone.

    As previously mentioned, students will be notified of which section they’ll be attending before the start of the first class session. Those requesting a different section are encouraged to do so, but ultimately, Dodge College reserves the right to make the final decisions for the best of the entire class. Additionally, at the end of the semester, students will be allowed to move to the other section, to provide for new eyes (and thoughts) on student material.

    11.      Will I have to purchase a textbook?

    For this year, no. We will recommend suggested texts, but will primarily make use of customized lectures, handouts and a host of produced and unproduced screenplays.

  • matt deller

    Matt Deller
    Artistic Assistant Professor and Program Director

    Matt Deller is a produced screenwriter, with the feature movie Manhattan Undying set for release in 2015, starring Luke Grimes (50 Shades of Grey, True Blood) and Sarah Roemer (Disturbia), directed by award-winning filmmaker Babak Payami. His first professional writing endeavor was for videogame developer Obsidian Entertainment and while anticipating the release of his first movie, has several other projects currently in development, including producing and writing the book adaptation of Mountain Man with UK Director Tobias Tobbell (Confine).

  • For any questions regarding the program or the application, please email or call (714) 997-6765. Our office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

Have a question?

Contact us at:

(714) 997-6765

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