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

» Professional Certificate Program in Screenwriting

The Professional Certificate Program in Screenwriting is a one-year online screenwriting workshop that allows students from all over the world the advantage of working closely with a produced screenwriter, in a real-time, collaborative workshop format. In doing so, students will also gain a greater understanding of the building blocks on which all film and TV writing are based - fresh, inventive concepts, compelling characters, escalating conflict, dialogue with subtext and dramatic structure. 

Upon completion, students will have a completed screenplay and an official Certificate of Completion, signifying their extensive effort towards becoming a Professional Screenwriter.

Our intent is to inspire you to observe the world around you and to mine your own experiences, to discover your voice, personal vision and passion to create compelling stories with dynamic characters. No matter what aspect of the creative industry you ultimately wind up having a career in - whether it be film and television, publishing, design, or a professional path of a different sort - much of your success will come from your ability to understand and implement these principles of effective storytelling.

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  • 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
    • 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
  • Instruction: commencing Monday, August 31, 2015 through Friday, May 13, 2016

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

    • Thanksgiving Break: November 23 & 24, 2015
    • Holiday Break: December 15 - January 3, 2015
    • Spring Break: March 21 – March 26, 2016
    • Application Period: May 15 to August 15, 2015

              Please note: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all spots for the program are filled

    • Initial payment of $2,100 is due within 10 days of receiving the admit letter

    • Full Payment Due: Monday, August 17, 2015
  • Admission Requirements:

    • A high school diploma or higher
    • Unofficial Transcript(s) - Submit a unofficial transcript from the most recent academic level you completed (high school or college). If you went to multiple schools, you just need to submit the transcript from the last school you attended.
    • TOEFL or IELTS (if international and undergraduate program was not taught in English)
    • $30 application fee ($20 for alumni)
    • Statement of Intent
      • In one page, please tell us a bit about yourself and your writing background, why you're interested in being accepted into this program and what goals you hope to achieve.
    • Writing Sample - choose from one of the two options below:
      • Option 1: Writing Sample - Accepted formats include short stories, screenplay or stage play scenes that demonstrate your storytelling capabilities, as well as your ability to create compelling characters. 5-page maximum.
      • Option 2: Narrative Scene - Prompt: In no more than three pages, write a compelling dramatic scene, based on the following scenario:From a hospital bed, a person with amnesia asks his or her spouse..."Who are you?" This may be written in either short-story or screenplay format. We're looking for an indicator of your visual storytelling ability, your strength of characterization and your ability to understand the essence of subtext, through both action and dialogue.

    Technical and Equipment Requirements:

    • High speed internet connection
    • Webcam
    • Headphones/speakers and microphone

    Time Requirements:

    • Once enrolled, students will be required to participate in a video-conferencing suite once a week for two hours, in addition to the writing and reading assigned by the Instructor. While this program is primarily designed for students with minimal experience, a strong work ethic is a must - you will not be able to complete the program goals otherwise.  That said, we’ve designed this program to accommodate students with day jobs and/or families – class times will be in the evening and will also accommodate different time zones and locations.

    Cost: $4,200 

    Alumni of Chapman University can participate in the program at the discounted rate of $3,800. 


    This program offers you the opportunity to work directly with a produced screenwriter, making use of the latest state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology that Dodge College has to offer, to provide an authentic workshop experience where you can learn, collaborate and interact, just as you would in a classroom, all from the comfort of your own home, or on the go, from a laptop, tablet or smartphone.This program is competitive, and not all applicants who apply will get in.

  • 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 an unofficial school transcript?

    We are not necessarily looking at your grades from your previous school(s), but want to see what classes you took and what experience you have from your education.

    4.       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.

    5.       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.

    6.       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.

    7.       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.

    8.       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.

    9.      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.

    10.     I'm an alum. Do I get a discount?

    Yes, alumni of Chapman University can enroll in the program for $3,800. 

    11.     What is the class size?

    There will be anywhere from 6-8 students per section. The amount of section depends on the number of students enrolled. 

  • Dodge College offers thirty minute, virtual info sessions where you can meet one-on-one with the instructor, take a tour of the Adobe Connect Technology, and ask questions about the program and admission requirements.

    To participate, send an email to with your availability. 

    Please note: The online info session uses Adobe Connect technology. You will need the following components to access the info session:

    • A High-Speed Internet Connection
    • A Webcam or a laptop with an integrated Webcam
    • Optional: Microphone and speakers/headphones 
  • 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.