15 Best Screenwriting Courses Online for Film and TV.
Few art forms have the power to move as many people as film and television, making screenwriting an appealing career for the creatively and imaginatively inclined. Becoming a professional screenwriter requires not only a deep understanding of the craft of storytelling but business savvy and hard skills, such as formatting and software know-how.
This list of the best screenwriting courses online offers the aspiring screenwriter a range of instructions that can help launch a rewarding career.
Screenwriting Courses Online – Overview
More than putting words to pages, screenwriters compose entire scenes. Their screenplays detail every aspect of the story that is to unfold before our eyes, including the dialogue between complex and engaging characters, movement, actions, setting, and sound effects.
Not to be confused with scriptwriting, which is largely focused on dialogue and is more applicable in talk shows, reality TV, radio, and video game contexts, screenwriting paints an entire picture on screen. As such, learning to write and market screenplays encompasses a broad range of skills.
A study of the field can impart essential skills to launch a successful career and requires you to dive into the intricacies, workflows, and deep art behind storytelling, such as plot structure, character development, conflict and suspense, world-building and rewriting.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll need to learn how to properly format a screenplay, film treatment, beat sheet, or series bible. You’ll also want to become familiar with what software and tools are key in the industry, the skills needed to collaborate with a feature’s team, and the best practices for selling your work. These screenwriting courses can help get you there.
Best Screenwriting Courses Online 2024 – Top Picks
|Screenwriting for TV
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure at the end of this post.
Note: This list aims to give an overview of the best screenwriting courses online. It is not comprehensive and there are many other screenwriting classes available.
1. Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting – MasterClass
Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting (visit website) is Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass on the skill of storytelling through film and TV. Designed for pros and amateurs alike, Sorkin employs group workshops, case studies, virtual writer’s rooms, and traditional video lectures to give users an exhaustive screenwriting experience.
With over 8 hours of content, Sorkin draws from his illustrious career in the industry to impart invaluable insights. The screenwriting course begins with the foundations of storytelling, including story arc, character development, and intention and obstacle, before diving into research and how to keep audiences engaged.
Touching briefly on strong writing habits, Sorkin then guides students through a variety of hands-on exercises, from scene construction to dialogue composition and rewrites. Drawing on Sorkin’s guidance, you’ll not only learn the technical aspects of screenwriting but also the essence of storytelling that resonates with audiences.
Sorkin’s class is one of the best screenwriting courses online for everyone interested in a professional career in writing for film and TV and looking for inspiration.
Instructor: Aaron Sorkin, MasterClass | For: All Levels | Rating: 4.9 ★★★★★
Price: from $10/month or $120/year. Access to all 200+ online courses.
Info: View course. Compare pricing plans and browse all online classes.
2. Screenwriting Essentials: Create, Write and Develop for TV – Domestika
Screenwriting Essentials by HaJ (visit website), a hard-working and prolific creative pro, is a four-module course on screenwriting for TV, which provides learners with a thoughtful step-by-step framework for creative and professional success.
After getting to know HaJ, as well as her credentials and influences, instruction begins with a useful introduction to the components of screenwriting, namely characters, structure, and obstacles. Next, you’ll learn to determine whether or not your inkling of an idea is a good one for TV before you even begin to develop your characters.
Structure is the focus of the next module, where learners explore the nuts and bolts of scene building, script roadmapping, editing, and reviewing. Notably, HaJ dedicates the final module to the professional aspects of screenwriting, such as creating writing plans, what to expect along the way, and how to find and consistently secure writing opportunities.
For your final project, you’ll create a pilot outline for your own TV show, which you can share with Domestika’s global online community for feedback and review. This is one of the best screenwriting courses online for beginners.
3. Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television – MasterClass
Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television (visit website) is a comprehensive MasterClass on the art and business of TV writing by acclaimed writer and producer Shonda Rhimes. Whether you’re an aspiring TV screenwriter or simply passionate about storytelling, this popular screenwriting course offers invaluable insights and practical advice from one of TV’s most influential voices.
Rhimes, the creative force behind hit series like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, covers a wide array of topics in more than 30 lessons, including idea generation, research, character development, plot construction, dialogue writing, editing, and the intricacies of creating compelling drama for the small screen.
Notably, Rhimes dedicates several lessons to the business side of the industry, preparing learners for what they can expect for their first pitch, as well as showing up in the writer’s room and how to cultivate strong writing habits.
As a bonus, access to this class includes original pilot scripts, pitch notes, and series bibles from Rhimes’ most successful shows. This is among the best screenwriting courses online if you want to learn from some of the best in the industry.
Instructor: Shonda Rhimes, MasterClass | For: All Levels | Rating: 4.9 ★★★★★
Price: from $10/month or $120/year. Access to all 200+ online courses.
Info: View course. Compare pricing plans and browse all online classes.
4. Write a Feature Length Screenplay for Film or Television – Michigan University, Coursera
Michigan University’s Write a Feature Length Screenplay (visit website) on Coursera is a comprehensive, step-by-step online screenwriting course for those pursuing intensive, hands-on instruction and a pitchable product on completion.
No experience is required to enter Prof. David Wheeler’s virtual writer’s room, where you’ll learn by doing every step of professional screenwriting. The course comprises 90 hours of self-paced learning in both the creative and technical aspects of feature-length screenwriting for film or television.
Instruction begins with the first steps of the creative process, starting with idea generation, logline composition, and dramatic question formation. From there, you’ll explore character development and story arc before developing an outline for your three-act feature.
Moving on to the more technical aspects of the craft, Module Five focuses on screenplay software and formatting. Building on this strong foundation, the next several modules are dedicated to structured writing, including table reads and peer review.
Upon completion, you’ll be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to create captivating screenplays for both film and television, as well as a pitch-ready product and shareable certificate for your LinkedIn profile.
5. Online Screenwriting Courses – Udemy
With online screenwriting courses (browse courses) designed for beginners and experienced screenwriters alike, Udemy offers opportunities to explore more specific topics, such as artful storytelling, screenwriting for television, how to sell your script, and how to speed up your writing process.
In a little over 2 hours, Beginning Screenwriting Made EASY introduces learners to the basics, such as idea generation, character development, formatting and software, as well as tips for how to succeed in Hollywood. Included in the course resources are networking opportunities and online communities for working screenwriters.
Screenwriting Bootcamp: The Business of Writing in Hollywood is a bite-sized resource that complements aspiring screenwriters’ learning. Within a few hours, you’ll learn to prep your screenplay for the market, find and work with an agent, and pitch your product, while briefly exploring formats beyond feature films, such as sitcoms and non-scripted TV.
Designed with beginners and established screenwriters in mind, Write a Movie in 14 Days: Fast Screenwriting offers learners a day-by-day, structured writing blueprint. Once you’ve completed your screenplay, you’ll also learn how to sell it, find producers, and handle your first meeting with producers.
Overall, Udemy offers some of the best screenwriting courses online suitable for beginners and intermediates alike, or if you want to understand some of the core concepts of screenwriting before committing to a professional program.
Skillshare (view courses) offers comprehensive online screenwriting courses as well as a myriad of resources including bite-sized classes that hone in on specific skills within the craft itself.
In just under 2 hours, you’ll learn to craft thrilling stories in Writing Suspense: How To Write Stories That Thrill in Any Genre, where Benjamin Percy of The Dark Net and The Dead Lands imparts practical and actionable methods for creating a Turnstile of Mysteries, using triangulation, and building three-dimensional characters for maximum effect.
Intermediate screenwriters who wish to amp up their dialogue skills can check out Writing Dialogue: Mastering Conflict, Actions and Subtext, where Joshua Dickinson uses scenes from cult films and hands-on projects to detail the concepts behind compelling conflicts, the actions behind a character’s words, and the use of subtext to create complexity.
For screenwriters of any level with a screenplay in hand but no one to pitch it to, Learn to Write Movies: How to Sell Your Screenplay! offers actionable tips and tricks for getting your product in the right hands. Topics include how to make your screenplay better, how to make industry connections, and how to market your script to get it noticed.
7. Screenwriting: The Art of the First Draft – CreativeLive
Screenwriting: The Art of the First Draft (visit website) is UCLA faculty member Hal Ackerman’s solution on CreativeLive for aspiring screenwriters experiencing writer’s block or just struggling to get their ideas on paper. Further to offering actionable tips for overcoming the fear of writing and creating a practical, personal writing schedule, Ackerman provides a roadmap for breathing life into your ideas.
The seven-step process includes exploration of the components of compelling stories, the structure of a three-act story, conflict generation, character development, strong dialogue, as well as flashbacks and voiceovers, all within the context of putting your story to paper.
Ackerman wraps up the course by offering tips and tricks for getting useful feedback upon completion of your new first draft, as well as making your pitch. This is one of the best screenwriting courses online suitable for beginners.
Provider: CreativeLive | Instructor: Hal Ackerman | Level: All levels
Time: 5.5 hours | Rating: 100% ★★★★★ | Plans: Access to all classes.
Info: View course. $149/year or 39/month. View pricing plans on CreativeLive.
8. Screenwriting & Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys – Udemy
Screenwriting & Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys on Udemy is a deep dive by screenwriters Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler into the essential components of skilful storytelling in the context of some of the most compelling stories of all time: the hero myth.
Envisioned for screenwriters and storytellers at any stage of their professional journey, this popular screenwriting course employs a combination of lectures, Q&As, and case studies to take learners on the hero’s journeys. Screenwriting & Storytelling Blueprint begins by exploring the hero’s outer journey while detailing plot structure and stages.
Investigation of the hero’s inner journey details the key components of character, the four primary characters, and their six stages before moving on to how to harness the power of the seven mythical archetypes, ultimately integrating the hero’s two journeys.
By the end of this screenwriting course, you’ll be able to employ the key principles of the hero myth to maximize the emotional involvement of your audience.
Instructor: Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler | Skill Level: All levels
Lectures: 39 | Video: 8 hours | User Rating: 4.7 ★★★★☆
Price: From $11.99. Up to 95% off. Browse category on Udemy.
Tip: Explore our lists of the best technical writing courses, or AI essay writers, or writing courses, or business writing courses, or creative writing courses to expand your skills in the field of business and writing.
9. Screenwriting I and Screenwriting II – Gotham Writers
Screenwriting I and Screenwriting II are part of a thorough online path for aspiring screenwriters by acclaimed New York City-based Gotham Writers. Each 10-week workshop employs lectures, writing exercises, and workshopping of student projects to convey both foundational and advanced concepts in successful screenwriting.
Screenwriting I is the prerequisite, where you’ll explore screenplay formatting as well as the construction and nuances of composing engaging stories. You’ll learn essential concepts such as idea generation, character development, scene construction, dialogue, tone, and theme, as well as the core concepts surrounding plot, subplot, and classic and subtle plots.
Instruction culminates in a module on the business of screenwriting, including how to pitch and to whom, as well as the life of a screenwriter.
Screenwriting II offers two tracks and, while there is no particular order, many students opt for both. Building on Screenwriting I, this course offers a more detailed and advanced view of the craft, with modules dedicated to protagonists, Hollywood vs. indie stories, how to handle time, world construction, suspense and surprise, and DIY filmmaking.
Upon completion of either or both of these online screenwriting courses, you’ll have a complete blueprint for how to write movies with emotion and strong visual imagery.
Platform: Gotham Writers | Style: Screenwriting workshops
Level: Beginners | Price: Various packages. From $439
10. Screenwriting Online Courses – New York Film Academy (NYFA)
New York Film Academy (NYFA) offers a suite of scheduled, 15-week online screenwriting courses that cumulatively build on the skills learned in previous courses. Each class requires the completion of a prior course or submission of film treatments, beat sheets, or completed screenplays (depending on the course) to enroll.
Kicking off the sequence is the introductory 15-Week Online Story & Structure Workshop, where learners explore basic format and framework, as well as how to detail the feel and flow of the feature. At the end of this program, you’ll have completed a full film treatment, beat sheet, and first sequence.
To enroll in the 15-Week Online Screenplay Workshop, the applicant must have completed the introductory course or submit a full film treatment and beat sheet with their application. The goal of this screenwriting course is to work with peers and NYFA’s faculty to turn your treatment into a completed screenplay.
Finally, by either completing the above Screenplay Workshop or submitting a full-length screenplay, learners can enroll in the 15-Week Online Screenplay Rewrite Workshop, which hones in on the tools and techniques for rewriting as well as the skills needed to collaborate with producers, directors, and other stakeholders.
Platform: New York Film Academy | Style: Live online screenwriting courses
Level: Beginners | Price: Various packages. From $2,000 | Info: View.
11. An Introduction to Screenwriting – University of East Anglia, FutureLearn
An Introduction to Screenwriting is a 6-hour, self-paced course on FutureLearn by the University of East Anglia for aspiring screenwriters seeking a strong overview of the craft. Employing a mixture of videos, articles, and discussion topics for the associated forum, it guides you through core concepts and theory, script analysis, and practical exercises.
In this class, you’ll touch on story writing fundamentals, such as the Three Act Structure, character development, and dialogue while learning tools and techniques for scene construction, character outlines, workflow, and screenplay formatting. Students can also access a global network of other aspiring screenwriters for feedback and review.
Once you’ve completed this online screenwriting course, you’ll have the basic tools needed to write your screenplay, as well as a strong foundation for exploring advanced concepts and specific genres. You may also earn a digital certificate for your effort.
Platform: FutureLearn | Style: Self-paced screenwriting course
Level: Beginners | Price: $244.99
12. Writing Drama for Television with Jed Mercurio – BBC Maestro
BBC Maestro’s Writing Drama for Television offers self-paced, bite-sized teachings from renowned TV screenwriter Jed Mercurio with passionate television enthusiasts in mind. No prior experience is necessary to follow Mercurio as he guides you through every step of writing a winning television series, including how to sell it.
In just over 25 short lessons, students discover the knowledge Mercurio has gained over the years from his successful career in screenwriting. Presented in a helpful step-by-step format, you’ll proceed through each step of the screenwriting process, from inspiration and idea generation to setting the stage, plot, and character development.
Moreover, you’ll cover Mercurio’s coefficients of narrative power, dialogue, series bible composition, rewriting, and pitching. By the end, you’ll have a broader understanding of what it takes to write a TV drama that keeps audiences engaged and intrigued.
Platform: BBC Maestro | Style: Short on-demand videos | Info: View.
Level: Beginners | Price: Various packages. From $110/year for full access
13. Writing the Feature – Screenwriting with NYU Professor John Warren
Writing the Feature is a self-guided online screenwriting course on Young Screenwriters by professional screenwriter and NYU professor John Warren, where he aims to help motivated screenwriters at any level write great screenplays that get noticed rather than relegated to your reader’s slush pile.
Throughout the 10-week series, Warren dives into the differences between good screenplays and great ones by answering a different probing question each week. Each question is designed to invite the learner to think critically about key components of storytelling and structure.
“What forces your protagonist to act?” inspires Act I of your feature, while “what does your protagonist’s journey look like?” informs the sequencing and carding of your screenplay and “how can you elevate your protagonist’s transformation?” investigates the power and process of rewriting.
Throughout the course, you’re invited to share with and solicit feedback from other learners and teacher’s assistants via the course’s Discord community. Upon completion of this screenwriting course, you’ll have learned Warren’s most effective strategies for completing one great, not just good, screenplay.
Platform: Young Screenwriters | Style: Short on-demand videos
Level: Beginners | Price: $197 | Info: View.
14. Screenwriting: From Outline to First Draft – Sundance Collab
Screenwriting: From Outline to First Draft by the Sundance Institute, the institution behind the eponymous film festival, is designed to help new screenwriters transform their outline, treatment, or first full draft into a compelling, completed screenplay. It’s recommended but not required that learners first complete a sister course, Screenwriting: Core Elements.
This 15-week self-paced screenwriting online course includes 3 checkpoints with your Sundance Advisor. Enrolment includes access to a community board where you can interact and share with other learners. Among other things, the course strikes a coherent balance between best practices for formatting and the elements of strong storytelling.
Further, you’ll learn to strengthen your dramatic question, break down an inciting incident, shape your story’s external and internal worlds, utilize conflict to build tension, and incorporate simple twists. In the final 3 weeks of the course, you’ll learn to critically review and rewrite your script for success.
With the support of a renowned community of independent storytellers, you should emerge from the program with a fully fleshed-out screenplay, ready to pitch.
Platform: Sundance Institute | Style: Short video lectures and assignments
Level: Intermediate | Price: $550
15. Free Screenwriting Class with John Warren – YouTube
Screenwriting with NYU Professor John Warren: Raising the Stakes is an informal, assignment-free deep dive into conflict, where learners can enjoy the Young Screenwriters’ YouTube coffee class with NYU screenwriting professor John Warren.
This hour-plus long video follows Young Screenwriters hosts and Prof. Warren on a detailed discussion of everything from how stakes accelerate conflict and how to shape familiar familial relationships to an excavation of the creative process and how to manipulate time in your screenplay, using a variety of industry examples.
Wrapping up this informative screenwriting class is an analysis of the complex contemporary television series The Witcher and how TV adaptations work.
Platform: YouTube | Style: Informal video podcast-style discussion
Level: Beginners | Price: Free | Info: View.
How To Choose the Best Screenwriting Course
The tough question for the protagonist of our story (you!) is how to decide which path is best. Ultimately, this depends on several factors, including:
- Time commitment
- Any focus the course might take (storytelling, TV, film, or business)
- Experience level
- Potential for collaboration and networking
- And most importantly, your own motivation
That said, if you have the inspiration and some story ideas in mind but have little to no experience in screenwriting, you may wish to get yourself acquainted with the field through a shorter length, introductory-style screenwriting course, such as FutureLearn’s An Introduction to Screenwriting or Domestika’s Screenwriting Essentials: Create, Write and Develop for TV.
If this isn’t your first rodeo and you really want to meet other creatives and sink your teeth into the craft, you might consider any of the more intensive screenwriting courses offered by New York Film Academy, Gotham Writers, or the Sundance Collab.
Perhaps you’re comfortable with certain aspects of your skills but want to sharpen other areas of your screenwriting, such as dialogue, speeding up your writing process, or learning how to pitch. In that instance, it might be worth exploring the suite of bite-sized, focused classes offered by Udemy or Skillshare.
Best Screenwriting Courses Online 2024 – Summary
Wrapping up our tour of the best screenwriting courses online in 2024. Ultimately, there is no downside to investing in your education, especially given the competitive nature of the screenwriting field. Surely, there’s a course (or two) on this list that can set you up for success by getting your art out into the world and getting you properly compensated!
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, busy or flexible, inspired or blocked, signing up for the best screenwriting course is a step in the right direction.
If you’re still not sure where to begin, one of the MasterClass choices or the BBC Maestro course should prove illuminating. Now, go forth and bring your art to the screen…
Best Screenwriting Courses Online 2024
- Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting – MasterClass
- Screenwriting Essentials: Create, Write and Develop for TV – Domestika
- Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television – MasterClass
- Write a Feature Length Screenplay for Film or TV – Michigan University, Coursera
- Online Screenwriting Courses – Udemy
- Online Screenwriting Classes – Skillshare
- Screenwriting: The Art of the First Draft – CreativeLive
- Screenwriting & Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys – Udemy
- Screenwriting I and Screenwriting II – Gotham Writers
- Screenwriting Online Courses – New York Film Academy (NYFA)
- An Introduction to Screenwriting – University of East Anglia, FutureLearn
- Writing Drama for Television with Jed Mercurio – BBC Maestro
- Writing the Feature – Screenwriting with NYU Professor John Warren
- Screenwriting: From Outline to First Draft – Sundance Collab
- Free Screenwriting Class with John Warren – YouTube
Other Best Online Screenwriting Courses
- MichaelJaminWriter – TikTok – View
- Film Courage – YouTube – View
- Screenplay Formatting – Vancouver Film School
- Adaptation for Screenwriters I – UCLA Extension
- Screenwriting – National Film and Television School
What are the best screenwriting courses online for 2024, in your opinion? Which screenwriting online programs have you taken? What have you learned? Please let us know in the comments below, or contact us via email for questions.
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