- Monday, August 30
- 7 to 9:30 p.m.
- with Lizbeth Finn
Project Write Now’s Screenwriting Academy is dedicated to growing a creative community and supporting screenwriters in their pursuit of artistic excellence and commercial success. Launched in November 2019, the Screenwriting Academy provides classes, workshops, and events connecting students and instructors from all over the country, including New York City and Hollywood. All experience levels are welcome.
Through our programs, we …
- Help writers discover their authentic voices
- Feed creative expression
- Boost confidence and quiet the inner critic
- Foster new and emerging talent
- Build foundational skills
- Enhance mastery of advanced craft tools
- Improve critical analysis
- Encourage artistic collaboration and writing partnerships
- Develop show-business acumen and knowledge
- Guide writers toward professional opportunities and experiences
- Promote the original work of our screenwriters
Programs include …
- Yearlong Incubator
- Script Fests (Script Analysis)
- Table Reads of Original Scripts
- Expert Classes
- Script Coaching & Consultations
- Teen Programs: Classes & Summer Programs (also see PWN Teen)
Through the course of this yearlong program, we take you from an initial concept to a completed first draft to a polish of the first 15 pages. We focus on helping students achieve artistic excellence while honing their craft skills. Screenwriting is part of a highly competitive industry, and we steer our writers into developing polished, professional, commercially viable projects for TV, film, and streaming services and platforms.
The entire program comprises six sessions (six weeks each). Writers are taught the importance of industry script notes and learn to receive and provide constructive feedback that supports and expands, rather than inhibits, the writer’s creative process.
We believe it is imperative that screenwriters hear their words read aloud so they can truly appreciate the power of their work.
The total cost of the yearlong program is $1,500. Each session cost $250 per six-week cycle.
Scholarships, partial scholarships, and payment plans are available for those experiencing financial hardship.
Screenwriting: You’ve Got the Beat 1.0 (level 1)
There are a myriad of elements that make a screenplay exceptional: premise, story, plot, conflict, character desire, stakes, theme, and dialogue. However, without the proper container to hold all those pieces in place, the script often meanders or fails to meet its potential. Using a 15-beat methodology we examine and analyze award-winning screenplays and discuss expert screenwriting techniques. You learn the plot points that provide the blueprint for most successful screenplays and novels. Once you learn these beats, you begin to appreciate movies on a deeper level. And you come away with the knowledge and tools to apply this beat formula to your own writing. This entry-level course is a prerequisite for the yearlong Screenplay Incubator Program.
Screenwriting: You’ve Got the Beat 2.0 (level 1)
Are you ready to write a screenplay but don’t know where or how to begin? Prework and outlining are essential tools that can help you save time, energy, and effort when you finally do sit down to write your first draft. Utilizing a 15-beat methodology, we help you develop the plot points of your story. These beats provide a roadmap as you track your hero’s outer journey and inner transformation. You enter this class with an idea and finish with the 15 beats of your story and a logline. You are highly encouraged to enroll in You’ve Got the Beat 1.0 prior to taking this class. This entry-level course is a prerequisite for the yearlong Screenplay Incubator Program.
Screenplay Appreciation and In-Depth Analysis
Calling all screenwriters, actors, and film enthusiasts. Join us for live screenplay readings, as we analyze and discuss master screenwriting techniques. We take it page-by-page, scene-by-scene, immersing ourselves in a detailed exploration of story, structure, concept, premise, plot, dialogue, theme, conflict, and more. Participants come away with a better appreciation for the art and craft of screenwriting, and also learn to read and analyze scripts like a professional studio reader or development consultant.
Past Script Fests:
LIVE TABLE READS
It’s a gift for any screenwriter to hear their words read aloud by professional actors. This is where all the hard work pays off and the writer gets to hear their creations spring to life and become real.
We host table reads first and foremost for the benefit of the writer, so they can learn if what they heard in their head and transcribed on the page is working on the so-called stage.
The second reason is to connect writers and actors. Creatives need opportunities to play and practice their craft. But we also need to network and expand our community.
The third reason is to help raise awareness and funding for Project Write Now so more students can have access to the Screenwriting Academy’s workshops and classes.
The fourth reason is because we have the human need to come together to socialize and be entertained.
Past Table Reads:
The Boy Roach, by Rob Thorp
James and Peter, by Brian Jude
Stand Up and Die, by Michael Etra
We invite accomplished screenwriters and film professionals to share their expertise and experiences with us.
Past Expert Classes:
PWN WRITERS’ ROOM: WRITE YOUR TV PILOT
with Stephanie Birkitt
TV writing, unlike other writing, is extremely collaborative, with most of it occurring inside the writers’ room. This is where writers create the series bible, outline a season, break each episode, write early drafts, and punch up final shooting scripts. It is a room that requires an exceptional level of craft and professionalism, as well as risk-taking and the ability to work well with others.
Rather than toil alone on your TV pilot, why not join the PWN Writers’ Room where you can collaborate alongside a team of like-minded creatives? Run by LA-Based TV writer and producer Stephanie Birkitt, the PWN Writers’ Room creates a space for you to draft and share ideas and receive script notes, encouragement, and support.
Stephanie Birkitt grew up in a small town in New Hampshire, got her BA at Wake Forest University and her law degree from Benjamin E. Cardozo School of Law. She has passed the bar in New York, Connecticut, and California. She is a TV writer and an animal advocate in Los Angeles. She has a daughter named Hadley, a tiny dog named Jordy, and cats named Toes and Tricky Chicken.
ADAPTATION: FROM NOVEL TO SCREENPLAY
with Brian Rudnick
Adaptations are prevalent in Hollywood—whether from novels, short stories, comic books, magazine articles, video games, or even theme park rides. However, transforming a novel into a screenplay can be much more challenging than it might seem.
Hired by Endurance Media to adapt T.C. Boyle’s novel Drop City for the screen, professional screenwriter Brian Rudnick takes you through his process of crafting early passages from the book into the first act of a movie script. Rudnick provides exclusive access to his outline, first draft, rewrite, scripts marked with comments by trusted screenwriter colleagues, a list of comparable films he used as references, and extensive notes from development executives. Learn from credited Hollywood screenwriters and producers how to choose the most cinematic moments from an existing intellectual property (IP) to construct a movie script that balances a faithful adaptation with a commercially viable dramatic narrative. You also have the opportunity to write scenes that could be incorporated into the shooting script.
Brian Rudnick graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts and studied film at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received his Masters and numerous honors for his work. His thesis film, A Drowning, was nominated for the Student Academy Awards. Rudnick started his professional career with legendary filmmaker Roger Corman and developed movies with Silver Pictures, Valhalla Entertainment, and Imax. His work includes two Dungeons & Dragons films, the adaptation of James Dashner’s The Eye of Minds, and American Wrestler: The Wizard, starring Jon Voight and William Fichtner. American Wrestler received Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the Boston Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Screenplay at the Austin Film Festival. Rudnick has set up numerous projects, including The Ascent, produced by 1821 Media and Steven Schneider’s Room 101. He is currently working on Winds of Change, a biopic about the German heavy metal band The Scorpions and adapting of T.C. Boyle’s best-selling novel Drop City for Steve Richards at Endurance Media. Richards has been a producer on more than 40 feature films, including The Matrix Reloaded, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and The Book of Eli.
SCRIPT COACHING & CONSULTATIONS
At the PWN Screenwriting Academy, we use the Gateless Writing methodology to provide feedback to our writers.
In Gateless Writing, we strive to build one another up as creatives rather than tear the writing down. When we focus on genius, anything that is not working tends to fall away organically. This type of feedback energizes writers so they can create more exciting original work than they ever thought possible.
The goal is to encourage and support the often-elusive state of flow.
Gateless Writing is based on neuroscience: Studies show that creativity often comes to a screeching halt when self-protection (fight or flight) is activated. Risks feel dangerous and the work thus becomes imitative rather than innovative. This halts the flow and the creative fun.
In traditional critiquing groups and most private consultations, the work is criticized as soon as it’s created. The work is dissected, deconstructed, and ultimately stunted. Rather than focus on what’s wrong with the writing, Gateless focuses on what’s working.
PRIVATE SCRIPT CONSULTATION:
$125 per hour-long session.
Each coaching session includes a one-hour meeting (in-person or via zoom) with up to 20-minute preliminary manuscript review.
EXPRESS SHINE: Beat Sheet and Logline Development
FULL SHINE: Full screenplay evaluation with detailed script notes.
SCRIPT POLISH: We’ll make your final draft sparkle with professionalism.
TEEN PROGRAMS: CLASSES & SUMMER WORKSHOPS
The Dreamers Writers’ Room: Writing a TV Pilot (Ages 12-16)
Ever watch your favorite TV show and think, I could write a better episode than that? Now’s your chance to find out. Our PWN Teen TV Writers’ Room is a safe, supportive space for young dreamers to explore their inspirations and share their most exciting ideas. We discuss our favorite shows and then brainstorm, collaborate, and write an original TV pilot—together! Analyze different TV formats (drama, comedy, dramedies) and learn about concept, premise, hook, character arcs, conflict, structure, genre, story, plot, and dialogue. Each dreamer comes away with a better idea of how a pilot sets the tone and direction of a TV show for the entire season as well as multiple seasons. Join us for this fun, collaborative experience that gives you an insider’s peak into the television writing process.
Teen Screenwriting: You’ve Got the Beat (Ages 12-16)
Many elements make a screenplay exciting, such as story, conflict, character desire, and theme. But without the proper structure, the script often fails to engage the audience and turns into a dud. Using a 15-beat story structure, we analyze how screenwriters create entertaining blueprints for iconic films, such as The Wizard of Oz and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity Wars. Then we take our original ideas and develop the key “beats” or plot points of our own stories so we can create a roadmap to track our hero’s outer journey and inner transformation. By the end of the session, you have a pitchable logline and a completed beats outline, giving you the foundation needed to craft a compelling screenplay.
Writing from the Heart Screenwriting Workshop (ages 12-16)
Why do you love films such as The Avengers, Avatar, Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Little Women, Black Panther, and Star Wars (the list can go on and on)? Because at the heart of every great screenplay is a compelling story about a hero who experienced a deep transformation. Screenplays that focus on plot over story almost always fall flat and fail to connect with the reader’s heart.Join us for this creative workshop taught by an award-winning screenwriter with more than 20 years’ experience in independent filmmaking. We study the movies and TV shows that you love and use a series of progressive writing exercises (based on Lisa Cron’s Story Genius technique) to help you create original characters, build intriguing scenes, and explore the dramatic, thematic, and emotional significance of the stories we tell.