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EGL 126 — An Introduction to Screenwriting: You Oughta Be (Writing) in Pictures

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 1—Jun 3
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 3
Units: 3
Tuition: $675
Instructor(s): Adam Tobin
Limit: 23
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Apr 1—Jun 3
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 3
3 Units
Adam Tobin
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Long before becoming an Oscar-winning feature film or a history-making flop, every movie begins with a simple screenplay. But there is rarely anything simple about effective, entertaining screenplays. They all start with strong concepts, characters, structure, outlining, and scene work. In this course, we will learn what it takes to lay that essential groundwork for a film. We will start with simple exercises to generate and identify core ideas of a story, which can be turned into dramatic scene material. We will then progress to character development, act structure, basic scene writing, and finally, longer sequences of script material. Viewing of such films as North by Northwest, Thelma & Louise, and Toy Story will help us demystify core screenwriting concepts and industry terms like “high concept” and “three-act structure.” Meanwhile, students will workshop sequences of a feature film, TV script, or short film and give feedback to others. Finally, we will develop a sense of how to complete the script after the course has ended. Whether you are an experienced writer or just a film fanatic, this course will help you grapple with the building blocks of your own blockbuster screenplay.

Adam Tobin, Senior Lecturer, Film & Media Studies Program, Stanford

Adam Tobin is a screenwriter, playwright, and actor. He created the series About a Girl and Best Friend’s Date for Viacom’s TeenNick (formerly The N channel) and received an Emmy for his work on Cash Cab. Tobin has also written the script and lyrics for She Persisted, the Musical, a New York Times Critics' Pick based on Chelsea Clinton’s book. Tobin has taught story seminars at DreamWorks Animation, Blue Sky Studios, and Aardman Animations. He received an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Paul Gulino, Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach (ISBN 0826415687)
(Recommended) Andy Rose, The Aspiring Screenwriter's Dirty Lowdown Guide to Fame and Fortune (ISBN 9781250159496)