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Monday Morning Editor Picks: Online Screenwriting Courses & Webinars

By now, most of you know I never went to traditional film school. In today's age of technology, there's no reason to move to L.A. or NYC to study screenwriting. All it takes is an Internet connection to get access to great instructors.

Here are some of the upcoming classes Screenwriters University and The Writers Store offers that you can take from the comfort of your own home and far less the cost of film school.

If there are any classes you'd like them to add to the roster, shoot me an email at and offer your thoughts. We'll do our best to make it happen!

Screenwriters University Courses:

Writing the Comedy Feature Film, January 2nd: Comedy writing is no doubt the hardest genre to master. Turning on your funny on demand isn't easy, so if you're interested in pursuing this type of writing, taking a class is where I'd start.

Jump start your comedy screenplay! A spec comedy screenplay is a great calling card for any screenwriter, and in this course we'll tee you up to create a successful one. Writers will learn the tools professional comedy writers use to create funny screenplays, and how to use those tools to get started on your own script.

How to Sell Your Script, January 9th: Writing a screenplay is one thing, but selling one is an entirely different challenge. No writer can get too much advice on how to make the big sale happen.

As if writing screenplays wasn't hard enough, Hollywood has developed a host of rules and obstacles designed to block new talent from breaking in. (Thanks, Hollywood!) This course was created to help screenwriters bend those rules and sidestep those obstacles as they strive to launch a successful career. Ensure your name appears on the big screen -- enroll in this course today!

Beginning Feature Film Writing: Act II & III, January 16th: Breaking the second act is the hardest part of getting the first draft down. Whether you're writing your first script or your tenth, every bit of advice can help you craft a more suspenseful and engaging story.

Act Ones of promising scripts sit in desk drawers all around the world because writers run out of steam when they try to tackle Act Two. Two is to generate suspense. Why? Because Act Two is tough to write. Those in the film industry often criticize scripts by referring to “the second act slump,” “the second act blahs,” or more directly, “the second act snooze.” Act Two has to payoff the promises made in Act One as well as make promises that will be paid off in Act Three. Now, Act Three? That’s another task altogether!This workshop is designed to pick up where Feature Film Workshop 101 left off.

Constructing Compelling Characters, January 23rd: I am all about character-driven films and creating ones who move an audience. My favorites are Uma Thurman's The Bride in Kill Bill and Vivien Leigh's Scarlett O'hara in Gone with the Wind. I can't say enough about the importance of creating compelling characters in order to get your scripts greenlit.

The temptation when writing a film is to think of the big-picture elements first—a mind-blowing premise or fast-moving plot, the scope and spectacle—and then to consider characters who’ll allow the spectacle to take place. But this, of course, is working backward: character isn’t a way to reveal the world of a film—character is the heart of any film, no matter the genre or style, and the world, plot, and stakes of the film exist to reveal and to deepen our understanding of that character, not the other way around.

Beginning Television Writing, January 30th: The world of television is growing fast and furiously. There's no better time to try to break into TV than now. Learn all the intricacies of writing for television to increase your odds of success!

When you enroll in this course, you will learn how to analyze a TV show and develop “franchise”-friendly story ideas for drama. Then you’ll build upon those skills to develop and write a story under the direction of the course’s instructor, who will be acting as showrunner. After incorporating his notes, you will be sent off to write your outline—or beat sheet—which is a breakdown of entire episode, beat by beat. You’ll receive feedback from your instructor and incorporate the suggestions into your outline leaving you at the end of the course ready to write an episodic script for a drama…the first step in getting a job on a TV series!

Screenwriting Webinars: Webinars are a great way to learn in just 90 minutes. Don't worry if you can't make the live event. As long as you register in advance of the class, you will get a recording emailed to you to listen to on your schedule!

Editors Picks

Jeanne Veillette Bowerman is the Editor and Online Community Manager of Script Magazine and a webinar instructor for The Writers Store. She is Co-Founder and moderator of the weekly Twitter screenwriters’ chat, #Scriptchat, and wrote the narrative adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name, with its author, Douglas A. Blackmon, former senior national correspondent of The Wall Street Journal. Jeanne also is President of Implicit Productions and consults with writers on how to build and strengthen their online and offline networks as well as face their fears in order to succeed in writing and in personal peace - a screenwriter's therapist. More information can be found on her blog, ramblings of a recovered insecureaholic. Follow @jeannevb on Twitter.