Screenwriting Workshop: Intermediate Screenplay Writing


Screenwriting Workshop: Intermediate Screenplay Writing


Level: Intermediate

Location: Online
Duration: 8 weeks
Begins: April 1, 2019
Ends: May 26, 2019


This class is for the student who already knows the basics of writing for the screen. It’s also for the student who has already started writing a screenplay or teleplay but needs additional coaching. If you took our Introduction to Screenplay Writing workshop, then this is the next class for you. Now that you know the basics of writing for the screen, scene construction and formatting, we will put those skills to the test. In this class, you will start and complete your first act. When class begins, you should be prepared with ideas or have already started a project, maybe even an outline or treatment.

To start, we will do a quick refresher on all the screenwriting basics. Next, we will learn how to write and/or polish an outline, treatment, and log line and then we will work on the first act of a script. The majority of the class will be a deep dive into each student’s project. Writing, critiques, and rewriting help students cross the first-act finish line or complete the script’s first ten pages—goals of this class.

The learning process includes elements that go into the first ten pages, writing a breakdown of the first act, and how to outline a three-act film or TV pilot. Assignments are catered to each student’s project. Students will learn techniques to stay on track via proper character development, adhering to a three-act structure, learning key questions to ask to hone a story or a premise, and how to meet genre expectations. You will also read (and watch) screenplays and television scripts that are similar to your project. Weekly assignments involve reading, watching and writing.

Course Outline

Week 1: A Quick Refresher on Screenwriting Basics

Week 2: How to Write or Polish an Outline, Treatment & Log Line

Week 3: Start Writing (or Polishing) Your 1st Act

Week 4: How to Properly Develop Your Characters

Week 5: Adhereing to a Three-Act Structure

Week 6: Honing in on Your Story or Premise

Week 7: How to Meet Genre Expectations

Week 8: And That’s a Wrap: A Look Back

Instructor Bio

Senta Scarborough is an award-winning journalist and Emmy® Award-nominated producer, in addition to being a screenwriter. Current screenplays include crime dramas inspired by her time in Southern Appalachia and the borderlands of the Southwest. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California Riverside/Palm Desert. She also holds a certificate in screenwriting from UCLA Extension Writers Program and is a graduate of the USC Cinematic Arts Summer (screenwriting) Program.

She is a former senior investigative reporter and long-form narrative writer for E! News and E! Online. She spent nearly a decade covering crime as a staff writer for The Arizona Republic. Her work has appeared in USA Today, US Weekly magazine and Asheville Poetry Review, among others. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist’s Association. She earned a B.A. in English and Political Science and a B.S. in Philosophy and Religion from Radford University. A Virginia native, she now lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their dog.


"Senta taught me so much, and I wouldn't be the journalist I am today if it weren't for her mentorship. Being a good reporter is more than knowing what questions to ask but when to ask them. She always knew when and how to get the best story. Her insights have been so valuable to me, and there isn't a better person to learn from."

Sara Kitnick, Writer/Journalist, New York City

"Not only is Senta an incredible reporter and writer with years of real-world experience, but she is also a great communicator and teacher. By working with her, I developed a variety of essential skills that have enabled me to excel in my career and further my abilities in creating media. I highly recommend learning from Senta!"

Adam Mann, Digital Media Coordinator, CBS

“I was an intern at NBCUniversal’s E! News. Senta worked closely with my cohort to teach us newsroom best-practices, develop us as multimedia journalists, and ensure that we were well-prepared for our future careers. Senta possesses a unique ability to captivate a group of students with diverse learning styles and deliver her lesson clearly. Outside of the training sessions, Senta was a compassionate, funny, and a thoughtful listener. She was a big part of the reason many of the interns felt properly positioned for jobs in the newsroom after college. I feel lucky to know her and honored to have learned from her.”

Mehak Anwar, Communications Associate, The Fair Punishment Project, a joint initiative of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute and the Criminal Justice Institute