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Elements of Screenwriting [Virtual]

Starts January 22

Online. 8 sessions: Mondays, January 22-March 11, 6:30-9:30 pm CT

I absolutely loved David’s class and will definitely take another in the future. His depth and range of knowledge of the craft and the business has opened my eyes to many new ways of understanding a story, a character, and a film. This has been a pivotal course for me and I couldn’t imagine learning from anyone other than Mr. Grant. He has a way of being able to reach each student from their own life experience and bring them to the writer’s table. It was a joy to witness and receive such lessons. I am so happy with all the courses I’ve taken thus far at FilmNorth! –Melanie Lorísdóttir

This course serves as a solid introduction to the craft of screenwriting. The objective is to provide the beginning screenwriter with the tools and information necessary to get started on a first-draft screenplay, the pages of which will be workshopped during class, beginning with the third session.

The course is built on master-teacher Frank Daniel’s system of eight story sequences, spending each weekly session on deep analysis of a scene sequence from a film that offers something useful to learn about structure and cinematic storytelling, in addition to writing exercises and, as the class progresses, the sharing out loud of new pages. This latter part of our core process is the “secret sauce” that helps students get to the most important part of the rewriting process: a full and satisfying exploration of whatever it is that lies at each story’s emotional center – its heart.

Learning objectives:

  • The basics of the screenplay format and content
  • How a story idea or piece of narrative fiction or non-fiction translates into a finished film
  • Tricks for mastering three-act structure
  • Tips on next steps: competitions, fellowships, becoming part of a community of writers, and building a career

The perspectives gained on story and structure will forever change and enhance every student’s enjoyment of film and television.

I appreciated David’s summation of the 8 sequences of screenwriting and the handouts he shared with us. They all felt very intentional, helpful, and resources I’ll continue to reference. His enthusiasm, experience, film references, and feedback were invaluable and made for a casual yet respectful space where I felt good about participating. —Fall 2021 student

NOTE: Participation in this online course requires that you use the free Zoom cloud-based video conferencing service. For optimal performance it is recommended that you install Zoom on your computer rather than running it from a web browser. We’ll e-mail you a course reminder and Zoom link a few days prior to the first session. Click here for a Zoom tutorial.

Tuition: $345 regular | $275 member | $220 low-income

davidgrant1David Grant is a Twin Cities-based screenwriter and playwright. As a playwright, he has been commissioned to write new work for the Minnesota Science Museum, the Minnesota Historical Society, Mixed Blood Theater, VocalEssence, The Playwrights’ Center, and Great American History Theatre. As a screenwriter, he has written drama for Twin Cities Public Television, Russell Simmons’ Def Pictures, HBO New York, Davis Entertainment, and the Showtime Network. David has been a recipient of screenwriting fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation, and was a finalist for the 1999 Gordon Parks Award and the Heathcote Arts Foundation Fellowship at the Independent Feature Film Market in New York for his screenplay Trouble. He has taught screenwriting at The Loft, Playwrights’ Center, and S.A.S.E., as well as basic writing skills for The Center for Non-Profit Management at the University of St. Thomas.

David is a graduate of Antioch College and president emeritus of Screenwriters’ Workshop, member of The Loft board of directors, a core alumnus member of The Playwrights’ Center, and a member of the Writers’ Guild of America, West.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those needing to cancel a registration at least 7 days prior to the first class session, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to the first class session, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.
  • By registering for this FilmNorth class you are agreeing to our Community Values Statement.




January 22 @ 6:30 pm
March 11 @ 9:30 pm
Event Categories:


David Grant
Registration Deadline
January 21
Maximum Enrollment
Class count or Info
8 sessions: Mondays, January 22-March 11, 6:30-9:30 pm CT