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Elements of Screenwriting

Starts April 12

8 sessions: Mondays, April 12-June 7 (no class May 31), 7-9pm

The course 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 in class, beginning with the third session.

This 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.

Students will be assigned sequences of films to watch at home. The Zoom app that enables our online class experience allows students and instructor to share pages with each other in real-time, so that they can be read them aloud, just as if students and instructor were gathered around the table. The notes that the instructor would normally scrawl on his copy of students’ pages will be sent to them via email instead.

This course will serve as a solid introduction to the craft of screenwriting. The perspectives gained on story and structure will forever change and enhance every student’s enjoyment of film and television.

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: $165 / $125 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. Grant 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. Grant 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 wishing to cancel a registration prior to the class registration deadline, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received after the registration deadline but 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 a class start date, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.




April 12 @ 7:00 pm
June 7 @ 9:00 pm
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David Grant
Registration Deadline
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Class count or Info
8 sessions: Mondays, April 12-June 7 (no class May 31), 7-9pm