Summer Film Course | Introduction to Screenwriting

3 points
Session 2 (July 5th-August 12th), MW, 2-5PM
Instructor: Stephen Molton
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A good screenplay is a bit like a magic trick. It seems seamless, effortless, entertaining, and slightly mystifying. As most screenwriters will tell you, however, the final result usually comes from​ an enormous amount of writing, re-writing, receiving feedback, more re-writing, and a healthy dose of luck. Our goal will be to unmask the magic trick a bit, by reading screenplays, watching movies, and discussing the structure, characters, and challenges each script and film faced on its way to fruition.

Additionally, because screenplays are meant to be read but movies are meant to be seen, students will work on pages of their own scripts which we will then examine, discuss, and read aloud. The ultimate goal will be to have students write 10-40 pages of a first act of their scripts,​ along with an outline or treatment which serves as a roadmap to ultimately finishing their screenplays.

Tuition & Fees
The 2016 rate for current degree seeking students and visiting students is $1630 per point. Students enrolled in postbaccalaureate and certification programs can review tuition and fees here.

Materials Fee: $30
For questions about School of the Arts summer courses, including those concerning admissions, registration, and billing, please contact the School of Professional Studies summer team at or 212-854-9666. With questions about specific course content, please contact Film Departmental Representative Robert King at

About the Instructor
Stephen Molton is a screenwriter, producer, professor, artist, award-winning author, and a former film executive with a wealth of experience in the creative arts.    Harper Collins published his first novel, Brave Talk in 1987.  His most recent book, Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros and the Politics of Murder (co-authored with Gus Russo) was published in 2008 by Bloomsbury USA, which selected the book as a Pulitzer Prize nominee.  He has written movies and mini-series for Showtime, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, and Viacom Networks, and has produced two documentary features, including L.A. Homefront: The Fires Within (co-created with Pamela Galvin and Robert Mack), which was selected for cable television’s nationwide Voices Against Violence initiative in 1994.  His latest film, The Drowning, adapted from Pat Barker’s novel, Border Crossing, is due for release in 2016.  As a former HBO and Showtime executive and producer, Molton worked with top-flight artists on such television productions, as Elvis Meets Nixon, Harlan County War, Charms for the Easy Life, Tricks, and Hiroshima.  Molton has served as an adjunct professor of screenwriting at Columbia University’s School of the Arts since 2007. 
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.