Introduction to Screenwriting

3 points
Session 1: May 26 - July 2
T, R, 1 - 4 pm
Instructor: Guy Gallo
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Modern feature-length screenplays demand a specific architecture. Students enter the class with an idea for a film, and during the first eight sessions build a coherent treatment--a summary of the events and major emotional arcs of the film's three acts. In the final four sessions, students begin and complete the first act of their feature-length screenplay.

Through lectures and scene work, students explore and develop an understanding of the basic principles of screenwriting. Workshop discussions will critique the details of character development and scene construction. Emphasis will be placed on character as the engine of story.

There will be a handful of set lectures. Topics include: Geography
Image, Scene, Sequence, Plot vs. Character, Hearing Voices. Analysis of student work prompts generalized conversations/lectures on the fundamentals of film writing.

Students enter the course with a story idea, ready to start a feature screenplay. Students first work on outlining your story and move to screenplay pages as soon as possible. Students are expected to complete the first act of a feature screenplay.

Tuition & Fees
For information on tuition and course fees, please refer to our Tuition & Fees page.

Materials Fee: $30
For questions about School of the Arts course content, please write to our summer team at For all other Summer Program questions, including admissions, registration, and billing, please contact the School of Continuing Education summer team at, or 212-854-9666.

About the Instructor
Guy Gallo

Guy Gallo received an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama. His produced screenplays include: an adaptation of Malcolm Lowry's novel Under the Volcano, directed by John Huston; a version of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (PBS); and an episode for Tales from the Darkside based on John Cheever's short story "The Enormous Radio."
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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.