Prerequisite:
Screenwriting I
Screenwriting II

Screenwriting II is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. The prerequisite is Screenwriting I (10-week), or the equivalent; Level II courses work best when students know the fundamentals and have experience with the workshop process.  Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

Movies are the modern mythology—the stories we all watch for excitement, inspiration, and entertainment. So many genres and types...drama, comedy, action/adventure, science fiction, fantasy, thriller, horror, crime, noir, epic, western, war, romantic comedy, musical. Larger than life blockbusters or down-to-earth depictions of reality. Tales told with emotional verve and visual imagery we never forget.

A movie isn’t great unless it starts with a great blueprint—the screenplay. Here you’ll learn how to write for the movies and how to market your work.

Whether you seek to write shorts or features, Hollywood glamor or indie grit, we’ll show you how to write screenplays that light up the screen.

About Screenwriting
Screenwriting II

Screenwriting II allows each student to discuss and apply screenwriting concepts and techniques to our actual work-in-progress. It is a great way to learn the art of screenwriting!

Linda Matthews

proposal consultant

Upcoming Classes

To ensure everyone's good health, students in NYC classes must provide proof of full Covid vaccinations (the initial series of Covid vaccines plus at least one booster). We will accept your Covid vaccine card (or a digital scan), a NY State Excelsior digital card, or another form of government-approved proof. We will contact you before class begins about showing us proof. Also, we will require masks in the classrooms and Gotham premises.

More Covid details
  • You can still enroll in this class.
    Starts Wednesday, February 1
    Online, anytime
    10-Week Workshop
  • Starts Wednesday, July 12
    Online, anytime
    10-Week Workshop

Price

Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.

10-Week

Syllabus

This course helps you sharpen your skills at screenwriting craft and work toward completion of a screenplay. Writers often repeat Screenwriting II to continue their projects. Course components:
     Lectures
     Writing exercises
     Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 
Gotham has two separate tracks for Screenwriting II online. They complement each other, and many students take both programs, but it makes no difference which one is taken first. If you take one track, then enroll again for Screenwriting II, Gotham will make sure you are placed in the other track.

The topics covered in one track (x):

Week 1
Outlines: Pros and cons of outlining. Basic movie structure. Types of outline—story map, beat sheet, step outline, prose outline. Using sections. Advice from gurus. Outline techniques.

Week 2
Protagonist: Desire. Evolution. Personality. Multiple protagonists.

Week 3
Story Construction: Plot Movies: Story basics for plot-driven movies. Detailed analysis of a plot-driven movie.

Week 4
Story Construction: Character Movies: Story basics for character-driven movies. Detailed analysis of two character-driven movies.

Week 5
World: Finding and conveying the vibe of the world. Level of reality. Professional worlds. Research.

Week 6
Art of the Scene: Basics and fine points of scene construction. Long scenes. Sequences. Montages. Set pieces.

Week 7
Good Pages: Good description. Voice. Good dialogue. Strong openings.

Week 8
Stories Within Story: Basics of subplots. Protagonist and non-protagonist subplots. Hints of subplot. Plot strands. Split point of view. Big subplots. Multi-plot movies.

Week 9
Handling Time: Time compression. Time cuts. Types of flashbacks. Using two tracks of time. Time as a puzzle. Other time stunts.

Week 10
Selling Your Script (and Yourself): How scripts are evaluated. Which doors to knock on. Various forms of pitching. How to sell yourself.

And the topics covered in the other track (y):

Week 1
What Is Your Movie?: Hollywood vs. indie. Genre. Tone. Theme. Premise. Plot types. Pitch and promotion. Emotional connection. Process. Outlines.

Week 2
Story Analysis 1: Basics of structure and protagonist arc. Detailed analysis of a plot-driven Hollywood movie.

Week 3
Story Analysis 2: Detailed analysis of a character-driven Hollywood movie. Conflict. Subplots.

Week 4
Story Analysis 3: Detailed analysis of a character-driven indie movie. Shifting goals. Plot strands. Positive and negative endings.

Week 5
Real Characters: Basics of characterization. Layers of presentation. Desires. Evolutions. Arc of perception. Relationships. Minor characters.

Week 6
Visual Storytelling: The ways to use visuals. Visual functions—plot, character, world/tone, theme, showing thought, fun, wow factor, small touches, subtext. Set pieces. Key images. Visuals on the page.

Week 7
Better Dialogue: Dialogue basics. Characterization through dialogue. Subtext in dialogue. Dialogue tricks. Excellence in dialogue.

Week 8
Suspense/Surprise: Using macro and micro suspense. Foreshadowing. Using macro and micro surprises.

Week 9
Logic/Exposition: Plot logic. Character logic. Fantasy logic. Plot or world information. Character background. Exposition techniques.

Week 10
DIY Filmmaking: Short films explained. Ideas and story in short film. Presenting short films. Filmmaking basics – camera, lighting, sound, composition, editing.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes. 

Teachers

Lisa Namdar Kaufman
Lisa Namdar Kaufman

Lisa Namdar Kaufman wrote the animated feature film Baldy Heights (Bleiberg Entertainment/Pitchipoy Productions), and the TV drama In the Prime of Her Life, which aired on Israel’s public broadcasting station. She has written short films that have been shown at festivals around the world, from the Cannes International Film Festival to the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival. She has served as story editor on the documentary film 8000 Paper Clips and TV shows in development with Sony, ABC, and Happy Madison. She has taught at Columbia University and the New York Independent Film Workshop. She holds a BA from Brown University and an MFA in Film from Columbia University.

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