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377460: Writing the First Screenplay II
SCRIPT-X 410.2

  • Winter 2021
  • Section 1
  • 3 Credits
  • 01/09/2021 to 03/20/2021
  • Modified 12/31/2020

Meeting Times

10 am to 1 pm

(Please note: No class on 2/20)


This second in a four-part sequence in writing a feature film script has you hit the ground running. You begin by pitching your story based on your outline and revising it to make sure the premise can carry the entire movie. Armed with a workable outline, you then flesh it out into either a beat sheet or treatment (at the instructor's discretion) and begin writing your screenplay. Personalized feedback along with mini-lectures on key craft points, including character development, story structure, and conflict, help you to meet the course goal, which is to write Act I (approximately 30 pages). May be repeated for credit.


The course objective is to continue to build upon your skills you learned in Feature Screenwriting I and put them into practice to begin writing the first draft of your screenplay.

  • Students will continue to hone their basic screenwriting skills.
  • Students will gain a greater understanding of story structure.
  • Students will practice writing effective beats and scenes.


By the end of the course:

  • Students will write the first draft of Act 1.
  • Students will have a fully fleshed out outline or treatment.
  • Students will have the skills and background to complete the first draft of their script.



  • Attendance + Participation 25%
  • Weekly Assignments 35%
  • Act 1 Draft 40%


  • A   90 – 100 points
  • B   80 – 89 points
  • C   70 – 79 points
  • F   69 points or less

Course Policies


Participation includes, but is not limited to, openly sharing your work, participating in the table reads, being active in class discussions, and offering fair and honest critiques.


As G.I. Joe once said, " Showing up is half the battle." Attendance is very important because each class builds upon the class proceeding it. However, I understand that sometimes life gets in the way. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to set up a time with me during the week so that I can go over what you missed.

"Turning in Late Work"

I do not accept any late work. This is because in the industry, deadlines matter and it is your responsibility to get your work to me on time. If you are having trouble turning in your work through Canvas, please email it to me at [email protected]

“Workshopping Guidelines”

Feedback is extremely important in my class and in the features world. But it’s imperative in my class that everyone feels safe to share opinions honestly and secure that your work will not leave the room. 

People Receiving Feedback:

  • Don’t take it personally
  • Think of yourself as a doorperson. In other words, just take notes and say thank you, never argue

People Giving Feedback:

  • Start with something positive
  • Only give comments that you think are constructive
  • When possible, be specific

Institutional Policies

Student Conduct

Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University; or theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others or violation of others' copyrights. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with policy provisions which proscribe these and other forms of misconduct at:

Services for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services such as sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance. Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation. Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension’s Service for Students with Disabilities Office at (310) 825-7851 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information see:


Your instructor may post the interim grade Incomplete/I if at the end of the class your overall work is of passing quality but a portion could not be submitted for understandable reasons (e.g. illness). It is your responsibility to petition your instructor for permission to submit work late and to provide an explanation, and it is his or her sole decision whether to accept the explanation. If permitted, the Incomplete/I grade will be posted and a time frame defined for you to submit the missing work, ranging from one to twelve weeks. Incomplete/I grades that remain unchanged after twelve weeks will lapse to F, NP or U. Receiving an I grade entitles you to submit only the missing work your instructor has agreed to accept late, and does not allow other work to be retaken or oblige UCLA Extension to provide continuing access to course materials via Canvas. The Incomplete/I grade is not an option for courses that do not bear credit, such as 700, 800, or 900-level courses. For complete information, see:

All Grades are Final

No change of grade may be made by anyone other than the instructor, and then, only to correct clerical errors. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. The correction of a clerical error may be authorized only by the instructor of record communicating directly with personnel of Student and Alumni Services.

Sexual Harassment

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates our policy.

All Extension students and instructors who believe they have been sexually harassed are encouraged to contact the Department of Student and Alumni Services for complaint resolution: UCLA Extension, 1145 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024; Voice/TTY: (310) 825-7031. View the University’s full Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at

Additional Items

Course and Instructor Evaluation

UCLA Extension values your feedback on course and instructor evaluations. We ask all students to take a few minutes to complete an end-of-course evaluation survey. Updates to the course and instruction are influenced by your feedback. Understanding your student experience is essential to ensure continuing excellence in the online classroom and is appreciated by your instructor and the UCLA Extension academic leadership.

Your participation in a survey is voluntary, and your responses are confidential. After instructors submit grades, they will be given an evaluation report, but this report will not contain your name.

About Your Online Course Materials

Please note the following about online course components at UCLA Extension:

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.
  • Students are responsible for meeting the technical requirements of Canvas and familiarizing themselves with the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all assignments and work submitted, and to be aware of all assignments, due dates, and course guidelines.
  • Students are encouraged to keep and/or download a local copy of their assignment files, as access to the online environment of a specific course is limited to 30 days after the final course date, as listed in the course catalog.

    If you need assistance downloading student materials from your course, please contact Canvas Support or the UCLA Extension Learning Support Team.

UCLA Extension Canvas and Learning Support

For immediate 24/7 Canvas technical support, including holidays, click on Help (located on the menu to the left) where you can call or chat live with a Canvas Support representative.

UCLA Extension Instructional Design and Learning Support
The UCLA Extension Learning Support staff assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general and administrative questions.

Learning Support staff is available Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM (Pacific Time), except holidays:

Campus Safety Escorts

For students taking classes held on the UCLA campus and in and around Westwood Village, the UCLA Police Department provides a free walking escort service every day of the year from dusk until 1 a.m. Community Service Officers (CSOs) are available to walk students, faculty, staff members and visitors to and from anywhere on campus, in Westwood Village, and in the village apartments. CSOs are uniformed students who have received special training and are employed by the UCLA Police Department. To obtain an escort, please call (310) 794-9255 and allow 15 to 20 minutes for your escort to arrive. For complete information, see:


Course calendar and related activities
When Lesson Notes
Week 1
Getting Started

Lecture: How to write a strong opening

Workshop: Pitch your project 

Homework: Write your opening beat (beat 1, 1-2 pages)

Week 2
Mini-Lecture + Workshop

Lecture: Beats after the opening + how to create good characters

Workshop: Opening Beat

Homework: Outline write 1/2 way to inciting incident (beats #2-3, 3 to 4 pages)


Week 3
Mini-lecture and Workshop

Lecture: Conflict + Formatting

Workshop: Workshop your new pages

Homework: Write the remaining pages to inciting incident (beats #4-6, 4.5-6 pages)

Week 4
Mini-Lecture and Workshop

Lecture: Inciting incident + Tone/genre

Workshop: New pages

Homework: Write your inciting incident (beat #7, 1.5-2 pages)

Week 5
Mini Lecture and Workshop

Lecture: Beats after the inciting incident + What you need to put together after your finish you finish writing

Workshop: Inciting incident

Homework: Outline write 1/2 way to Plot Point 1 (beats #8-10, 4.5 to 6 pages)

Week 6
Mini Lecture and Workshop

Lecture: Pitching + Pitch decks + protecting your ideas

Workshop: New pages

Homework: writing the remaining pages up to plot point 1 (beats #11-13, 4.5 to 6 pages)

Week 7
Mini Lecture and Workshop

Lecture: Plot point 1 + How to get your film made + writing career

Workshop: New pages

Homework: Plot point 1 (beat #14, 1.5-2 pages)

Week 8
Mini Lecture + Workshop

Lecture: Major moments and beat sheet the rest of the way

Workshop: Plot Point 1

homework: Pass your pages to one other student, do a full coverage

Week 9

Lecture: Editing and rewriting

Workshop: Meet with your fellow student and go over each other's notes

Homework: Do a full rewrite

Week 10

Congrats! We'll do a full table read of your act 1