30 Day Screenwriting Challenge

taught by Max Timm

Course description

30 Days to finish your screenplay! Think you can do it? We do! And we've set up steps, assignments, and objectives to help you do so.

In 30 Days!

Join your fellow writers and take the 30-Day Challenge. Our industry is evolving and the competition is steep. It's time that you learn how to develop a script as quickly as possible, but also how to make that script worthy of submission.

The Live Challenge Officially Began on April 20, 2017 and ended on May 19, 2017, but you can sign up at any time and use this as your own personal 30-Day Challenge.

Get Ready to Write!

Let's make this simple. We need to be writing every day. Writers need to know how to utilize their time, and how to get the most out of their writing sessions. Most of us have day jobs, parenting responsibilities, or extra-curricular promises that tend to chip away at the available hours of every day, much less the so-called creative energy it takes to sit our butts down and crank out our next story.

Like any other creative or business venture, you need a plan AND a finite goal even before you sit down to do the work. With the 30-Day Screenwriting Challenge, we have not only set up such a plan and goal, but we've given you a structured framework within which you will be able to approach the completion of a screenplay (feature or TV) in 30 days or less.

In this 30-Day Challenge, we are giving you a series of written lectures, audio recordings, assignments, and daily inspiration that will get you organized, prepared, and working. It's all here for you, but now it's up to you and your own personal level of motivation to get the work done.

Are you up to the challenge? We think you are.

The instructions, assignments, written lectures and audio recordings have been created and designed by the ISA's, Max Timm, Script Lab, Final Draft, and participating sponsors from across the industry. (Jen Grisanti, Corey Mandell, Danny Manus, Lee Jessup, WeScreenplay, Tracking Board, LA-Screenwriter, MovieBytes, Table Ready My Screenplay, Emerging Screenwriters, Tracking Board, Fast Track Fellowship, Women In Film, and many more!)

The Challenge Officially Begins!

If you're looking for more long-term support from Max and the ISA, you can inquire about Max's year-long Personal Coaching Service called The Story Farm - designed to get your material not only industry-ready, but submitted to the ISA's industry contacts. Space is very limited, and per application only.

You can apply the $69 you paid for this Challenge toward your first payment with The Story Farm consulting and development service.

Your material could also be evaluated by the ISA per their Development Program. Check out the Development Program Evaluation here on www.TheCraftCourse.com.

Sponsored by:


The Scriptlab
Final Draft


Please see our FAQ page here: Course Questions

Max Timm
Max Timm
Lead Mentor and Instructor

The Director of Education with International Screenwriters’ Association, President of The Story Farm, and VP of Development for Creative Screenwriter Productions, Max has 15 years of experience in developing material and writers’ careers. His focus with the ISA is to build a creative community and bring ISA writers closer to Industry Professionals. Having attended Holy Cross College at Notre Dame and then transferring to Columbia College Chicago to study screenwriting and producing, Max is a Midwesterner and Chicagoan at heart who prides himself on supporting creative people in as many ways possible. Recently he helped build a development slate with ISA, submitting writers’ projects on their behalf and helping them launch their careers – 21 writers have received options and representation to date because of Max’s assistance and support. His Story Farm consulting service develops working writers and their material much like a studio executive or manager would, and his online classes, titled The Craft Course in Screenwriting, offer writers outside the Los Angeles area to take part in professional full development.

A development consultant, manager, and screenwriting instructor, Max is a screenwriter and author himself. His debut novel, a young adult fantasy adventure titled The WishKeeperabout a teenage fairy with broken wings, won the young adult category of the 2015 Los Angeles Book Festival and released worldwide in the Summer of 2016. Max has also served as a part-time instructor at UCLA, and travels nationally and internationally speaking at a multitude of industry events such as the Sundance Film Festival, Nashville Writers Conference, and even educating art program teachers through the LA Unified School District.

You can find out more about Max's Story Farm Development Coaching Service here.


Course Curriculum

Day 1 (April 20) - Voice, Loglines, and Establishing Your Concept
Challenge Introduction - Getting Started
Voice, and Voice Pressure Points
Audio: Voice - Finding It, Evolving It, Embracing It
Assignment: Voice Pressure Points
The Logline - Yes, It's Extremely Important
Logline Breakdown Process
Audio: Logline Breakdown Process
Assignment: Write (and Rewrite) Your Loglines
See You Tomorrow!
Who is Max Timm?
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Day 2 (April 21) - Story Bullets & The Beginning of Structural Writing
Your Logline As A Loaded Gun
Your Hero and The Emotional Flaw
Audio: Your Hero & Emotional Flaw
The Secondary Helper (Supporting Character, Supporting the Hero’s Arc)
The Rival, Threat and/or Opponent
2nd Act Series of Obstacles
Sequence Writing and Prepping the 1st Act
Audio: Sequence Writing and Prepping The 1st Act
Assignments: 1st Act, and Character Set-Up
Update - Q & A!
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Day 3 (April 22) - Sequence Writing & Breaking Your Story From A Character Perspective
Where To Begin
The Villain, Rival, Opponent - Whatever He's Called! How is this Character Related to the Secondary Character?
An Easy Assignment...Just Listen!
Episode 1 of The Craft - Sequence 1 Breakdown - "We Need A Hero"
Episode 2 of The Craft - Sequence 2 Breakdown - "Setting It All Up"
Episode 3 of The Craft - Sequence 3 Breakdown - "The Unsung Hero"
Episode 6 of The Craft - "A Sidenote for the TV Writer"
Structural/Beat Breakdown and Outline
Assignments: Sequence Loglines
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Day 4 (April 23) - Continued Sequence Writing
You've Barely Begun, But...
Max Timm's, The Story Farm
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Day 5 (April 24) - Moment Listing & the 2nd Act
The 2nd Act, Moment By Moment
Audio: The 2nd Act, Moment By Moment
The Difference Between "Adventure" & "Journey"
The Craft Podcast - Sequence 4 Breakdown. "The Promise of the Premise"
The Craft Podcast - Sequence 5 Breakdown. "Success, Failure & the Villain"
The Craft Podcast - Sequence 6 Breakdown - "The Mid-Point"
Moment Listing - Your Story Outline
Sequence Titles
Assignments: Writing Your Script in Outline Form
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Day 6 (April 25) - Continued Moment Listing and Building Your Outline
Just Keep Going
Connecting with The ISA and Our Writing Gigs
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Day 7 (April 26) - The Downward Spiral - Delivering the End of Your 2nd Act
A Couple Disclaimers Before We Start
Leading Up To The Low Point
The Craft Podcast - Sequence 7 Breakdown - "The Doomed Honeymoon"
The Craft Podcast - Sequence 8 Breakdown - "Love, Conflict, and Losing It"
The Craft Podcast - Sequence 9 Breakdown - "The Dark Night of The Soul"
The Point of A Scene
Audio: The Point of A Scene
Assignment: Scene Writing Within Your Outline
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Day 8 (April 27) - And Now, For the Final Act...
Stating Theme and Your 3rd Act
Audio: Stating Theme and Your 3rd Act
The Craft Podcast - Sequences 10 & 11 Breakdown - "Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?"
The Craft Podcast - Sequence 12 Breakdown - "It's Not About the Victory"
Assignment: Still Going!
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Day 9 (April 28) - Great Dialogue, Killer Action, and Proper Formatting
What Makes For Great Dialogue?
Audio: What Makes For Great Dialogue?
Proper Screenplay Format
Assignment: Page Writing - Finally!
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Day 10 (April 29) – You're On Your Way - A Quick Word and Summary
What Now? And What Should You Expect?
Audio: The Craft - "A Note on Motivation - Is It All Worth It?"
Audio: Pursuing a Wish and Manifesting Success
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Day 11 (April 30) - Education and Insights with Tracking-Board.com!
Are You Writing?
Tracking-Board.com - Writing the TV Pilot: Does Your Character Need to Change?
Tracking-Board.com - Their Launch Pad Launches Writing Careers! Discount for 30-Day Challengers.
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Day 12 (May 1) - Tick Tock! The Story Farm is Here to Help...
You Have 432 Hours Left! Time Crunch Brought to You by The Story Farm.
The Story Farm Screenwriting Lab & Retreat
What is The Story Farm?
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Day 13 (May 2) - Tips, Advice, and Insights from Jen Grisanti Consultancy
30-Day Challenge Mentor - Jen Grisanti!
What Stops Screenwriters From Being Successful?
Story: Momentum + Mindset = Achievement
Why Stories Like 'The Martian' Work
Without This Story Tool A Screenplay Doesn't Work
So Many Writers Have This Bad Habit
Jen's Services Just for You!
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Day 14 (May 3) - Inspiration and Tips from the ISA and Steve Kaplan Comedy
The Time Is Now!
The Hidden Tools of Comedy, from Steve Kaplan
The Comic Hero's Journey!
Using Metaphors in Comedy
The Formula For Writing A Great Comedy Script
The #1 Tip to Writing Likable Characters
Common Mistakes by Comedy Writers
Special Offer from Steve
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Day 15 (May 4) - Half-Way There with MovieBytes!
Momentum with a MovieBytes Special
Promote Your Script to Agents, Managers, and Producers
​Are Screenplay Contests Worth the Money?
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Day 16 (May 5) - Education and Invaluable Insight from LA-Screenwriter.com
What is LA-Screenwriter.com?
5 Questions to Help You Find Your Inciting Incident
The 6 Most Common Logline Mistakes
Stuck in the Middle: 4 Methods for Advancing Your 2nd Act
4 Ways to Tackle the Third Act of Your Screenplay
Offers from LA-Screenwriter.com!
Movie Magnets Fun!
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Day 17 (May 6) - Story Mastery with Michael Hauge
Get to Know Michael
True Love with Michael Hauge
What Screenwriters Should Know About A Character's Inner Journey
6-Stage Structure Chart
A Discount Just for the 30-Day Challengers
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Day 18 (May 7) - Launching Your Career with Corey Mandell
Writing the Script That Launches Your Career
Live and Online Workshop with Corey Mandell
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Day 19 (May 8) - No Bullscript with Consultant, Danny Manus
A Note to the Challengers, from Danny Manus
A Personal 30-Day Video Message from Danny Manus
Goals vs. Needs
Creating Set Pieces for Script Success
Creating the Pitch-Perfect One Sheet
Cold Call Tips – The Secret Words to Getting Read and Representation
Learn More about Danny and His Challenger Discount!
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Day 20 (May 9) - Fresh Voices Script Development & Competition
Get to Know Fresh Voices
What is a Fresh Voice & Why Does It Matters To Your Screenwriting Career?
What Makes Your Voice Fresh?
Why a Fresh Voice is Your Key to a Successful Career
How Do You Hone Your Voice And Keep It Fresh?
30% off Development Services & Story Notes!
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Day 21 (May 10) - The ISA Approach to Submitting to Contests
The ISA Approach to Education and Screenplay Contests
The ISA's Emerging Screenwriters Screenplay Contest
Table Read My Screenplay Contest
ISA's Fast Track Fellowship
The Story Farm Screenwriting Lab & Retreat - Reminder!
A Little Helpful Advice from the ISA Contests
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Day 22 (May 11) - Your Business as a Screenwriter with Career Coach, Lee Jessup
Who is Lee Jessup?
Dude, Where is My Screenplay Option?
Screenwriting Straight Talk: Early Career Mistakes
Breaking into Features vs. Breaking into Television
Traits of Successful Screenwriters
Video: The Screenwriter's Road to Failure
Video: Do Screenwriters Need to Live in Los Angeles?
Video: How Many Screenplays Should You Write Each Year?
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Day 23 (May 12) - Spend a Day with the #1 Screenwriting Software - Final Draft
Day 23 (May 12) - The Final Draft Story
How To Be A Fan of Your Own Work
The Writing Zone: How to Find it and Sustain It
How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Create
Video: Robert McKee 2017 Final Draft Awards Acceptance Speech
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Day 24 (May 13) - The Day Belongs to The Script Lab!
A Character Questionnaire - Let's Build Your Character
Heroes! A Breakdown of Archetypes for Your Brainstorming Needs
Villains! What Kind of Villain Is Your Character?
Screenwriting 101: Writing For Ensemble Casts
The Top 10 Best Monologues
What Is Voice?
How To Become A Working Screenwriter in 7 Steps
TSL Notes!
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Day 25 (May 14) - WeLove WeScreenplay
Get to Know WeScreenplay
Why is Diversity in Entertainment Important?
5 (Free) Tools for Writing Your Next Script Faster
Nine Films to Watch for a Dialogue Bootcamp
Looking for Coverage? We've Got You Covered...
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Day 26 (May 15) - Tips & Insights from Virtual Pitchfest
Day 26 (May 15) - What to Know About Virtual Pitchfest
A Special Offer Just for the 30-Day Challengers
Free VPF Podcasts
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Day 27 (May 16) - The ISA Development Program
Want to Jumpstart Your Career AND Receive Five Pages of Comprehensive Notes?
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Day 28 (May 17) - A Special Extra Lesson from Max Timm, the ISA, and The Story Farm
A Craft Course Video Explanation of The Importance of Education
Why Writers Block is Bullsh**
Reverse Engineer: Adapting a Script Into a Book
The Craft in Review
The Story Farm Screenwriting Lab & Retreat
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Day 29 (May 18) - Women In Film
Get to Know Women In Film - Become a Member!
A Little Research - Female Filmmakers Initiative
A Special Little Contest For You = Women in Film Membership
Women in Film Finishing Fund
Special Event in Los Angeles - June 2017
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Day 30 (May 19) - Your Final Day!
The Whirlwind is Not Over!
ISA Podcast Network
The Script Lab Notes Services
Final Draft's Big Break Contest - Discount!
The Story Farm Consulting and Development
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Reviews (29)

Straightforward and Encouraging

by Terrence Atkins
I appreciated the positive approach to writing a script from the log line/concept up. (not alot of putting other methods down) All of the lessons kept me focused on specific elements along the way that made sense Even though I didn't finish each and every assignment on schedule, I was, and still, able to learn a very straightforward approach to structuring a screenplay before jumping in and writing pages. I really connected with this approach. And when I can afford it, I would like to take some more workshops like this. Very helpful and fun to be involved with a creative group. Thank you! Terrence Atkins

Great Insight into Starting Screenwriting

by Bill Anderson
I enjoyed this course, it gave me the right motivation to stop procrastinating and get something written. Matt gives his experience in a way that's relatable to someone who knows virtually nothing about screenwriting.

Excellent Teaching!

by MJ Wallis
Thanks for putting this course together. It demonstrated how to break screenplay down into conceptualisable bits and how to tie the concepts together to bring the story to life. The 30 Day Challenge transformed screenwriting into an inspiration-powered creative discipline. Thank you!
Read more

Straightforward and Encouraging

by Terrence Atkins
I appreciated the positive approach to writing a script from the log line/concept up. (not alot of putting other methods down) All of the lessons kept me focused on specific elements along the way that made sense Even though I didn't finish each and every assignment on schedule, I was, and still, able to learn a very straightforward approach to structuring a screenplay before jumping in and writing pages. I really connected with this approach. And when I can afford it, I would like to take some more workshops like this. Very helpful and fun to be involved with a creative group. Thank you! Terrence Atkins

Great Insight into Starting Screenwriting

by Bill Anderson
I enjoyed this course, it gave me the right motivation to stop procrastinating and get something written. Matt gives his experience in a way that's relatable to someone who knows virtually nothing about screenwriting.

Excellent Teaching!

by MJ Wallis
Thanks for putting this course together. It demonstrated how to break screenplay down into conceptualisable bits and how to tie the concepts together to bring the story to life. The 30 Day Challenge transformed screenwriting into an inspiration-powered creative discipline. Thank you!

Thank You!

by Shelley Kaehr
Lots of good food for thought and inspiration, thanks!

Pure treasure

by Anshul Nagori
This course has been a prolific investment of time for me. Previously, I didn't know what to do after I have an idea. How to add content to it, how to make it into a story, and how to get to writing it into a script. This course answers exactly these questions. Thank you to the people behind getting this together. I'm sure it would've been a herculean task to create and assemble the content from various online screenwriting platform and put it together in such a lucid manner. I hope this is start for me will not be the end. Thanks again.

by Yvonne W.


by Mary MacNeith
Thank you ISA. It was a bit too challenging for me to keep up, however, the content is priceless!

by Devin Cutting

Fantastic way to get your first draft written!

by Evelyn Brooks
I really enjoyed the 30-Day challenge and found the material amazingly helpful and professional. Comprehensive steps for the beginner and plenty of guidance for those of us who've written more than one script already. Highly recommend this!


by Samuel Jaye Paul
I loved the course. Very straight forward, and loads of information to keep your mind geared towards writing good stories. Very impressed to discover a lot about myself in regards to my writing. I highly recommend this challenge, or seeking the advice from the team. It's a nonsense approach to the CRAFT, of story telling.

Great Course!

by Roberta Jones
Max is superb!

Glad I saw this!

by Dana Michaels
ISA's 30-Day Screenwriting Challenge is one of the most practical, helpful online writing courses I've ever seen. Thank you for sharing, in plain English, the nuts-and-bolts information a writer needs to at least have a chance of writing a screenplay properly. It's great to have a story idea and write it, but without this knowledge... The sequencing details, plot points, dialogue, and formatting instruction is invaluable. It also helps to know what can cause a script reader to keep reading or stop and throw you in the slush pile. I really appreciated your examples from popular films, to demonstrate how and why certain techniques work. For me, there's no better learning tool than a good example. (Okay, written instructions that I can refer to in the future are right up there, too.) All this information will help me turn my novel into a screenplay, and greatly improve the tiny chance that it might someday become a film. Thanks again for providing so much information, free of charge, for writers on tight budgets. I hope your generosity comes back to you many times over!

great challenge

by Steven Veldkamp
Great challenge. Finished the script in less than 30 days. Still lots of - solvable - imperfections. Already started to rewrite. Living in a small village in the north of the Netherlands LA is light years away. This challenge brings it a little closer. Thanks very much, really enjoyed it. Steven V.

Excellent Great Helpful Inspiring Best ever 30-Day Screenwriting by ISA Max Timm

by Queen Victoria Of Sheba
Dear Max Timm ISA I am very grateful and I appreciate always this unique opportunity you offered to all writers, and I was blessed to see the email offer open to view on my laptop, the night when it was starting, and when I was down, to see a kind needed helpful support, to help me write my draft script for my film project. Thank you always , 30-Day screenwriting challenge and all your offers with the farm and other consultants are all great and professional. was very helpful, inspiring. I will share and promote and give you credit. May God Lord Jesus Christ bless you all and ISA and reward you abundantly in every way for your giving and sharing. I hope I can be of help to you too anytime. sincerely Queen Victoria Of Sheba Actress/Singer/Writer

pretty much says what it is! Perhaps you could include the word Hollywood or USA to demonstrate how focused on that it is

by chris childs
I think it is a great concept and it was well executed. There was a variety and depth of content and the amount was managable. I felt it was very USA centric and that is a complete turn-off for me. I had to filter through that and just extract what was meaningful to me. It was also very heavy on trying to generate sales for additional programs...I get that in a free course...but that's also an unwanted distraction for me. If I think someone is trying to up sell and just fast forward until I get to the real content I think you could have had a stronger emphasis on the actual writing challenge rather than all of the lectures and selling attempts

A must for anyone wanting to learn more about the craft!

by Amber Hassler
This course was amazing! I learned so much. I liked the breakdown of what the industry expects in scripts and how to deliver your message on paper. It was nice to see a supportive community striving to bring in fresh faces and offering the insight into it all. This was the first time I have seen anything available for free on contacts, material, and support into the industry. Thank you so much to The Script Lab, NetworkISA, Max Timm, and everyone else who shared their tips, their knowledge, and offering this Challenge to anyone that wanted to lean more about the craft.

by Brooke Davies


by Dwayne Cannon
I think the 30-Day Screenwriting Challenge is awesome, I've learned so many things that will not only enhance my writing but it will also elevate my mind as I continue to write screenplays. I have been writing for about tens years and decided to try my hand at screenwriting, so this challenge/course was exactly what I needed to help with all the professional technics that it takes to become a better screenwriter! Thanks a million Emerge Pro Group

Great title.

by Satish Prasai
I think the whole point of this 30 day challenge was to challenge ourselves to better our work in a discipline manner because its our passion and no one thrusted this upon us rather than actually completing our dream screenplay hastily in just 30 days.

ISA 30-Day Screenwriting Challenge SUPER HELPFUL!

by Roxanne Paukner
The ISA 30-Day Screenwriting Challenge was offered at no cost, so even though it didn't fit well in my schedule of projects, I decided to do it. I'm so glad I did; it turned out to be a very helpful exercise! I gained something every day! l especially learned from Max's lessons the first 10 days, even more than from coursework I paid for through another source. His open sharing was enlightening, as were his clarity regarding outlining, sequencing and the like. I will definitely refer back to it. While this challenge gave me an appetite to learn more about Max's writing process and the ISA's paid services, as most "free" offerings aim to do, I gleaned so much from this 30 days that it was well worth my time investment in itself. That leaves me fairly confident that other ISA courses will also be a good value. Great job. Five stars.

Letting us know about all the resources there are for writers

by Douglas Marshall
Thanks for the details about the craft, and to the sponsors for letting us know about your products.

Worthwhile and useful course

by Paul Mahoney
There are some good tips from this course that will help to elevate and improve your scripts.

Better than I expected.

by Tricia Tribble
I have paid for training and education on screenwriting, and mostly I kind of lost some of my love for movies. Formula being taught by someone who has written a something and makes their living off of telling others how to write their script is really bland and heartless. I am astonished at how much I have to unlearn and time I've wasted. This FREE 30-Day Screenwriting Challenge celebrates the journey. This is facilitated and hosted to learn storytelling from those who truly love and understand it's magic and essence

Great material in the time available. Will Get you up to speed quickly.

by Timothy Hicks
ISA covers so much, in so short a time, it's like a multi-semester course crammed into a single month. You can return to earlier days for review, and there is also LOTS of audio and video to help you learn the material. Great Course!

Screenwriting - without killing your creativity

by Anna Erishkigal
As an epic fantasy writer transitioning into screenwriting, earlier this year I struggled to get through A DIFFERENT company's screenwriting course because it was 100% geared towards marketability and high concept action for feature film and I'm a character-driven writer looking to script a television series. Don't get me wrong, those skills are necessary, but sometimes it can feel soul-sucking to cater so much to marketability before you've even had a chance to get to know what your story is about. The 30-Day Screenwriting Challenge was totally different. It's character first, with suggestions to turn all those delightful traits and inner angst into external action. At the moment I'm scripting the first book of my epic fantasy book series into a 13-episode television series (with much hair-ripping) and this course helped me tap into the emotion which caused me to write the entire book series in the first place, dig into character motivation and wounds, and use it to generate script-able action and drama based on what is actually in the book rather than all the Hollywood bells and whistles, the thing that's been causing me to spin my wheels before I took this course. I especially like that this course -did- cater to either feature film, or to television series. Recommend!

Sequence Writing

by Fleurette M Van Gulden
The presentation is a breather, great formula. Literally brings the craft to page.


by Leslie Ishimi
Good information, generously given, well presented, examples easy to follow. Well thought thru. Truly: a bargain. Mahalo nui loa.

30-Day Screenwriting Challenge

by Molly Alexander

by emrah ersahin