Jun 14, 2016
David Wheeler is awesome, and I love this course! I am so glad that Coursera and Michigan State University have partnered to offer this course to those of us who have a thirst for learning! Thank you!
Sep 28, 2016
Fantastic course, loved the way it walked you step by step through the process and the formatting. This course could have been ten weeks and still wouldn't be enough. Awesome hands on learning.
By Jhenne T B•
Jul 17, 2016
This isn't a CLASS it's a workshop.
Thank goodness for fee waivers; I would have been so upset if I had spent my money on this course. As someone who has taken Coursera offerings in the past, I cannot cosign the quality of this course.
This class seems to suffer from both a lack of structure and time. I believe if the course was longer (allowing for more space between unguided assignments) the class would be a little better. I understand that the Instructor is barred by time constraints (this is only a five week course, and an opt-in one at that), so I do relate to not wanting to inundate the class with reading assignment and lengthy lectures.
That said, the guidance and lessons are lacking-- even if the class was longer, I would still only give it 2.5/5 stars.
It appeared that the onus was on the Mentors to provide answers; for example, the professor mentioned that our scripts are meant to feature half hour pilots. This left many students writing dramas rather than comedies at a loss, since they were planning for hour long pilots. (This, again, is partially an issue of the class being so short; more time to review = the option to have longer pilots, rather than only accepting half hour pilots in order to allow students to review five different submissions within three days.) Since half hour dramas are unconventional, I asked one of our mentors, JZ (who is great) for examples.
The responsibility should not be on the Mentors to find out-- information like that should be included in the prompt; if not discussed in depth, then at least as a link or list of examples to research on your own if you have the time + desire to do so. Especially since the assignment boils down to "break convention with no examples of successful scripts in this fashion." In a class presumably allowing beginningeres/greenhorns to participate, this is irresponsible and flawed teaching.
The same goes of the "hints" that are periodically posted (though again, appreciated!) by mentors in the forums-- those definitions and explanations should be included in the meat of the class, not as supplemental elements. In all honesty, if I didn't have prior experience with writing, I oftentimes wouldn't have any idea what was being discussed by the professor. (And one trip through the forums will illustrate that I am not the only one.)
The assignments and due dates are oddly crunched together (another time constraint issue, I understand), but the Instructor's videos seem to imply that we should be receiving feedback before proceeding each time? Maybe in a longer course that would work, but here, I didn't even receive written feedback initially, so it would have been a mistake to wait for some to revise by before forging ahead.
If this class isn't going to provide a solid foundation to build on, then it should be made clear, upfront. There is nothing wrong with an experience based / motivation-focused class, but that aspect needs to be transparent. "We will not provide 101 teachings/readings." This isn't a class; it's a workshop. It's a makerspace at best. I expected insight and some level of instruction.
In one of the lectures, the Instructor literally says:
"I'm not a big fan of some of the classic story structures, defining in what must happen in each act. Or the problem, the twist, the resolution, rising action, denouement, fine action, etc." He does not define these terms, nor allude to them ever again. These are key benchmarks in screenwriting. Definitions would be helpful for someone just starting out, even if the Instructor doesn't strictly want us to abide by them. His students should leave the class more informed than when they came.
Unless you're lucky and receive a response from a mentor or someone with visible background in script writing, the reviews don't amount to much, because very few enrollees seem to know what is going on enough to provide a meaty assessment. That is the fault of the course, I think, rather than my peers. Likewise, The grading system here is atrocious because of it; few people understand the foundation, and thusly don't know how to format or structure. So to then be graded on a purely pass or fail basis (that, looking through the forums, many students weren't even AWARE of until the first review grades rolled in) is ridiculous. And I am saying that as someone that scored 100% on both assignments that I did stay to complete, so this is not a case of sour grapes, but an observation of inefficiency.
I understand that the class is based around "Active Learning", but for active learning to work and bear fruit, students should be able to engage with/analyze/synthesize/evaluate/build upon class content. Which necessitates actual, meaningful content. Content beyond my fellow confused peers, and 2 minute videos illustrating various ways of saying "Write Something Interesting and if it isn't Interesting, people won't care." Not exactly an astute observation that we couldn't glean anywhere but this course.
Honestly, my 4th Edition copy of "The Screenwriters Bible" is five times more helpful than this course, and it is about six years out of date.
By Alicia C•
Jul 19, 2019
I found this course very frustrating, from other students not reviewing work in a timely fashion, to other students not putting any effort into their reviews. Also, the instructor does not actually participate in the course, he has made prerecorded videos and assignments, but gives no feed back. The only feedback you get is from other students who don't know anymore than I did. If I had it to do over again I wouldn't have paid the $49 dollars.
By Jennifer M•
Oct 11, 2019
The pros of class were that it helped 1. provide a format for a TV series screenplay 2. Encouraged writing on a weekly basis and 3. provided information about free software and other tools. The cons of the course is that you can not expect a serious critique of your work, and you need to dig through the course discussion forums to find hints about how to complete the coursework and other resources. (Some of the sources may also be dated since they were posted a few years ago.) I suggest they include an e-book of the hints with every week of the course, along with any additional resources to provide easier access to course information. Thank you.
By Erzhukova N•
Aug 15, 2016
Какой-то ужас. Информативности ноль, и никто не оценивает задания! Оценивать работы должны 5 сокурсников, в лучшем случае мои работы проходили оценку 4, либо оценки не выставлены вообще, хотя прошло по 2-3 недели.
By Michelle C•
Apr 03, 2016
There is no instruction with this course. If you've never written a script before you're not going to get a lot of help here other than researching things yourself, which you can do without this course. Not to mention, the feedback is minimal and not all that helpful. For example. if i've never written a script, what value am I to someone else who has also never written a script. And what value is their feedback to me. I signed up to get some experience and to also get feedback from those more experienced than I. I'm less interested in what my peers have to say and more interested in the feedback of the instructor who has years more experience than most of us. To pass assignments off of 4 or 5 peer reviews is worthless. There's no value in that. What does the instructor think??? Would HE pass us? He occasionally drops a line in the discussion forum, but no direct feedback to the students.
I think this class should have a cap on enrollment so that the instructor can actually review and provide feedback to the students. Joke's on anyone paying $49 to essentially teach yourself. This guys just sits back and "moderates" when he can.
The best thing about this class is that it does force you to write, but beyond that, it's not helpful at all. Truly disappointing.
By Jp C•
Feb 12, 2017
You will learn nothing from this. The teacher is useless and you only get peer-feedback. While I usually love peer feedback, I lost all interest so quickly.
By Ursula S M•
Jan 09, 2017
There was little of actual teaching going on in this course, the pace was too rushed for beginners and peer-reviewing was managed so poorly it was unhelpful.