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!
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 Alanea K•
I loved the course and content, but, found the process cumbersome. I think that some of these issues have now been addressed and should not present a problem in future programs.
By Krish K•
Kind of good for an idea but you have to do so many things on your own. I would maybe include more videos or materials but if you are interested it is a good course.
By José R P•
It makes you work on a regular basis but I wish it had more information and provide the students with more tools/tips to help in the process.
By Vitor M•
The course is very good to encourage the students to write, but it lacks more classes about the many aspects of scrip writing.
By Edu M•
Generic short videos with no support by the tutor; the exercises and the peers' reviews are nice, though.
By Jhenne T B•
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 Leslie S•
I was disappointed the videos were so simple and lacked depth. I signed up to complete the course and have it read by the instructor, as is stated, so I could get quality feedback. (I was disappointed to see in the last video that it still says some will be read by the teacher, those with the highest scores. However, this is only in the printed transcript and not in the spoken video, as if it was removed but the text not updated) Instead, all "grades" and feedback are from peers that are all also beginners and very little feedback is given, even less is quality. The course states "don't watch a pilot to learn how to write one, just do it to learn"...but why would I want my only feedback to also be from those who have no experience?
By Jennifer M•
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 Brittany F•
Everything is peer-reviewed, so you get no feedback from actual experts - just other students. This means your grades can suffer, because you can get voted down by people with little to no knowledge, and they don't have to even provide any real feedback when doing so. The course video also says the top 10 scripts will be reviewed by the instructor. That turned out to be a lie; I had to search the course forum to find out Coursera "removed" that offer. So I ended up with no substantive feedback; it was essentially a big peer writing group.
By Alicia C•
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 Ian B•
No real teaching attempted in this course, as far as I can see...
By Michelle C•
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 Erzhukova N•
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 Andrew T•
This course is a cash grab. Hardly learned anything from the instructor who basically told us to just write. Lessons were lazily put together. Complete rip off and a waste of time and money.
By Ursula S M•
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.
By Jp C•
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 Brianna D•
It's hard for me the teaching is good but is there any way I can drop out of the class?
By Richard G•
Never felt engaged in this course