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 Vladimir M ( М•
By JK S•
By Stephen D•
This course is intended to support writing a pilot script, which was achieved.
The reason why this course go 4 stars- My actual review would be 3.5. is because the Teacher David does not review your work personally, he does not give you any format for things, Such as a Cold open or a character structure in a few sentences. Ect.
Instead, we get a vague overview of a loose structure that doesn't let us know details and specifics. Such as: A cold open is scene that is before and after the script that is about 1 page long and can give a piece of the story that also has a beginning middle end. It must include the main characters and also have as much dialogue as possible. Also, when writing your character descriptions and your Web bible it is best to write something in 2 or 3 sentences, focus on the core of the characters ("good hearted, KInd") Something specific.
The reason why I write this is because I have spent numerous nights/ hours reading other people's and mine in the beginning on characters details and relationships and basically a lot of information that was not needed in the character description.
Also, I would spend many hours review people work about this characters past and what they thought and the characters actions as if the script was a novel- not a script. Which made many stories long with unnecessary sentences.
Lastly, to improve this class and mention to future takers of this class, THIS WHOLE CLASS IS BASED ON PEER REVIEW. The Class is based on a 0 or a 20 .. nothing in-between. So, if someone doesn't like your work- they won't give you a review that good.,, more or less a 0 which lowers your grade.
Be prepared to pour yourself for hours over other people's work that I was not interested in. I am certain others have done that through my work, which may have been alright.
It would be helpful to have this on a 1-5 scale.. only for review. Not to be graded upon.
Again, I would give this class a 3.5 star. Good luck.
By Mary B•
Great presentation of structure of a TV pilot/episode. I thought David Wheeler's videos were really good. Thanks for providing transcripts! The instruction was simple and spot-on. I'd like it if constructive criticism/feedback were REQUIRED when evaluating others' work. One woman seemed very vindictive after I evaluated her episode, and graded me down after that, which I found really disheartening. Working in groups was mostly a lot of fun, but creating an actual group was a little iffy. We could only scrape together five people, and one finished the course early (or was finishing up a rescheduled course late) and never participated, though he asked that we review his coursework. Another never showed up for any meetings, didn't post, etc., and so was simply never present in the group. The remaining three of us did get a lot out of our meetings, however, and we still share info. What a great way to meet other writers in other countries! That was my favorite part. One of our group had one of her episode acts stolen--her .pdf was copied, the name changed, and it was submitted as the plagiarizer's own work within 24 hours. I don't know if this was resolved, but "EEEK." A writer's worst nightmare. How about providing a written .doc or .rtf template/sample of page/element formatting? And links to sites or software for formatting and for script submissions to production companies? I am fortunate enough to have FinalDraft 11, but the formatting was tricky and, I can only imagine, tedious and frustrating for those who don't have it. I also imagine that some students are like "What now?" "Where do I send my finished script?" after the class. A great class and I enjoyed having good instruction and the challenge of deadlines (call me weird) very much.
By Chew W Y•
Good practice with the exciting world of script writing
Learnt how to use the scriptwriting software Celtx.com
Some aspects of the videos were helpful and instructive e.g. teaching us how to write a cold open
Areas of improvement:-
The beginner's course is entirely graded on peer reviews where one could get a range of divergent opinions on the same story, at times scathing and not constructive. Reviewers (who are purported to be beginners themselves) also at times give seemingly 'blind' grades without sharing constructive comments.
The questions that you are graded on e.g. Do you feel immersed in the story? Is the story unique? are highly subjective and solely dependent on the reviewer's fleeting preferences. It would help if the questions were more nuanced and focused on the structure and technical aspects of script writing e.g. format, grammar, three part structure
Lessons were too short and instructional (less than 10 mins of videos for each lesson) only for certain areas; it seemed like one of the major takeaways was to keep writing which is sensible but not helpful from a beginner's point of view.
To maintain some objectivity in grading: Mask the general comments section when a reviewer is giving his comments as negative comments from other peers could influence more negativity and vice versa.
Give some guidelines on reviewing to prevent the grading process from turning into trolling.
Would appreciate more helpful lessons with deeper content!
By Leo H•
I think the peer reviews system is flawed some people don't put the time and effort into reading each script and just give others bad reviews for no reason. I also think people should be able to reply to comments left on their work. This will allow people to get more in depth feedback especially if the initial feedback was unclear. I think people should be put into peer review groups at the start that way people will be looking at the same stories the whole way through so they really get a feel for the characters and can give better reviews. I would have also like some more feedback from a mentor at the end of the course. But I really liked the course and really enjoyed writing the script I really like all the feedback you get along the way this was a great thing to do whilst stuck inside especially as because my GCSE'S were cancelled I had no work to do. Thanks.
By Yomna F•
I loved the course, it had me hooked since day one. This was my first time trying screenwriting, I accidentally enrolled in the course and I decided to go for it and I have absolutely no regrets.
The videos are extremely helpful, but they can still be a bit more detailed to give complete understanding of everything. The mentor was very helpful. The course is flexible and you can submit your work more than once, with enough room for improvement.
I had trouble finding a group to work with and review their work, so maybe at the start of the course groups should be assigned according to genre for example. That way, one can review same works each week and give a review based on complete understanding of the work.
By Elizabeth S K•
Fantastic introduction to screenwriting and generally good, exhaustive feedback from mentor Jan Zurcher at the end (especially feedback regarding scriptwriting conventions/format).
At the same time, for unsolicited feedback this was a little discouraging; especially the bit where Jan said he didn’t feel engaged, as others had said they did feel engaged. I feel at this early stage, we need constructive feedback but also an incentive to go on, a degree of validation encouraging us to nurture our strengths. I feel the rest will come with practice. In this regard, I found Jan's feedback discouraging rather than constructive.
By Robert O•
I thoroughly enjoyed this class. It gives you an excellent regiment and list of characteristics that would make your pilot and potential series desirable. My only real issue, which makes it 4 instead of 5 stars, is that the student feedback is somewhat limited in that not all students really understand how to give notes. Often times they are very vague ("good effort, write with move consision") not offering enough particulars to know what you should be looking to improve. But that's the inherent limitation of a course offered in this format. Not a reflection on the curriculum itself.
By Santoria R•
The course was great in that it moves you to write. I actually completed a pilot script that I was very proud of. My only criticism of the course would be the peer review. For the most part the reviews were weak and lacking substance. I put a lot of energy into reviewing classmates works but I can't say that I got back what I put out. This may be improved with a video teaching students what kind of feedback is expected of them. Other than that, it's worth the time.
By Elaine W•
I really enjoyed this class. I would say that it is a lot of work in a short period of time. Also there were some issues with the peer review process. For example not knowing the criteria we would be graded on before submitting the assignments, many students unable to get enough reviews to move forward especially if they had to revise their assignment. Hopefully, this will be worked out for future versions. Overall, it was an interesting process.
By CECILE G•
Well-paced course that encourages you to write, and sets reasonable deadlines that are so important for procrastinators. Don't agree with the statements that reading scripts and watching films won't help you as a writer, as I've found doing both extremely useful in learning to analyze and write more efficiently and effectively. Enjoyed the sessions, got some good feedback, and am continuing to work on the subsequent episodes of my new series.
By adriene j•
Learned much but felt the homework was too much to do within one week. That is, an outline and act due the same week before peer review should be adjusted. Even if the course runs longer, I feel that doing an outline then getting peer review before submitting the act would be more helpful. Allows writer to better flesh out the script with more time to improve and implement the useful peer review suggestions.
By Deirdre B•
I found this a hugely useful course. I really liked it's minimalism and found it a great writing prompt.
My only criticism was the way the feedback and critique is set up. I found it didn't encourage people to do written analysis of what they liked and didn't like. Sometimes I didn't myself because after I wrote a critique, I would loose it by pressing the submit button before the post button.
By Adrianna L•
I'm glad I took this course. It was very challenging but extremely beneficial. I think the feedback from peers is very helpful. I definitely stayed motivated throughout the course. I highly recommend this course if you want to improve your writing skills and get inspired. You get to write an entire pilot for a TV series.
By Adam R•
Thoroughly enjoyed the course. A lot of the assignments really helped me to fully flesh out my, initially, basic idea into a much greater story. I did find one or two things that seemed to oppose my understanding of script writing 'rules', but aside from this it was a fantastic course.
By Angie M A S•
This is a great and helpful course, but I just would like there would be some examples of what we have to do at least in the first and second week. I recommend this course for those who like to write and create new stories, and maybe in the future, make possible the real screenplay.
By Adrienne R•
This course is a great introduction to the art of script writing. You'll gain an understanding of basic script formatting, get in the habit of writing consistently and have the benefit of your script being reviewed by peers.
By Brittany N•
I really loved taking this course. It forced me to sit down and write almost every day, and I really appreciate that. I've learned so much, and I love the fact that I can learn things from fellow students.
I'm ALREADY optimistic about my confidence and capabilities. I write down crazy ideas all of the time. This will not give me a framework for which I can have tons of fun and maybe get a show out there!
By Joey L•
Excellent quality assignments. Really the best online writing course I've found. This is a teacher that knows what he's doing, and how to draw out the best of his students' unique ideas and talents.
By Kristin H•
The applied projects were great, and I learned a lot from the peer review assignments. However, I would have liked to get more professional or structured feedback on my work or ideas at some point.
By Tim M•
Great course. Learned a great deal about script writing. Much of the peer feedback was very helpful and useful, but a small portion of the peers were did not seem to be very engaged or helpful.
By Ciera M•
Very enjoyable course! However, I think that it would have been nice to have some more professional viewing of our work, since several of us were taking in this information for the first time.
By Michelle B•
Would like a little bit more about how to protect my intellectual rights. In addition, I would like to know how to properly create a series bible.