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Back to Script Writing: Write a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series (Project-Centered Course)

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Script Writing: Write a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series (Project-Centered Course) by Michigan State University

595 ratings
236 reviews

About the Course

What you’ll achieve: In this project-centered course*, you will design a series bible and write a complete pilot episode for your own unique television or web series, be it drama or comedy or something in between. You’ll learn to break down the creative process into components, and you’ll discover a structured process that allows you to produce a polished and pitch-ready script in just a few weeks. Completing this project will increase your confidence in your ideas and abilities, and you’ll feel prepared to pitch your first script and get started on your next. Here is a link to a trailer for the course. To view the trailer, please copy and paste the link into your browser. This is a course designed to tap into your creativity and is based in "Active Learning". Most of the actual learning takes place within your own activities - that is, writing! You will learn by doing. "Thank you so much for your direct way of teaching this course. It was encouraging for us all to creatively flow and find our own voice in writing and developing our scripts. This aspect was very important to me." Ingrid The course curriculum is simple: you’ll write, revise your work, and share feedback with your peers. I am a proponent of Experiential Learning (active learning). My lectures are short (sometimes just two minutes long) and to the point, designed in a step-by-step process essential to your success as a script writer. I will guide you but I won’t "show" you how to write. I firmly believe that the only way to become a writer is to write, write, write. “David's lecture style for this course is inspired. The videos are succinct and engaging. When I watch the lectures I feel David’s sincere desire for me to create something truly amazing. He is teaching us how to write a script, and he is providing wisdom and tools that will help us do so in a compelling way - by writing; not by watching him talk at us.” - A R Adamson What you’ll need to get started: To begin with, any basic word processor will do. During week two, you can choose to download some free scriptwriting software such as Celtx or Trelby or you may choose to purchase Final Draft, or you can continue to use your word processor and do your own script formatting. Learner Review: "I am in love with this course. Having never written a script before, or any substantive fiction since college (15 years ago) I had a small idea in my head that has now exploded into something I really believe in. David's guidance is spot on, he's his own compelling story teller, he gives you enough, and then you have to figure it out, make it happen, WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! " If you have any concerns regarding the protection of your original work, Coursera's privacy policy protects the learner's IP and you are indeed the sole owners of your work. *About Project-Centered Courses: This is a ‘project-centered course’, which means it is designed specifically to help you complete a personally meaningful real-world project, with your instructor and a community of learners with similar goals providing guidance and suggestions along the way. By actively applying new concepts as you learn, you’ll master the course content more efficiently; you’ll also get a head start on using the skills you gain to make positive changes in your life and career. When you complete the course, you’ll have a finished project that you’ll be proud to use and share. Time: 1-2 hours of study, 30+ hours of active project work...

Top reviews

Jun 13, 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 27, 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.

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201 - 225 of 231 Reviews for Script Writing: Write a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series (Project-Centered Course)

By Paula M

Oct 29, 2020

Great course that was well paced, in helping me gather my ideas on paper and completing a first episode for my series concept--- Thank you

By Zeid A

Mar 15, 2019

It's a great course that helped me learn a lot. I wish the grading was depended on on more people other than course colleagues.

Thank You

By aman g

Apr 3, 2016

Quite good introductory course on script writing, enjoyed writing my first pilot episode of my series

By David G

Feb 9, 2018

I enjoyed the class. Wish there was a little more feedback from a mentor or instructor.

By Amritesh S

Jan 8, 2021

The tag in my certificate is missing. If anyone knows why please let me know.

By Sharon E L

Apr 13, 2019

Good course, pushes students to be creative and step out of the box!

By Ayush G

Oct 3, 2019

The course is perfect but it can be little more descriptive

By Esther M

Dec 4, 2019

Love the project orientation of class

By maayan c

Mar 14, 2016

really really nice and helpfull.

By Benjamin A

Aug 21, 2017

A good place to provide the structure and discipline for your first script writing endeavour. However, the most fundamental element is the peer review feedback, in order to adapt and develop your work. This was more or less absent from the course, with the yes/no grading system and 'optional' written feedback, most fellow students wrote nothing or simply a single line of no constructive value. This may be because you must read and assess 5 peer projects and I suppose some people feel it is too time consuming. Also, the outdated videos still promise feedback from the course creator for the top 5 highest peer graded projects, but this was only the case the first time the course ran. I felt the videos themselves didn't offer any real 'lessons' or insight into scriptwriting, again it was really just the enforced deadline that was useful, if you have the personal discipline and integrity you could achieve the same without the course.

By Dmitry K

Dec 1, 2016

I understood the point that in script writing matters more than theory but I don't think that it's right that all marks I got I received from other with me with zero feedback from lectors and teachers.

Definitely I wouldn't pay for sertificate but as first step and making some ready draft for further polishing the script this course was enough. So from one side it helped me to move forward with my idea but on other hand I didn't get any professional feedback and advices from teacher. There were some very useful comments from other students but I also need some help from people who are real professionals in it.

By Benjamin

Sep 20, 2019

Participants aren’t required to give written feedback and so most of the time they skip that part. You’re left with essentially an up or down vote on most critiques without much context as to why and then asked to revise based on that, which is difficult to do. The helpful tips for each assignment are on the discussion board but they really should be part of the instructions because they are basically more comprehensive instructions. The videos are helpful encouragement. The deadline schedule is useful to keep you on track.

By Shaun D

May 10, 2020

The course is only good for pushing you to write, introducing you to the software and a very basic introduction to formatting a script. There is no ‘teaching’ beyond saying ‘there is a beginning a middle and an end- go and write it!’

By Dulce J C

Aug 12, 2017

Material or better explanation of the format of some of the deliverables would be helpful. The internet contains different formats and examples; unless all of them are correct, a bit of more direction would be better.

By Ramiro A Z

Apr 3, 2016

I like the course, it is pretty good to learn screenplay, but

They need to explain a little some topics that new writers maybe don't understand. Submerge more in some topics and explain it.

By Alanea K

Apr 11, 2016

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

Jan 6, 2021

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

Feb 24, 2020

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

May 11, 2020

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

Aug 23, 2017

Generic short videos with no support by the tutor; the exercises and the peers' reviews are nice, though.

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 Leslie S

Jul 17, 2020

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

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 Brittany F

Jan 5, 2020

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

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.