This class will introduce students to the basic principles of writing for film and television. Students will read screenplays and watch film excerpts to gain an understanding of the possibilities of on-screen storytelling, with the goal of developing a screenplay.
Students are introduced to a range of technical and imaginative concerns through creative exercises and discussions, and exposed to all aspects of the screenwriting process, including generating ideas, developing character arcs and plot structure, and writing and revising drafts. Participants practice their craft with an attentive group of peers, under the guidance of an experienced instructor. They write extensively and participate in candid, helpful critiques of their own work and that of their peers. Students are expected to come to the class with an openness to various approaches toward creative storytelling. Classes are supplemented by conferences with the instructor.
Courses in creative writing are offered in conjunction with the Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Overseen by Chair of Creative Writing Lis Harris, Professor Alan Ziegler, and Director of Creative Writing for Pre-College Programs Christina Rumpf, the creative writing courses are designed to challenge and engage students interested in literary creation, providing them with a substantial foundation for further exploration of their creative work.
Ellis (she/they) is a NYC-based but globetrotting Columbia University Playwriting MFA student, professional screenwriter and theatre-maker, and college-level educator with experience teaching all ages. Recently named Ascending Playwright 2021 (Yonder Window Theatre Company), Ellis writes darkly comedic, satirical, multimedia plays that have been produced off-Broadway (New York Theatre Festival 2019), recognized worldwide (1st Place Vaclav Havel Library Foundation Competition 2019; Athena Project Finalist 2020), and published by literary and peer-reviewed distributors. She's earned fully-funded playwriting and filmmaking residencies spanning from Prague (Prague Performing Arts Academy 2019) to Saskatchewan (Wallace Stegner House, Jan-Feb 2020) to Scotland (Murray Library 2018), all of which also involved running her original creative workshops.
Currently, she presents her devised lesson plans with Creative Muse Camp in East Village, and - over Zoom the last two years - Southern MA Arts Collab. In-person and virtually, she's taught with Delhi University and IIS University in India; Charles University and Masaryk University in the Czech Republic; and her alma mater Penn State. From Penn State Honors College, she obtained five BA degrees: in Film/Media, English, Psychotherapy, Gender & Sexuality, and International Studies. Additionally, Ellis has lived in India, written teen television full-time with a Berlin-based company, and assisted numerous acclaimed writers.
This fall brings off-Broadway productions of Ellis's plays with NYC Westbeth Artists Community and University of Toronto’s International Symposium, where she'll be hosted in conversation. She’s also developed projects with New Perspectives Theatre Company, Untitled Theatre Company #61, Bohemian National Society, The Main Santa Clarita, Over Due Theatre Company, Iowa State University, and Penn State.
Specific course details such as topics, activities, hours, and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.