Wednesday, November 14, 2007


UCLA Extension classes for next quarter just went up and Jul and I decided to apply for the certificate program. Because why not? Nothing else for the foreseeable future but working, marching and obsessively clicking Deadline Hollywood Daily.

Nikki Finke, Nikki Finke/
She'll make you laugh, she'll make you think

(Thanks, Simpsons!)

Also, in theory my company should reimburse me through its continuing education program, so that certainly made the decision easier.

The course we're starting with, appropriately enough, is the beginning course in the sequence. It's kind of weird taking a beginning course when neither of us feels like a beginner, but I'm sure we'll learn a lot that we never even knew we should know. And meet people. Because we suck at that. Yay.

Just in case anyone wants to lay out a few hundred bucks to meet Jul and I, here's the course we're taking:

Beginning Writing for the One-Hour Drama: Building the Story and the Outline

Modeled directly on how writers write in the real world of one-hour dramas, this course focuses on what is most central to creating a strong script as well as the largest piece (40%) of the writer's deal with any show: the story and outline. The course goal is for you to master the process of constructing an airtight story and detailed outline so that you are ready to write a script for any current show as quickly and expertly as possible. The steps you take include choosing the best story for your spec script, mapping it out from beginning to end, and writing a strong outline in proper script format. In the process, you learn how to identify and capture the tone, characters, dialogue, and themes of any one-hour drama series--the key to breaking and staying in the field. This course also introduces students to the various genres (police procedurals, medical, legal, etc.) and their specific rules; what's popular in the current marketplace; and how to work within the special requirements of timeslots, outlet, and styles (for example, single-character drama versus ensemble cast). All student projects must focus on current shows; no pilots. Enrollment limited to 20 students. Students must have web access to retrieve course materials.

UCLA: 2325 School of Public Affairs Bldg.
Thursday , 7-10pm
January 17 - March 20 , 10 mtgs.

Greg Elliot, television writer; WGA member whose credits include Star Trek: Voyager, for which he was nominated for a Sci-Fi Universe Award. Mr. Elliot was a story editor on the WB series Savannah, an executive story editor on the WB series Charmed, and wrote for the Disney Channel series In a Heartbeat. He also has optioned feature film screenplays to Warner Bros. Studios and TriStar Pictures.


Jane said...

Why not try to get into the advanced course? You need to submit a script, and then you can transfer your fees from the beginner to the advanced if you get accepted.

I read your Gilmore Girls. There's no way you guys are beginners!


Josh said...

Thanks! We agree, but I THINK you have to start with the beginner's class and go all the way through if you want the certificate. I SHOULD confirm that, though.

John Reha said...

I agree with Jane. I'm sure there's plenty of value in the beginner course if you HAVE to take it, but if not, that's a bigger caveat.

Josh said...

It is required unless we've got some kind of higher level transferable screenwriting credits -- we don't -- and/or an MFA in screenwriting (also no).

Jul and I are kind of looking forward to it, though, I gotta admit. The actual WRITING, I feel, is never the hardest part. It's figuring out what you want to write and coming up with a story and plotline that work. (e.g. breaking the damn story)

How great would it be to come out of this course with two separate outlines ready to go PLUS the Dexter we're working on. The thought of having material ready that we can just pick up and write... *smile* makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Of course, now the thing will be picking shows and storylines that hopefully won't change so much in the ACTUAL show that we can't use them.

Moreover...more classes means more people to connect with, which can only be a good thing.