Tools Not Rules: A Screenwriting Workshop (with Xandra Castleton)

Xandra Castleton




MONDAYS, APRIL 16 —JUNE 11  |  This course provides guidance on the fundamentals of successful screenwriting within an open and encouraging workshop format, and is designed to accommodate all levels. Students will go through a typical development process; turning an idea into a viable premise, creating an outline, developing characters and storylines, building a world and exploring theme. The course ends with a “table read” of each students’ first ten pages of a feature screenplay or tv pilot.

Moving between screenwriting books, interviews, drama theory, scripts and films and the weekly exercises, we seek to avoid the pitfalls of formula by approaching screenwriting rules as tools and creating a space for ideas to grow. My goal is to provide screenwriting instruction that helps students find and nurture their unique voices. We will make the rules work for us, even if we bend them a bit.

Xandra Maria Castleton, M.F.A., is a screenwriter and producer whose scripts have served as the basis for award-winning documentary, television and narrative film projects, among them an Emmy Award-winning profile of John Waters. Her films have premiered at festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, AFI, and Rotterdam, while her feature dramatic comedy, Full Grown Men, was the winner of the 2007 Sundance Channel Audience Award prior to a critically successful theatrical release by Emerging Pictures. Xandra was the co-creator and writer of the scripted television documentary Stand Up Planet, starring Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show.


Number of sessions: 8

Time: 6:15 pm – 9:15 pm

Dates: Mondays, April 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14, 21; June 4, 11 No class May 28

Course fee: $675

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