Screenwriting 101: An Introductory Workshop

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Taught by Timothy Cooper

Timothy Michael Cooper is an award-winning writer, director, and improvisor based in Brooklyn. 

He wrote and directed the Writers Guild Award-nominated CONCIERGE: THE SERIES, starring Kate McKinnon. His short comedy LEMON, starring Jennifer Westfeldt, Noah Bean, and Jenn Lyon, premiered at Tribeca, played at dozens of festivals throughout the world as well as on United Airlines and Amazon Prime, and is currently being developed as a sitcom.

At Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC, he created and directed the improvised shows SUNNY-SIDE UP and FAREBEATER: IMPROV IN A CAB, starring cast members like Pete Holmes and Thomas Middleditch. 

Timothy also wrote the feature AWAY FROM HERE, starring Nick Stahl, Alicia Witt, and Ray Wise, now available on Amazon Prime. 

He’s been part of the writers’ room for the Writers Guild Awards for the past six years, writing monologue jokes and sketches for comedians like Lewis Black, Colin Quinn, Larry Wilmore, Amber Ruffin, Michael Ian Black, Roy Wood Jr., and many more.

Through his company, Blueprint Screenwriting Group (, he’s taught hundreds of writers, helping them sell their scripts to major studios; staff on multiple network and cable TV shows; find representation; screen and win at SXSW, Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes, and many more; and get their movies and shows made across the globe.

Timothy is a proud member of the WGAE, the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, and the Hollywood Radio & Television Society.


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Have you been wondering how movies and TV shows actually get made? Are you always coming up with great story ideas, but aren't not sure about concrete next steps? Are you itching to try your hand at transforming a life story, novel, historical event, or other cool premise into a film or TV pilot?

In this workshop, I'll introduce you to the craft and business of screenwriting. You'll learn the basics of screenplay structure as we work together to hone your original logline, write a brief synopsis, and even start your outline.

First, we'll read excerpts from some awesome screenplays, then discuss the basics, such as: 

  • What's a logline?
  • What's the difference between “indie” films and “Hollywood” films?
  • What does “high-concept” really mean?
  • What is a three-act structure?
  • How do you establish your “voice”?
Then we'll dive deeper into the technical aspects of screenwriting, including: 
  • Formatting basics
  • Screenwriting programs
  • What is a “spec” script?
  • Essential scene structure
  • How do you “raise the stakes”?

Finally, we'll get into the business of screenwriting:

  • How are scripts sold?
  • How do people get agents/managers?
  • What does a producer do?
  • Which screenwriting contests and festivals are worthwhile?
  • Seriously, why are there so many derivative or mediocre TV shows/movies out there?

Once you take this class, you'll have a better sense of how to tackle your screenplay concept, which books and scripts to study, and how to reach your goals—and you'll be armed with plenty of tips from the trenches. Learn how to start your first screenplay...and leave inspired!

Prerequisite: Please come to the first class with three potential ideas for original screenplays. Each idea can be a few words, a sentence, or a paragraph; the point is that they're all premises you think could make an entertaining movie.

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