Screenwriting in the Age of Trump
Taught by Timothy Cooper
Timothy Michael Cooper is a filmmaker, playwright, and comedy writer based in Brooklyn, New York. He wrote and directed the short comedy Lemon, starring Jennifer Westfeldt and Noah Bean, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. The film has since played at festivals around the world, been licensed for screening on United Airlines, and become one of the most-viewed festival shorts on Amazon Prime. Timothy was named a 2018 IFP Screen Forward Lab Fellow for his sitcom based on the short.
He was nominated for the first-ever Writers Guild Award for Digital Media for writing and directing the digital sitcom Concierge: The Series (ConciergeTheSeries.com), starring Kate McKinnon. He also wrote the feature drama Away From Here, starring Nick Stahl, Alicia Witt, and Ray Wise, now available on iTunes and Amazon Prime. And he wrote and directed the digital sitcom pilot We Are Criminal Masterminds, a top-five nationwide finalist in the Samsung Second Screen Storytellers Competition at the New York Television Festival.
At Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC, he created and directed the improvised shows Sunny-Side Up and Farebeater: Improv in a Cab, both starring cast members from Silicon Valley, Conan, and more.
Through his company, Blueprint Screenwriting Group, he's advised hundreds of writers and companies worldwide on their scripts, films, pilots, and commercials. He's led workshops at Yale University, Teachers College of Columbia University, and the Writers Guild of America East, among many others. And he's been an adjunct faculty member at NYU Tisch School of the Arts' Department of Dramatic Writing, teaching an MFA seminar on writing and directing an original comedy pilot.
Timothy has been a writer for the Writers Guild Awards for the past five years, writing monologue jokes, desk pieces, and more for comedians like Colin Quinn, Larry Wilmore, Michael Ian Black, Lewis Black, and Amber Ruffin.
Timothy is a proud member of the Writers Guild of America East, the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective Writers' Workshop, the Hollywood Radio and Television Society, and the WGAE Softball Team.
Q: What do these films and television series from the past year have in common?
Get Out, Will & Grace, Black-ish, Girls Trip, Wonder Woman, Black Mirror, Atlanta, One Mississippi, The Orville Star Trek: Discovery, Transparent, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Blade Runner 2049, The Big Sick, Dunkirk, It Comes at Night...
A: They all address the sociopolitical concerns of life today, here, now, in this distinctive moment in history—but obliquely, creatively, and artistically. No matter what the genre—comedy, sci-fi, horror, superhero, etc.—all deal with the most pressing concerns of our time in probing, intelligent, unique ways.
Learn how you can use the power of storytelling on the big or small screen to bring your message to audiences worldwide, bridging divides and challenging assumptions.
This class definitely isn't limited to overtly political, dystopic, or “message” TV shows and films—although we'll certainly cover those. Some of the timely societal elements your projects may address include:
• Political corruption
• Gender identity and discrimination
• Race relations
• Abuse of power
• Ethics and technology
• Police brutality
• And much more.
No screenwriting experience is necessary to take this class! We'll quickly cover some of the basics of screenwriting, including reviewing some legendary scripts and what made them powerful and relevant to their time. We'll also touch base on film and TV story structure, script formatting, loglines, genre, marketable subjects, and more. Then we'll discuss how to further develop your idea, the filmmaking process, and what to do once you've finished your script.
Please bring at least one key idea that you'd like to address through a feature movie, short film, TV pilot, web series, or video, and be ready to present it—then we'll workshop it until it works! This one-of-a-kind class gives you the essential tools to bring your story to life.