The opportunities for screenwriting are endless. Grab yours today. Write for the big and little screen, and learn all the ins-and-outs of the film trade. Sign up now for our Screenwriting courses and put your dreams on the silver screen.

Fall Classes

Screenwriting Essentials (Online)
7 Saturdays
1:00pm – 4:00pm CT
Oct 07 – Dec 02
Instructor: Mary Ruth Clarke

Whether a film premiers on the big screen or the TV screen, is a blockbuster or an indy movie, producers are hungry for new voices and unique ideas. My students succeed – selling scripts, staffed on network and streaming shows, and creating web series!

Class Description

Have a story idea for a great movie? Or a script you’ve begun to write? Or a play you want to adapt into a motion picture? This seven-week class emphasizes visual storytelling, thematic development, and the ever-important logline. We will analyze and map out the classic story structure of a screenplay that went on to be made into an Oscar-winning movie. The class further delves into the realities of how Hollywood evaluates screenplays. It’s not a marketing class, but a deep dive into bringing ideas to life for the Hollywood mindset. It will help you unearth that great hook that will cause a producer to shout, “That’s a movie!” There will be ample time allotted to discuss participants’ ideas, stories, structures, and scenes. This class is applicable to any movie genre.

Teacher Bio

Mary Ruth Clarke co-wrote and starred in the original Meet the Parents and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version, starring Robert De Niro. Her dramedy teleplay Broadway, Ohio is a finalist in the Chicago Screenplay Awards, Page Turner Awards, and a semi finalist at Sundance Labs. Her comedy screenplay Alice and Celia and Whatever It Takes is a finalist for the Lit Laughs Comedy Film Festival and the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, and a is a semi finalist in the Chicago Screenplay Awards. Mary Ruth’s students are staffed on the TV shows Queens, Woke, and Family Reunion. She consults for clients in LA and Chicago, and she has critiqued about a gazillion plays and screenplays. She’s a regular guest lecturer at the Chicago Screenwriter’s Network and the Off Campus Writer’s Group. She is a member of the Writer’s Guide of America East and the Dramatists Guild.

Course Details

Session DatesOct 07, 14, 21
Nov 04, 11, 18
Dec 02
NO CLASS 10/28 & 11/25
Experience LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Applicable DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network

Chicago Dramatists Class Fee Policies 

  • If you cancel your registration more than ten days in advance of the class start date, you will be entitled to either a full refund of your money or a full credit applied to your account for future CD classes. 
  • If you cancel your registration fewer than ten days but more than three days before the class start date, you will be entitled to 50% of your class fee (minus a $20 administrative fee) applied to your account as a credit. 
  • If you cancel your registration less than three days before the class start date, there is unfortunately neither a credit nor refund option available.
  • Classes that fail to meet the 50% minimum registrant requirement within 48 hours of class start time will be cancelled. In this case, registrants will receive a 100% refund.
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