Screenwriting

Register now with our Early Bird Special to get 20% off select classes! Offer ends June 16.

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.


Summer Classes

Writing for the Small Screen (Online)
7 Sundays 10:00am – 1:00pm CT
Jul 17 – Aug 28
Instructor: Mary Ruth Clarke

Television — in all its iterations — is hot. Producers are hungry for new voices and unique ideas. My students are succeeding – staffed on network and streaming shows, creating web series, and winning competitions.

Class Description

This class is for anyone who has an idea (comedy or drama, any genre) that could make a great episodic or limited series and who wants to learn the crucial basics of how to write it.  
We will study and analyze successful pilots. We will tease out/explore the inherent possibilities in your idea, where it fits in the vast TV landscape, how to position the idea, what makes a great TV characters, visual storytelling, budgetary considerations, proper story structure, and formatting. And you will write and rewrite. 
You will leave the workshop with:
• The makings of a pitch document
• A grasp of the show template, structure, core cast, and the ongoing character revelations as opposed to character development
• A grasp of the process of creation that optioned shows go through 
• A better grasp of the language that writers/producers/agents speak
• The beginnings of a rough draft of a television pilot 

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 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 DatesJul 17, 24, 31
Aug 07, 14, 21, 28
Experience LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Available 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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