Free: Live Screenwriting Courses

Lights Film School is currently testing live screenwriting lectures for our students.  We’ve also decided to offer 50 non students the opportunity to partake in these lectures for free! We will allow a small number of non-students to enroll in each of these live online courses.

If you’re interested please email us at with the following information:

1. Type “Lab Chats” in your subject line
2. In the body of the email let us know a little more about yourself and your interest and experience within the realm of screenwriting.
3. Let us know your top 3 choices for the lab chats you want to partake in. Ensure you include the proper title of the lab chat so we know where to place you.

After we receive this information we will email you a confirmation within the next week! We cannot guarantee placement as we need to cap the number of students who enroll in these free online screenwriting courses, but we’ll do our best to try and accommodate those who RSVP quickly!

The Lab Chats and their descriptions can be found below.

Writing for Small-Budget Productions
While some of us may dream of penning and selling the next Avatar, the truth of the matter is that most of us will get our first break on a much smaller scale. Learning the craft of writing for a manageable production budget is essential for every screenwriter – whether you are trying to sell your scripts to Hollywood or plan on producing them independently. In this session, we’ll delve deeper into the choices you must make in areas such as location, actors, and special effects when you are writing a script on a tight budget. We’ll discuss how to maintain a high level of creativity without requiring 50 million dollars worth of explosions and car chases. We’ll also look at examples of films written with a small budget in mind. The registration deadline is February 22, 2010.
DATE: Monday, March 15, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Phil Duncan

The Paradigm of Dramatic Structure
One thing that all good stories have in common is a beginning, a middle, and end. A screenplay is no different. In order to hold all of these elements in place, we need structure — a form — the paradigm. — the foundation – not formula – of a good screenplay. In this session we will be dissecting the paradigm and putting it through the test. I encourage you all to bring a film – that truly works! – to the table so we can run it through the paradigm machine. We all want to be the first to create something unique and innovative, but remember: we must first examine and analyze our foundations before we can attempt to create something truly productive.
Registration deadline is February 22, 2010.
DATE: Thursday, March 18, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Kyle Aldrich

Landing the Hook: The First Ten Pages & the Inciting Incident (WORKSHOP)
Producers and agents (or their assistants) see dozens, if not hundreds, of scripts a week, many of which begin to blur together. And the sorry truth of the matter is that if your script doesn’t capture their attention within the first ten pages, it will most likely be quickly thrown into the recycling bin. A screenplay fails or succeeds in the first ten pages, and if you start out poorly you will have a hard time throughout the entire process. In this session, we’ll take a look at the first ten pages and the inciting incident – the place from which your story launches. We’ll look at the beginning of two successful scripts and discuss the mechanics of what makes them successful. If students are interested in submitting the first 10 pages of their own scripts, we’ll also take the time to workshop each piece. The registration deadline is March 1, 2010.
DATE: Monday, March 22, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Phil Duncan

Catalyst / Pivotal Characters
There comes a time when all your protagonist needs is a boost — something to change their immobility into actuation. “Pivotal characters” have the difficult job of launching action between our protagonists and antagonists. Find out why they are so crucial to the plot and when we can expect to have them give our heroes that much-needed shove. Here’s a hint: somewhere around page sixty…
Suggested reading: Jacob’s Ladder by Bruce Joel Rubin. Registration deadline is March 1, 2010.
DATE: Thursday, March 25, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Kyle Aldrich

Actions Speak Louder than Words: Using Action to Move Your Story
Contrary to what most think, dialogue is the leading killer of successful screenplays. Pages upon pages of snappy, witty and erudite dialogue usually leads to boring, slow-paced scripts that leave the audience yawning and checking their watches. In this session, we’ll focus on ACTION – the most important thing to propelling your story forward – whether you’re writing for Michael Bay, Gus Van Sandt, or any director in between. We’ll discuss how to write strong, active descriptions that will force your screenplay to leap off the page. We’ll take a look at excerpts from a few produced scripts and discuss how action works (or doesn’t work) in these stories. We’ll also discuss how action and dialogue can work together, and play off each other, to create exciting scenes.  The registration deadline is March 8, 2010.
DATE: Monday, March 29, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Phil Duncan

Atmosphere in the Screenplay
The screenplay form can be constricting and intimidating for some — you have a certain foundation you must adhere to and a laundry list of ways you can unintentionally bog your story down. Some people can be afraid to explore their character’s surroundings – we can’t tell the director how to do his/her job – but through atmosphere the screenwriter is given a chance to add dimension to their characters. Take advantage of this visual medium by filling space with artifacts that allure to our character’s dreams, beliefs, fears, hobbies, habits, secrets, and emotions. Suggested reading: Edward Scissorhands by Caroline Thompson. Registration deadline is March 8, 2010.
DATE: Thursday, April 1, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Kyle Aldrich

The Killer in You: Writing for Horror Cinema
“We make up horrors to help cope with real ones”. – King. Over the years, horror films have received a bad rap. A large percentage of them are exploitative pieces of celluloid carrion that hold no weight. Every once and while, a horror film comes along that shocks and surprises — by holding substance! Allegories, metaphors, and similes are abound in this lecture where we will be discussing the craft of combining excess and social commentary to ensure that your horror film can hold its own weight (We will – of course – be examining some classic horror films for comparison).  Registration deadline is March 29, 2010.
DATE: Thursday, April 22, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Kyle Aldrich

Writing Tension: A Close Look at ‘Munich’
Few films capture the essence of tension as well as Steven Spielberg’s Munich. This film ratchets up the suspense from the first frame and continues to do so throughout the duration of the film, pausing only briefly to allow the audience a few moments of introspection. In this session, we’ll discuss this film in depth, paying specific attention to the writer’s role in orchestrating the film’s tension. Prior to the session, it would be helpful if participants read excerpts of the script (sent via e-mail upon registration) and watched the film. We will look at how tension and suspense influence everything in this film, from the characters, to the setting, to the political and emotional climate. Bring your questions and comments. The registration deadline is April 1, 2010.
DATE: Monday, April 26, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Phil Duncan

Beginnings and Endings
How are you opening your screenplay? Are you introducing your characters and story in a way that grabs the reader – and hopefully later on, the viewer – insuring that their attention is kept? Do you know your ending? Does your character live or die? Save the maiden? Loose or keep their superpowers? Do you have direction? In order to get from points A to Z, you need to know what A and Z are. While many believe that characters and story will determine the ending, those endings are ineffective. Whereas you can chose how to get there, you must figure out a definitive ending. Let’s figure out yours.  Registration deadline is April 1, 2010.
DATE: Thursday, April 29, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Kyle Aldrich

Story Development: Subject and the Obvious Idea
Creating a subject – action and character, what happens and who it happens to – out of nothing can be a formidable task, but chances are, if you’re looking for your subject, it’s also looking for you – you just have to figure out where it’s hiding. Once your subject has been discovered, it’s beneficial to examine it — to see if it is – in fact – a “good idea”. If you keep your ears open long enough, you will hear the exclamation, “That would make a great movie!” Would it really? In this session, we’ll explore initial inspirations and how to weed out the obvious idea. Can your idea really be turned into a one hundred and twenty page screenplay, or will it hit that formidable “first-act wall”? Be prepared to run through a few exercises – in real time – to see where our minds can go during inkling inception.  Registration deadline is April 5, 2010.
DATE: Thursday, May 6, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Kyle Aldrich

Avoiding the Novice: Formatting Do’s and Don’ts
Studio execs, producers, directors, etc. — they are all looking for any excuse to not read your screenplay. Don’t give them one. With the mess of material that graces their desks on a regular basis, any reason to not have to dig through another novice’s script is exceedingly welcomed. In this session we’ll be discussing those “red flags” that tell your reader that your experience is limited, as well as ways to avoid turning a simple form into perplexity.  Registration deadline is April 12, 2010.
DATE: Thursday, May 13, 2010
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PST
Led by Kyle Aldrich

filmmaking newsletter

Sign up below to get instant access to over 1 hour's worth of high quality free filmmaking tutorials that will have an instant impact on the quality of your film and documentary projects.

You may also like

One comment

  • ofure momoh September 2, 2010  

    hw do i register

Leave a comment

1 Hour Of Free Filmmaking Tutorials

Become a Better Filmmaker.

Get access to over 1 hour's worth of online filmmaking tutorials. Simply fill out the form below, and a link to the tutorials will be emailed to your inbox!

Your information will never be shared.