About the Author/Instructor
Screenwriter and author Skip Press began teaching at UCLA Extension Writers Program in 1992 with
How To Write What You Want & Sell What You Write, which became his first published writing book.
The electronic version of this book was a finalist in the first Epic Awards
for ebooks in the United States.
Three editions of Skip's Writer's Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors and
Screenwriters' Agents became Hollywood how-to bibles for aspiring screenwriters
and put him in touch with hundreds of aspiring writers all over the world.
Skip's Complete Idiot’s Guide to Screenwriting was reviewed as best of its kind by the
Writers Guild of Canada and translated into Russian and published by Triumph Publishing of
Moscow. He quips: "You don't read Russian? Me neither, but they actually paid for the rights."
Giving Hollywood advice led to Skip being asked to create an eCourse on
Your Screenwriting Career. He taught the course online for eight years and it
was offered through an extension program at 1,500 colleges around the country. Thousands
of aspiring writers are graduates of this popular course.
Skip, a single dad, lives in beautiful almost downtown Burbank, California with his teenagers. He says, "I try
to write something brilliant every single day, because I'm too dumb to quit and no one will hire
me at a real job, anyway. I'm not complaining..."
Getting Started (Course Syllabus)
Unit 1: The History of Storytelling
Unit 2: The Outer Story of a Screenplay
Unit 3: The Life of Hollywood
Unit 4: More Hollywood History and Your Road Forward
Unit 5: The Evolution of Screenwriting
Unit 6: The Business of Screenwriting
Unit 7: Mining the World to Find Your Heart
Unit 8: The Magic of an Unforgettable Screenplay
Unit 9: Superstar Screenplay Structure
Unit 10: Format and Structure of a Screenplay
Unit 11: Inside the Hero's Heart
Unit 12: Kids, Heroes and Memorable Characters
Unit 13: Inside the Villain's Brain
Unit 14: A Touch of Nostalgia
Unit 15: Organizing Your World with 3x5 Cards
Unit 16: Outlining a Screenplay
Unit 17: Structure Outside the Lines
Unit 18: A Closer Look at Structure
Unit 19: Making the Perfect Screenplay Better
Unit 20: Rewriting and the Road to Improvement
Unit 21: Reading, Polishing and Reality
Unit 22: Getting Feedback and Making the Best of It
Unit 23: Getting It Out to People Who Matter
Unit 24: Making Connections and Final Review
Unit 25: Final Exam
When you have completed this course, you should be able to:
- Understand the basic principles of storytelling that have evolved in the Western world over the ages as well as the basic screenplay structure.
- Have an understanding of the evolution of Hollywood screenwriting.
- Know how screenwriting has changed through the development of television and the Internet.
- Learn how to develop the best possible screenplay for you to personally write.
- Possess a comprehension of basic screenplay structure.
- Develop a compelling protagonist for your first screenplay.
- Create a memorable villain that any actor would love to play.
- Get your screenwriting life organized, so that you can get your screenplay written.
- Discover a formula for building a great screenplay.
- Gain a grasp of tools to use as much as necessary to improve a screenplay.
- Complete a self-paced assessment of your screenplay that sheds even more light on improving it.
- Gain an understanding of screenplay marketing that will allow you to approach Hollywood with confidence.
How to Participate in this Course
Enroll and start learning today! All course materials will be available when you start the
class, so you don't have to wait for weekly lessons and you can truly learn at your own pace.
You don't have to be online at any set time; study at your leisure from the comfort or your home
The course curriculum will include tutorial lessons, suggested readings, and optional
homework activities. If you are taking the class for enjoyment or self-enrichment, homework is
optional but participation is encouraged. Students who approach online learning as an adventure
and actively participate will derive the most benefit and enjoyment from online learning.
Homework projects, if completed satisfactorily, will earn Extra Credit points which will be
added to your Final Exam score and may increase the overall grade you earn in the course.
Handbook provides useful information on how to make the most of your online learning
experience at KSURF's Virtual University. Refer to this guide for helpful tips on how to access
classrooms, post homework, and answers to most frequently asked questions.