Writing for Film & TV Program Curriculum | Vancouver Film School

Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to give you the edge in the world of professional screenwriting by providing a balance between creative exploration and practical industry skills. You'll learn the craft of storytelling by working on feature scripts, TV scripts, shorts, sketch comedy, and much more. But through a number of productions during the year, you'll also learn to write to deadlines, to work alone and as part of a writing team, and to rewrite effectively. To ensure you're truly prepared to begin your screenwriting career, we teach you how to pitch and market your work. You'll graduate armed with a portfolio of writing and the knowledge of how to get it made.

The following is an in-depth breakdown of the Writing for Film & Television program by term and courses studied. Visit What You Will Learn to explore many key writing topics in more detail.

Program & Term Overview

Weeks 1-8 (Term 1)

This first term gives you a foundational sense of story structure, character, form, and genre, and provides the basic tools and resources you need for the year. You begin to develop your portfolio by writing a short script for a 10-minute film, develop characters for your first feature script, and brainstorm ideas for your TV Spec script.

Subjects Covered

  • Biz Pitching
  • Biz Format
  • Character
  • Feature Development
  • Script Genre - Script Structure
  • Short Script
  • Story
  • TV Genre

Weeks 9-16 (Term 2)

As you continue to strengthen your storytelling skills, you will begin building the foundations of your first feature script and continue to write your TV Spec script. You also hone your dialogue skills and focus on the first act of screenplay structure. You may also choose to take your first elective in writing for animation.

Subjects Covered

  • Dialogue
  • Feature Development
  • Script Genre - Crime
  • TV Spec

Weeks 17-24 (Term 3)

In this term you apply your foundational understanding of story, character, and dialogue to two major projects: a feature script and a portfolio of comedy sketches.

Subjects Covered

  • Feature Script
  • Film Theory
  • Script Genre - Comedy
  • Sketch Comedy
  • Spec Script

Weeks 25-32 (Term 4)

In term 4, you decide what you will focus on for your final project - either Feature Films or Television. Students are streamed into one or the other but also have the option of taking electives as well as certain classes from the other stream.

Subjects Covered

  • Final Feature Project
  • Script Genre - Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Horror
  • The Second Act
  • Sketch Comedy
  • Story Editing
  • TV History (1950s - 1970s)
  • TV Pilot 1
  • TV Rewrites
  • Writing for Indie Productions
  • Writing for Animation
  • Indie Production

Weeks 33-40 (Term 5)

As you move into the final terms of the program, you continue to narrow the focus of your writing. You may choose to take electives on writing for comics, video games, or writing for commercials as you begin to write either a second feature or TV pilot for your final project.

Subjects Covered

  • Adaptation
  • Advanced TV Spec
  • Feature Rewrites
  • Final Feature Project 2
  • Indie Production 2
  • Script Genre - Action
  • Writing for Comics
  • Writing for Commercials
  • Writing for Games
  • TV Pilot 2
  • Film Collaboration
  • Story Editing

Weeks 41-48 (Term 6)

In the final term, students finish up their final projects, and may take courses in entertainment journalism and video game writing to help with employability after leaving the program. To help you make the transition to writing professionally, the end of the term is devoted to learning the business of writing including promotional skills and dealing with agents, managers, and producers.

Subjects Covered

  • Advanced TV Spec
  • Career Launch
  • Documentary/Reality TV
  • Film Collaboration
  • Final Feature Project 2
  • Script Genre - Auteur
  • TV History (1980s to Present Day)
  • TV Pilot 3