Certificate Program


Program Description

Emerson College's Screenwriting Program offers individuals the opportunity to learn the craft of screenwriting through a series of non-credit workshops designed to build writing skills along with knowledge of the screenplay form and structure.

Participants develop the ability to create scenarios and to analyze their own scripts as well as the work of others. Individuals may enroll in one or several multi-session workshops to match their personal goals.

Program participants who successfully complete the two (2) required workshops and one (1) elective workshop from the screenwriting series have the option of earning the Screenwriting Certificate.

Who Should Enroll

The Screenwriting Program is intended for aspiring creative writers and for any individual* curious about the creative aspects of writing stories for film.

Participants interested in learning to create scenarios or learning to write, analyze, rewrite, and critique their own scripts will benefit from the program's progressive, industry-inspired workshops. The program also is ideal for screenwriters who seek opportunities to present their draft screenplays for critique in a supportive workshop environment.

* Participants must hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED to enroll in screenwriting courses, workshops, and programs offered by the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs.

Screenwriting Workshop Series

CE0303 Screenwriting Basics I
10-session, non-credit workshop, offered fall and spring semesters, $1,045.00
(Required to complete the certificate program)
Spring 2017: Tuesdays: 01/31/17-04/18/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


The focus of this workshop will be screenwriting basics: the three-act structure, proper formatting, screenplay theory and analysis, how to develop ideas into screenplays, the four-page treatment, and writing the first act of a screenplay.

CE0304 Screenwriting Basics II
10-session, non-credit workshop, offered spring and summer semesters, $1,045.00
(Required to complete the certificate program)
Spring 2017: Thursdays: 02/02/17-04/13/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


Participants will complete their first draft and write acts two and three in this workshop. Class is conducted in a workshop format. Participants and the instructor read, discuss, and analyze script pages in class. (Prerequisite: CE0303 Screenwriting Basics I)

CE0302 The Business of Screenwriting
6-session, non-credit seminar, semester to be announced, $658.00
(Elective workshop)
This seminar is for individuals who have completed a screenplay and want to know the next steps to take toward becoming a professional screenwriter. Enjoy hearing how to pitch your screenplay, find an agent or producer, write query letters to get your screenplay read, enter screenplay contests and film festivals, market one screenplay while you write another, network, and become prepared for the life of a screenwriter.

CE0305 Advanced Screenwriting
10-session, non-credit workshop, semester to be announced, $1,045.00
(Elective workshop)

Spring 2017: Hours are arranged by the instructor
6:00PM - 9:30PM


One-on-one tutoring with a faculty mentor who will guide you through the process of either rewriting an existing script or writing a new script. You will receive four deadlines to submit work. The faculty mentor will respond to your submissions in writing and then he/she will set up a one hour conference to discuss the response. (Prerequisite: CE0304 Screenwriting Basics II)

CE0307 TV Writing I
10-session, non-credit seminar, semester to be announced, $1,045.00
(Elective workshop)
In this first semester of this two-semester course, participants learn how to write a spec script and a spec pilot. They develop skills in: TV script formatting, idea creation, and plot and character development. They also learn to distinguish the writing genres of scripts for the television. By the end of the semester, participants will have begun writing a spec script that will be completed in TV Writing II.

CE0305 Writing The Short Script
6-session, non-credit seminar, Fall Semester, $658.00
(Elective workshop)

Why not break into the industry as a screenwriter by writing a great short script and getting it produced? Numerous film festivals have short-script competitions, and many writers and filmmakers got their start with short scripts, including Sacha Gervasi, writer of The Terminal. Gervasi found his U.S. agent and ultimately a deal with Dreamworks based on the strength of a terrific short script he wrote. In this class you will learn what goes into writing a great short script. The class will cover story, structure, character, dialogue, and action; students will watch a number of great shorts; and then you will write the first drafts of two short scripts: one 10-15 page draft and one 20-30 page draft.

Certificate Program Completion Requirements

Professional Studies participants may choose to work toward earning the Screenwriting Certificate. The following guidelines apply to all non-credit, non-degree, certificate-seeking individuals at Emerson College:

  • Individuals must satisfy the certificate program requirements published for the term in which they register for the first course toward the certificate; all prerequisite coursework must be completed; and program courses or workshops taken in the prescribed sequence.
  • All individuals must complete coursework for a certificate program within a period of three (3) years from their initial date of registration.
  • Only learning activities offered by Emerson College's Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs may be applied to fulfill the requirements of a certificate program.
  • Enrollment in non-credit, non-degree certificate programs is open to all individuals who have a high school diploma or GED. Prerequisite requirements apply in some instances. To receive a certificate, individuals must submit a Request for Certificate Form to the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs within one year of program completion. Request for Certificate Form (PDF)

Screenwriting Certificate Award

Each participant who successfully completes the Screenwriting Certificate Program is eligible to enter his or her script into the Screenwriting Certificate Award Competition at the end of the program. The winner will receive the opportunity to have his or her script read and analyzed by screenwriting professionals.

How to Register

Head to our Registration and Payment page to learn more about registration and payment.

Participating in the Screenwriting Certificate Program

Tuition is due upon registration for all Screenwriting Program courses and workshops offered through the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs. Tuition is calculated per course and individuals must pay tuition in full prior to participating in the courses of their choice.

Students may incur additional course-related expenses. Such additional expenses are separate from tuition costs and payments.

At the present time, Emerson College is not authorized to issue I-20s for study in its Professional Studies and Special Programs (“PSSP”) courses. Depending on an international student’s immigration status and personal circumstances, enrollment in a PSSP course may be permissible or may result in an immigration status violation. Maintaining valid immigration status while in the United States is the responsibility of the individual, not Emerson College. PSSP staff cannot advise individuals about their immigration status. If you have any questions about the requirements for maintenance of your specific immigration status, please contact the U.S. Consulate in your home country prior to enrolling in a PSSP program.

Emerson College reserves the right to change any provision of its programs and courses at any time. The College specifically reserves the right to change its tuition rates and any other financial charges. The College also reserves the right to rearrange its courses and class hours, to drop courses for which registration falls below the minimum enrollment, and to change instructor assignments.


Scott Anderson, instructor of The Business of Screenwriting

Scott Anderson is the director of The Harvard Square Scriptwriters. He has worked on a number of films and television shows. Scott has taught scriptwriting in the Boston metropolitan area since 1992 at such institutions as UMass Lowell, the Boston Film and Video Foundation, Cambridge Center for Adult Education, and Boston Center for Adult Education.

Mr. Anderson's work on scripts and with screenwriters has earned him special thanks and credits in The Strangler's Wife, Long Distance, and Gavin's Way. Scott's optioned screenplays have attracted attachments from Oscar-nominated and Palme D'or-winning directors.

Barry Brodsky, program director and instructor of Screenwriting

Barry Brodsky is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has taught scriptwriting for 20 years. He began teaching screenwriting at Emerson College in 1998. He also teaches screenwriting at Boston University's Film School and teaches writing for the stage and screen at Lesley University's low residency MFA Creative Writing Program. Barry has taught playwriting at Brandeis University and Cambridge Center for Adult Education, as well as UMass Boston's Urban Scholars Program for high school students. He has been an adjunct professor of writing, dramatic literature, and theater history at several other Boston-area colleges, and is a private screenwriting and playwriting consultant.

Barry is a two-time semi-finalist in the Chesterfield Film Writer's Competition. His stage play The Boys of Winter (co-written with Dean Kaner and Eric Small) was nominated for Best New Play for 2008 by the Independent Reviewers of New England. Apremont Productions will shoot Barry's short screenplay, The Twelve-Forty, in Fall 2012. His piece I Miss You, starring and directed by Fethi Bendida, also will begin shooting in 2012. Barry's stage play Returnees was named a finalist in 2008 at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He holds a BA from UMass Boston and an MFA from Brandeis University.

Angel Nunez, instructor of Writing the Short Script

Angel Nunez is a playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker from the Boston area, who strives for diversity in storytelling. Mr. Nunez earned his Screenwriting Certificate at Emerson College and his MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, where he is an adjunct instructor in screenwriting. 

Angel has been a semi-finalist in the Big Break International Screenwriting Competition, the Rhode Island International Film Festival and the Scriptapalooza International Screenplay Contest. His adaptation of his play Fragment won Best Short Script at the presitigious Woods Hold Film Festival in 2014.

Angel has worked as a broadcast/webcast producer and director since 2007.

Jean-Paul Ouellette, instructor of Screenwriting Basics II

Boston-born Jean-Paul (JP) Ouellette pursued filmmaking after completing studies in literature and graphic design in Los Angeles, apprenticing first to filmmaker Russ Meyer, then director Orson Welles, and was mentored by television directing legend Don Richardson. Mr. Ouellette worked for such companies as Cannon Pictures, New Line Cinema, Orion Pictures, and Roger Corman’s New World Cinema.

He learned all of the aspects of filmmaking hands on, including camera from Jan de Bont and Corman DP Gary Graver, lighting from award-winner Bill Klages, and stunt directing from Glenn Wilder. JP directed the second-unit action sequences for the Hemdale/Orion film Terminator, directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. He wrote and directed the cult horror films H.P. Lovecraft’s The Unnamable and its sequel. He has worked as an international television co-producer and produces and directs documentaries and industrials.

Currently, Mr. Ouellette's romantic comedy screenplay Public House is under option in Hollywood and he is completing a commissioned comedy screenplay for an independent producer. He consults with independent producers, developing projects from conception through breakdown, budget, marketing, and financial documentation. Mr. Ouellette is on the board of the Woods Hole Film Festival.

Former Industry Guest Speakers

Paul Boghosian (film producer)

Susan Kouguell

Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Susan Kouguell teaches screenwriting and film at Tufts University and Screenwriters Online, and presents screenwriting seminars nationwide. Her six short films are in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection and archives, won many international festivals, and were included in the Whitney Museum of Art's Biennial. She is the recipient of many grants and fellowships, among them the MacDowell Colony, Edward Albee Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts.

As chairperson of her motion picture consulting company, Su-City Pictures East, Susan works with more than 1,000 clients worldwide, including the major film studios. Susan worked as a story editor/researcher/production coordinator/crew on Louis Malle's documentary And the Pursuit of Happiness, story analyst for Miramax, Dustin Hoffman's Punch Productions, and Viacom, a consultant for Republic Pictures, and in the story and casting departments at Paramount Pictures.

Screenwriting credits include more than a dozen independent production companies, including Anjelica Films, and voiceover narrations for Miramax Films. She was the screenplay doctor and associate producer of Maria Escobedo's Rum & Coke and Jay Craven's Where the Rivers Flow North. Susan is the author of The Savvy Screenwriter: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! (St. Martin's Griffin) and her articles appear in MovieMaker Magazine, Scr(i)pt, Writer's Digest, Screenwriter, and on the WGA website.

Read Susan Kouguell's interview with lead screenwriting instructor Barry Brodsky, on New England Film.

Dara Marks, PhD

Dara Marks is a writer and leading international script consultant who has devoted the last 20 years to the development of a groundbreaking approach to the theory of the transformational arc and screenplay structure. Her unique method of story analysis has earned her top ratings by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as the best consultant in the business. She has worked with most major Hollywood studios and many independent filmmakers. She has recently received a doctorate degree in mythological studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Dara is a highly sought-after keynote speaker whose work is committed to the idea that a culture speaks through its stories. She offers workshops, seminars, and script development services. Dara lives in Ojai, California, with her husband and son.

PK Simonds (television writer)