Best Online Screenwriting Classes:
Scripting Success of Screenwriting

Last updated on: February 23, 2024, Written by:

Bill Tremlon

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Martin Scorsese MasterClass Review

Crafting a compelling script or screenplay isn’t a walk in the park. Some even believe storytelling is an innate talent—you’re either a gifted storyteller or not. There’s no middle ground. However, history has repeatedly shown us that with enough commitment and expert guidance, anyone can elevate their skills to remarkable heights, and scriptwriting is no exception.

Now, with a plethora of online screenwriting classes available, how do you navigate the options? We’ve done the legwork for you! Allow us to present a thoughtfully curated selection of the best online screenwriting classes.

Whether you’re a beginner seeking practical step-by-step guidance, a seasoned writer craving inspiration, or someone eager to learn from industry legends, we’ve got you covered. Let’s find the perfect online screenwriting course that aligns with your unique needs.

Martin Scorsese MasterClass Review

Top 3 Picks for Best Screenwriting Courses

FeaturesAaron Sorkin MasterClassA Complete Guide to ScreenwritingTV Writing – Shonda Rhimes
📈 Suits best for:All levels of screenwritersBeginner and intermediate screenwritersAll levels of aspiring TV script writers
🕒 Lenght:8 hours and 1 minuteOver 3.5 hoursOver 6 hours
⏳ Platform:MasterClassSkillshareMasterClass
🛍️ Level of difficulty:IntermediateBeginnerIntermediate
💼 Instructor:Academy Award-winning writerScreenwriter and copywriterCreator of hit shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”
📚 No. of Lessons:35 lessons39 lessons30 lessons
Access Period:One yearOne yearOne year
💵 Price:Starting at $10/monthStarting at $29/monthStarting at $10/month
🔄 Refund policy:30 daysRefund on memberships charged after 7-day trial if contacted within 7 days. No refunds after 14-day trial or on renewal charges.Money-back guarantee within 30 days
🎁 Free trial:Yes. 1 month free trial

No.CoursePlatformBest for:
1.Aaron Sorkin Teaches ScreenwritingMasterClassBest overall
2.A Complete Guide to ScreenwritingSkillshareBest for comprehensive instructions
3.TV Writing – Shonda RhimesMasterClassBest for television writing expertise
4.Inspirational screenwriting: the #1 screenwriting courseUdemyBest for motivational guidance
5.Micro-Budget Filmmaking: ScreenwritingSkillShareBest for low-budget film production
6.Learn To Write Movies: Screenwriting Step by StepSkillshareBest for step-by-step instruction
7.Beginning Screenwriting made EASYUdemyBest for beginners

Our Favorite Script Writing Class to Learn: Aaron Sorkin MasterClass

With screenwriting courses and workshops being a dime a dozen, it can be incredibly difficult to single out the best online screenwriting class. However, the Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting course on the MasterClass platform has earned that title from us, and for good reason. This comprehensive course can take someone from a beginner level to an advanced one if you follow Sorkin’s instructions. That, in itself, is the hallmark of a valuable course.

With a prestigious array of awards including an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, five Primetime Emmy Awards, and three Golden Globes for works like The West Wing, The Social Network, and A Few Good Men, Aaron Sorkin’s authority in screenwriting is undisputed.

In this comprehensive course, spanning 35 video lessons over 8 hours, Sorkin teaches aspiring screenwriters how to write a compelling story.

The course covers elements such as intention, obstacle, and storytelling rules inspired by Aristotle’s Poetics before delving into the process of generating emotionally- engaging plot concepts, developing multifaceted characters, and seamlessly incorporating research into scripts.

The Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting course also offers practical tips for navigating the revision process, cultivating effective writing habits, and honing the skills necessary for successful pitch sessions.

What’s more, you’ll also enjoy exclusive access to the inner workings of The West Wing writers’ room, providing a rare glimpse into the collaborative process behind a critically acclaimed television series.

All in all, everyone from aspiring screenwriters to creative professionals including directors, producers, and actors will find this screenwriting masterclass to be jamfull of tips and insights that will help take their skills and careers to the next level.

Our Evaluation

Total score: 9.2

Aaron Sorkin as an Instructor
Uniqueness and Freshness
Structure and Quality
Student Engagement and Retention
Value for the Money

Best Online Screenwriting Courses

1. Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting on MasterClass

Best Course Overall

Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass on Screenwriting is a goldmine for aspiring screenwriters. In this course, Sorkin shares techniques for crafting compelling stories, writing snappy dialogue, and creating memorable characters.

You’ll also gain practical tips on research and creating script tension. Plus, you’ll get behind-the-scenes insights from iconic works like Steve Jobs and The West Wing, along with access to screenplays and a helpful workbook. It’s a must for serious screenwriting enthusiasts!

⏱️Duration:8 hours
🛍️Total lessons:35 video lessons
🎁Free Trial:
🔄Refund Policy:
Level of difficulty:Beginner
Best for:Beginners and intermediates
  • Storytelling Mastery – a deep dive to storytelling techniques, including plot structure, character development, and thematic exploration.
  • Dialogue Mastery – you will learn to write authentic conversations that resonate with audiences, capturing the essence of characters and driving the plot forward.
  • Character Creation – you will learn how to use unique motivations, flaws, and growth arcs to breathe life into your creations.
  • Screenplay Structure – you will learn the essential elements of a screenplay, from the opening scene to the final act. You will grasp the intricacies of formatting, pacing, and scene transitions.
  • Industry Insights – Sorkin also shares practical advice on navigating the entertainment industry. As a student, you will gain insights into pitching, networking, and the overall business side of filmmaking.


  • Easy-to-follow lessons.
  • Hollywood-level production quality.
  • In-depth insights.
  • Access to screenplays.


  • Lengthy at 8 hours.
  • Some lessons can feel advanced.

List of lessons & instructors

As mentioned, Aaron Sorkin is an acclaimed screenwriter. Sorkin’s remarkable talent earned him an Oscar for his screenplay of The Social Network, a gripping drama that delves into the creation of Facebook. As the creator and writer of the iconic political drama series The West Wing, he showcased his ability to craft compelling characters, sharp dialogue, and intricate plotlines. The show received critical acclaim and won numerous awards.

In short, you’ll be learning from the mind behind some of the smartest dramas ever created.

1-8Introduction and Story Fundamentals
9-16Crafting the Story
17-19Analyzing and Learning from Examples
20-34The Creative Process and Collaboration

2. Screenwriting Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Screenwriting

The Best for Comprehensive Instructions

Led by the experienced Brian Birmingham, this Skillshare course spans approximately 3 hours and 33 minutes, delivering invaluable knowledge and practical guidance to aspiring screenwriters.

Structured into 39 lessons, this screenwriting masterclass covers everything from concept development to final draft formatting.

The lessons are thoughtfully organized, building upon one another to provide a seamless progression. From understanding the importance of originality and crafting authentic dialogue to character development, story structure, and post-screenplay steps, each segment provides invaluable advice for writers at every stage of their journey.

Ideal for beginners and intermediate screenwriters, as well as anyone passionate about storytelling, this screenwriting class is distinguished by its remarkable depth of content, clarity of instruction, abundance of examples, and engaging presentation style. It equips a student with all the tools and knowledge they need to put pen to paper confidently.

⏱️Duration:3.5 hours
🛍️Total lessons:39 video lessons
Free Trial:
🔄Refund Policy:
Level of difficulty:Beginner
Best for:Beginners and intermediates
  • Story Concept Development – Learn techniques to generate original and compelling story ideas.
  • Characterization – learn how to create well-rounded, three-dimensional characters using motivations, flaws, and growth arcs.
  • Plot Structure and Three-Act Format – understand the fundamental structure of screenplays and learn about act one, act two, and act three, and how they contribute to a cohesive narrative.
  • Dialogue Writing – master the art of subtext and character voice.
  • Revising and Polishing – master practical tips for revising your first draft and how to refine your screenplay for maximum impact.
  • Industry Insights – learn more about the screenwriting industry so you can know what to do after completing your script.
  • Formatting and Presentation – master the standard screenplay format so you can present your work professionally.


  • Extremely comprehensive – covers the entire screenplay writing process.
  • Engaging teaching style.
  • Frequent use of examples to enhance comprehension.


  • Doesn’t delve into the specifics of each type of scriptwriting e.g. writing for TV, film, gaming, etc.

List of lessons & instructors

The lead instructor for the “Screenwriting Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Screenwriting” course is Brian Birmingham.

In addition to having a Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting from one of the United States’ top film schools, Loyola Marymount University, Brian also works in the film, television, and gaming industry as a professional copywriter. He was involved in the making of projects such as Toy Story 4, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Black Panther, and many more.

From story structure and character development to screenplay formatting and revision techniques, the course covers all essential aspects of screenwriting, making this screenwriting guide by Brian Birmingham one of the most comprehensive, practical, and engaging resources for anyone interested in pursuing a career in screenwriting or honing their storytelling skills.

1-4Introduction and Initial Concepts
5-6Generating Story Ideas
7-17Story Elements and Character Development
18-25Story Structure and Outlining
26-31Screenplay Writing and Formatting
32-33Draft Revision and Storytelling Fundamentals
34-36Advanced Story Elements and Post-Writing Process
37-39Conclusion and Bonus Content

3. Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television at MasterClass

Best Course for Television Writing

Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television on MasterClass is a goldmine of insights and techniques for TV writing enthusiasts, whether you’re an aspiring scribe or a seasoned storyteller.

With over 6 hours of video lessons, an accompanying coursebook, original pilot scripts, pitch notes, and series bibles from her shows, Shonda generously shares her playbook for creating hit shows – from understanding the writing process intricacies to crafting compelling characters and navigating TV production, Shonda covers it all with trademark expertise.

You’ll also love the inclusion of various case studies to help the subject hit home. Shonda analyzes the pilot episodes of her hit TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Private Practice,” “Station 19,” and “Bridgerton,” to help students gain insights into what makes a compelling and engaging series opener.

Shonda also covers pitching and producing extensively, giving you the tools you need to articulate your ideas effectively and navigate the competitive landscape of the television industry.

By the end of the course, you’ll have honed essential skills in scriptwriting, pitching, character development, and industry navigation, laying a solid foundation for a successful career in television writing.

⏱️Duration:6 hours
🛍️Total lessons:30 video lessons
Free Trial:
🔄Refund Policy:
Level of difficulty:Beginners
Best for:Beginners and intermediates
  • Storytelling – you’ll learn the art of writing a good TV script.
  • Character Creation – learn how to develop complex, multidimensional characters
  • Writing Dialogue – understand how to write layered dialogue
  • Pitching and Selling – understand what networks and studios look for in a pitch and then learn how to pitch your TV show concept effectively.
  • Navigating the Industry – gain insights into the business side of television writing, including contracts, negotiations, and industry dynamics.
  • Showrunning Skills – explore the role of a showrunner and how to manage a TV series. Learn about production, casting, and collaboration.


  • Hollywood-level production quality
  • Extremely comprehensive
  • Focuses on practical skills
  • Access to industry secrets and insights


  • Needs time commitment
  • Some lessons can feel advanced

List of lessons & instructors

Shonda Rhimes is an American television writer, producer, and creator. She is best known for creating the television series Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Bridgerton.

Rhimes has been recognized for her work with numerous awards, including multiple Golden Globe Awards and Emmy nominations. She has also been recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine several times.

In addition to her work in television, Rhimes is also the founder of the powerhouse production company Shondaland, which has been responsible for some of the most popular shows of the past decade.

1-3Introduction and Basics
4-8Character Development and Pitching
9-13Script Writing and Habits
14-20Dialogue and Case Studies
21-22Editing and Beyond the Pilot
23-29Industry Insights and Development
30Personal Journey and Conclusion

4. Inspirational Screenwriting: The #1 Screenwriting Course

Why is This Course The Best for Motivational Guidance

Boasting an impressive 4.9 out of 5 stars rating based on 2,506 reviews on its review page, the Inspirational Screenwriting Course by Paul Castro on Udemy is arguably the most impactful course on screenwriting out there. It will equip you with the necessary skills to sculpt a full-length feature film screenplay.

The course teaches professional screenwriting techniques, focusing on plot development, creating engaging characters, writing authentic dialogue, and constructing cohesive story arcs and scenes.You will also learn how to manage ensemble casts and craft suspenseful sequences.

However, as its name suggests, this course places special emphasis on igniting and sustaining motivation among aspiring screenwriters. Paul teaches you his tips for staying passionate, including how to connect with your “why,” overcoming blocks, embracing vulnerability, and being inspired by the success stories of others – if they can do it, you can do it, too!

Ultimately, this scriptwriting course equips you with all the technical and mental tools you need to turn your movie idea into a fascinating feature film screenplay.

💲Cost:$199 (Lifetime access)
⏱️Duration:3 hours
🛍️Total lessons:26 video lessons
Free Trial:
🔄Refund Policy:
Level of difficulty:Beginner
Best for:Beginners and intermediates
  • Crafting Professional-grade Screenplays
  • Mastering Plot Development
  • Character Development for attracting Movie Stars – learn how to create characters tailored to attract top-tier movie talent.
  • Dialogue Mastery
  • Blueprinting Your Movie – construct a solid structural framework, ensuring coherence, clarity, and narrative resonance.
  • Creating Suspenseful Scenes
  • Managing Ensemble Casts through Sequences


  • Revered master instructor (Paul Castro)
  • Designed to help you flow through blocks
  • Comprehensive content
  • Offers practical skills


  • Can feel short at only 3 hours long
  • You cannot interact with coursemates

List of lessons & instructors

Paul Castro is a highly accomplished screenwriter with extensive experience in the film and television industry. He is the original writer of several feature films, including: “August Rush”: A hit movie produced by Warner Bros, “Speed Kills,” and “Summer Dream Wedding” and has contributed to over 40 other feature films.

Paul is also a professor of Film and Television at UCLA. Moreover, he has garnered praise from several notable individuals in the entertainment industry including John Travolta and the late Robin Williams.

If you’ve been looking for an online screenwriting course that is both motivational and practical, you can’t do better than this.

5-7Crafting characters
8-15Screenplay story structure
16-18Craft Secrets
19-21The difference between a screenplay that sells and one that doesn’t
22-26Bonus Content

5. Micro-Budget Filmmaking: Screenwriting

The Best for Low-Budget Film Production

Finding a niche and becoming the best in it is one of the simplest routes to finding success. However, you need the right guidance. If you’ve decided not to tussle with the big boys producing high-budget films and instead focus on writing quality screenplays for low-budget films, the Micro-Budget Filmmaking: Screenwriting course on Udemy is tailored with your interests in mind.

This course is the first part of the Micro-Budget Filmmaking Series. It guides you through the entire filmmaking process, focusing specifically on screenwriting for micro-budget productions. It covers the entire process from choosing your concept to writing the actual screenplay.

While the course may not be the most comprehensive, clocking in at just 38 minutes with only 9 lessons, it does provide a solid foundation. This makes it a good option for those who want to learn the basics of screenwriting without an extensive time commitment.

As part of a larger series, it also allows you to gradually immerse yourself in the world of scriptwriting and filmmaking without feeling overwhelmed.

⏱️Duration:38 minutes
🛍️Total lessons:9 video lessons
Free Trial:
🔄Refund Policy:
Level of difficulty:Beginner
Best for:Beginners and intermediates
  • Conceptual Clarity – understand how to develop a creative vision.
  • Characterization – learn techniques for creating compelling characters.
  • Screenplay Structure – master the basics of screenplay formatting and structure.


  • Short and focused, making it easy to absorb.
  • Practical tips for screenwriting.
  • The content is well-organized.
  • Helpful real-world examples to enhance learning


  • Doesn’t go into depth
  • No hands-on exercises

List of lessons & instructors

2Vision: What’s In Your Goldmine?
3Choosing a Concept
4The Emotional Writer vs. The Structured Writer
5Character Development
6Outlining Your Screenplay
7The Balanced Writer & Three Act Structure
8Screenplay Formatting
9Go Forth & Write Your Screenplay

Dustin Curtis Murphy is a multi-disciplined award-winning filmmaker. He directed the dystopian feature-length sci-fi film “Coyote,” starring Therica Wilson-Read (known for Netflix’s “The Witcher”) and BIFA Winner Ruhtxjiaïh Bèllènéa (“The Last Tree”).

His short film “Samaritan” won Best International Short at the Sedona Film Festival, the Grand Prize in The Weather Channel’s #EarthFilmChallenge, and was a semi-finalist at the Academy Award Qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival. 

He is also the festival director for the BIFA-qualifying Kino London Short Film Festival. Needless to say, Dustin knows a thing or two about writing a good script.

Don’t let limited funds stifle your ability to tell compelling stories. Use this course to acquire practical skills and delve into the world of filmmaking.

6. Learn to Write Movies: Screenwriting step by step

The Best for Step-by-Step Instruction

If you’re someone who thrives on step-by-step guidance, John Watts’ screenwriting course is a gem. In this nearly 4-hour journey, Watts takes you by the hand, guiding you from blank page to polished script. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced writer looking to take your skills to the next level, Watts has something to offer everyone.

One of the things that makes this course so special is Watts’ focus on practical, actionable advice. He doesn’t just tell you what to do; he shows you how to do it. He breaks down each step of the screenwriting process into manageable chunks, and he provides plenty of examples and exercises to help you put his teachings into practice.

In addition to the practical advice, Watts also offers a wealth of insights into the art and craft of screenwriting. He talks about the importance of story, character, and dialogue, and what screenwriting pitfalls to avoid.

⏱️Duration:4 Hours
🛍️Total lessons:23 video lessons
Free Trial:
🔄Refund Policy:
Level of difficulty:Beginner
Best for:Beginners and intermediates
  • Concept development – crafting compelling ideas.
  • Characterization – creating relatable heroes and villains.
  • Theme exploration – understanding underlying themes.
  • Structure – mastering screenplay organization.
  • Scene writing – crafting engaging scenes.


  • Provides practical skills, actionable steps, and real-world insights.
  • Comprehensive Content
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Examples from movies


  • Feels short
  • No personal feedback

List of lessons & instructors

2-6Concept Development
7-11Crafting Your Story
12-22Structure and Writing Techniques
23The End

John Watts has over 20 years of experience in the film and television industry as a writer and director. His journey began with prominent channels like the BBC, ITV, and various Sky channels.

John’s scripts have found success across continents. He has sold scripts not only in the USA and the UK but also in China, speaking to the quality of his work. 

Moreover, John is also one of the most sought-after script doctors, fine-tuning and improving existing scripts.

Overall, this course is a valuable resource for beginners and intermediate screenwriters. Whether you’re aiming to write your first script or improve your existing skills, John Watts’ guidance will set you on the right path! 

7. Beginning Screenwriting Made Easy

Best screenwriting course for beginners

Finally, if you consider yourself a complete novice seeking a simplified guide to screenwriting, the Beginning Screenwriting Made Easy course on Udemy by Word Dancer serves as an excellent starting point.

This course will hold your hand through the basics such as planning your movie script, proper screenplay formatting, how to write a script, and what to do after completing your initial draft.

To enhance your comprehension, the course also includes two downloadable resources and 15 articles. And at only 2.5 hours long, divided into 38 bite-sized lessons, the Beginning Screenwriting Made Easy course is designed to be practical, time-saving, and easy to understand. You’ll even get a certificate of completion.

She also runs a popular screenwriting YouTube channel called “WORD DANCER” with over 33,000 subscribers where she shares valuable insights, tips, and tricks related to screenwriting.

More than 10,000 students have taken her screenwriting courses, benefiting from her practical approach and expertise.

💲Cost:$54 (Lifetime access)
⏱️Duration:2.5 hours
🛍️Total lessons:38 video lessons
Free Trial:
🔄Refund Policy:
Level of difficulty:Beginner
Best for:Beginners
  • The biggest mistake new screenwriters make – understand common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
  • Maximizing success in Hollywood BEFORE writing your script – essential insights to increase your chances.
  • Understanding your story idea – how to evaluate and refine your concept.
  • Generating screenwriting story ideas – techniques for sparking creativity.
  • Crafting compelling narratives.
  • Character building in screenwriting
  • Basic screenplay structure – learn the fundamental structure for effective storytelling.
  • Screenplay format – understand industry-standard formatting.
  • Getting feedback on your finished screenplay – strategies for improvement.
  • Thinking Like a Screenwriter – cultivate the right mindset.


  • Time-saving and practical
  • No previous experience is required
  • Step-by-step approach
  • Covers the basics well


  • Not ideal for advanced screenwriters
  • Rather short

List of lessons & instructors

Word Dancer, whose real name is Pamela Kay, won the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – a prestigious and highly-regarded  award that recognizes outstanding screenwriting talent.

 If you’re new to scriptwriting or want to turn your novel into a screenplay, this course is a great starting point.

1-6Supercharge your chances of success!
7-9Let’s explore your idea
10-15Character and Theme
16-21What to know before your fingers hit the keyboard
22-26After the script is written… celebrate! And then…
27-34Bonus Section

Top Online Screenwriting Courses Summarized

Course NamePlatformInstructorDurationPrice
Aaron Sorkin Teaches ScreenwritingMasterClassAaron Sorkin8 hours$10-20
Screenwriting MasterClass: a complete guide to screenwritingMasterClassBrian Birmingham3.5 hours$29
Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for TelevisionMasterClassShonda Rhimes6 hours$10-20
Inspirational Screenwriting. The #1 Screenwriting Course!UdemyPaul Castro3 hours$199
Micro-Budget Filmmaking: ScreenwritingSkillShareDustin Curtis Murphy38 minutes$29
Learn To Write Movies: Screenwriting Step by StepSkillShareJohn Watts4 Hours$29
Beginning Screenwriting made EASYUdemyPamela Kay2.5 hours$54

Ratings from Around the Web

Nothing is more credible than what people like you and I have to say about online courses. People have debated every bit of Aaron’s Sorkin MasterClass. The comments on Reddit surely tell us how brilliant these lessons are.

“If you have the money and you’re fairly new to screenwriting, I’d say go for it. It was a really enjoyable class for me. Not only did I learn, but I was entertained. Sorkin is a pretty cool and humble dude. It didn’t make me a pro writer, but it helped reinforce my foundations and have a tighter grasp on what screenwriting is.”

Screenwriting Reddit Review

Also, on Reddit, we can clearly see I am not the only fan of Shonda Rhimes. It has kept many like myself hooked to her course.

Alternative Platforms Worth Exploring


Udemy is one of the most popular online learning providers, with a massive choice of various classes. The learning platform covers a range of comedy film and creativity courses,


Coursera is another big name in the online courses market, with a lot to offer in film-related fields. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge of the field without spending much money on online learning.


Skillshare focuses on practical courses, with educational videos substituting expensive college courses. The aim is to provide users with marketable skills for finding a job. There are some courses related to movies, writing, and directing.

Is Enrolling in an Online Screenwriting Course Worth It?

Top Classes for Screenwriting: FAQ

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon

I’ve spent the last ten years passionately studying various online learning platforms. Udemy, MasterClass, Coursera, and Skillshare are the main ones, but I review lesser-known study tools as well. I test and analyze each course and lesson thoroughly before sharing my research.



Master scriptwriting through quality online courses.

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon