Advanced Screenwriting

Polish and refine your screenplay from a work-in-progress to a draft ready for option.

Filmmaking must begin with a solid screenplay. This intensive one-week workshop is for writers who have a screenplay in progress and are seeking guidance, direction and focus from an accomplished screenwriter. It is equally applicable for those who have a completed script and want to revise and polish it for the market or for production.

Class time is divided between lectures on the dynamics of screenwriting and discussion of student scripts. One-on-one sessions between the instructor and each student take place throughout the week. The workshop delves more deeply into concept, story structure, character development, plot and subplots, central theme, dialogue, and the process of revising a screenplay. Students discuss suggestions for rewrites, alternative approaches, and explore solutions to the problems posed by each script. Participants learn to look critically at their writing with special attention to the importance of economy in writing, visual storytelling, and how to heighten the emotional stakes of story and character. The class surveys the practical realities of the film industry in terms of getting material read and sold, finding an agent, deal-making options, and how Hollywood works. By the end of the week, each script has been reviewed and reconstructed with a 'battle plan' on how to take the script to the next level, including marketing strategies.

For admission to the workshop students must submit one of the following: a completed screenplay draft or the first 20 pages of a screenplay in progress.


Janet Roach

Janet Roach is an Academy Award Nominated screenwriter, teacher, lecturer and former documentary filmmaker for CBS and PBS. She has written over a dozen film scripts, of which five have been produced. Janet has also won the British Academy Award, and the Writers' Guild award for Outstanding Achievement in Screen writing. She was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay of Prizzi's Honor. She also wrote the scripts for Mr. North and the ABC television movie The Three Stooges

She taught screenwriting at Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and has taught both documentary filmmaking and master classes in screenwriting at the Maine Media Workshops for more than 20 years. She has also taught screenwriting master classes in Canada, Finland, Mexico, Poland and New Zealand.

A part-time resident of New Zealand, she is currently at work on a memoir, Swimming with Dinner, about the adventures she has shared with her husband in an isolated point of land on the North Island's Doubtless Bay.

Wayne Beach

Wayne Beach has written screenplays for Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, TNT, Fox 2000 Pictures, and Village Roadshow Pictures. He has developed projects for the makers of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, THE GREAT GATSBY, LAW & ORDER, THE FUGITIVE, SEVEN, OCEAN’S ELEVEN, PLATOON, THE MATRIX and THE PERFECT STORM.

His screenplay credits include MURDER AT 1600 (Warner Bros.) starring Wesley Snipes, Diane Lane, Alan Alda and Dennis Miller; and THE ART OF WAR (Warner Bros.) starring Wesley Snipes, Donald Sutherland and Anne Archer.    He wrote and directed SLOW BURN starring Ray Liotta, LL Cool J, Mekhi Phifer, Jolene Blalock, Taye Diggs and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film, his directorial debut, was released by Lionsgate and played 1100 theaters nationwide.

Having recently finished an assignment adapting THE GARDEN OF BETRAYAL, a new novel by Lee Vance published by Knopf, he currently has two television series in development with major producers attached.

Beach has taught screenwriting at Northwestern University and at Bates College, where he continues to serve as guest faculty.    He leads screenwriting workshops at Maine Media Workshops and also serves on the MFA faculty of Maine Media College.

Many of his former students have become successful writers, directors and producers working at the highest levels of film and television.    His screenwriting students have gone on to write hit movies and TV shows including THE VOW, HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, FRIENDS, BROTHERS & SISTERS, NEVER BEEN KISSED, VALENTINE’S DAY, GREEN LANTERN, DAWSON’S CREEK, EVERWOOD, ARROW, REVENGE, POLITICAL ANIMALS, GCB, BEVERLY HILLS 90210, JACK & BOBBY, ROSWELL, MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, and the forthcoming sequel to CLASH OF THE TITANS.