Master Classes are in-depth, interactive learning experiences focused on craft and career building and led by renowned industry experts. Topics include fiction and documentary filmmaking, TV writing and production, and navigating and succeeding in the entertainment industry.

A good story takes time to unfold and emerge, which can be exciting and intimidating. And there is always the question if it is good enough. Even before you begin a screenplay, you need a compelling idea and a sense of how to keep your audience engaged by creating conflict and tension within your story. Join David Schwab, a NYC-based screenwriter and an adjunct professor of screenwriting at the Graduate Film School at Columbia University, in a live, three-hour, online Master Class where he helps screenwriters learn the essential process of finding compelling, resonant stories to tell and doing the research necessary to make them feel authentic. He identifies strategies to discover your dramatic problem and themes as well as methods for engaging the audience. Guest filmmakers Tamara Jenkins, Mira Nair, and Destin Daniel Cretton will share how they find their ideas and reflect on the importance of finding stories to which you have a strong, authentic connection.

Topics covered include: 

    0-4:17 - Introductions

    4:17 - David Schwab’s Intro to the Class

    9:06 - How Schwab Finds His Stories

    19:40 - How the Masters Get Their Ideas

    31:28 - Writing From Your Own Experience

    38:00 - Conducting Research

    45:13 - The Importance of Dramatic Problems

    52:27 - Visual Examples of Dramatic Problems

    1:05 - A Litmus Test for Determining Your Story

    1:09 - Q&A with David Schwab

    1:18 - Guest Panelist Tamara Jenkins

    1:50 - Guest Panelist Mira Nair

    2:20 - Guest Panelist Destin Daniel Cretton


Download the list of resources from David Schwab and Sundance Collab

David Schwab, is a screenwriter based in New York City. Since 2014, Mr. Schwab has been an adjunct professor of screen writing at the Graduate Film school at Columbia University. He has also taught at the French film program, La Femis. more...
Tamara Jenkins is the writer and director of the films Private Life, The Savages, Slums of Beverly Hills as well as several award winning shorts. Among the honors she has received are an Academy Award nomination, an Independent Spirit Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Ms. Jenkins attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received her MFA and met her husband, the screenwriter, Jim Taylor, with whom she occasionally writes. Jenkins lives in NYC with Jim and their daughter, Mia. more...
Mira Nair is an Academy-Award nominated director best known for her visually dense films that pulsate with life. Her debut feature, SALAAM BOMBAY! (1988) won the Caméra d’Or at Cannes, followed by the groundbreaking MISSISSIPPI MASALA, the Golden Globe & Emmy-winning HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS (2001) and the international hit MONSOON WEDDING (2001), for which she was the first woman to win Venice Film Festival’s coveted Golden Lion. more...
Destin Daniel Cretton is a Hawaiian-born filmmaker known for his films Short Term 12, The Glass Castle and Just Mercy. He is currently directing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for Marvel Studios. more...

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