Apr 5 - May 30
Screenwriting: Crafting Your Sci-Fi Feature
Registration is now closed for this session.
Philip Eisner

Course applications are now closed. APPLICATION DEADLINE WAS EXTENDED TO: Monday, March 15 at 2pm PT.

Acceptances start after the deadline, and occur on a rolling basis.

Learn how to give shape and form to the outline of your science-fiction (sci-fi) screenplay with experienced screenwriters as your guides. In this live, eight-week online course, you move from idea to outline through a review of the foundations of screenwriting craft, and lessons on character, conflict, world-building, and the components of the various speculative fiction, futurist storytelling and sci-fi genres.

In class sessions, you will analyze clips from films, complete interactive exercises, and discuss concepts with course advisors. Weekly homework designed to move your concept to a completed outline is reviewed by your advisor. The course concludes with a one-on-one mentoring session with your advisor focused on your project. 

By the end of the course, you will:

  • gain an overview of the genre (utopian, dystopian, fantasy) and the difference between “film genre” and “story genre.”
  • understand the differences between science fact and science fiction.
  • learn the difference between a beat sheet, an outline, and a treatment.
  • understand the foundations of screenwriting, including three-act and alternative structures.
  • sharpen your main and secondary characters.
  • create mood and manage the tone of your story.
  • build a complex science fiction world with clarity on time and space and imbued with humanity and imagination.  
  • identify your character arcs and set up character conflicts.
  • learn how to process notes from your peers, collaborators, and production executives.

This course is ideal for:

  • first-time writers who would like to understand the core concepts of sci-fi screenwriting and how to move their project forward.
  • experienced writers who want a more formal setting and/or the guidance of an experienced sci-fi writer.

Course enrollment is approximately 50 participants, with a participant to advisor ratio of twelve to one. To apply, you must have an idea for a sci-fi screenplay.


The course will be held live in our virtual classroom. All sessions are recorded for registered participants who are unable to attend live.

Sundance Co//ab provides accommodations and support services to participants with disabilities. Accommodations and services are designed to meet the needs of each participant. Please email us at collab_courses@sundance.org to arrange for services. 

  • DURATION: Eight weeks, April 5 - May 30
  • SCHEDULE: Mondays, 10am - 12pm PT
    • Extended first class session: Monday, April 5, 10am - 12:30pmPT
    • Extended last class session: Monday, May 17, 10am - 12:30pmPT
    • One-on-one mentoring sessions are held between May 24 - May 30
Philip Eisner’s addiction to screenwriting began with the sale of the second screenplay he wrote. Over twenty years later, he has been unable to kick the habit. His produced work includes EVENT HORIZON (1997), FIRESTARTER 2 (2001) and MUTANT CHRONICLES (2008). SWEET GIRL (2021) marks his first partnership with novelist Gregg Hurwitz. Their second collaboration, SABINE, is in development at Screen Gems with 21 Laps producing. more...
Julia Camara is a Brazilian writer/filmmaker. Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, she freelanced for years as a Portuguese translator for film and television subtitling. She has written and directed several award-winning short films. Her feature directorial debut IN TRANSIT, an experimental drama shot mostly in one day and with improvised dialogue, won Best Experimental Film at four different festivals. more...
Celia C. Peters is a filmmaker and visual artist creating thoughtful futurist stories about intriguing, authentic characters. She is the curator of Blackness Revisualized, WNET/AllArts.org's inaugural afrofuturist film festival launching March 2021. She is also the director of SHUTDOWN, a short historical documentary produced by Ohio State University, currently in production. more...

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