Apr 12 - Jun 6
Screenwriting: Crafting Your Short Film
Registration is now closed for this session.
Sushma Khadepaun

Course applications are now closed. APPLICATION DEADLINE WAS EXTENDED TO: Monday, March 22 at 2pm PT. 

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

Most effective short fiction films begin with an idea and the development of a screenplay. Short films are a great way to showcase your voice, talent and storytelling skill. In this live, online course, you will learn the fundamentals of screenwriting and develop your original story idea into a short screenplay with accomplished filmmakers as your guides.

In class sessions, you will analyze a variety of short films across genres and styles, complete interactive exercises, and share your work with others in your course. Weekly homework is reviewed by your course advisor and is designed to move you closer to your completed short screenplay (5-15 pages), which you will then revise. The course concludes with a one-on-one mentoring session focused on your project and the next steps towards making your short film.

By the end of the course you will:

  • learn industry-standard screenplay formatting.
  • understand the short film format, including different structures, lengths and genres.
  • define your creative voice and vision.
  • develop and reveal your protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters.
  • construct the world and tone for your short screenplay.
  • craft the structure for your short screenplay.
  • understand how to write a scene.
  • hone your ability to write action and dialogue.
  • learn how to take notes and approach a rewrite.

This course is ideal for:

  • first-time screenwriters with a great idea for a short film who need help honing their voice, crafting a structure, building a world and developing characters.
  • novice writers or directors who have made a short or have a draft of a short screenplay they plan to make, but want the formal guidance of an experienced advisor and a deadline for completion.
  • non-fiction directors looking to learn the core elements of scripted content.

Course enrollment is capped at approximately 50 participants, with a participant-to-advisor ratio of no more than twelve-to-one. To apply, you should have an idea for a short screenplay that you plan to work on throughout the course.


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 12 - June 6
  • SCHEDULE: Mondays, 10am - 12pm PT
    • Extended first class session: Monday, April 12, 10am - 12:30pmPT
    • Extended last class session: Monday, May 24, 10am - 12:30pmPT
    • One-on-one mentoring sessions are held between June 1 - June 6
New York, NY, USA
Born and raised in India, Sushma is a writer/director based in New York City. She writes stories that explore identity, freedom, and the myth of the American Dream. She is an active champion of intersectional feminist storytelling. more...
Asher Jelinsky is a Los Angeles based director and writer originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Their latest film MILLER & SON was shortlisted for the 92nd Academy Awards and won the gold medal Student Academy Award, the BAFTA Student Film Award, and the Cannes Lions Young Director Award. Asher’s short films have garnered awards and nominations at over 70 film festivals around the world including Clermont-Ferrand, BFI London, and Palm Springs among others. more...
Lise Raven is a US/EU filmmaker. Her debut feature LOW, set in the gritty world of the Brooklyn boxing scene, was screened internationally. more...
Kim Spurlock is a Vietnamese-American filmmaker based in New York. She holds an MFA in Film Production from NYU. Kim has written, produced and directed multiple award-winning short films including Buổi Chiều, a Vietnamese language ghost story that premiered at Slamdance before winning the Jury Prize at the Vietnamese International Film Festival, and the Student Academy Award Winning DOWN IN NUMBER 5, a Southern Gothic tale of a coal miner pushed to his limits for the love of his son. more...

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