NEW CLASS! Quick. Picture one of your favorite movies. What do you love about it? Perhaps it's the clever use of cinematography, stark lighting, or sound effects that stands out to you. Most likely, though, a movie is beloved because of the story it tells and the characters it portrays. Story and character—that's the domain of the scriptwriter.

At Brave Writer, we recognize that film is the new literature birthed in the twentieth century. We have the opportunity, being at home, to introduce our children to a feast of ideas shared through movies. Now, your teens have the chance to build on those movie-watching experiences to create scripts of their own.

Our focus in this class is on screenplays, but budding playwrights are welcome to join, too. All will learn the basic elements of scriptwriting and how it differs from writing novels. In this class, we'll explore:

  • The structure and plot progression of popular films (all films discussed will be rated PG-13 or younger)
  • Genres specific to film
  • Character intention and obstacles used to create tension
  • Creating believable characters that are action-driven
  • Dialogue and its rhythm, poetry, and music
  • Using scenes to keep the story in motion

Students won’t submit a complete screenplay (these are usually far too long for a four-week class), but instead will have the opportunity to work on each of these specific skills using exercises and writing processes to enhance their scriptwriting prowess. A wonderful advantage to this class is that your students get to share their work with other passionate writers and fans of film!

We will give suggestions of movies to watch and published scripts to read as we diagnose them to find what makes them successful. Students will always be given a choice of movies to explore. In order to decide whether or not these movies are appropriate for your family, please be on hand to evaluate a film to ensure it is a good fit for your teen.

For more information about how the classes are run, please read about online classes.

To explore our Brave Writer classroom, click here to access a sample class.

Class Structure Description #

Brave Writer online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from four to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.

Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment. We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing.

Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.

Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.

Brave Writer takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialog is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer values here.

What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.

Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.

Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll agree!

To explore our Brave Writer classroom, click here to access a sample class.