Applications are now open for Summer 2020. Take the course online or in-person.

The storied Act One Hollywood Writing Program is more dynamic than ever. Spend the summer learning to write feature films and Television in-person and online.

“Act One is all you need to succeed in Hollywood as a writer. Don’t waste your time in a four-year screenwriting program. You can do it better and faster with Act One.”

We hear this a lot from alums about our writing program.

How are we different? Better?

First, we draw from a large (amazing!) team of teachers who are also professional, working writers. They come off the lots, off the set, and out of the writers rooms to teach you the basics (character, dialogue, formatting, structure) and more advanced topics. Each teacher has a unique and compelling angle on the industry and how to succeed. They share their industry “secrets” openly and are driven to make you the best writer you can be.  The wealth of their knowledge and expertise is unparalleled… and yours for the having.

Second, our community of teachers, mentors, and writers are, in large part, professionals who hold Christian values and desire to see those instilled in their creative work, no matter what genre or storytelling arena. They offer a transparent and supportive environment in which to tell redemptive stories grounded in a Biblical worldview. We’re not talking about faith-based content (although we definitely support that), but rather transforming mainstream culture with works of truth, goodness, and beauty in the world around us… through all types of stories.

Third, we don’t mess around. Our training is concentrated and extremely thorough. We incorporate a variety of teaching modalities—  lecture-style, video-based, writer panels and interviews, small groups, real world writing exercises, and mentorships with professional working writers. We focus on getting you to mine great ideas, find your voice, develop truly memorable characters, work within script structure and format, and so much more.

Last, (and maybe best), once you go through Act One we welcome you as part of a life long community of entertainment professionals. Act Oners are a close-knit group who continue to support and encourage each other in our professional creative journeys. After you complete the program, alums helps alums by forming writing groups, locating jobs, encouraging each other, and offering continuing education and support in becoming competitive storytellers.

“A wonderful concoction of knowledgeable speakers, prayerful team leaders, and dedicated participants. A top notch group of kind hearted and world successful individuals who welcomed us and truly want us to thrive.”

Erika T.

“It has changed my spiritual and technical vision. It has shown me how to improve my skills as a storyteller. Christian writers must enroll in Act One if they are looking for direction and structure.”

Poliana A.

“Act One has made a difference. I have tools to improve my writing, friends that love Jesus in the industry, and a far better understanding of the climate I am attempting to be a part of. Act One is packed with professionals that take their craft seriously and clearly hope to inspire other Christians to do the same.”

Dave B.

“Act One is a huge blessing, both professionally and spiritually. The mentors and speakers are filled not only with wisdom about their craft and the industry but also with compassion for their students. This program really is the perfect place to hone your writing and producing skills for the glory of God and to build a life-long community of believers and fellow writers.”

Zach V.

“More than anything, the community of Act One has encouraged me to keep going in this city. The stories they share have been invaluable. I’m really thankful to have found a group of like-minded people who are also excellent at what they do.”

Hannah C.

“The Act One Writing Program did more for me in 10 weeks than four years of college was ever able to get me."

Nicholas C.

This summer, you can uncover the art of Writing Feature Films and Televsion.

During the 2 1/2-week session, you will sit under the teaching of professional writers. The week is structured like this:

  • Class-based Lessons
  • Daily Group Discussions
  • Limited One-on-one Mentoring
  • Daily writing assignments
  • Film viewing assignments
  • Reading assignments (Save the Cat, The Hollywood Standard, Making a Good Script Great, etc.)

Included in the course is a three-day Spiritual Retreat at the end of the program.


Day One – Your Story, Your Voice
Class 1: Identifying a Good Movie Story – Bill Marsilii
Class 2: Panel – Finding your voice as a writer – Bill Marsilii, Jen Dornbush, Jeremy Howe
Class 3 – Story Essentials (Toy Story & Truby) & Loglines – Andrea Nasfell

Day Two – Genre & Character
Class 1: Q&A with Dean Batali
Class 2: Q&A with Ralph Winter
Class 3: Character – Cory Edwards
Class 4: Logline Feedback – Cory Edwards

Day Three – Structure
Class 1: Structure for Features – Andrea Nasfell
Class 2: Intro to the World of TV – Q&A with Luke Schelhaas
Class 3: Breaking a TV Episode – Sheryl Anderson

Day Four – The Writer’s Business
Class 1: Optioning Material – Tom Vidal
Class 2: Treatment, Outlines & Beatsheets – Caleb Brown
Class 3: How to take a meeting – Natalie Chaidez
Class 4: Business Ethics (PEEP) – Chuck Slocum

Day Five – The Page
Class 1: Character Introductions & Disclosure of Information – Tom Provost
Class 2: Cinematic Storytelling & The Page – Andrea Nasfell

Day Six – Beyond the Script
Class 1: Elements of a Pitch – Clare Sera
Class 2: Pitching Tips & Horror Stories – Clare Sera & Nathan Scoggins
Class 3: Literary Management – Marilyn Atlas

Day Seven – Making It Real
Class 1: Dialogue – James Scott Bell
Class 2: Research – Caleb Brown
Class 3: World-building – Jim Krueger
Class 4: Breaking Bad Analysis – Caleb Brown

Day Eight – It’s Done, Now What?
Class 1: Casting – Sunny Boling
Class 2: Life On & Off the Blacklist: Handling the Ups and Downs of the Writing Life – Geoff Tock & Tobias Iaconis
Class 3: The Hollywood Development Game – Andrea Nasfell

Day Nine – The Writing Life
Class 1: Comedy & Writing for Kids – Joel McCrary
Class 2: Jessica Jones Screening & Q&A with Writer – Scott Reynolds

Day Ten – The Career
Class 1: Working with Executives – Marybeth Sprows
Class 2: Coverage & Hollywood Readers – Bernadette Rivero


2 1/2 Weeks
July 8-July 26, 2020 (17 days)


Really Early Bird Special: January 31, 2020 ($100 off price)
Early Bird Deadline: March 15, 2020 ($50 off price)
Regular Deadline: May 15, 2020
Class begins: July 8, 2020 (HWP)



HOLLYWOOD WRITING PROGRAM: $1,600.00 (includes the Spiritual Retreat)

***A deposit of 50% tuition cost is required upon acceptance into the program to hold your spot.


#1: Writing Sample of 10 pages (any narrative content)

#2: 2 Loglines (Original Ideas)

#3: Resume

#4: Statement of Faith: No more than 3 pages detailing the following: (1) Briefly describe your spiritual journey and your belief in Jesus Christ. (2) Why do you, as a Christian, want to write for movies or TV in Hollywood? (3) Cite examples of movies or TV shows that are most like what you aspire to write, and tell us why. (4) What are you hoping to learn at Act One? (5) What are your plans upon completion of the program?