CRC professor offers Screenwriting course in the upcoming Fall semester

On May 11, Los Rios sent out a notice making the official decision to move to a fully online fall schedule. As Cosumnes River College and Los Rios students start searching for classes for the upcoming fall semester, a class to consider will be “Basic Screenwriting,” also known as FMS 310.

Mark Steensland, an adjunct film and media studies professor at CRC, will teach Basic Screenwriting for the second time, teaching the class previously in the Spring 2019 semester.

“It’s really satisfying to teach the students how to do something and then see them do their first screenwriting exercise or write a scene,” said Steensland. “We all read those together and it’s a lot of fun.” 

This course is a study of the creativity and techniques of screenwriting for short films, feature films and television. Students will view and analyze exemplary films, participate in writing exercises and workshops. They will also complete a treatment and master scenes of a full-length project, according to Steensland’s previous screenwriting course syllabus.

Emani Dawan, a 29-year-old film and media studies major, previously took Steensland’s screenwriting course and elaborated on the impact the class had on her. She said that the class focused on the build-up, fundamentals, and history of screenwriting.

“Taking that class allowed me to become confident as a screenwriter,” said Dawan. “He was really elaborate on how many jobs you can get within the screenwriting industry.”

Dawan said that she has been a self-taught screenwriter since 2013 and she plans on transferring to San Francisco State University in the upcoming fall semester, where she will be majoring in cinema, with an emphasis in screenwriting. 

Steensland, a current screenwriter himself, wrote the novel “The Special” in 2018 that has since been adapted into a movie that he also wrote the screenplay for.  Aside from “The Special,”  Steensland has also written the scripts for “Jakob’s Wife” and “The Black-Jar Man.” 

“Having sold screenplays or having worked in the business specifically are going to be very helpful to anybody who’s writing a screenplay,” said Film and Media Studies Professor Adam Wadenius in reference to Steensland. “That’s one of the real ways that you get a screenplay written. Going out and being discovered rarely happens, what most often happens is you know somebody, who gives it to somebody, who reads it to somebody and so forth.”

Wadenius previously taught screenwriting at CRC last semester and is glad to see that Steensland will be teaching a synchronous version of the class for the upcoming online fall semester.

“Him doing it synchronously is a good thing because you need to be in front of people talking about and sharing your ideas,” said Wadenius.

The class will be synchronous and online, with one meeting per week. As of right now, Steensland will be teaching the course on Wednesday evenings from 6 pm to 9:05 pm. 

Although the course will be online, Steensland said he plans on having guest speakers, active participation and discussion towards students screenwriting work, while giving the necessary lectures to reach all the learning outcomes.

“I think storytelling is really, really important. I think it’s one of the most important activities that we do as humans,” said Steensland. “And I know that sounds hyperbolic at one level but seriously, we sit down on the couch and we turn on Netflix, why? Because we want stories to be told to us.”