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Advanced Screenwriting with Ursula Ellis

June 1, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm


Registration for online workshops cuts off 30 minutes before the listed start time. Once registration has ended, participants will be emailed a Zoom Link. Any questions can be directed to Kiwi Lanier – kiwi@sidewalkfest.com.

In this Advanced Screenwriting Workshop intended for writers working on a script at any stage — from ideation to revision — we will explore the components that make up a strong feature screenplay through lecture, film examples, discussion, and writing exercises. Each of the three sessions will have an overarching theme — beginning with structure (story/plot, three act structure, and sequences), followed by character (creating strong protagonists and antagonists through specificity, subjectivity, and access), and ending with story dynamics (emphasizing setting, conflict/obstacles, action, and theme).

Session 1: June 1, 7:30pm
Session 2: June 8, 7:30pm
Session 3: June 15, 7:30pm

$40 for all three sessions (no a la carte registration)

Through this workshop, you’ll be provided with tools to help originate and sustain your story ideas, as well as think critically about storytelling and your individual writing process. There will be optional supplemental reading and homework assignments to deepen the learning experience, though outside work is not required.

Ursula Ellis is an LA-based writer/director and alumna of the Northwestern University undergrad & Columbia University MFA film programs. An Army brat with Appalachian roots, she was born in Germany and raised all over the US, though she spent her most formative years in Madison, Alabama. She is drawn to character-driven stories that explore gender, class, & agency, with a focus on regional settings & genre elements. Her short films have screened at festivals like Fantasia, Denver, Woodstock, Mill Valley, Indie Memphis, & Cucalorus and premiered online via Seed&Spark & NoBudge. Her award-winning MFA thesis, CRICK IN THE HOLLER, received an Alfred P. Sloan Production Grant. Her feature & episodic scripts have been acknowledged by the Academy Nicholls Fellowship, Sundance Institute, & Tribeca Film Institute and supported by the CATWALK Institute. Her pilot script, WAR IS KIND, was awarded the Lisa Rubin Award for Best Drama Teleplay & Faculty Selects at the 2019 Columbia University Film Festival of thesis and recent alumni work. While attending Columbia, Ursula was a graduate teaching fellow & taught a section of Andy Bienen’s 1st year MFA course, “”Elements of Dramatic Narrative”” for two semesters. She was also teaching assistant to Alan Kingsberg and Charlie Rubin during Columbia’s TV Writing Summer Intensive, a 6-week continuing education program. Most recently, she has spoken at Northwestern and Marshall Universities about filmmaking and the grad school decision. She is represented by Daniela Gonzalez & Antonio D’Intino at Circle of Confusion.

Sidewalk’s Educational Programs are sponsored by Wind Creek Hospitality.


June 1, 2020
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm


Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema
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August 21-27, 2023

Sidewalk Film Festival

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