Writing for Film & TV Associate Diploma Program


Turn your writings into saleable, commercial formats ready for production.

New Term Starts Soon, Online

Train from anywhere, at any time, with four intakes a year.
Next Start Date:
July, 2024
24 months

Online Screenwriting Program Description

Write Your Screenplay

Become versed in the techniques that will enable you to effectively pitch, write and produce your own stories. Perfect your writing portfolio under the guidance of real screenwriters, while learning in online classes styled after industry writing rooms. And graduate ready to write your own sitcoms, dramas, feature films, commercials, factual entertainment, and more.

Career Outcomes for Screenwriting Online Graduates


Story Editor


Production Executive

Studio Executive



Staff Writer



Student Success


Online Screenwriting Courses

Term 1



Have a story to tell? Start with an introduction to the basic concepts and formatting of the screenplay, including character creation, dialogue writing, screen structure and more. Learn to create complex, layered characters and write them into a scene that reveals character traits through subtext. Your story continues as you write a second scene in sequence, considering audience expectations and the opportunity to go against them in order to create a more compelling narrative.



Take an in-depth look at the language of film, its origins and genres. Significant innovations and major cinematic movements will be studied, as well as popular techniques, styles and storytelling formats. Ultimately, you will discuss and deconstruct a historic film using the techniques learned in class.

Term 2



Jump into the role of the story editor as you learn to critically analyze the scripts and development materials of others. You will focus on the collaborative process of writing and the role of notes delivered from story editors, executives, producers, directors and even actors. You will also be taught the professional way to give notes both in meetings and in private, so as to get the best results from the writer.



What is the three-act structure and story arc? Dive into these pillars of screenwriting and learn to create and highlight fundamental plot points. Building on your structural knowledge, you will create a beat sheet for a short film, expand that into a treatment, and finally write a first draft focusing on rising action, tension and creating a compelling narrative.



Tune in and discover various formats, styles, and approaches associated with writing for a studio broadcast. Your focus will be on news reporting, becoming familiar with broadcast terminology, and training to ‘write for the ear’. Subject areas include preparation and research, interviewing, and composing scripts. Specific broadcast formats for news reports, commentaries, and mini-features will be examined.

Term 3



Writing for the big screen is a whole different game. This course teaches how words translate into images and how filmic elements create a visual narrative. Key concepts taking you deeper into the traditional three-act story structure for film include conflict, theme, subtext, tone, dialogue and genre. The importance of research and developing a deep knowledge of your characters and world will be stressed. You will develop your own concept proposal (log line & synopsis), which will be expanded to beat sheet and then treatment by the end of the course.



Have a flair for the dramatic? Explore the unique style and structure of the dramatic television series, with a focus on storyline and story development. Plot structure, narrative unity, characterization, dialogue, exposition and setting will all be studied in depth, paired with an analysis of various current dramatic series. The structure for hour-long series will be introduced, and you will examine how it is applied to some of your favourite series. Throughout, you will write a spec script for an existing dramatic series from proposal to first draft, and your script will be used as a portfolio piece after graduation.



Refine your story as you focus on reader coverage and specific considerations when story editing projects in various formats. Learn to analyze the premise, story, characters and controlling idea of a script, and present concerns to the writer in the most effective way. You will also focus on the creation of story elements that grab and hold an audience which you will later incorporate into your work.

Term 4



Your journey to becoming a comedy writer begins with sketch, talk-show, and sitcom writing. Become familiar with the language and process of television comedy writing and rewriting as you analyze the various formats of television comedy. You will be encouraged to develop your own comic voice and point-of-view, while preparing a series of monologues, desk jokes, sketches and a spec script for an existing sitcom to add to your portfolio.



Dream of being a staff writer on an award-winning drama? Building on the base you established in Drama Writing, this course will push you to write a complete one-hour dramatic television script. You will conceive an original pilot, its rules, an outline, then write a draft of your pilot script. With the market-driven nature of dramatic television in mind, you will learn to accommodate external influences, and extend your story to digital platforms.



It’s time to focus on story development and broadcast scripts that grab and hold your audience. Through the examination and analysis of current trends, you will also learn fundamental considerations in the production of advertisements, promos, and corporate videos. By course’s end you will have built a portfolio of corporate video scripts, commercials, promos, and PSAs for your professional use later on.

Term 5



Building on the base established in Feature Writing I, you will focus on story structure, specifically on how to construct and deconstruct a story in various ways. More complex structures will be explored to give you a solid foundation in the language of feature film story. Scene structure will also be examined in greater depth. Equipped with this new knowledge, you will take your feature outlines written in part I and begin writing a first draft. Standard industry formats for various development documents will be reviewed, as you also revise your pitch documents from part I (log lines, synopses, etc.) for future use.



Building on the base established in Comedy Writing, you will analyze the structure, scripting and pacing of the sitcom in greater depth. Both single-camera and multi-camera shows will be examined. The importance of likeable, well-defined characters in a compelling, comfortable world (with consistent rules) will be stressed. The course culminates with you writing your very own original sitcom pilot from proposal to outline to draft. 



Ever wonder how modern films are funded? Here’s your introduction to the business techniques and language involved in securing available funding from various agencies. Familiarize yourself with the numerous types of funding at different levels of government and through private institutions, including grants and tax incentives. You will also explore the different avenues and methods for raising capital as well as the different strategies for financing a project.

Term 6



Examine the structure of real-world story departments and equip yourself with the skills needed to secure a staff position in one. Using the original pilot drafts written in Sitcom Writing 1, you will be guided through the process of story editing and ‘punching up’ scripts to create a tight, refined product. 



Here’s your inside look at the ins and outs of working in a creative writing department. The essential skills you learn in this course will help you secure a staff position. Using the original pilot drafts written in One-Hour Drama Writing 1, you will learn how to give proper story notes, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of having additional perspectives on a project as you collaborate, rework, and rewrite scripts.



Canadian copyright laws are constantly evolving to meet an ever-changing global and technological landscape. Stay in the know through the study of primary contracts associated with film production, as well as copyright infringement and clearances. Explore other essential elements of copyright law including violations, ownership and payments. 

Term 7



Ready for the next phase of writing your feature film? With the increasingly collaborative nature of feature writing, you will rethink your work by taking into consideration the feedback from others. The logistics of writing a commercially saleable script will be examined, as will the art of producing a compelling feature adaptation from a novel or other medium. Modern story structures for current saleable genres will be studied, including romantic comedies and thrillers. You will finalize pitch materials from parts I & II (log lines, synopses, etc.) so that, along with a polished script, you will possess the documents necessary to get people interested in reading your work. 



Take on the role of showrunner and discover what it’s like to showrun a series you’ve written. You will finalize your pilot script, create audition materials, and finally conduct a mock casting and selection of actors on TFS’s version of Casting Workbook.



Film distribution and marketing is its own art form. You will make simulated production and distribution choices while developing an understanding of the TV sales process and how it relates to the global marketplace. Learn the language of broadcast and film sales, create an effective sell sheet, and develop both a sales forecast and a marketing and promotion plan for a project. Identify accessible and profitable markets and familiarize yourself with emerging markets including mobile, web and video on demand.

Term 8



It’s all come down to this. This final Feature Writing course will highlight the challenges faced by screenwriters today, and see you complete your feature draft. You will receive notes from colleagues and instructors, and use this feedback to make your draft as tight and polished as possible. Instructors will discuss the industry realities of table-reads, casting a film, and managing actors on set.



This true-to-life, real-world-style exercise will teach you the skills and set protocols needed to act as a TV showrunner today. Using scenes from pilot scripts developed in WRT 530, you will oversee a mock tv production, finish your pilot with input from online story rooms, participate in a detailed tone meeting with the director, and prepare written materials for a virtual casting session. Familiarize yourself with all aspects of production, including call sheets, schedules, and shot lists. You will also compare different visual styles of cinematography and editing, and choose an approach best suited to the script being developed. 



Build your career in the film & television industry, both from a business and creative standpoint. On the business side: understand the role of agents, lawyers and managers in your career. On the creative side: optimize your portfolio for various goals and strike the right balance of including both original and spec scripts. Formats for pitch documents will be reviewed, including log lines, synopses, treatments, bibles, and pilot scripts. You will also learn pitching techniques and create a submission package to be used after graduation.



Our Admissions Process Made Easy


Complete Toronto Film School’s online application form.


Pay the (non-refundable) application fee of $150..


Provide original or notarized translated academic transcripts.


Submit two or more short assignments, your choice of:

  • Journal Entry (two pages)
  • Short Story (two pages)
  • Opinion Article (two pages)
  • Short Film/Sketch script (not to exceed 5 pages)

For a complete break-down of this program’s admission requirements, please visit our admission requirements page.


Tuition Fees

Tuition rates are confirmed 3 months prior to the start of each term. For more information, please contact the Bursar’s office at 1.888.886.1882.

The tuition fee and cost breakdown for the Writing for Film & TV online program are as follows:

July Rates:

Writing for Film & TV


October Rates:

Writing for Film & TV


We can help

Take advantage of payment options that are available to all new Toronto Film School students.

Contact Us

*Each course in the program is $960. There are 23 courses in total.

Note: Tuition Fees do not include books, expendable supplies, equipment, software, and resources.

Recommended Software

Final Draft (Final Draft Educational is available at a discount for students) OR other industry-standard screenwriting software.


How do I contact Toronto Film School?

The most effective way to get in touch with us fast is to fill out a Request for Information Form so a call with an admissions advisor can be arranged. Or, reach out to us at 1.866.467.0661 or message us on Facebook 

Why should I choose this online writing program?

This is a comprehensive, hands-on learning program. You will learn the skills needed to turn your writings into saleable, commercial formats through a curriculum designed to meet today’s industry expectations. Below are five reasons why you should choose our program.  


In just 24 months, you will: 


1. Earn a diploma online.

Through asynchronous learning, you will learn on your schedule how to write dramas, feature films, sitcoms, commercials, factual entertainment, and more. 100% online. 


2. Learn from working screenwriters.

Our faculty bring real-world experience to the virtual classroom. Their insider knowledge will thoroughly prepare you to pitch, write and produce your own screenplays. Because of the comprehensive nature of this program, your diploma will open you up to a variety of career outcomes as listed on our Writing For Film & TV Online Program page

3. Enjoy networking opportunities and make industry connections.

As a student, you will have the opportunity to engage in exclusive networking events, where every term an industry leader sits down with us to share their career journey, insights, strategies and more—including dispensing valuable tips for those aspiring to break in or succeed in the industry today.   


Many events are live streamed, so you can participate from home. 


4. Learn the business.

We’ll demystify the process by equipping you with a solid understanding of the business side of the industry too. In fact, our students graduate with the skills to start their own company   


5. Graduate industry ready.

You will graduate confident and ready in just 24 months—with a portfolio of work that showcases your new writing skills to production companies or potential clients.  


If you’re ready to start writing professional screenplays, get in touch with us now. Soon, you could be embarking on a thrilling 24-month journey. One that could see you become a fully trained industry professional.  

What kind of support will I receive during the online screenwriting program?

You will find our faculty approachable and accessible, available via email and with regularly scheduled video chats to go over your projects and answer your questions. You can also request a call with any of your teachers via email.  


Toronto Film School is home to a Career Services Centre, designed to provide you with personalized help and to teach you the latest tactics and strategies in securing a position in your area of interest. The Career Services Centre is available to all online students.     

What’s the duration of the online screenwriting course?

24 months through asynchronous delivery. The program is designed so that you can learn on your own schedule, from anywhere.  

What kind of assignments can I expect in the Writing for Film & TV Associate Diploma Program?

The program is 8 terms. During this time, you can expect assignments that will teach you how to: 


– create complex, layered characters and plots. 

– critically analyze your work and the work of other screenwriters. 

– work within the 3-Act Structure. 

– write studio broadcasts, feature films, dramas, and comedies. 

– become a showrunner. 

– gain financing for a production.  

– understand and work with contracts. 

– develop sales forecasts and marketing plans. 

– work with agents, lawyers and managers. 

– develop an online presence to market yourself and your new skills. 


And more. 

Can I take the online screenwriting degree program at my own pace?

You can. Where and when you go online to take your classes is up to you. You do, however, have to meet your assignment deadlines as determined by your teachers. Of course, we understand that life happens: should you have a situation which prevents you from delivering a project by the due date, we encourage you to talk to the course’s teacher in advance of the deadline. They can assess the impact of a late assignment and work with you to arrange a new delivery date. 

Are there any prerequisites for enrolling in the screenwriting diploma program?

As part of our simplified application process, you will need to include two or more short writing pieces from the following list: 

Journal Entries (no more than 2 pages) 

Short Story (no more than 2 pages) 

Opinion Article (no more than 2 pages) 

Short film/Sketch script (no more than 5 pages) 


You can read more about prerequisites on the Writing for Film & TV online homepage.  


How much does the online screenwriting program cost?

The tuition cost for our Writing for Film &TV Associate Diploma Program is $22,080 (as of October 2023). This program consists of 23 courses. 


Payment options are available, just reach out to us so we can work something out. Also, we recommend you check out our Bursaries and Financial Aid page.  


For information regarding all admission requirements, please check out the Toronto Film School Admission Requirements homepage.  


Lastly, the fine print: Tuition fees do not include books, expendable supplies, equipment, software and resources. Tuition and fees are subject to change.  

Will I receive a screenwriting certificate upon completion of the online screenwriting program?

You will receive a Writing for Film & TV Associate Diploma, not a certificate.  

What are the criteria for passing your Video Production Diploma Program?

You must complete all courses with a 1.7 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) in the 4.3 scale or better. Any course with a grade W or F must be retaken in order to graduate.  

Is financial aid available for the Video Production Diploma Program?

There are tuition, bursaries and financial aid programs available for those who qualify. To learn more, visit our financial aid page 



Please note: Toronto Film School online programs are offered through Toronto Film School at Yorkville University, New Brunswick. 

Are you in

Request a call with one of our admissions advisors if you have any questions about this program or the enrolment process. 

Start your application now to secure your spot.