Writing the Romantic Comedy

With the Hallmark Channel producing over 100 romance movies a year and Lifetime airing 30 holiday movies in 2020, many other distributors — such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon — have also become enamored with this genre, creating numerous opportunities for romance writers to find a match-made-in-heaven for their scripts. 

In our 10-week online workshop, Zac Hug, writer of the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in Evergreen: Bells are Ringing, will guide you from concept to first draft of your romance idea to help make it the most attractive script amongst the hundreds of enchanting submissions all vying for a “meet-cute” with its soulmate–the producer.

Writing the Romantic Comedy with Jessica
Poster for the film Love Under the Olive Tree, a white man and woman hold containers of olive oil and smile at the camera

Using a combination of lecture, workshop, and quite a bit of writing time – students will create an outline of a 90-minute movie for television or streaming. Over the course of ten classes, students will learn about the structure of 9-acts, while generating the pitch and a draft of an outline that details the plot, character journeys, and emotional arcs. Finally, students will write a “zero-draft” version of the script; that is, a draft they can show to each other, and prepare for revisions. Students will also screen various scenes from TV movies and hear from executives at various production companies and networks.

Zac’s next class begins on Tuesday, September 6th from 6-9 pm PST. Cost: $1500. Classes are capped at 12 students so that all participants can receive ample feedback. Please inquire for payment plan options.

Please contact info@propathscreenwriting.com for further information about our workshops. To ensure writers are placed in the correct workshop we do not allow online sign ups for our workshops.

COURSE OUTLINE: Writing the TV RomCom

Course Date/Time
Online via Zoom on Tuesday Evenings, 6pm-9pm
10 weeks beginning September 6th, 2022
Course Description
Using a combination of lecture, workshop, and quite a bit of writing time – students will create an outline of a 90 minute movie for television or streaming. Over the course of ten classes, students will learn about the structure of 9-acts, while generating the pitch and a draft of an outline that details the plot, character journeys, and emotional arcs. Finally, students will write a “zero-draft” version of the script; that is, a draft they can show to each other, and prepare for revisions. Students will also screen various scenes from TV movies and hear from executives at various production companies and networks.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

Identify the ways that three-part storytelling (beginning, middle, end) fit into the arcs of a 9-act movie, with or without commercial breaks.

Write an evocative outline of their romcom, and a script of between 95-105 pages.
Write a summary one-sheet of the movie they intend to write, suitable for pitching to networks.

Major Assignments

One Page Pitch: Students will write a general idea of the story they’re going to write, including a beginning, middle, end, as well as a “why now” and “why me” statement.

Outline: Students will write a 7-10 page outline that leads the reader through what the romcom will be, with two scenes written for a professional settings.

Script: A “Zero-Draft.” bumpy, rough, “just get to the end” version of a 95-105 page script, with notes about next steps and revisions.

Recommended Texts

There are no textbooks or course materials to purchase for this course. Though, in order to get a solid understanding of the basics, the following texts are recommended:

Writing the Romantic Comedy
Billy Mernit

Creating Character Arcs
KM Weiland

Class Schedule

Class One: The Idea
Through lecture, and individual exercises as well as group discussion, we’ll explore the basic idea of a rom-com, the execution of plot and emotional journeys, and the story points that must happen at each stage of the story.

Class Two: The Basics/The Wants of the Main Character
The basics of beginning, middle, and end, focusing on character want, desire, and need as students put their ideas to the test.

Class Three: All the Other Characters/The Writer’s Outline
Part workshop, part discussion on outlines, students will make their final preparations to go off and write an outline. We’ll also set up support groups in case students need to workshop an idea in the interim.

Class Four: WRITING WEEK
Students will meet and finish their outlines in an exercise-driven environment, with the aim of exchanging them by the end of class. Students will also write two “professional-ready” scenes of the outline.

Class Five: To Script We Go!
Students will do a deep dive on three key scenes: character introduction, the end of Act Four, and the end of Act Eight. We’ll explore these scenes from first an action perspective and then a dialogue perspective.

Class Six: Writing Act One
We’ll focus this week on how things begin, and craft the first 25 pages of a zero-draft of the script. That is, we’ll get the messiest first act done we can. And then we’ll put it away as to avoid the temptation of always starting from the beginning.

Class Seven: Writing Act Eight & Act Nine
Now that we’ve looked at a first act, we’ll skip to the end, and build the rest of the container. This tends to scare people, but worry not, the ending is arguably more important to write a few times as the beginning. Let’s start soon.

Class Eight: Act Four & Act Five
TV movies are structured like two long episodes. We’ll focus this week on where our characters get to, what changes drastically and what’s called the new plan. From there, we’ll do the most challenging part.

Class Nine: ANOTHER WRITING WEEK
This week, we will, through the help of in-class exercises, speed write through the connective tissue, the fun stuff. First, we’ll link up Acts 2 & 3 and then dive into the tricky parts of Act 6 & 7. By the time this class is over, you’ll have build the roughest, bumpiest, most delightful romcom yet.

Class Ten: Workshop
Having exchanged scripts a week prior, we’ll meet in groups for feedback and then as a class to read through some favorite scenes. We’ll also talk about the most fun part: rewriting.

NOTE: Classes subject to change and material subject to tweaking. Stay tuned, stay loose, stay flexible and we’ll all figure it out together.

Instructor Statement

I am here to help you travel the distance between the writer you already are and the writer you will be in the future. I’m dedicated to helping you learn the structure underneath the stories that are important to you, and I will always do my best to keep my personal opinion, my political or moral or social background, and even my sense of taste from interfering in your process. I sincerely invite you to offer feedback to me on the material presented, and to keep me honest in how you are feeling about the work we do. I will listen without judgment and seek every opportunity to help. That’s also what I ask of you. By joining a classroom setting, we’re all committing to helping each other see the distance between what we hope people take away from our writing, and what we’ve written. And so, let’s agree to talk about the work in a way that helps lead the writer toward clarity, rather than imposing our own ideas onto it. Let’s agree to be helpful without being pushy, to learn how to be open and strong at the same time. Let’s all try to listen more than we speak. As a writing class, we will use language that is affirming, compassionate, and we will stay open to being educated as to why some words are used for effect in writing, while remaining inappropriate for daily use. Let’s all remain aware that we’re a group of individuals who are arriving from different perspectives. Let’s all agree to act with good intention, to keep each other honest, and to respect everyone’s personal opinions and backgrounds. Let’s be better than we think we should be.

Late Assignments

Here’s what it comes down to, we’re all showing up to help you get where you’re going. So, late work just won’t be evaluated unless a student wants to do you the favor of reading it. By signing up, you’re committing to learning the hardest part of being a writer. Working writers regularly meet deadlines and are well-prepared for meetings and classes. The professionalism you practice here will help prepare for a career as a writer. If you have a serious reason for not submitting an assignment on time, please contact me by email as soon as possible.

Writing the Romantic Comedy with Jessica

Isn’t it Time You Started Writing Your Romantic Comedy?

With the Hallmark Channel producing over 100 romance movies a year and Lifetime airing 30 holiday movies in 2020, many other distributors — such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon — have also become enamored with this genre, creating numerous opportunities for romance writers to find a match-made-in-heaven for their scripts. 

In our 10-week online workshop The First Draft: Ensuring Your Romance Script Has a Happily Ever After, Samantha Herman, writer of the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in Evergreen: Bells are Ringing, will guide you from concept to first draft of your romance idea to help make it the most attractive script amongst the hundreds of enchanting submissions all vying for a “meet-cute” with its soulmate–the producer.

Poster for the film Love Under the Olive Tree, a white man and woman hold containers of olive oil and smile at the camera

Using a combination of lecture, workshop, and quite a bit of writing time – students will create an outline of a 90-minute movie for television or streaming. Over the course of ten classes, students will learn about the structure of 9-acts, while generating the pitch and a draft of an outline that details the plot, character journeys, and emotional arcs. Finally, students will write a “zero-draft” version of the script; that is, a draft they can show to each other, and prepare for revisions. Students will also screen various scenes from TV movies and hear from executives at various production companies and networks.

Zac’s next class begins on Tuesday, September 6th from 6-9 pm PST. Cost: $1500.  Classes are capped at 12 students so that all participants can receive ample feedback. Please inquire for payment plan options.

Please contact info@propathscreenwriting.com for further information about our workshops. To ensure writers are placed in the correct workshop we do not allow online sign ups for our workshops.

COURSE OUTLINE: Writing the TV RomCom

Course Date/Time
Online via Zoom on Tuesday Evenings, 6pm-9pm
10 weeks beginning September 6th, 2022
Course Description
Using a combination of lecture, workshop, and quite a bit of writing time – students will create an outline of a 90 minute movie for television or streaming. Over the course of ten classes, students will learn about the structure of 9-acts, while generating the pitch and a draft of an outline that details the plot, character journeys, and emotional arcs. Finally, students will write a “zero-draft” version of the script; that is, a draft they can show to each other, and prepare for revisions. Students will also screen various scenes from TV movies and hear from executives at various production companies and networks.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

Identify the ways that three-part storytelling (beginning, middle, end) fit into the arcs of a 9-act movie, with or without commercial breaks.

Write an evocative outline of their romcom, and a script of between 95-105 pages.
Write a summary one-sheet of the movie they intend to write, suitable for pitching to networks.

Major Assignments

One Page Pitch: Students will write a general idea of the story they’re going to write, including a beginning, middle, end, as well as a “why now” and “why me” statement.

Outline: Students will write a 7-10 page outline that leads the reader through what the romcom will be, with two scenes written for a professional settings.

Script: A “Zero-Draft.” bumpy, rough, “just get to the end” version of a 95-105 page script, with notes about next steps and revisions.

Recommended Texts

There are no textbooks or course materials to purchase for this course. Though, in order to get a solid understanding of the basics, the following texts are recommended:

Writing the Romantic Comedy
Billy Mernit

Creating Character Arcs
KM Weiland

Class Schedule

Class One: The Idea
Through lecture, and individual exercises as well as group discussion, we’ll explore the basic idea of a rom-com, the execution of plot and emotional journeys, and the story points that must happen at each stage of the story.

Class Two: The Basics/The Wants of the Main Character
The basics of beginning, middle, and end, focusing on character want, desire, and need as students put their ideas to the test.

Class Three: All the Other Characters/The Writer’s Outline
Part workshop, part discussion on outlines, students will make their final preparations to go off and write an outline. We’ll also set up support groups in case students need to workshop an idea in the interim.

Class Four: WRITING WEEK
Students will meet and finish their outlines in an exercise-driven environment, with the aim of exchanging them by the end of class. Students will also write two “professional-ready” scenes of the outline.

Class Five: To Script We Go!
Students will do a deep dive on three key scenes: character introduction, the end of Act Four, and the end of Act Eight. We’ll explore these scenes from first an action perspective and then a dialogue perspective.

Class Six: Writing Act One
We’ll focus this week on how things begin, and craft the first 25 pages of a zero-draft of the script. That is, we’ll get the messiest first act done we can. And then we’ll put it away as to avoid the temptation of always starting from the beginning.

Class Seven: Writing Act Eight & Act Nine
Now that we’ve looked at a first act, we’ll skip to the end, and build the rest of the container. This tends to scare people, but worry not, the ending is arguably more important to write a few times as the beginning. Let’s start soon.

Class Eight: Act Four & Act Five
TV movies are structured like two long episodes. We’ll focus this week on where our characters get to, what changes drastically and what’s called the new plan. From there, we’ll do the most challenging part.

Class Nine: ANOTHER WRITING WEEK
This week, we will, through the help of in-class exercises, speed write through the connective tissue, the fun stuff. First, we’ll link up Acts 2 & 3 and then dive into the tricky parts of Act 6 & 7. By the time this class is over, you’ll have build the roughest, bumpiest, most delightful romcom yet.

Class Ten: Workshop
Having exchanged scripts a week prior, we’ll meet in groups for feedback and then as a class to read through some favorite scenes. We’ll also talk about the most fun part: rewriting.

NOTE: Classes subject to change and material subject to tweaking. Stay tuned, stay loose, stay flexible and we’ll all figure it out together.

Instructor Statement

I am here to help you travel the distance between the writer you already are and the writer you will be in the future. I’m dedicated to helping you learn the structure underneath the stories that are important to you, and I will always do my best to keep my personal opinion, my political or moral or social background, and even my sense of taste from interfering in your process. I sincerely invite you to offer feedback to me on the material presented, and to keep me honest in how you are feeling about the work we do. I will listen without judgment and seek every opportunity to help. That’s also what I ask of you. By joining a classroom setting, we’re all committing to helping each other see the distance between what we hope people take away from our writing, and what we’ve written. And so, let’s agree to talk about the work in a way that helps lead the writer toward clarity, rather than imposing our own ideas onto it. Let’s agree to be helpful without being pushy, to learn how to be open and strong at the same time. Let’s all try to listen more than we speak. As a writing class, we will use language that is affirming, compassionate, and we will stay open to being educated as to why some words are used for effect in writing, while remaining inappropriate for daily use. Let’s all remain aware that we’re a group of individuals who are arriving from different perspectives. Let’s all agree to act with good intention, to keep each other honest, and to respect everyone’s personal opinions and backgrounds. Let’s be better than we think we should be.

Late Assignments

Here’s what it comes down to, we’re all showing up to help you get where you’re going. So, late work just won’t be evaluated unless a student wants to do you the favor of reading it. By signing up, you’re committing to learning the hardest part of being a writer. Working writers regularly meet deadlines and are well-prepared for meetings and classes. The professionalism you practice here will help prepare for a career as a writer. If you have a serious reason for not submitting an assignment on time, please contact me by email as soon as possible.