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So, when I said that I finally accepted my true calling (I know. . .it sounds so cliché) in Costa Rica, I wasn't kidding. When I got back home, I started researching courses I could take to help me get focused and improve my writing. I found one, and as a result, I have a tight writing schedule and two novels in the works. I also remembered a program that I had been thinking about for approximately three years now--the UCLA Professional Screenwriting Program. When I researched the program years ago, one of the things I liked most about it was that you could apply to take the course online. That's perfect for a mom with a day job! Luckily, I was not too late to apply. All I needed was a sample of my work (five pages of a screenplay) and a short essay about why I applied to the program, and that was it. I hit 'submit' and took the first step toward seeking enrollment.

Three weeks and a lot of nail-biting later, I received my acceptance letter!

Needless to say, I am very excited about the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals in the industry. In the past, I studied screenwriting on my own by reading books and reviewing copies of the screenplays of movies I liked. That was a decent introductory course because it taught me a lot about the structure and format of a screenplay, which to me, is half the battle. After years of self-study, however, I began to feel like I was missing something. I am hoping this program can fill in the blanks.

I CAN NOT WAIT to begin the course, although I must admit I am a bit nervous about releasing (and discussing) drafts of my work before perfection can be achieved. I just keep reminding myself that peer review is all part of the writing process.

As I've researched the different schools that offer screenwriting programs, I have come across a lot of prospective students with questions about whether the programs are worth the money. I have decided that I will write as much as I can about my experience in hopes it will help others decide whether self-study or a screenwriting course is for them. The UCLA program is a full year of coursework. Of course, there are many other online programs that require much less of an investment of time and money. I will mention some of the programs I found interesting as I go along.

In the meantime, I'll be thinking of story ideas that I can turn into screenplays. Feel free to shoot me some of your thoughts. I need all the help and encouragement I can get!

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