Michael Colleary’s 5×10 Screenwriting Boot Camp

Class enrollment closed. Reopening in January 2018! Keep your eyes peeled.

  • Do you have a story to tell, but don’t know where to start?
  • Do you walk out of a movie and think, “I could do that!”
  • Have you tried to write a screenplay, but find yourself overwhelmed by the task?
  • Have you stopped writing because you’ve become discouraged?
  • Would you like to learn how to write screenplays, but film school isn’t an option?
  • Do you want to take your screenwriting skill set to the next level?

Then Michael Colleary’s 5×10 Screenwriting Boot Camp is for you!

Mike Werb

“Anyone, and I mean anyone interested in becoming a screenwriter – or becoming a BETTER screenwriter has come to the right website.

“Michael Colleary is the best story analyst in Hollywood.

“Smart, insightful, thorough and creative – he will work his rear-end off on your script or story idea until it sings with commercial and artistic viability.

“I know this from first hand experience, having collaborated with him on numerous television and feature film projects, beginning with ‘Face/Off.’

“Additionally, he has served as my personal mentor and sounding board on practically every sale I’ve ever had in my entire career.

“You will be thrilled!”

Mike WerbScreenwriter "The Mask," Co-Screenwriter of "Face/Off," "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," Creator of "Unnatural History," Writer, "Extant" & "Salvation" & More
Julia Ann Sipos

“I can’t exactly remember what I wrote in Michael Colleary’s MFA Screenwriting class at UCLA, though it was probably about some kick-ass girl determined to save the world from another super dumb dude.

“I’m sure it was pretty bad, though Michael has an unusually high tolerance for bad. He thinks in terms of process and craft, about getting up and at it every day to churn out those pages, however long it takes to get it right.

“You know, like you’re a regular person, with a regular job and a lunch box with a sandwich and an apple in it. While his late dad was a sitcom legend, the whole Colleary family work as writers, as though practicing any other family trade—plumbing, say, or electrical contracting—so there probably wasn’t a lot of need for hysteria in all of this.

“I’ve thought of Professor Colleary often over the last 16 years, pushing past countless sandwiches, apples and pages. I even have a lunch box. Last summer, I finally brought my first feature film to the screen. Three guesses what it was about. Take his class if you can.”

Julia Ann SiposScreenwriter/Producer "Lea to the Rescue," "WellieWishers"
Todd Slavkin

“I have given Michael several of my spec scripts to read and his feedback has always been incredibly helpful.

“Not only is he a brilliant writer whose creative thoughts make the script better, but he knows the ins and outs of the marketplace.

“His input is a total asset.”

Todd SlavkinScreenwriter/Executive Producer/Director "Smallville," "ShadowHunters," "Guilt," "Defiance," "Dominion," "Alphas" & More
Hal Ackerman

“There is only one reason for a writer to work with Michael Colleary.

“And that is if you are looking for a transformational experience with a mentor who is gentle, knowledgeable, supportive and who cares about making you a better writer for the script you are currently working on and every other one you will engage in the future.”

Hal AckermanEmeritus Screenwriting Area Head. UCLA School of Theater, Film, Television & Social Media. Author "Stein Stoned," Stein Stung"
Screenwriters Mike Werb and Michael Colleary (left & right). Director Todd Holland (center).

Screenwriters Mike Werb and Michael Colleary (left & right). Director Todd Holland (center).

Why Michael’s 10×5 Boot Camp Is a Gamechanger

You can easily spend hour after hour, day after day, listening to podcasts, reading blogs, subscribing to newsletters and scanning message boards about how to write a screenplay.

But for all the vital information to be mined from this ever-grwoing motherlode, learning has a fundamental limitation: it’s passive.

And it’s sneaky. Because seeking out that magic shortcut can make you feel like you’re being productive.

But it’s not writing.

Only writing is writing.

Everything else is stalling.

Only Writing Is Writing. Everything Else Is Stalling

— Michael Colleary; screenwriter & taskmaster

How the 5×10 Screenwriting Boot Camp Breaks Down:

5 Motivated Writers x 10 Intense Weeks = One Finished, Professional Screenplay! 


I’ve modeled the course on the typical studio development deal. You’ll complete all steps required to produce a professional-quality, feature-length screenplay. These steps include:

  • A 5-15 minute pitch of your screenplay idea.
  • A 2-page story treatment based on your pitch.
  • A 10-15 page plot outline based on your story treatment.
  • A 90-110 page screenplay based on your plot outline.

If you’re unfamiliar with these steps, not to worry – the 5×10 Boot Camp will address this.

The 5×10 Screenwriting Boot Camp Is Organized in 3 Specific Sections. 

  1. In weeks 1-2 we’ll dig deep into all aspects of screenplay structure so you’re totally prepared to start shaping your script.
  2. In weeks 3-5 we’ll work through all the steps required to turn a 5-minute pitch into a detailed, scene-by-scene outline that will get you writing with confidence.
  3. During weeks 6-10 you’ll be hitting weekly deadlines as you crank out your first drafts. 

When we’re not troubleshooting pages, I’ll be discussing other key aspects of your screenwriting career – from how to manage Industry relationships to developing ironclad productivity to nurturing work/life balance.

Schedule and Time

We’ll meet up online once-a-week based on everyone’s availability for 3+ hours. It breaks down like this:

Week One

Overview of “Hard” Screenplay Structure. 

Week Two

Overview of “Soft” Screenplay Structure. Bonus: Mini workshop on pitching!

Week Three

Pitch week! All writers pitch their ideas & receive feedback.

Week Four

2-page story treatment is due & workshopped.

Week Five

10-15 page plot outline is due & workshopped. Be warned: this is going to be a long class!

Week Six

1st acts are due. We workshop your opening scenes!

Week Seven

2nd act to mid-point is due. A reminder: when we’re not workshopping pages and scenes I will be addressing other key aspects of your careers.

Week Eight

2nd act from mid-point to start of 3rd act is due.

Week Nine

3rd act is due.

Week Ten

Proofread & corrected final script due.

I’m a stickler for fine points like formatting, misspelling and typos.

These seemingly small errors can diminish the professional impression you’re trying to make.

Richard Walters

“Among the most serious – and common – mistakes writers make is to expose their screenplays before they’re truly ready.

“Nothing better could happen to writers than to have Michael Colleary review their pages and provide notes prior to submission to agents, managers and producers.

“This is true not only for first-time writers, but also for seasoned professionals, even those who have development deals with production entities, writers smart enough to have Michael ask the hard questions before the producers ask them.

“I have worked closely with Michael Colleary now for over thirty years, first as my student, and now as my longtime friend and colleague.

“That we regularly engage him to teach advanced classes in UCLA’s graduate screenwriting program represents eloquent testimony to the nosebleed-high regard in which he is held by all of our faculty.

“Michael Colleary is an approachable, gentle taskmaster with a keen eye for what is superfluous, the roiling, swirling paraphernalia that burdens scripts when writers inevitably get in our own way, blocking our narratives, suffocating our chances for success with a particular project or an entire career.

“Rarely do I encounter a script consultant with chops as strong as Michael’s. Never have I met one who is stronger.”

Richard WaltersScreenwriting Chairman; Associate Dean UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
Jennie Evenson

“I took Michael’s 434 class at UCLA. He was great: smart story notes, solid industry advice, useful tips and tricks — the works.

“Since his class, I’ve met a number of great instructors, many of whom have offered one or more of the above. But none of them measure up in my mind, because I probably would’ve stopped writing without Michael. I don’t say this lightly; I mean it.

“Michael told us a simple story in class that’s become a kind of personal mantra for me. Writing is like boxing, he said. You’re going to get knocked down. A lot. If you want to make it, GET UP OFF THE MAT.

“I’ve since switched to writing books and short stories, but I still get knocked around. And when I’m down, I remember what Michael said:

“Keep at it. Don’t give up. GET UP OFF THE MAT.”

Jennie EvensonAuthor of "Shakespeare for Screenwriters" with (Michael Wiese 2013) and a forthcoming middle grade novel. As a writer in LA, Evenson worked as a consultant for Netflix and developed ideas at production houses from DreamWorks to Focus Features.

Michael with a student.

Boot Camp Bonus

You’ll be invited into my private 5×10 Screenwriting Boot Camp Facebook group so that in between class sessions we can keep the conversation going.

We’ll be engaged in a robust feedback process that will challenge you to produce your best work.

Seem impossible? I assure you it’s not.

Because it’s how I’ve run my MFA screenwriting workshop at UCLA for 20 years.

The only difference is that I’m enrolling fewer students to ensure plenty of personal attention.

An Extra and Transformational Boot Camp Bonus

Once the 10-week Boot Camp comes to a close I will make a one-on-one appointment with each of my five students to go over his or her finished first draft, giving specific, written notes to prepare my students to take their scripts into their POLISH DRAFT.

Each student will forever have access to my private 5×10 Screenwriting Boot Camp Facebook group for further questions of to engage me in further services if so desired.

What If You Need Help, But Boot Camp Isn’t What You’re Looking For?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions Michael can help you with one-on-one consulting.

  • Do you already have a script that you’re unable to finish?
  • Do you have a finished script that’s a big mess and you don’t know how to fix it?
  • Are you in writing paralysis?
  • Is your process no longer working?
  • Do you already have a screenwriting job, but are overwhelmed/baffled/infuriated by a producer’s or executive’s notes?
  • Do you need an unbiased perspective on your pages?
  • Are you struggling to get your ideas organized?
  • Are you panicked you won’t make a deadline?

Michael Has 3 One-on-One Coaching & Consulting Options

Option One: The Gut Check (it’s free!)

(Michael Colleary with Jonathan N. Zakin after being awarded the Hunter/Zakin Chair at UCLA.)

(Michael Colleary with Jonathan N. Zakin after being awarded the Hunter/Zakin Chair at UCLA.)

We schedule an appointment to talk on the phone.

You tell me what’s challenging you – a roadblock in a particular script, or an ongoing problem with your productivity, or uncertainty about the business end of screenwriting, or anything else that’s on your mind.

I recommend clients use this call to:

  • Reset their focus.
  • Create a short-term work plan that’s productive and realistic.
  • Redefine their long-term writing or career goals.
  • Get perspective on The Industry.

The Gut Check call usually lasts 30-45 minutes.

It’s casual, confidential and it’s FREE!

I’ll give you ACTIONABLE TASKS to get you to the next phase of your journey as a professional screenwriter.

If — after our call — we part ways, I sincerely hope I’ve helped you along your path and I wish you nothing but success, glory and, above all, happiness. 

But if you believe I can add value to your screenwriting goals, and you want to keep working with me, your next move is …

Option Two: The Feedback Loop

I read your current work. Feature screenplay, TV pilot, outline, treatment — whatever you’ve got cooking.

Then we talk about it on the phone or over Zoom.

The goal of this call is to:

  • Identify what’s working and what’s not.
  • This includes character and plot development.
  • Decide the best creative priorities for your next pass.
  • Set up a realistic work schedule for your revisions.
  • And set up a deadline so you can stay accountable.

This call can last an hour or so — but we’re not done until you have a clear path forward.

Bonus

This option is a paid investment so you will have some of the perks my boot camp students have, which is membership in my private 5×10 Screenwriting Boot Camp Facebook group.

There you can continue to touch base, form relationships and get your questions answered.

Lew Hunter

“Michael Colleary is in the top tier of every accomplishment I can conjure.

“Heredity (writer father, M.A.S.H, Benson), wonderful UCLA Masters student, award-winning professional writer (The Saturn Award for Face/Off), well, on and on, but need to add, top-of-the-line human being.

“Michael is also on the top tier of professors/consultants/screenwriting coaches.

“And my wife and I love him so! You will too! Michael is, quite simply, the best!”

Lew HunterDr./Professor/Chair/Emeriti UCLA Screenwriting/Producer
Chris Easterly

“A few years ago, I worked as a staff writer on an action-adventure TV show (Unnatural History). Michael Colleary was my boss.

 “I turned in the first draft of my episode and thought it was pretty solid. Michael sat down with me and we went through the script page by page. Two hours later, I realized I was just getting started.

“Michael helped me take my script to a whole other level, and he did it in an encouraging and respectful way. He probably didn’t know it at the time, but he inspired me and taught me to keep pushing for the bigger and better idea, scene, sequence. I still remember that session with him whenever I’m writing a new script.”

Chris EasterlyWriter, "Unnatural History," "The Shunning," "Devil’s Hollow"

Option Three: The Deep Dive

First we talk. Then I read.

In addition to my verbal notes, I provide you with written, margin notes on a hard copy of your script.

These notes will flag, page-by-page, your script’s:

  • Structural weaknesses
  • Underdeveloped characters
  • Tonal inconsistencies
  • Flat dialogue
  • Formatting and proofreading errors.

I also generate a written summary of my notes akin to a studio development memo.

Along with telling you how to improve your script, I’m also going to tell you what fabulous things ARE WORKING IN YOUR SCRIPT!

We want to make sure you don’t throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater and retain all the elements that make your work unique to your voice and vision.

Bonuses

You will also have membership to my private 5×10 Screenwriting Boot Camp Facebook group and as a Deep Dive client you’ll get first priority to enroll in my following boot camps should you be interested!