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Now You Can Take an Online Screenwriting Class with James Franco

James Franco at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Palo Alto' on May 5.
Eric Charbonneau—Invision/AP James Franco at the Los Angeles premiere of Palo Alto on May 5.

The actor says he's "equipped as any" to teach the next generation of screenwriters the tricks of the trade

That’s Professor Franco to you. The actor and nude-selfie aficionado has taught in the English departments at renowned universities such as UCLA and NYU, and now he’s taking his classroom online with a $25, self-paced course opening today on the online learning site Skillshare.

Co-taught by Franco’s acting-school buddy Vince Jolivette, with whom he co-founded Rabbit Bandini Productions, “Introduction to Screewriting for Short Films” is a 90-minute, 15-lesson program that draws on the duo’s own years of experience and walks aspiring screenwriters through every step of the process, from conceiving ideas to pitching investors.

“For this class, we’ll be working on adaptation,” Franco says in the trailer for the class. “It’s a great first step, and what’s really exciting is when we all work on similar material, because then we start to learn from each other.”

Students will adapt one of three works — The Spoon River Anthology, Pastures of Heaven or Winesburg, Ohio — to create an 8-minute screenplay. Franco and Jolivette will read the 10 most up-voted screenplays on Skillshare and offer individualized feedback on their favorite.

“There’s part of me that also thinks of my younger self, who wasn’t in those film programs, because I really get excited by the idea of being able to share some of our experiences and lessons,” Franco says. “I think I’m as equipped as any.”

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