The Screenwriter’s Inside View with Collin Friesen

August 10 & 11, 2024 at 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM 
Location: 204 – 245 McDermot Ave.
Registration Fee:  $120
Required materials: The first five pages of your feature script must be submitted to by July 29, 2024 at 3:00 PM.

Course Outline: 

In recent years, screenwriters opening pages of their scripts have required a greater level of focus with many production companies looking for material that sets the right tone immediately.

During this advanced-level screenwriting course, the instructor will provide tips and learning on how Manitoba screenwriters can improve and further develop their projects using new industry best practices.

As you never get a second chance to make a first impression, this course will focus on how to make your screenplay grab a reader’s attention, putting your best foot forward to showcase your specific skill set.

Friesen will draw on his decades of experience working for Hollywood companies like HBO, Fox Searchlight, Universal and the CW, to explain the pitfalls and challenges of the first few scenes of your script. Using a combination of theory, video clips, and discussions; the instructor will provide tangible advice on how the writers can use the concepts to effectively re-write their projects.

Writers will submit their work for discussion on day one, then after a day of constructive feedback, will do quick rewrite and have their scripts performed by a group of local actors in a “stage reading” the following day.

Collin Friesen’s screenwriting class delivers practical instruction geared to each participant. Every moment is engaging, with a wonderful collegial atmosphere. This improved my screenplay and is definitely well worth the time and investment! ” – Carolyn Gray, Manitoba screenwriter

Course Requirements:

First five pages of the feature script submitted one week before program starts. (No novels, no poems, no TV pilots… features only.) Writers will be required to address any class notes, and re-submit their scripts the next morning,

Once you have registered for the course and received a confirmation from FTM, please submit your materials to: and please put in the subject line: Screenwriting materials by July 29 at 3 PM.

All materials will be submitted to the instructor and will not be publicly posted or distributed (and will be confidential).

About the instructor:

Born a “Rider” fan in Saskatchewan, Collin Friesen grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. After receiving his BA from the University of Manitoba, and a degree from Red River College, he worked as a reporter for various local TV and radio stations. But after a stint with the CBC in Alberta, he cashed in his life savings to attend film school in Los Angeles.

Graduating from the American Film Institute, his first feature script, The Big White, was made into a movie starring Robin Williams and Holly Hunter. Collin also worked on the X Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen, Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek, for other studios including CTV, FX, Fox Searchlight, Universal and HBO. His first feature as a writer/director, Sorry For Your Loss, was filmed in Winnipeg and released on Showtime. Friesen currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Stephanie Czajkowski. 


2018 Sorry for Your Loss (writer/director)
2016 Tested (Short) (writer/director)
2015 Schitt’s Creek (TV Series) (story editor)
2012 Feather Weights (Video short) (writer/director)
2010 The Con Artist (written by)
2005 The Big White (written by)
2005 Plague City: SARS in Toronto (TV Movie) (written by)
2003 Farm Sluts (Short) (writer/director)
2001 The Lone Gunmen (TV Series) (writer/director)

FTM is a non-for-profit charity and member of the Province of Manitoba’s sector council program (through the Department of Economic Development and Jobs). FTM conducts workforce development and training to build a highly skilled and adaptable film industry to support the activities of Manitoba production companies. FTM collaborates with members of the film and television industry to identify the training needs within the community.