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MEA 108 - Scriptwriting Fundamentals - Ron Mita

Course:Scriptwriting Fundamentals
Professor:Ron Mita
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Photo of Ron Mita

Ron Mita graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Master’s degree in screenwriting. After working at a variety of  jobs in the film and television industry, he sold his first screenplay to Columbia Pictures in 1993 and has working professionally since that time as screenwriter with projects at Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, HBO, TNT, Warner Brothers, Screen Gems, Dreamworks and CBS. 

Ron has four produced films, the Animated feature film ROBOTS, at 20th Century Fox, S.W.A.T, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Ferrall at Columbia Pictures, and SNIPER II starring Tom Berenger at Tri-Star and 24 HOURS TO LIVE, starring Ethan Hawke which just left Netflix and can be seen on Amazon Prime.

Ron's films have earned in excess of $500,000 worldwide.  In addition to screenwriting, Ron has taught writing and filmmaking at College of the Canyons since 2002.

Course Description

Welcome MEA 108 Screenwriting. This section of screenwriting is classroom based and will meet on campus each week for the entire semester.  While online classes offer certain advantages, when it comes to screenwriting, there is nothing better than being in the room with an experienced screenwriter (me) and a class of motivated students (you).  While writing us mostly a solitary endeavor, having others around to discuss your work and share ideas gives you both feedback and creative inspiration.  While I teach both online and in person, my personal suggestion would be to take this in-person class.

Our class will start by teaching the fundamentals of screenwriting including the 24/7 Plot Point System only taught here at COC and only by me.  This system of breaking will help any student seeking to take their kernel of an idea and expand it into a feature length screenplay.  Once we’ve mastered the 24/7 Plot Point System, we’ll focus our weekly classes on the important elements of a screenplay including: characters, dialogue, storytelling, idea harvesting, creative methods, adaptation.  In addition, we will discuss copywrite for creatives as well as delve into writing for TV.  We will cover a new topic each week in a comfortable lecture and discussion environment. There will be some in-class exercises, but most classwork will be done on your own time.  The homework commitment should not exceed more than two hours per week.

What to Expect in this Course

We know you are taking a screenwriting course because the material interests you and we’ve created a curriculum which will focus on lecture and visual examples rather than assigning you a book to read and making you draft essays about the material. The writing in this class is strictly related to screenwriting.  No busywork, no essays, just screenplays, and materials related to screenwriting. 

Movies and screenwriting are both pleasurable experiences, so you can expect that and more in this class. Think of this class as a journey that will take you to the gates of Hollywood and offer you glimpses of what is possible once you find your way inside. 

Types of Assessments

The homework and assessments in this class consist mostly of writing prompts.  You came here to learn screenwriting and that’s what we will ask you to do. In addition, there will be a midterm and a final exam. You are not graded for attendance, but you are graded for participation which is 1/2 point per class.  I understand that writing is an art and it is not my place to judge art, therefore your grades will mostly be based on your ability to understand the principles of screenwriting and have a firm grasp on the methods taught in class.  Anyone attending class on a regular schedule and doing the work should find this class entertaining and the assessments fair and simple. 

Textbook Information

I don’t teach from a textbook because that’s lazy. In addition, each lecture and each module comes with downloadable prewritten notes covering most of the material from the lectures.   That said, I do recommend purchasing SCREENPLAY by Syd Field as a complement to the material we will discuss.  However, we will not use or assign material from the book. 

Other Relevant Course Information

There is no other screenwriting course available that I know of teaching the methods taught here. Online or in person, this class is the perfect intro to screenwriting.  Even if you've taken a screenwriting class before, the material in this class will be useful to helping you generate new content.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


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Last updated: 05/26/2022 Sub#: 1178