For actors who want to learn professional-level writing tools to go from idea-in-your-head to finished script

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Screening At A Film Festival

"I had never written a screenplay before and now I've completed post-production for my short film! We recently screened at our first of many festivals - Coney Island Film Festival. I loved starting small, with writing a short script, then following that with the self production modules. It breaks everything down into tangible, manageable steps. If you're serious about creating your own work, this is a great place to be."

Kelly Camille Patterson

Finally write your short film (and star in it!)

If you’re tired of waiting for the industry to pick you so you can do what you love, it’s time to take your success into your own hands. And the best way to do that is to write and star in your own short film.

The one that not only your audience will relate to, but can also put you on the map for the kind of roles you should be playing!

It’s time to finally write that idea you’ve been thinking about forever and turn it into your dream role. And I’m going to help you every step of the way.

Don't Create in a Vacuum

When you try to figure out how to write all by yourself you fall into one or more of these traps:

You don’t know where (or how) to get started

You have an idea (or many ideas) but that’s as far as you get. When it comes to plot points or structure or taking the first step, you get overwhelmed and don’t take action.

You’ve tried to write in the past but got stuck

When you sit down to write you start-stop-hate everything-delete-start again. Rinse and repeat on an endless loop. You’ve put a lot of work into this idea, but you’re no closer to a finished script than when you first started.

You don’t know what you don’t know

It’s the perfect catch-22 to keep you stuck! If you don’t know how to turn your idea into a finished script, then there are writing tools you just don’t have…yet. The question is, how much time and effort do you want to spend trying to find the missing pieces?

I’ve been there, done that, and I don’t recommend it. That’s why I’m so passionate that you don’t create in a vacuum.

With the Short Film Lab Digital program you get a proven, step-by-step writing process to go from idea-in-your-head to finished script. With lifetime access to the training videos, you can go at your own pace, and revisit these tools at any time.

Get the hand holding you need with 3 months of live support to get your script to the finish line. No more guesswork. You’ll get to a finished script a lot faster, and it’ll be a lot better.

I'm ready to write my short film

Emily Grace

Short Film Lab Creator

I’m Emily Grace, founder of Pickford West Society and creator of the Short Film Lab. In addition to helping actors finally write their damn script already (and know what to do with it) I’m also a Sundance award-winning actress (Special Jury Prize for Emotional Truth).

I had an idea for a script I wanted to write forever. I thought writing would be easy. After all I had extensive acting training, I’d read hundreds of scripts and broken down a bazillion auditions. I knew how to break down a scene and craft a performance. Not to mention my time behind the camera, when I worked with an independent film producer in the $5M -$50M range.

I learned the hard way that writing can feel impossible when you create in a vacuum and try to figure it out all by yourself. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

When I stopped trying to figure it out all by myself, I got help. I studied with a working TV writer who showed me professional-level tools to finally turn my idea into a script I was proud of. Instead of creating in a vacuum, I learned a step-by-step process I could follow to get my script to the finish line. And I got there so much faster (and it was way more fun) than the painful process of going it alone.

For the past 15 years I've helped actors create success on their own terms. Once I learned how to write, I found myself sharing these tools over and over again with my clients. It was clear to me how many actors want to create their own project, but they don't know how to get started.

That's why I created the Short Film Lab.

Learning how to write is an act of empowerment. Once you learn these tools, you never have to wait for the industry to pick you in order to do what you love. You can create the kind of roles that only you can play, the stories you most want to see, and use the films you create to put yourself on the map.

I invite you to join me.

Melanie Collup

Feedback Group Leader

I'm Melanie Collup, and I lead the Feedback Sessions in the Short Film Lab. As a graduate of the program myself, I use these tools constantly to write all of my scripts.

I am an actress and screenwriter out of love. I became a producer and filmmaker out of necessity. I don’t wait anymore for other people to give me the opportunity to act. I create those opportunities for myself!

The first short film I ever wrote for myself to act in won the award for Best Comedy Film at the Austin Micro Film Festival. And my half-hour comedy pilot (with a lead role I wrote for myself) has placed in multiple screenwriting competitions, including a finalist in the Female Driven Screenwriting Contest.

I have two short films and an eight episode web series scheduled to shoot this year!

I love helping other actors create opportunities for themselves (I guess that’s a carryover from my years as a public school teacher) through their writing and self-producing.

And it’s so much more fun than sitting home and waiting for my phone to ring! I look forward to meeting you in the feedback group and holding you accountable.

Introducing the Short Film Lab

This is a step-by-step roadmap to help you finally write your damn script already.

You'll learn our entire process to go from idea-in-your head to a finished, professional level script. No more excuses. No more trying to figure it out by yourself. No more doubt or second-guessing your idea.
Just a step-by-step writing process and an environment of support to write a script you love with a role that only you can play.

Don't intend to act in your project? Great! These tools will work for anyone who wants to write a short film.

Here's what you'll get:

Step-By-Step Process

From how to create compelling characters, to dialogue pro tips, to creating your outline, you will learn exactly what steps to follow to write a short film you're proud of.

Each step builds upon the one that came before. All you need to do is follow the path I've laid out for you and take the next step.

You’ll leave this program with the tools you need to finally write your short film.

Lifetime Access

You get lifetime access to the recordings so you can go at your own pace.

Revisit these tools anytime to write the next short film and the next.

Use these tools to write a feature film as well (short films and feature films have the same 3-act structure, which is exactly what you'll learn in this program).


Your program comes with the option of 3 months of live feedback.

Feedback sessions happen twice a month and are the place to test your idea as you go, and elevate your writing to a professional level.

That way you'll write the most powerful script possible so you can make an impact with this film.

Here's what you'll learn inside

the Short Film Lab


Major Character Archetypes

Create a compelling protagonist and antagonist to give your story conflict.

3-dimensional Characters
Write flawed, nuanced characters your audience roots for.

Make It Personal

Learn how to tailor this project to you as an actor (if you plan to be in it), and create a project that is meaningful to you.


Anatomy Of A Scene
I’ll teach you how to get to the heart of your scene quickly, pack a powerful punch and move your story forward.

Pro Tips For Good Dialogue
Learn my best pro tips for writing good dialogue that isn't on the nose.

Deepen Your Characters

Know your characters inside + out to make the most compelling film possible.


3-Act Story Structure
Elevate yourself to the level of professional writer with proper structure. Repeat this lesson again and again for all your future projects.

How To Write A Producible Script
This lesson is crucial to keep your idea within a budget that is doable.

Create Your Outline

Have you ever tried to write a short film without an outline? You quickly write yourself into a corner, delete, and start again. I’ve been there!

Learning how to outline will change the game for you.

Is The Short Film Lab right for you?

Let's make sure we're the right fit! This program is for you if...

  • You want to write a short film (even if you don’t know where to begin).
  • You like to take fast action! You want to learn all the steps to write your film NOW so you can finish your script as soon as possible.
  • You want to put yourself on the map by writing the role you were born to play
  • You have an idea you’ve been thinking about forever and you’re ready to write it already
  • You are new to storytelling and want professional-level tools to know what you’re doing and write something you're proud of
  • You intend to produce your own content (and maybe even act in it), and want guidance on how to make that happen
  • You want to test out your idea in a group setting to make it as strong as possible
  • You thrive in a group environment of support, deadlines, and accountability

If you answered "yes" to most of these, then you belong in this program.

Sign me up!

Join the

Short Film Lab

A step-by-step process to finally write your damn script already!


Digital Program

  • 19 class modules with professional level writing tools
  • A step-by-step process to write the short film you're proud of
  • Lifetime access to the recording

*This option does NOT include feedback or live support*

Payment options:

1 payment of $297
2 payments of $175

Digital Program PLUS

3 Months Of Support

Everything in the Digital Program plus...

  • 3 months of live support inside the Make Sh*t Happen Club which includes:
  • 2 monthly feedback sessions* with Melanie to test your idea and make it as powerful as possible
  • Weekly accountability check ins to stay on track and create momentum
  • 1 monthly coaching call with Emily to work through your resistance or obstacles
  • Special events like staged readings, happy hour socializing on zoom, and special guests

*If you can't make it live to a feedback session, you can submit your work ahead of time and access your feedback on the replay*

Payment options:

You don't need permission to do what you love.

As an actor it can feel like you spend most of your career waiting...

☎️ for the phone to ring

⏳ for the perfect audition to come along

🤞 hoping you get called in for it

🙏 and praying that they pick you and this is finally your big break to put you on the map

That's a lot of waiting, hoping and praying. And that can leave you feeling frustrated and powerless.

The Good News Is:
It Doesn't Have To Be That Way

When you know how to write a project for yourself, it empowers you to take your success into your own hands.

With you in the driver's seat you get to...

  • Create a starring role tailor-made for you
  • Work on a project that matters to you
  • Write a short film that you're proud of
  • Create your own opportunities
  • And put yourself on the map for the kind of roles only you can play

No more waiting for permission or hoping to get picked. Just the kind of stories that you want to see get made, with a guaranteed part for you to play.

With this program you'll gain a new found confidence that you have the power to create the career you really want.

Are We A Match?

This program is not for everyone. Here's how to know if it's the right fit for you.

The Short Film Lab is FOR you if:

  • You have an idea you've been wanting to write forever and you're ready to go all in
  • You're new to writing and want professional-level tools to write something you're proud of
  • You've never written before and you're ready to get started
  • You want to write a short film with a role for you to star in
  • You want to tell a story that matters to you
  • You want to write a short film (or use these tools to write a feature film)
  • Once your film is written, you want to learn how to self-produce it
  • You want structure, accountability and community to help you stay on track
  • You understand the importance of high-level feedback to make your script the best it can be

The Short Film Lab is NOT for you if:

  • You want to write a tv pilot. The act structure you'll learn works for short films or feature films. TV pilot structure is not covered here.
  • You want to pitch and sell your project to someone else. This program is for people who want to self-produce their project (and your bonus program will show you how).
  • You already know everything about screenwriting.
  • You want to learn how to pitch. That is not covered in this program.
  • You are not open to candid feedback.
  • You have already written your entire script and want feedback on your final draft. This program is designed to create your project from the ground up.

If you're ready to finally write your damn script already, with professional level writing tools, and feedback to support you every step of the way, we can't wait work with you!

What others say about working with us…

Take the leap.

"Learning the elements it takes to create depth of characters and story helped me to start to flesh my idea out. Before Short Film Lab, I wrote without any concept of structure or the proper formatting. It was a hot mess. Now I can see myself really having a complete script and going into production. If you’re on the fence about taking Short Film Lab, I say, 'JUMP, stop straddling!'"

Annzella Victoria

Real, beneficial support.

"I had tried to write a project on my own and always got stuck. In Short Film Lab I learned a step-by-step method for developing a story with compelling characters. Because of Short Film Lab I have much more developed and interesting characters and a solid understanding of story structure. I got real, beneficial support given with expertise and love! If you have a script in process, an idea for a script, or even just an urge to write something, this is for you."

Jensen Power

What are the consequences if you don't do this?

"Before taking the Short Film Lab, I struggled most with format and structure and sitting down to actually create what I want. In the class I got structure, accountability and guidance. If you are thinking of signing up for the Short Film Lab, I would ask you what my life coach asked me when I was on the fence: “What are the consequences if you don't do this?”"

Nowani Rattray

I never felt alone.

"Before joining Short Film Lab, I suffered from imposteur syndrome and the procrastination that goes with it. I got more clarity on the structure aspects of a screenplay and  incredibly valuable directions given by Emily and also by other students.  I loved the step by step approach. I never felt alone. Being part of a group gives you power.

Trust the process . It's incredibly powerful if you play the game 100%. Showing up whatsoever provides a sense of pride + it also means accepting others' help. Which for me is a huge step. I just did it. I wrote. At last!"

Mathieu Bisson

Dream big, get started

"Before the Short Film Lab I struggled to nail down my idea and have it actually make sense. Once I learned how to start the screenwriting process it allowed me to dream big and get started.

I loved hearing other people's stories, learning which ideas work and which ones don't, and I loved the tool about how to write action lines in the present tense - something I had never thought about before.

This program is very accessible, informative, and fun. Definitely do it!"

Emma Terazzas

Get off the fence and get creating!

"I am not too small to be able to write, pitch and or produce my own stories to networks and content distributors. My eyes have been open to a new world of producing and being a content creator."

Cherene R Francis

This is my dream role

"Since working with Emily I've made my script even stronger. I am in great shape to move into pre-production with a script that truly reflects my dream role, and that feels totally doable!"

Ashley Gianni

Dream big, dream with direction

"Emily gives clear feedback that helps me dream big but also dream with direction. Since taking this program my first-ever short film script was chosen as a semi-finalist for a $10,000 production grant."

Autumn Silvas

Be bold.

"Emily helped me realize that I can be direct and bold in my language, and that the thing I was afraid to say in my script is actually the thing that grabs my audience."

Karole Foreman

Find the strongest story

"Before working with Emily I had a script that was missing the kind of depth that makes a story really compelling. I was hoping to flesh out my plot points and characters and to take it from an 'idea' to a final draft.
Learning about character squares was a very clear blueprint for how to create compelling characters with the ability to drive story endlessly.
This program has helped flesh out my script and find the strongest story."

Kristina Paras

Gain knowledge and confidence

"Life was scary in my 'I'm not good enough to be a writer' feelings. I still struggle with that, but I'm gaining confidence and an understanding of the creative process from the program! I'm LESS scared of calling myself a writer or creator.

If you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting, so if you want to actually DO something, TRUST YOURSELF and take the plunge."

Jill Maglione

Look forward to writing

"This program has really helped me actually WRITE.

I also love the constructive feedback sessions, I feel so comfortable and supported by these fellow artists. I actually look forward to sitting down to write rather than dreading the fight with my inner critic that often comes along with the writing process."

Rachel Sledd

Pilates for the Artist's soul

"It requires effort, but you'll be a stronger, better, more disciplined writer by the end of it. If you thrive on creativity, but need some help with your follow through... this is the place for you!"

Patty Kiernan

Confident and committed

"Before I joined this program, I was writing a lot, but was never sure how to take what I had written and raise it to a professional level. I was hoping to learn how to "level up" with my writing and learn how to move forward with it to create a career.

I am more committed to my writing and I feel confident I am acquiring the tools I need."

Melanie Collup

Finish that damn script

"If you want to finish that damn script already, this is the place to do it!"

Emma Pyne

I want to finally write my short film!

My wish for you...

As an actor, it can feel like so much of your career is out of your hands. But I firmly believe you have so much more power than you realize.

Learning how to write a professional-level short film is an act of empowerment.
Instead of waiting for permission, or hoping to get picked, you get to take control of your own success.

It means you can…

Write the kind of role only you can play, so you can show the industry exactly what you’re capable of.

Write the stories that matter to you, so the time and energy you spend on your career feels meaningful.

Put yourself in control of your success, so you never have to wait to get picked by the industry.

Open the doors to bigger opportunities that are in alignment with the kind of work you care about.

Leave a lasting impact on your audience, who will be inspired, moved, and affected by the stories you choose to tell.

Unlike a feature film, or a tv pilot, learning how to write a short takes less time. Self-production is absolutely within reach. And you get a tangible project that you can share with the world a lot faster.

This builds your confidence as a writer, and inspires you to create more and more projects that excite and fulfill you.

My wish for you is the power of your own
creative fulfillment.

That's what this program is for. If that speaks to you, then what are you waiting for? Say yes to yourself and let’s get started!


I'm new to writing, will this be too advanced for me?

Nope! If you're new to writing, you're in the right place. The Short Film Lab gives you every step you need to take from idea-in-your-head to finished script.

Each writing tool is broken down into baby steps to keep you focused on what matters and out of overwhelm. It's the fastest way to get your script to the finish line.

I have some writing experience, will this be to basic for me?

Do you have a step-by-step, repeatable process to write your scripts? If not, the program will show you the way.

Do you have total confidence in yourself as a writer who's script is at a professional level? If not, the program will help you get to that level.

If you've written in the past, you already know it can be a challenge. And without a roadmap to follow, it can feel like you're stuck in the never-ending loop of star, stop, hate everything, delete, start again.

The Short Film Lab takes the guesswork out of the writing process. There's no more spinning out, wondering if your idea is good enough, or what step to take next. Just follow the steps laid out for you inside the program to elevate your writing to pro-level, with a script you can't wait to share with the world.

How do the live support calls work?

When you choose the package with 3 months of support included, here is what you get every month:

2 Monthly Feedback Calls with Melanie
Submit your pages ahead of time to our shared folder. Come to the live feedback session to hear your work read aloud by your peers, and get feedback. Melanie takes the lead on these calls, and Emily drops in frequently to provide feedback as well.

Can't make it live? You will receive your personalized feedback as a replay.

4 Monthly Accountability Check Ins + Work Sprint
Every week you’ll have an accountability check in to help you stay focused. Stick around for the work sprint (kind of like a study hall on zoom). That way you'll have dedicated time each week to take action on your project.

1 Monthly Coaching Call with Emily
A monthly coaching call with Emily to work through your challenges and feel clear about your next steps.

Our live support schedule changes on a quarterly basis. Click here to see the current schedule.

After your initial 3 months, you'll have the option to continue access to live support on a month-to-month basis.

What happens after I join?

You'll receive immediate access to everything you need to access the Short Film Lab.

Our program is hosted on a members-only, password protected site which you'll create a password for.

Once you register you'll get access to all course modules for The Short Film Lab.

When you choose to include 3 months of live support, you'll receive all the details you need to join us live on zoom for your monthly support calls and special events.

Do I have to be an actor, or have to act in my film?

No. The only thing you need is the desire to learn how to write a professional-level short film. You don't have to be an actor, or want to write a role for you to play. Anyone who wants to learn how to write a screenplay is welcome.

Can my writing partner join me?

Yes, but they will need a separate membership. This program is designed to develop your unique voice as a writer, and we want each member of your writing team to get the full value from this experience.

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