In-depth answers from Dana, Gotham’s Dean of Students.

Can I go right into Level II or do I have to start with Level I?


If you’ve taken a class like our Level I class before – where an instructor taught the basics like structure and character and description, using lectures and writing exercises and maybe some peer critique – then going right into Level II should be fine. We’ll want to have a chat to hear what that class was like, make sure it’s a match, but chances are you’d be good to go.

Thing is, a lot of folks feel like they should be able to leapfrog over Level I. Either because they’ve written stories before or because they ‘write all the time at work’ or because they went to college or are accomplished writers of another stripe. Or they think Level I is remedial or ‘babyish’ in some way. And nothing could be further from the truth.

Our Level I classes are substantive explorations of the inner-workings and underpinnings of what makes a story a story. And by breaking fiction (or screenwriting or songwriting or memoir or anything else we offer) into its component parts, you end up with a toolbox and a blueprint you can use to build YOUR story and build it well.

Think of it this way: you wouldn’t unclog a drain or make mushroom risotto without instructions and maybe a YouTube video. And just because you can make a mean chocolate layer cake doesn’t mean you can make a mushroom risotto that’ll get you on the Next Food Network Star.

Our Level I classes ARE those instructions. They are that video. And we’ve had published authors and professors and PhD’s and tv writers who started with Level I when investigating what it would be like to write something new.

Plus, learning the art of the critique is an education in itself, and Level I hones those skills so they’re sharp as can be for Level II, where critiquing your fellow students' work is the Tootsie Roll center of the whole experience.

So if you genuinely feel that Level II is the best first step for you, give us a call and we can talk it through. But don’t underestimate the brightside of beginning at the beginning.