Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Course Description: This course is an introduction to the art and craft of screenwriting. Topics covered range from classical screenplay form and structure to theories surrounding approaches to characterization and dialogue. Most importantly, this course is designed to develop our ability to think and write "visually," as well as to improve our ability to analyze critically our own and our classmates' work. By the end of the semester, each student will write a screenplay for a short (20 - 30 minute) film based upon a short story, poem, or song (the student will select the source text).
. Contact Info: Who: Prof. Jay McRoy Office: CART 228 Office Hours: W 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm firstname.lastname@example.org www.thejaymcroy.com
· Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting - Syd Field
Highly Recommended Texts:
· Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting - James Mckee
· Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage, and Screen - James McKee
· Cut to the Chase: Writing Feature Films with the Pros at the UCLA Extension Writer's Program - Linda Venis
· Attendance & Participation 20%
· Class Assignments 20%: Script to Screen Analyses, revisions of in-class exercises, script treatment.
· Peer Response and Other In-Class Writings 20%: Peer Responses will be assigned during the series of intensive workshops that close out the semester. Giving and receiving constructive feedback is an essential part of the learning process; we are all learners, and we are all in this together.
· Screenplay 20%: By the end of the semester, each student will write a screenplay for a short (20 - 30 minute) film based on a short story, poem, or song of their choice.
· Final Revised (i.e. Post Workshopped) Screenplay - 20%: Remember that final draft? Yeah....your not done...
Rules and Regulations:
1. Come to class.
2. Participate Actively (This is a workshop, after all...)
3. Turn your work in on time. NO EXCEPTIONS. You can turn work in as early as you want, but the deadline is the deadline. Period. In the film industry, late = fired.
4. Respect your fellow student.
There is nothing wrong with using the words and thoughts of others as long as you acknowledge your debt. In fact, you can frequently strengthen your writing by doing so. However, if you represent the words or ideas of others as if they were your own, then you are plagiarizing. Plagiarism includes: 1) Paraphrasing or copying (without the use of quotation marks) someone else's words without acknowledgment. 2) Using someone else's facts or ideas without acknowledgment. 3) Handing in work for one course that you handed in for credit in another course without the permission of both instructors.
Semester Schedule: Week One (9/9): Introduction Week Two (9/14 & 9/16): Reading/Writing a Screenplay In-Class Reading: The Silence of the Lambs (Ted Tally, 1991) Read for 9/14: Field - "Introduction" & "What is a Screenplay?" Week Three (9/21 & 9/23): Reading/Writing a Screenplay II In-Class Viewing and Discussion: The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991) Read for 9/21: Field - "Screenplay Form" DUE 9/23: Two Page Script to Screen Analysis - Choose a film, read its screenplay, and then watch the completed work. In no more than 500 words, explain how the experience of reading the screenplay compares to the experience of viewing the completed film. In what way(s) does the completed film differ from the immediate imaginative experience you encountered in reading the screenplay?
Week Four (9/28 & 9/30): Reading/Writing a Screenplay III In-Class Reading: The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filipou, 2016)
Week Five (10/5 & 10/7) Reading/Writing a Screenplay IV
In-Class Viewing and Discussion: The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017)
Week Six (10/12 & 10/14): THE SUBJECT Read for 10/12: Field - "The Subject" DUE 10/14: Two Page Script to Screen Analysis - Choose a film, read its screenplay, and then watch the completed work. In no more than 500 words, explain how the experience of reading the screenplay compares to the experience of viewing the completed film. In what way(s) does the completed film differ from the immediate imaginative experience you encountered in reading the screenplay? Week Seven (10/19 & 10/21): STRUCTURE & FORM Read for 10/19: Field - "Setting Up the Story" through "Plot Points" Week Eight (10/26 & 10/28): FORM & STRUCTURE Read for 10/26: "Two Incidents" through "Building the Story Line" DUE 10/28 - Revise, Rework, or Expand one of our In-Class Exercises Week Nine (11/2 & 11/4): CHARACTER Read for 11/2: Field - "The Creation of Character" through "Story and Character" TREATMENT DUE 11/4 Week Ten (11/9 & 11/11): OPENINGS & CLOSINGS Read for 11/9: Field - "Endings and Beginnings" Week Eleven (11/16 & 11/18): INTENSIVE WORKSHOP Read for 11/16: Field - "Writing the Screenplay" & "Adaptation" DUE 11/18 – Revise, Rework, or Expand one of our In-Class Exercises Week Twelve (11/23) : INTENSIVE WORKSHOP SCREENPLAY DUE 11/23 Week Thirteen (11/30 & 12/2): INTENSIVE WORKSHOP Week Fourteen (12/7 & 12/9): INTENSIVE WORKSHOP
FINAL REVISED SCREENPLAY DUE 12/9