Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions per week, 2 hours per session

Course Goals

Gain greater awareness into film as a visually driven medium. Become a better-informed and more experienced writer. Develop a set of personal disciplines and directions in your writing practice. Complete a first draft feature screenplay.

Contribute new ideas to the classroom. Explore perspectives. Competently field questions. Reflect on what is learned and think of ways to make improvements.

Instructor Expectations

Learn and have fun! Respect varying points of view. Be present for class. Arrive prepared with finished work and all appropriate materials. Embrace academic integrity. Take responsibility for your own learning.


Final Project                              50%

Reflections                                40%

Attendance & Participation       10%

(Punctuality counts. Attendance is taken sharp at the start of class.)

(In-class contribution and interaction with other students and the instructor exhibited through asking questions, offering answers, sharing opinions and ideas are all ways of demonstrating participation.)

*Papers turned in late will receive one letter grade lower per day.

**Independent reading and media viewing are vital components of the course and to be completed outside of class.

***Drinks are permitted in the classroom. Students are expected to pick up after themselves.

****Plagiarism, cell phone use, text messaging during class…hmmm.


Week                   Topics                                                                       Key Dates

1                    Course Introduction, Story Ideas

                      The Cinematic Experience & Power of an Image

2                    Screenwriting Fundamentals

                      Writing Workshop                                   Introduction Due

3                    The Action-Idea

                      From Story to Screen—Guest Speaker

4                    Aristotle’s Poetics in Screenwriting        Finish Tierno, Reflection

                      Writing Workshop

5                    Emotion Driven Plots Over Spectacle

                      Scene Development

6                    Building Living Characters

                      Writing Workshop                                   Act 1 Due

7                    Naked/Winning Dialog

                      Writing from the Unconscious

8                    Cinematic Storytelling                            Finish Van Sijll, Reflection

                      Writing Workshop

9                    Midterm Consultations

                      Midterm Consultations

10                  Meaningful Storytelling

                      Writing Workshop                                   Act 2 Due

11                  Structural and Relational Editing

                      The Importance of Music and Sound

12                  Fundamentals of the Craft                      Finish King, Reflection

                      Writing Workshop

13                  Time, Perspective, Point of View

                      Story Analysis—Guest Speaker

14                  Content and Consciousness

                      Writing Workshop                                   Act 3 Due

15                  Building Your Writing Toolbox

                      Patanjali On Writing                                Finish Patanjali, Reflection

16                  The Rewriting Process                            Final Project Due

                      Course Review