Screenplay and Story

Course Code: MPS 5004

Academic Year: 2017-2018

This course is designed to enable students to advance their scriptwriting skills for short-form fictional works. By studying and using a number of scriptwriting models, students will develop a structural approach to screenwriting. Classes will cover the principles of structural screenwriting to different components of a screenplay - theme, plot, character development; 3-act structure (set-ups & pay-offs; turning points; conflict and resolution); dialogue and formatting. Students will learn about the different perspectives on screenwriting by varying experts in the field, giving them the breadth of knowledge that is essential to writing a linear narrative screenplay and will form the foundation of their understanding of 'story'. Students will write (individually) a main script for a 6-8 minute short film (6-8 pages max.). In addition, students will act as story editors on one another's work, delivering annotated and written critiques as well as in a synchronous online script meeting with their two peer story editors and their professor. Students will complete a series of exercises or 'authentic engagements,' which will help prepare the students for the writing of their screenplay, by way of applying the lessons on the various elements of a screenplay. Some of these authentic engagements may be used in the students' online portfolios as samples of their written work. Students will learn to submit their scripts in strict screenplay form as recommended by the Writers' Guild. Students will also learn the value of constructive criticism and notes, as it relates to their own work and the work of others. Assignments submitted are graded and thus should be thoroughly proofed and edited according to professional standards and guidelines before submission to professor and class. Note that assignment deadlines will be assigned in some cases, on an individual basis, according to the script meeting schedules.