Module Information

Module Identifier
FM21620
Module Title
Writing for Film and Television
Academic Year
2016/2017
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1
External Examiners
  • Dr Eryl Price-Davies (Formerly Head of Extra-Curricular Studies, Imperial College London - Freelance)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Workshop 10 x 2 Hour Workshops
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Story Breakdown  30%
Semester Assessment Story Outline  70%
Supplementary Assessment Story Outline  70%
Supplementary Assessment Story Breakdown  30%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able:

  1. Show a writer's working knowledge of the purpose and effects of good storytelling;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of classic story structure, which forms the basis of most film and television drama;
  3. Understand and work with the various elements necessary for the construction of dramatic narratives;
  4. Demontrate a professional attitude towards writing for the film and television industry.

Content

Course delivery:

10 x 2 hour Lecture/Workshops


Lecture 1:
  • Overview of the course
  • Expectations placed on the student
  • Scriptwriting as a career
  • Our primary focus " fiction writing" and its relevance to other forms of scriptwriting
  • Attitudes to writing
  • About creativity
  • Introduction to story & structure
Lecture 2:
  • What makes an effective story?
  • Importance of making choices: period, duration, location, level of conflict, etc
  • Obeying internal laws of probability
  • Three types of conflict
  • Commercial ideas: high concept & the hook
  • Brainstorming
  • Classical story structure: crisis, climax & resolution
  • Premise & controlling idea
  • Change: story events & story values
Lecture 3:
  • Scenes, beats, sequences & acts
  • Story arcs
  • Subplots
  • Text & subtext
  • Conventions of genre
  • Introduction to 3-act story structure
Lecture 4:
  • What is character?
  • Character: revealed by choices
  • Character vs. characterisation: a mismatch
  • Structure & character
  • Character arc
  • The protagonist
  • How the protagonist determines all other characters
  • Characters & genre
Lecture 5:
  • Working within genres
  • Distinctions of genre
  • A look at specific genres
  • Description
  • Dialogue vs. conversation
  • Purposes of dialogue
Lecture 6:

  • Comments about Story Breakdown assignments
  • Review
Lecture 7:
  • Introduction to Mythic Structure
  • Stages of The Hero's Journey
Lecture 8:
  • Archetypes;
  • Outlining
Lecture 9:
  • Introduction to scripts & formatting
  • Writing to a brief vs. original writing
  • Types of assignments
  • Career decisions
  • Taking a brief
  • Flexibility
  • Audiences & genre
  • Collaboration & rewriting
  • Script Editors
Lecture 10:

  • Review: good storytelling; brainstorming ideas; three-act story structure; character & characterisation; genre; types of scriptwriting
  • Parting thoughts: working in the Industry; agents: when to get them, how to get them & what they're looking for

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Story Breakdowns and Outlines require a high level of written communication. Lectures include segments on how to communicate effectively in these media, and the overall assessment of a piece includes assessments on how well the concept has been communicated.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students are expected to drive their own learning and to develop their own unique creative approaches. Part of the assessment for the Outline is how well students have improved the work from Breakdown stage
Information Technology Not assessed, although it is the Department's expectation that students present their work in word processed format.
Personal Development and Career planning Career planning is not assessed. However it will be developed through discussion of the expectations the media places on a writer, what types of approaches to the media are construed to be professional, and what type of work is most likely to enhance the student's writing prospects.
Problem solving This element is not assessed directly. However, all scriptwriting involves problem solving: what type of character will best convey a particular theme? What plot devices will most effectively propel the story to the next plot point? The effectiveness with which the author has solved problems is evident in the quality of the finished product.
Research skills The element is not assessed directly. However most scripts involve some form of specialized knowledge that the student must research independently.
Subject Specific Skills The module culminates in an assessed story outline which is expected to be of industry standard. A particular skill relating to screenwriting is, therefore, inherent in the module.
Team work Students will have the opportunity to access and give feedback on each other's work.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 5