Screenwriting, more than any other form of creative writing, is both artistic and technical. It requires a flair for dialogue, a familiarity with the film media, and an ability to work with life experience in a visual way. In this course, students will study the art of writing dialogue as well as the technique of structuring film scripts. The course will focus on the writing of concepts, outlines, treatments and scenes. The goal of this course is to write scripts with literary integrity. The emphasis in the course will be on student work which will be discussed in a workshop.
Students will study:
- Student manuscripts.
- Professional sample outlines, treatments and manuscripts.
- Videotapes of feature-length and short films.
Methods of Instruction
This course will employ the workshop to examine student manuscripts. There will be frequent workshop readings and performances of student work. Films and videos will be used as teaching aids.
Means of Assessment
The assignments will be as follows:
- A five-minute oral pitch for a half-hour script.
- An adaptation of a piece of fiction (6 pages).
- An outline and character sheet (4 to 6 pages).
- The opening scenes of the script including inciting incident and first turning point.
- A complete 30 page first draft.
- An optional revision of the script.
- Participation in workshop. Students failing to attend more than 80% of the workshops will receive a 0 in Class Participation. Leaving at the break is considered half an absence.
The student will learn about the art of dialogue and character development for film. He/she will study the three-act structure of feature films. Feature length and short film will be screened so that the student will come to appreciate the qualities that make certain screenplays artistic successes, not merely box office successes. The student will learn to translate life experiences into scenes, adaptations, and exercises for presentation in the workshop.
- The student will learn to recognize the cinematic potential of life experience.
- The student will learn how to develop a concept for a half hour film.
- The student will become familiar with the film media. He/she will study the importance of the visual picture, sound and action.
- The student will study the industry-standard film writing format
- The student will become familiar with technical shooting terms and scene breakdown.
- The student will learn about the three-act structure of film scripts.
- The student will participate in workshop exercises re: dialogue and character arc.
- The student will learn about the art of adapting fiction to film. He/she will write several scenes based on an excerpt from a short story or novel (eg: Catch 22, A Passage to India), and later examine how the writer and director of that film wrote and shot these scenes.
- The student will learn to write a detailed outline and character sheet for a film project.
- The student will develop screenwriting skills by writing scenes for an original film idea using the industry-standard format.
- The student will learn to move from an outline to a first draft.
- The student will learn to analyze the value of workshop evaluations and suggestions in the development of screenplays.
- The student will learn to incorporate workshop evaluations and suggestions from his/her instructor and peers in his/her revisions.
- The student will learn to prepare a professional-looking screenplay manuscript.
One of Creative Writing 1102, 1103, 1202, plus satisfactory result on College Writing Assessment or substitution/equivalent as stated in College Calendar.
Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.
Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system.
A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.
For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.
If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.