Module UXS-3049:
Advanced Screenwriting

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Mr Mathew Owen

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To develop students‘ advanced knowledge and understanding of screenwriting in various media forms, including film and television;
  2. To provide knowledge of key issues and theories surrounding the analysis of screenwriting;
  3. To give students opportunities to develop film and television treatments and screenplays;
  4. To apply theories of authorship and intertextuality to screenwriting and the screenplay text;
  5. To debate issues of fidelity to source material, plus audience expectation and consumption of adaptations;
  6. To contextualise the above, by assessing students on their own practice of adapting texts into formal screenplays and treatments.

Course content

This module introduces students to key theories of screenwriting studies, and assesses them on their own creative screenwriting practice in the form of screenplays and treatments, plus a critical essay. Workshops will deliver various discourses on the history and development of the screenplay, and interrogate the relationship of media to film. These sessions will also examine a range of concepts related to screenwriting, including adaptation, authorship, visual storytelling, narratology and intertextuality.

Workshops will involve short lectures on theories of screenwriting, and class discussion. These sessions will also provide an opportunity for students to carry out creative screenwriting tasks in groups.

Students will need to demonstrate an understanding of key theories related to the comparative textual analysis of screenplays. However, the module is heavily focused on the creative act and process of writing.

Students will be encouraged to engage with formal screenwriting concepts such as the three-act structure, genre tropes, active protagonists and plot resolutions. However, as a third-year screenwriting module, they will also be expected to interrogate and challenge these elements of screenwriting craft, and are expected to display this engagement in their assessed work.

Students will also critically peer evaluate the work of their cohort, and analyse published screenplays, applying knowledge gained in the lectures. Students will also be required to develop professional writing habits and to give and receive critically constructive comment and advice.

Lectures will deliver various discourses on the history and development of screenwriting, and interrogate the relationship of various media to film. Lectures will also examine a range of concepts related to screenwriting, including adaptation, authorship, visual storytelling, narratology and intertextuality. These concepts will then be applied to films screened in the same week.

Seminar time will be spent discussing theories of screenwriting, and also provide an opportunity for students to carry out creative screenwriting tasks in groups, such as conceiving short film ideas, and developing screenwriting.

Assessment Criteria

good

B

  • Strong knowledge
  • Understands most but not all
  • Evidence of background study
  • Focussed answer with good structure
  • Arguments presented coherently
  • Mostly free of factual and computational errors
  • Some limited original interpretation
  • Well known links between topics are described
  • Problems addressed by existing methods/approaches
  • Good presentation with accurate communication

excellent

A

  • Comprehensive knowledge
  • Detailed understanding
  • Extensive background study
  • Highly focussed answer and well structured
  • Logically presented and defended arguments
  • No factual/computational errors
  • Original interpretation
  • New links between topics are developed
  • New approach to a problem
  • Excellent presentation with very accurate communication

threshold

D

  • Knowledge of key areas/principles only
  • Weaknesses in understanding of main areas
  • Limited evidence of background study
  • Answer only poorly focussed on question and with some irrelevant material and poor structure
  • Arguments presented but lack coherence
  • Several factual/computational errors
  • No original interpretation
  • Only major links between topics are described
  • Limited problem solving
  • Many weaknesses in presentation and accuracy

Learning outcomes

  1. Successfully write an industry standard short film screenplay and treatment

  2. Display an understanding of effective screenwriting, including characterisation, structure, genre, visual storytelling and the use of dialogue and action

  3. Evaluate key concepts in screenwriting theory regarding the textual differences between various media, including narratology, and specificity

  4. Display the relevant skills required to develop and write effective screenplays for film that conform to industry standard formatting

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Visual Storytelling Portfolio 40
Fiction Portfolio 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Workshop

1 x 3 hour workshop per week x 11

Workshops include: x 1 hour Lecture, x 1 hour seminar, x 1 hour practice workshop

22
Private study 178

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: