This module explores the theory and practice of writing for the screen, specifically the ten minute short. Students will engage with key practical manuals and critical studies of the screenwriting process and study a range of globally diverse short films and published film scripts. The culmination of this work will be the production of a ten page screenplay which will form the basis of the ten minute short film made in the spring/summer segment of Video: Documentary and Drama. The course allows students to participate in such debates by critically reading theoretical works as well as reading and watching a variety of examples of dramatic texts and performances.
It is recognised that a creative writing strand in a Film degree is an invaluable way of seeing the process of writing from a new perspective and for the writer to become more engaged in their own learning. Reading and writing film scripts will help develop critical, interpretative, and evaluative capabilities. Students keep a notebook detailing screenplays that they have chosen to read independently, as well as those read in the teaching sessions. These examples will be read and discussed alongside other critical and theoretical texts about the form.
The module will initially revolve around the close study of a number of short films and published (short) screenplays focussing on areas such as:
Narrative and story structure in the short film
Form and style of the short film
Action and conflict
Dialogue and exposition
Slug lines and scene description
Writing for actors and directors
Later in the module these key areas will then be employed as guidance in the creation of the students’ original screenplays with particular attention to skills in writing accurately, using punctuation effectively, editing, layout, formatting and presenting copy for production. One of most important factors that will drive this process is that the screenplays they produce will be taken forward and produced later in year in the drama segment of the Video Practice and Production module.