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Creative Writing - Script Writing

Course Number: WR 243
Transcript Title: Creative Wr (Script Wr)
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: September 25, 2013
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit

Prerequisites

WR 115 and RD 115 or equivalent placement test scores

Course Description

Focuses on writing and submitting theater and film scripts for class discussion and analysis. Studies established writers for techniques, structures, and styles. Prerequisites: WR 115 and RD 115 or equivalent placement test scores.

Intended Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate familiarity with the elements of drama - such as plot, character, diction, theme, and spectacle - as well as an understanding of how these elements combine to create a theatrical experience.
  2. Develop a working definition of drama that notes its divergence from other narrative forms.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the limitations and opportunities particular to theater and film.
  4. Develop an original subject and the ability to illuminate it from multiple points of view.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the unification of form, content, and structure in a script.
  6. Produce two or more original and narratively complete scripts totaling 4,000 words.
  7. Use fictional elements in their writing.
  8. Develop critical skill for evaluating their own writing, that of their peers, and that of professionals.
  9. Support peers in their artistic processes by contributing positively to the workshop through careful critiquing of each other’s work.
  10. Read and analyze established authors.
  11. Show an understanding of the function of the first draft as a basis for beginning the real work of developing a script through various stages of revision.
  12. Demonstrate an understanding of the collaborative nature of theater and film, and a concomitant appreciation of the writer’s traditional role in each medium.
  13. Demonstrate an understanding of proper formatting and the ability to prepare a script for production (such as the Student One - Act Play Festival, held annually in the spring).

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment may include informal responses to reading and study questions; quizzes; evaluation of small and full-group discussion, in-class and out-of-class writing; writing scripts; revising scripts; participation in reading of scripts.

Because of the participatory nature of the workshop atmosphere of the course, consistent attendance is essential. The course grade is determined by appraisal of the students' writing, regularity of attendance in class and individual conferences, and active participation in class activities. Scripts totaling approximately 4,000 words will be required, the number depending on how much other writing is assigned - such as notebooks, journals, exercises, or revisions. Reading and writing activities are sequential and should be completed on time.

Texts and Materials

The following items are intended as descriptions of instructor’s choices of texts in the past as an aid to choosing texts in the future. This is not intended as a prescribed or recommended list of texts. A text, texts, or alternative forms of texts may be designated by the instructor based on the objectives outlined in this course content guide. Generally, instructors order a text that supplies the basic forms in one area of media and supplement the content with handouts, books on reserve, recordings, and video tapes/films. Some possibilities are as follows:

  • Beckett, Samuel. Working Words: The Process of Creative Writing.
  • Field, Syd. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting.
  • Minot, Stephen. Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction, and Drama.
  • Mueller, Lavonne, and Jerry D. Reynolds. Creative Writing: Forms and Techniques.
  • Packard William. The Art of the Playwright.
  • Root, Wells. Writing the Script: A Practical Guide for Films and Television.
  • Hatcher, Jeffrey, The Art and Craft of Playwriting
  • Dixon, Michael Bigelow and Michele Volansky, eds., 20 One-Act Plays from 20 Years of the Humana Festival
  • Whitcomb, Cynthia, The Writer’s Guide to Writing Your Screenplay

Course Activities and Design

This course can include lecture, but will likely consist mostly of round-table workshops in which student work will be evaluated by the entire class. Students will come prepared to critique the work by responding to it either in discussion or in writing. Students may also read a variety of published scripts and view live or recorded performances for analysis. The instructor should spend approximately an hour of conference with each student outside of class.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Plot
  • Character
  • Scene
  • Voice
  • Diction
  • Theme
  • Sound/Music
  • Spectacle
  • Point of view
  • Dialogue
  • Conflict
  • Objectives
  • Obstacles
  • Stakes
  • Setting
  • Context
  • Tone/Language
  • Text
  • Subtext
  • Visual metaphors/Imagery
  • Pacing
  • Protagonist
  • Antagonist
  • Theatrical convention
  • Audience
  • Dramatic irony
  • Dramatic economy
  • Mimesis

Department Notes

Students are encouraged to take a literature class, preferably one that includes scripts, concurrently with WR 243.