Overview of Course
Alfred Hitchcock once said: “To make a great film you need three things: the script, the script, and the script.” SPCM 353: Screenwriting as Communication is a foundational course for beginning and intermediate writers interested in crafting an original feature screenplay, television series, streamed programing or short scripts for commercial and industrial applications. We’ll begin the class with the fundamentals of storytelling, story structure, and screenplay formatting. We’ll continue by exploring the essential elements of story, including theme, plot, character, and conflict. We’ll learn the dramatic units of a script, such as beat, scene, sequence and act, and polish the fine art of writing dialogue. And we’ll put all these together by end of term in full story “treatments” and scripted work.
Throughout the semester, we will read scripts, watch films, and practice how to analyze scripts and films like professional readers in the industry. Just as in a Hollywood writers’ room, everyone will share their work (both written and verbally) with other students and be expected to provide feedback. You’ll pitch your ideas and listen as we “table read” your pages. Upon completion of this course you will: understand the fundamentals and building blocks of storytelling; learn to develop and improve commercial story ideas; create, revise and complete a properly formatted screenplay; and understand how to represent visual ideas on the page.