This unit provides an introduction to the principles of script writing. Students will explore the elements of theme, plot, structure, character, and dialogue in dramatic writing for film and cinema. Emphasis is placed on telling a story in terms of action and the reality of characters. The difference between the literary and visual medium is explored through individual writing projects and group analysis.
1 Understand the principles of script writing
- Mediums e.g. theatre, radio, television, film
- Context, e.g. period, social or cultural relevance.
- Storyline, e.g. the synopsis of the piece, including any sub-plots.
- Setting, e.g. place and time.
- Characterisation, e.g. character development throughout the piece and character relationships.
- Structure, e.g. importance of structure for different mediums, how storylines emerge and how a storyline is broken into scenes,
- Style, e.g. naturalistic, absurd, realism.
- Genre, e.g. comedy, tragedy, romantic, thriller, impact on narrative
- Purpose, e.g. educate, entertain, inform.
2 Understand the skills required for producing a script
- Writing a synopsis e.g. definition, purpose, content
- Storyboarding e.g. definition, purpose, digital applications e.g. final draft, movie magic screenwriter
- Structure e.g. three-act structure, five-act structure, eight movements.
- Plot points e.g. inciting incidents, plot progression, signposts, story drivers.
- Use of beats.
- Building tension.
- Releasing climaxes.
- Character development e.g. protagonist, antagonist, secondary characters, how to make them interesting, relationships, gender, dislikes, drives.
- Dialogue e.g. formatting effective dialogue, what is said, what is not said, using monologues or not.
- Effective action e.g. maintaining a balance between the action of the story, ensuring that the action is possible and plausible for the given medium.
3 Develop and pitch a script for a short film
- Development of writing and style e.g. experimenting with characters and dialogue; experimenting with plot structure, using different formats and styles, writing within specific boundaries: target audience, budget, genre; maintaining a theme within the story, character or plot driven stories; writing styles e.g. linear, episodic, epic, lyrical, naturalistic, absurd
- Characterisation, e.g. development of characters throughout the piece, different relationships within the piece and how they develop and change, diversity and representation.
- Develop dialogue e.g. elements of dialogue: written words speech tags, actions of the speaker, thoughts or emotional state of the speaker
- Creating a synopsis
- Use of scriptwriting software e.g. Celtx Script, Final Draft
- Presentation of final script e.g. layout, use of font, e.g. size and style, content organisation e.g. character lists, scene headings, spell checked.