MI4003 - Screenwriting 1

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What will I learn on this module?

This module is about gaining a real grounding in the core principles that govern screenwriting in fiction and documentary. It will introduce you to the main principles of screenwriting theory and encourage you to deploy these in practical exercises that allow you to write strong and coherent proposals and scripts based on intensive research. These will be considered through discussion within an informed and supportive environment. You will also be
introduced to the history and development of screenwriting.
The module is taught by lectures which set out the aims and learning outcomes of each session and are followed by screenwriting workshops where
you develop and pitch ideas and work on drafts.
Summative assessment comprises a documentary project that is assessed on proposal and script (50% - 1500 words equivalent) and a screenplay devel-opment and production theory exercise, which is assessed by small group visual script projects (50% - 1500 words equivalent).
The module is articulated around two projects - one in each semester: Semester 1 sees you work on a documentary project, and semester 2 a fiction
production. There is also an experimental project to begin with. The content of the module is structured around:

1. The historical development of screenwriting.
2. Characterisation.
3. Narrative structure and storytelling.
4. Analysis of film structures as narrative vehicles.
5. Dialogue writing for the screen.
6. Documentary research and screenplay development.

How will I learn on this module?

Lectures will introduce you to the core principles of screenwriting such as characterisation, plot development and dialogue writing; these will be supported by practical sessions in which extracts and examples are used to facilitate the understanding of the ideas introduced. Workshops will introduce you to the guided production of work that articulates broad notions of screenwriting.

Workshops will also allow you to engage in a process of script research and development in consultation with tutors. This will involve a cycle of writing
exercises, script drafts and critical formative feedback. While there will be an emphasis on the practical development of screenplay writing, you will be
encouraged to develop a critical understanding of your work through group critical discussion.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Whilst the lectures and workshops help you to gain the skills of writing for the screen in all of the ways previously mentioned, discussion and in class
development of ideas are embedded into this module, and as key parts of the assessment have a degree of synergy with other modules (Film Production 1 - as some of the scripts actually go in to production) early formative feedback during the module lets you know how well you are performing. Tutorials are also offered, as one to one discussions, about the development of individual ideas.
All of the module information and learning materials are available on the eLearning Portal pages for the module and written feedback is offered for both pro-ject outcomes, where tutors identify strengths and weaknesses as well as a section on ‘how to improve’ for future learning. An opportunity is presented for you to have any further clarification, of things you did not understand, on completion of the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Understand the basic key components of screenwriting.

2. Gain an ability to identify the potential of a story and/or subject for a documentary and /or fictional screenplay based on in-depth research.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. Show a critical understanding of narrative structures in both fiction and documentary.

4. Identify potential for story in documentary treatment/fictional screenplay through in depth research.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5. Show engagement with group work and
confidence in dealing with the subject in a wider cultural context.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment is carried out by workshop peer review of your critical written work and
production proposals and also of technical skills exercises.
Summative feedback is through workshops and also on assessment feedback forms indicating particular strengths of the work once submitted. Summative feedback will also explicitly draw attention to the ways in which future performances can be improved.

There are two elements of assessment in this module. The documentary project (1500 words) that is assessed on proposal and is designed to test your ability to research and extrapolate a script form ‘real world’ scenarios and to present it as part of a coherent proposal for a production project, addressing MLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4.

The second assessment element is the script and the screenplay development and production theory exercise (1500 words), these are assessed as small group visual script projects addressing MLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 .
The screenplay development and production
theory exercise tests your understanding of the key principles that were introduced into lectures as well as your ability to work collaboratively on the development and presentation of a visual script project.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

“If it can be written, it can be filmed” Stanley Kubrick.

This module introduces you to storytelling on screen; you develop a documentary treatment from in depth research into a ‘person’ to create a ‘portrait’ and you will work in teams to make a visual story sequence, using a technique called ‘Photo Roman’. These projects are in the context of an introduction to screenwriting, concentrating on narrative structure, characterisation and writing dialogue for the screen. There will also be analysis of film structures to tell stories, the use of research as a creative tool for developing ideas and finally, how to develop the scripts.

Course info

UCAS Code P310

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location Lipman Building, Newcastle City Campus

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

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