ADVANCED SCREENWRITING - 2023/4

Module code: ELIM037

Module Overview

The module offers students the opportunity to learn the processes for writing a compelling script for film and television. Through analysing film, reading extracts from screenplays, engaging with theoretical concepts, and participating in class discussions and workshops students will be offered a comprehensive overview of the screenwriting process.

The module builds upon the knowledge and skills from students’ BA studies in terms of reading, writing critically and/or creatively, and watching and analysing film. It develops critical and creative skills for subsequent MA modules including the dissertation and aligns with other critical and creative modes in other modules through encouraging the development of genre knowledge and specific narrative-arc writing skills The two-hour workshops address the needs of in-depth writing and analysis at MA level. The extended writing for assessment is appropriate for MA level.

At the end of the semester students will produce a professionally formatted script for short film or a pilot episode, alongside a commentary reflecting upon their creative work OR a critical essay that focusses films/ TV series of their own choice using theories, concepts and practices studied on the module.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

WYNNE-DAVIES Marion (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: W810

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 15

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 73

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 44

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

The following areas are indicative of topics to be covered:


  • The three- and five-act structures

  • The Protagonist and their journey

  • The development of character

  • Theme, premise and understanding the role of conflict

  • Openings

  • Plot and Story

  • Scene development

  • Dialogue and description

  • Film and Television


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework SCREENPLAY (18 PAGES) PLUS CRITICAL ESSAY AND COMMENTARY (1500 WORDS) OR CRITICAL ESSAY (4500 WORDS) 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in working as part of a group and practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in oral communication. It also assesses subject knowledge in the different forms of screenwriting and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in developing screenplays.

The essay OR the screenplay plus critical commentary assess subject knowledge in the different forms of screenwriting and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in using the theories of screenwriting to analyse scripts. They also assess practical/professional skills in expressing ideas about screenwriting AND/OR writing their own screenplay in written communication and transferable skills in working independently and as part of a group.

Students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme MAY submit a portfolio of creative writing and accompanying self-reflexive commentary for their final assessment. This assessment option allows you to demonstrate:  * Subject knowledge relating to the close analysis of form, meaning and language of plays and films to demonstrate:

* Cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking.
* Professional/practical skills in communicating ideas in writing.
* Creative engagement with the opportunities and limitations of a particular mode of writing  
* Creative engagement with the texts and themes discussed on the module
* An ability to locate your own creative work fruitfully and articulately in relation to existing literary traditions and the contemporary field of literary production


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

* End of semester Creative Piece (3000 words or equivalent in poetry) plus critical essay and commentary (1500 words) (100%) OR Critical Essay (4500 words) (100%)


Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback and formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, and tutor feedback in seminars, on short pieces (250-500 words of prose, or equivalent in another form) presented as part of the workshopping element of the classes. Each student can expect to present 2-3 such pieces over the course of the semester according to a schedule worked out between the tutor and the student cohort. Written and/or oral tutor feedback will also be provided on one piece of creative writing (maximum of 1000 words or equivalent for poetry) during the course of the module (the student is free to submit this at any point of the semester). As such, writing, presentation and critical analysis skills will be developed and honed which will feed forward to the summative assessment at the end of the module.

There is the option of a range of other feedback mechanisms agreed between tutor and students in week 1 of the module, such as seminar contribution and writing exercises.

Module aims

  • The module aims to develop students¿ detailed and in-depth understanding of: screenwriting processes for film and television
  • the ability in students to analyse and appraise styles and techniques used in screenwriting and to apply critical insights to their own writing practices and/or the works of other screenwriters
  • the detailed knowledge and skills necessary for screenwriting that involves independent research using digital resources
  • the ability to apply critical awareness to their own creative writing and/or to the works of others, especially within the workshop context
  • the theory and conceptualisation of screenwriting critically alongside the practices and published texts produced in relation to it
  • the knowledge and skills for employment with producers and/ or writing their own screenplays for submission to producers and/ or competitions
  • international screenwriting and an appreciation of screenwriting from various cultures and backgrounds
  • That students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme who are submitting a portfolio of Creative Work for their final assignment are also being given the opportunity to respond creatively to an assigned writing task, to engage in a creative manner to the works of others, and to gain practice in identifying the ways in which their own writing fits into (and perhaps helps transform our understanding of) the existing literary landscape

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will have acquired: significant confidence and ability in in-deoth critical analysis and thinking C
002 The ability to analyse and appraise styles and techniques used in screenwriting and to apply these critical insights to their own writing practices and/or the works of other screenwritersand/or the works of other screenwriters KC
003 The detailed knowledge necessary for screenwriting literature that involves independent research using digital resources K
004 The detailed skills necessary for screenwriting and an ability to apply critical awareness to their own creative writing and/or to the works of others and so to have benefitted from the workshops PT
005 The knowledge and skills for employment with producers and/ or writing their own screenplays for submission to producers and/ or competitions PT
006 An understanding of international screenwriting and an appreciation of screenwriting from various cultures and backgrounds K

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:




    • Hone and develop students’ writing skills in academic writing and/or creative writing (screenwriting) by more fully developing students’ understanding of the context and processes of film and television practices through working on analysing screenplays and/ or writing their own scripts

    • Assist students in locating screenplays and their own critical and/or creative work in historical and cultural contexts by more fully developing a strong sense of the materials and techniques available, and to develop in-depth thinking in the context of screenwriting for film and television; in particular, through encouraging students to refer to examples from their own viewing and reading

    • Equip students with the research and writing skills they will need to produce critically informed academic writing and/or creative writing (screenplays) and creative criticism by helping them gain significant confidence and ability in critical analysis and thinking OR an ability to use specific compositional skills that will have practical application to their practices as screenwriters. This will be done through a weekly breakdown of all they key elements necessary for writing a screenplay

    • Facilitate students’ productive reflection on both the creative process and the finished work by helping them gain significant confidence and ability in critical analysis and thinking, and an ability to use specific compositional skills that will have practical application to their practices as writers, both academic and creative.

    • Support student learning through the visit of a professional writer

    • Introduce students to screenwriting from a range of backgrounds, cultures and countries

    • Overall, students will learn about screenwriting via a range of online materials and through workshops in order to develop their knowledge base and skills in a creative and scholarly environment.

      The learning and teaching methods include a combination of lecture materials, seminars, captured content, guided learning and independent learning.




Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELIM037

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Digital Capabilities: students access a range of digital materials relevant to screenwriting including online searches for material on authors and texts that are not covered by scholarly criticism. Because a lot of this material is very recent students are encouraged to explore social media and journalism in order to discover contemporaneous information. Students will also engage with Surrey’s VLE and other digital platforms as part of their engagement with the module.

Employability: students learn about the key elements in analysing and creating screenplays giving them the knowledge and skills for employment with production companies and/ or writing their own works for submission to a production company and/ or a competition. Visits from a screenwriter gives further access to employability skills. In class students learn about the processes involved in screenplay selection by production companies.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: the module includes a number of international screenplays that change regularly when new material is available; recent examples are Parasite and Pan’s Labyrinth. Students are encouraged to bring examples of screenplays that reflect their own backgrounds, cultures and experience. This is one of the most fascinating elements of the module that encourages students to appraise themselves of the recent success of foreign-language screenplays using subtitles in production; for example, Korean cinema,

Resourcefulness and Resilience: resourcefulness is developed through understanding and creating works that are filmable able and this is reinforced by a chance to discuss development with a successful screenwriter. Students learn how to develop an understanding of constant revision and the need for group work that is part of the professional screenwriting practice and to develop their own resilience practices as authors.

Sustainability: Many recent screenplays deal with sustainability; for example, Parasite, Pan’s Labyrinth and Midsomar. Students are encouraged, especially in their own writing, to consider sustainability issues and ask why these have become more popular today. As such, students will be at the forefront of understanding, criticizing and writing creatively about one of the major issues confronting screenwriters today.  

 

Student Learning Journey

The module builds upon the knowledge and skills from students’ BA studies in English Literature and Creative Writing. It develops critical and creative skills for subsequent MA modules including the dissertation and aligns with other critical and creative modes in other modules.  The two-hour workshops address the needs of in-depth writing and analysis at MA level. The extended writing for assessment is appropriate for MA level.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Creative Writing MA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
English Literature MA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.