THE ART OF VISUAL STORY TELLING - 2025/6

Module code: DMA1009

Module Overview

Behind every great advertisement, computer game, film, television programme, web episode, is a great story. As humans, we love stories – listening, reading, telling – we absorb them every day to learn about ourselves and to understand the world around us. What makes visual media so compelling is its ability to communicate this efficiently and effectively - sometimes one camera shot is all you need.

During this module, you will explore storytelling and how to create enjoyable stories. You will discuss how this can be visually expressed using filmmaking grammar and basic film/television terminology. You shall develop visual communications tools and learn how they can be used to help create a great story. This module will give you a strong foundation in visual narratives and will underpin many creative projects you undertake during your degree and in professional media work.

Work in these pre-production areas time, money and resources when preparing for the final production so this module develops skills that benefit the climate and the budget.

 

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

PRATT Susan (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 22

Independent Learning Hours: 103

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 1

Captured Content: 2

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • Introduction to screenwriting and story structure for moving image media

  • Characters and archetypes

  • awareness of culture in dialogue and narrative

  • Visual narrative

  • Genres – creating moods with lighting, colour, music, locations, tempo/pacing etc.

  • Camera shots/angles/lenses

  • Frame composition

  • Storyboards and animatics

  • Intro to editing and postproduction using Non Linear Editing software and other tools


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework SCREEN PLAY 25
Coursework storyboard 25
Coursework Animatic 50

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to give students the opportunity to show their understanding of moving image narrative, character development, plot and structure and dialogue are formed in professional screen play writing software.  Also  how camera composition,  movement, effects, lighting, sound, character movement and pace have on the overall tone and mood of a filmed sequence. The initial coursework will cumulatively build the student’s experience and knowledge, applying lessons learnt in each iteration. The final piece of coursework will develop these skills further in the form of an edited and timed animatic.

 

The assessment for this module consists of:


  • Coursework  – Screen Play (addresses Learning Outcomes 1,2 and 5)

  • Coursework  – storyboard  (addresses Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4 and 5)

  • Coursework- Animatic  (addresses Learning Outcomes 1,2,3, 4 and 5)



Formative assessment


  • The module includes class assignments covering the production skills required for each of the briefs.

  • Continuous formative assessment is given through timetabled group critiques and individual tutorials. Work-in-progress presented will be given direct feedback regarding its quality and standard at these times.



Feedback

Students receive written feedback on their coursework and verbal feedback on their practical work throughout the module, particularly workshops.

Module aims

  • To provide students with a framework for developing an idea into a short narrative scene.
  • To develop the students understanding issues that arise out of the creation of fictional scenarios characters and cultures.
  • Strengthen students' skills to produce a narrative framework.
  • Introduce students to camera language and terms; their use and narrative meaning.
  • Provide students with pre-production techniques to visualise the final media structure.
  • Introduce students to the concept of tempo, continuity grammar and pace in a production
  • To develop the students skill in organisation and time management.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Generate ideas, concepts, and creative projects in response to set briefs though the creation of coherent visual stories KCP
002 Select, test and make appropriate use of software, processes and production techniques and professional formatting to deliver your narrative KCP
003 Demonstrate and communicate the use of lighting, visuals, continuity and audio for a professional production KCP
004 Develop visualisation techniques to prepare for production KCP
005 Study independently, set goals, manage their own workloads and meet deadlines KP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The teaching is designed to give students the opportunity to learn about moving image narrative theory and visualisation initially in a lecture environment and then putting your learning into practice in the workshops.  Students will be expected to work on class projects in their own time and bring their ideas and work to the workshops for feedback.    This will help to develop the skills required for the assessments the art of storytelling and visualising your productions.

The learning and teaching methods include:


  • Lectures

  • Hands-on instruction 

  • Workshops

  • Critiques and individual tutorials

  • Class assignments


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: DMA1009

Other information

The Department of Music and Media is committed to developing graduates with attributes encompassing employability, digital skills, global and culture awareness, sustainability as it relates to media production and broadcast engineering and, finally, resourcefulness and resilience.

Employability: this module allows students to both understand, and actively participate in, a range of screen plays and production that prepare them for working in industry. The projects develop professional skills required for screen writing, storyboarding, production planning, developing a visual narrative, sound mix and Foley.  While these specifically develop these professional skills it also develops decision-making,  resourcefulness, and delivering projects on time to a brief.,  all skills that would be attractive to employers  in  this  field.  The focus of  the assessment  strategy  will  help  to  prepare  students  for the  realities of the  world  of  work  because  it sets professional projects that will help students gain employable skills and work in a professional way.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: Students are guided to develop the ability to reflect, evaluate, adapt, and respond flexibly to particularly in their development of their screenplay ideas, working around problems in the script, visualisation, continuity or sound to improve their submission after feedback during workshops.

Digital capabilities: Students are shown how to use a wide range of online and stand-alone digitally-enabled and industry-standard tools. These include software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve, sound recording devices, etc.

Sustainability: In developing storyboarding and animatic techniques reduce the time and preparation required for production to be on set, which is good for resources and the impact on the planet.

Global and cultural capabilities: Students will develop an awareness of the demographic of their proposed audience and can demonstrate cultural awareness of how their production could address different demographics for the purpose of the narrative. The module will nurture awareness of the narrative to clearly reflect cultural viewpoints as part of storytelling.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Games Design BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Film Production and Broadcast Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% 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 2025/6 academic year.