SCREENWRITING - 2025/6

Module code: MFC3034

Module Overview

The module offers students the opportunity to learn the processes for writing a compelling script for film or television. Through analysing film clips, 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 English Literature and Creative Writing at Level 4. It develops critical and creative skills for modules including the dissertation and aligns with other critical and creative modes in other at Level 6.  The two-hour workshops address the needs of in-depth writing and analysis at level 6.

At the end of the semester students will produce a professionally formatted script for a short film or television episode alongside a commentary reflecting upon their creative work and/or a critical essay that focusses on films/ TV episodes 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 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 30

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

  • Feature film

  • Shorts

  • TV


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework SCREENPLAY (15 PAGES) PLUS CRITICAL ESSAY AND COMMENTARY (600 WORDS) OR CRITICAL ESSAY (3000 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 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 through demonstrating knowledge of a range of screenplays and explaining how they are effective

cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in using the theories of screenwriting to analyse scripts through the close reading of screenplays in the essay and through using the theories in students’ own creative writing

practical/professional skills in expressing ideas about screenwriting AND/OR writing their own screenplay, particularly with regard to ideas about relevance and professional contexts

transferable skills in working independently and as part of a group.


Students on the English Literature and/or Creative Writing programmes 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 Screenplay (15 pages) plus Critical Essay and Commentary (600 words) OR Critical Essay (3000 words) (100%)


Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal Feedback in class, written and/or verbal feedback on one piece of writing (maximum of 600 words).

Formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, tutor feedback in seminars, and 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

  • Develop in students a thorough critical understanding of screenwriting processes for film, television and webseries
  • Develop 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 knowledge and skills necessary for screenwriting that involves independent research using digital resources
  • the knowledge and skills for employment with producers and/ or writing their own screenplays for submission to producers and/ or competitions
  • The module also aims that for students who are submitting a portfolio of Creative Work for their final assignment they 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 critical analysis and thinking in order 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 screenwriters KC
002 The detailed knowledge and skills necessary for screenwriting that involves independent research using digital resources KP
003 Increased ability to apply critical awareness to their own creative writing and/or to the works of others especially within workshops PT
004 The knowledge and skills for employment with producers and/or writing their own screenplays for submission to producers and/ or competitions PT
005 An understanding of international screenwriting and an appreciation of screenwriting from various cultures and backgrounds K
006 Students who are submitting a portfolio of Creative Work for their final assignment will also have aquired the ability to engage creatively as well as critically with the themes, topics and texts on this module. KCPT

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 helping students understand the context of film and television practices
* Assist students in locating screenplays and their critical and/or creative work in historical and cultural contexts by developing a stronger sense of the materials and techniques available, and begin to develop their thinking in the context of screenwriting for film and television
* 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
* 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: MFC3034

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities 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 students will be researching up-to-date materials this will mean investigating a wide range of resources including social media where comments on screenplays are often made. 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. In class they learn to critique screenplays from the perspective of a production company. Visits from a screenwriter give further access to employability skills and an understanding of the profession.

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. As such, students are encouraged to bring their own cultures and cultural experiences into the context of the classroom.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: resourcefulness is developed through understanding and creating works that are filmable through learning writing and critical skills about genre, structure and dialogue. These elements are reinforced by a chance to discuss development with a successful screenwriter. Finally, students are given access to a range of screenwriting websites that allow for submission to competitions; for example, the BBC Writers’ Room. 

Student Learning Journey: The module builds upon the knowledge and skills from students’ BA studies in English Literature and Creative Writing at Level 4 that look at films and writing for the screen. It develops critical and creative skills for modules including the dissertation and aligns with other critical and creative modes in other modules at Levels 5 and 6

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with German BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Film Production and Broadcast Engineering BEng (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 2 Optional 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.