Screenwriting 101 Syllabus

SCREENWRITING 101

We are given stories, visions and messages that God places on our hearts to share with the world. The process of capturing that story and just simply writing it down is important. Sooner or later in the writing process the problem of structure surfaces. Many will just continue to write the script without setting a solid foundation in structure leaving an invisible weight holding us back from telling the best story possible. We must work to increase our writing skills so that both the heart of the story and truth can be revealed.

“The point is that a good logline, in addition to pulling you in, has to offer the promise of more.”
― Blake Snyder, Save The Cat.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

The objective of this course is to elucidate guiding principles of professional screenwriting from conception of the idea to outlining it a building a finished script. The focus will be on developing strong writing skills while building a solid foundation necessary to cultivating the stories God has placed on your heart and entrusted you to tell at the highest level possible. Development of these skills is necessary and highly recommended prior to diving into writing your script or as a refresher to starting a new script. Towards the end of the class you will apply your skills to the creation of a new log line for the upcoming project you will be writing.

 

According to Wikipedia, a screenplay is defined as “a written work by screenwriters for a film, television program, or video game. These screenplays can be original works or adaptations from existing pieces of writing. In them, the movement, actions, expression and dialogues of the characters are also narrated.”

 

CLASS FORMAT

 

Meeting time and location:  Screenwriting 101 meets Monday evenings at 7:00 PM. Class is scheduled for 60-90 minutes until 8:30 PM. Please block out that time.

ZOOM:  This class will take place via Zoom.  Here is a link to the weekly class with instructions on how to join us. This link is valid for the duration of your class.

ASSIGNMENTS:  Screenwriting 101 has been assigned a Dropbox account. Here you will find your reading assignments.  Some assignments are meant to be read ahead of class time for discussion within the group via Zoom. We will also watch scenes and clips from films in class for evaluation and learning purposes. Assignments may be critiqued during class or on request by the instructor, turned in for written review.

 

 

 

SCREENWRITING 101 EIGHT WEEK PLAN

An up to date schedule can be found on the Screenwriting 101 Dropbox location. What follows is tentative and subject to change. When in doubt, follow the schedule on Dropbox.

 

 

  • Course intro. Discussion: Successful show and films, why they were made, how to analyze your scripts and the work of others and the difference between a good idea and a great story. Homework: watch or read TV pilot ________________________.
  • Analysis of pilot script. How to generate story ideas. Writing assignment: Come back to next session with four different story angles on _______________.
  • Creating strong log lines. Homework:  watch TV show or read script and write two log lines.
  • Creating characters and character arcs. Assignment: create protagonist and antagonist for specific concept.
  • Craft your story idea into three act structure. Assignment: turn in assignment – three acts.
  • Script formatting and terminology. Assignment: format short assigned script.
  • Generating your story idea for your upcoming project. Assignment: Bring two log lines to next class.
  • Your log lines. Assignment: Turn in two log lines and a paragraph on your story idea for written feedback and recommendation on the story you should begin to build.

 

WRITING JOURNAL

We strongly encourage freewriting and brainstorming as a part of the story development process. As we work through the various aspects of story development ideas and stories will begin to brew.  If you don’t do so already, we encourage you to create a writing journal to keep track of story ideas and exploratory writing in one place.

 

WRITTEN FEEDBACK

At the end of this class you will receive a written evaluation on your story concept and log line  you have selected to move forward.

 

Recommended reading:  Save The Cat by Blake Snyder.