The University of Southampton
Courses

ENGL2078 Scriptwriting

Module Overview

Dialogue, pace, setting, and story. Understanding the nuts of bolts of scriptwriting is not only key to a successful piece of theatre, cinema, or radio, but to all forms of creative writing or literary analysis. This course will introduce you to the art of scriptwriting through workshops, seminars, and though careful study of a range of contemporary playwrights. During the course, you will have the opportunity to develop your ideas thorough tutorials and peer feedback.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Provide a supportive learning environment for the development of your skills in writing scripts for either theatre, television or cinema • Extend your understanding of the demands of different performance media and venues • Introduce a wide range of scriptwriting techniques

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • how to write a script
  • the process of development and revision involved in creating scripts
  • how to achieve originality, linguistic versatility, and form in the handling of dialogue, action, visual effect and overall structural control in your script writing
  • how scripts are developed into performance for different media
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • write fluently in a range of styles
  • present ideas effectively in a script
  • revise and edit creative writing to a professional standard
  • translate text into performance
  • manage deadlines and make effective use of your time
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • plan the development of a script towards a successful conclusion
  • revise and edit your work effectively
  • distinguish your aims as a scriptwriter
  • create the key structures needed for a script
  • explore ways of realising your script in performance
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • handle complex demands of script composition in an analytic manner
  • make literary judgements of scripts in an informed way
  • independently evaluate and apply compositional methods
  • interact effectively with audiences via the performance of a script
  • demonstrate originality through your writing

Syllabus

This module is an introduction to the basic skills and contexts of script writing. It is not aimed at any one specific medium but will offer introductions to the requirements of theatre, radio, television and film. You will be expected to engage in some practical drama workshops. Assessment will include an opening scene for a stage play with an outline of the rest of the play’s story; a script for stage, film, radio, or television, and a critical reflection, articulating the choices you have made with regards to the medium you are working in, and drawing on techniques learned in class and from scripts studied.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Classroom activity will be aimed at exploring the interaction of script and performance, as well as devoted to the basic analysis of how scripts work. Differences between the media of various types of theatre, television and cinema will be addressed both in set reading and through exploratory investigation in the seminars. Teaching methods include • Analysis of theatrical material for group discussion • Practical drama work with both exemplary scripts from cinema, television and modern theatre, and with student drafts • Managed discussion of student scripts • Seminar discussion of the principles of script writing Learning activities include • Responding in detail orally to student scripts that have been read in advance and sometimes may have been presented in performance • Studying published scripts & audio dramas for radio • Writing drafts for both performance and seminar discussion

TypeHours
Teaching20
Independent Study130
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

People Snogging in Public Places (radio play) by Jack Thorne. Script

Chinatown (Film Script) by Robert Towne. Script

Robert McKee. Story. 

The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh. Play

Misfits (TV Pilot) by Howard Overman. Script

Blackbird by David Harrower. Play

Betrayal by Harold Pinter. Play

Steve Waters. The Secret Life of Plays. 

Desperate Housewives (TV Pilot) by Marc Cherry. Script

Blasted by Sarah Kane. Play

Girls Like That by Evan Placey. Play

Random by debbie tucker green. Script

Dancyger & Rush. Alternative Scriptwriting. 

David Edgar. How Plays Work. 

Evan Placey. Mother of Him. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • Classroom presentation of work in progress in the form of both scripts and performance • Tutorial discussion of drafts Formal assessments A 5 minute opening scene (750 words, approx. 4-5 pages of script ) for a stage play with a 250 word treatment outlining the rest of the play’s story* A 10-15 minute script (2000 words, 10-15 pages) for stage, film, radio, or television. While this may be a complete short work, it can (and likely will) be part of a longer piece. i.e. the beginning of a pilot TV episode; the opening of Act 2 of a stage play, etc.** A critical reflection (1000 words), articulating the choices you have made with regards to the medium you are working in, and drawing on techniques learned in class and from scripts studied *This may be a complete opening scene, or it may be the first 4-5 minutes of the scene if your scene would be longer, or if your entire play would be one scene (for example, if you choose to write in the closed time/closed space structure as studied in class). **If you choose to write a film or television script, it must be the opening 10-15 minutes of the film or pilot episode, setting up the tone, genre, and world of the story as studied in class. For theatre and radio scripts, you may write an extract from any part of the play as long as you provide a brief context as to what has happened in the play up to that point. (You may, for example, choose to continue writing more of the play that you began in the first assessment).

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Critical commentary  (1000 words) 25%
Script  (2000 words) 50%
Script  (750 words) 25%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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