The University of Southampton

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


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

Independent Study130
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh. Play

Misfits (TV Pilot) by Howard Overman. Script

Betrayal by Harold Pinter. Play

Desperate Housewives (TV Pilot) by Marc Cherry. Script

Robert McKee. Story. 

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

Evan Placey. Mother of Him. 

David Edgar. How Plays Work. 

Girls Like That by Evan Placey. Play

Blackbird by David Harrower. Play

Blasted by Sarah Kane. Play

Random by debbie tucker green. Script

Dancyger & Rush. Alternative Scriptwriting. 

Chinatown (Film Script) by Robert Towne. Script

Steve Waters. The Secret Life of Plays. 


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).


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


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.