FILM 33 Introductory Screenwriting (4 units)
Instructor, Tim Albaugh
Lecturer, UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media
THIS SYLLABUS IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Learn and apply the fundamentals of screenwriting story, structure, character development, plot, theme, conflict and how to use the world of your movie.
Students work with TAs and classmates to develop an original story for a feature length screenplay guided by lectures, readings, TA instruction and feedback. Students will write the first 10 pages of said screenplay.
Emphasis is on structural analysis of feature film writing. Students will develop an understanding of the professional screenwriters vocabulary; three act structure; the requirements of cinematic characters; subplots and their role in relation to the main plot; dialogue; character specificity; and theme.
How Class Works
Students view weekly lectures via a web browser. Reading assignments accompany each lecture. Questions and exercises related to assignments and creative work are workshopped on a moderated Discussion Board. There are five written assignments.
Richard Walters Essentials of Screenwriting: The Art, Craft, and Business of Film and Television Writing is required for this course. You are also required to read at least two feature length screenplays, which are available for download from the Class Website.
Books are available for purchase at the UCLA bookstore either on campus or online. They are also available at stores and from online booksellers such as Amazon.com.
Our 4 core films and other optional features can be streamed at low resolution from the Class Website. For greater quality, we recommend DVD/Blu-ray or web services such as iTunes or Netflix.
1 Read a screenplay familiarize yourself with classic film structure and see how it applies to a successful film 2 Screenplay Analysis write a one page report where you analyze a screenplay 3 Screenplay Synopsis write a one to two page synopsis of your screenplay 4 Screenplay Page Write the first page of your screenplay 5 Expanded Screenplay Synopsis Rewrite and expand on your film story 6 Screenplay Pages Write the first ten pages of your screenplay
The Discussion Board integrates what you learn in lessons with your assignments and the story you are writing. Your TA is both moderator and active contributor. She will reinforce concepts introduced in lecture and readings and provide feedback to advance the development of individual student storylines. Students are also encouraged to exchange ideas through replying to each others Discussion Board contributions.
Weekly Discussion Board Questions
Two questions are posted on the Discussion Board every week:
QUESTION 1 Integrates lectures, readings, screenings and story development QUESTION 2 Helps students workshop their synopsis and screenplay
You must answer BOTH questions. Please also engage with fellow students to share your journeys and to offer each other support by responding to the posts of others. Reach out. Engage. Enjoy and share the process.
Receiving feedback can make newer writers feel vulnerable. Please be open, but considerate and professional in tone. We want this to be a safe, creative space.
How To Write
These are not standard Discussion Board posts but rather short essays; you are expected to write more than just a few sentences. We require that you present your work professionally so proofread and use proper English. Please ask your TA for guidance if you are unsure of what is expected.
Grading of Discussion Posts
The Discussion Board participation grade is based on your two weekly contributions. Posts are evaluated on individual merit and their contribution to the discussion. Timely posting is required. The earlier you post, the more feedback and interaction youll receive.
Late posts will receive feedback from the TA, but points are deducted from your grade for tardiness. Concerted effort and clear language will earn you an A. Vague and/or too short answers will result in a B. Failing to submit will lower your grade. Points will be deducted for each twelve hour period your submission is late.
Be present on the Discussion Board. Engage. Be active. Well thought out, engaging posts can help your grade overall.
Final Grade Breakdown
Your final grade is calculated on a point scale, as follows:
Discussion Board Participation 30 points Lecture quizzes 5 points Screenplay Analysis 10 points Screenplay Synopsis 10 points Screenplay Page 5 points Expanded Screenplay Synopsis 10 points Final Screenplay Pages 30 points
Submitting assignments after the deadline will subtract five percent from the grade per day late. That means an A becomes a B if submitted two days late.
This class takes advantage of MyUCLA and a third party service service known as Turnitin. Submissions are screened for improper citations and potential plagiarism. Quotes or ideas paraphrased from other work must be properly cited.
Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Accessible Education (CAE) at (310) 825-1501 or in person at Murphy Hall A255. When possible, students should contact the CAE within the first two weeks of the term as reasonable notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. For more information visit http://www.cae.ucla.edu. Disability accommodations needs should be communicated to the instructor and/or Teaching Assistant before assignments are due unless there are extenuating circumstances. These policies apply to both matriculated UCLA students and visitors in Summer Session.
Assignment 1: Read a screenplay. No written assignment due.
Quiz #1: Due Sunday by 11:59pm PDT.
Lesson 1: Screenplay Structure
Reading: Essentials of Screenwriting , Introduction, Pages 3 31 (Chapters 1 3)
Lecture Video: Structure: Using THE SIXTH SENSE as our guide
Bridesmaids , Directed by Paul Feig, Written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, 2011
Lesson 2: Integrated Elements
Reading: Essentials of Screenwriting, Pages 33 57 (Chapters 4-6)
Lecture Video: Integrated Elements: Using MEAN GIRLS as our guide
Dear White People , Written and Directed by Justin Simien, 2014
Assignment 2: Screenplay Analysis of CAROL , written by Phyllis Nagy. Due Sunday by 11:59PDT
Quiz 2: Due Sunday by 11:59pm PDT
Lesson 3: Characters: The Unity of Opposites
Reading: Essentials of Screenwriting , Pages 58 71 (Chapter 7 beginning of chapter through Exposition )
Lecture Video: The Unity of Opposites using the film SEVEN
Devil In A Blue Dress , Written and Directed by Carl Franklin, 1995
Carol , Written by Phyllis Nagy, Directed by Todd Haynes, 2015
Lesson 4: Character Voice and Specificity
Reading: Essentials in Screenwriting , Pages 71 83 (Chapter 7 Middles through end of chapter)
Lecture Video: Character Voice and Specificity using the film BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
Moonlight , Written and Directed by Barry Jenkins, 2016
Do The Right Thing , Written and Directed by Spike Lee, 1989
Assignment 3: Screenplay Profile/Synopsis. Due Sunday by 11:59pm PDT
Quiz 3: Due Sunday by 11:59pm PDT
Lesson 5: Character Spine
Reading: Essentials in Screenwriting , Pages 84 94 (Chapter 8)
Lecture Video: The character spine using the film IRON MAN
Black Panther , Written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, Directed by Ryan Coogler, 2017
Wonder Woman , Written by Allan Heinberg, Directed by Patty Jenkins, 2017
Lesson 6: Character Relationships
Reading: Essentials of Screenwriting, Pages 95 119 (Chapter 9)
Lecture Video: Character Relationships using the film UP
Coco , Written by Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich, Directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, 2017
Thelma and Louise , Written by Callie Khouri, Directed by Ridley Scott, 1991
Assignment 4: Screenplay Page. Due Sunday by 11:59pm PDT
Quiz 4: Due Sunday by 11:59pm PDT
Lesson 7: CONFLICT
Reading: Essentials of Screenwriting , Pages 120 164 (Chapters 10 11)
Lecture Video: Conflict using the film I LOVE YOU, MAN
Ladybird , Written and Directed by Greta Gerwig, 2017
Real Women Have Curves , Written by George LaVoo and Josefina Lopez, Directed by Patricia Cardoso, 2002
Lesson 8: THE WORLD OF YOUR MOVIE
No Reading for this lesson
Lecture Video: The World of Your Movie using the film IN BRUGES
Pans Labyrinth , Written and Directed by Guillermo del Toro, 2006
The Hurt Locker , Written by Mark Boal, Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, 2008
Assignment 5: Expanded Screenplay Profile/Synopsis. Due Sunday by 11:59pm PDT.
Quiz 5: Due Sunday by 11:59pm PDT
LESSON 9: SUBPLOTS
Reading: Essentials of Screenwriting , Pages 165 259 (Chapters 12 15)
Lecture Video: The Role of Subplots in your story using the film STRANGER THAN FICTION
Milk , Written by Dustin Lance Black, Directed by Gus Van Sant, 2008
I, Tonya , Written by Steven Rogers, Directed by Craig Gillespie, 2017
Assignment 6: Screenplay Pages. Due Friday by 11:00pm PDT
Quiz 6: Due by Friday at 11:59pm PDT
LESSON 10: TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
Reading: Essentials of Screenwriting, Pages 263 376 (Optional) (Chapters 16 17 & Part IV: The Whole Picture)
Lecture Video: Overview of all concepts covered during class using the film AMERICAN BEAUTY
Adaptation , Written by Charlie Kaufman, Directed by Spike Jonze, 2002
Mudbound , Written by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, Directed by Dee Rees