377463: Writing the First Screenplay II
- Winter 2021
- Section 1
- 3 Credits
- 01/06/2021 to 03/16/2021
- Modified 01/01/2021
This second in a four-part sequence in writing a feature film script has you hit the ground running. You begin by pitching your story based on your outline and revising it to make sure the premise can carry the entire movie. Armed with a workable outline, you then flesh it out into either a beat sheet or treatment (at the instructor's discretion) and begin writing your screenplay. Personalized feedback along with mini-lectures on key craft points, including character development, story structure, and conflict, help you to meet the course goal, which is to write Act I (approximately 30 pages). May be repeated for credit.
The first five weeks will be spent refining and prepping your outlines for script. The next three, we will progress in increments of approximately ten script pages per week, to arrive at our goal, a solid Act One draft. The final two weeks we will rewrite and set course for launch into Act Two.
Students are expected to arrive in class with a completed outline/beat outline or treatment, the blueprint for the story you intend to write, and a firm commitment to see that story through. In addition to scripting Act One, each week we will review the fundamentals of structure, character, theme and dialogue through sheet lectures and exercises.
Students are required to read/view weekly topics and complete assigned tasks, which include mandatory Workshop participation. Peer feedback is important here and beyond. Working writers, myself included, depend heavily on feedback from friends and associates throughout the development process. You get back what you put in.
Assignments are due Sunday, 8 pm, to allow time for Workshop comments. Instructor comments will follow through the week in order of posting.
Formatting: Useful books on formatting. Recommended, not required.
Required film viewing/reading:
Read and view, preferably both, scripts/films in assigned weeks. If movie access is a problem, reading the script will suffice. Links to assigned scripts are provided in the weekly modules.
Films to review:
- Thelma & Louise
- Almost Famous
- As Good As It Gets
Come prepared to write and rewrite. Students are required to read materials and complete Assignments posted in the weekly modules.
Workshop is mandatory as noted. Responses should be clearly thought-out and when possible, followed up with solutions to areas cited. Feedback across the board is encouraged.
- Read lectures and complete assignments – reading, writing and/or film viewing.
- Post Assignments by Sunday 8:00 pm.
- Comment on Workshop assignment posts and beyond.
Note: This syllabus is subject to change by instructor according to the needs and evolving dynamics of the class.
Grades: Letter grade or Pass/Fail:
If you are taking this course for a grade or pass/fail, grades are based on turning in your assignments on time and Workshop participation. I feel the nature of screenwriting is too subjective to judge on critical standards this early on.
Instructor comments on unexcused late work is at my discretion.
Note that I do not give plus/minus on letter grades.
As UCLA's principal provider of continuing education, the majority of UCLA Extension courses are designed for the post-baccalaureate professional-level student. Enrollment is therefore normally reserved for adult students 18 years of age and older. The Writers’ Program may consent to enroll younger students based on special academic competence and approval of the instructor. Minors who enroll in a Writers’ Program course without first receiving permission from both the department and the instructor are subject to withdrawal. To request approval, please contact the Writers’ Program at 310/825-9415.
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WEEK 1 - OVERVIEW
WEEK 2 - CHARACTER
WEEK 3 - STRUCTURE
WEEK 4 - SCENE
WEEK 5 - DIALOGUE and DESCRIPTION
WEEK 6 - ACT ONE
WEEK 7 - SCENE CONSTRUCTION
WEEK 8 - ACT TWO
WEEK 9 - REWRITE and POLISH
WEEK 10 - THE BUSINESS OF SCREENWRITING