FIL-30013 - Approaches to Screenwriting
Coordinator: Neil Archer Tel: +44 1782 7 33202
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

Screenwriting is a unique form of creative expression. Part literature in itself, part 'blueprint' for something else, the screenplay exists as a written form waiting to be transformed into images and sound. In this module, we consider how this process works, thinking about the key decisions and creative possibilities informing the screenwriting process. On the way to developing a fully-developed screenplay treatment and sample scenes, students on this module will analyse a variety of case studies from the history of film, and will become familiar with important theoretical approaches to screenplay construction. Students will work in consultation with their tutor and peers in productive group discussions, on the way to preparing a final piece of practical work.

This module aims to develop students' understanding of screenwriting practice, combining the analytical study of screenplay form with applied practical work. Students will study different approaches to screenwriting across a range of key case studies, and will develop their own skills alongside their screenwriting peers, and in consultation with the module tutor. Students will work towards the preparation of a fully developed screenplay outline and sample scenes.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

evaluate successful and innovative instances of screenwriting throughout film history: 1,2
demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical bases for screenplay construction and for composing dialogue: 1,2
identify different approaches to screenplay form and structure across varied case studies: 1
work to a series of industry-standard practices - writing treatments, character studies, mandatory formatting, etc.: 1,2
prepare their own outline for a feature-length screen project and produce sample scenes: 1,2
identify relevant changes in the contemporary filmmaking contexts, and how these impact on screenplay form and production: 1,2
discuss and criticise productively in a group context: 1,2

Study hours

Seminars 12 x 2 hours = 24 hours
Individual consultation with tutor = 2 hours
Independent study: film viewing and reading for seminar = 24 hours
Independent Preparation of first assessment: Case Study = 30 hours
Independent Preparation of second assessment: Portfolio = 70 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Case Study weighted 40%
Analysis of screenwriting
Students will prepare a 1500-word analysis of a screenplay of their choice. Their analysis will focus on the structural and formal properties of the screenplay, identifying how they see the film with relation to the existing theories of screenwriting practice studied on the course. Students will demonstrate awareness of this relevant screenwriting theory in support of their analyses.

2: Portfolio weighted 60%
Treatment and Scene Portfolio
Students will individually prepare a Treatment (plan) for a proposed feature-length screenplay (1250 words) plus samples of a short scene (500 words). They will also submit a short commentary (250 words) explaining their creative choices in relation to existing screenwriting theory. Students will have the opportunity to work on these and receive peer and tutor feedback during the module. The portfolio will be assessed on the quality and presentation of its work, and how it shows an informed and critical awareness of screenwriting practices.