Screenwriting: Scene and Structure (LIT2326.01)

Manuel Gonzales

Reading contemporary screenplays and story treatments, we will discuss the structure and scene work that goes into writing a successful screenplay. Almost without fail, all screenplays utilize a familiar and easy to learn three-act structure, but the very best screenwriters manipulate this structure nimbly via character development, excellent dialogue, and strong storytelling techniques. Students will learn how to spot the three-act structure and how it can be subtly tweaked and broken to best serve the story’s interests. Students will write treatments and scenes for their own original feature film ideas, and in the process will learn the formal constraints of a screenplay, formatting, scene development, and how to write effective and compelling dialogue. Most of the semester will focus on reading and discussing screenplays but the class will screen a select number of films over the course of the semester in order to see how moments on the page translate to the screen. Scripts will include Alien, The Incredibles, The Shape of Water, Mean Girls, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Bridesmaids, When Harry Met Sally, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Top Gun, among others.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
T 10:00am - 11:50am; F 10:00am - 11:50am
Maximum Enrollment: 40
This course is categorized as All courses, Four Credit, Literature, 2000, Tuesday and/or Friday Mornings, Manuel Gonzales.