This course builds on the introductory course – the Basics of Screenwriting and gives students, especially those who wish to specialize in writing scripts, the opportunity to hone their skills and learn things that they could not have learned in the introductory class. It gives insights into what screenwriting entails as a matter of professional writing. Beyond knowing how to draft a script properly, there are many things that one must know about how to polish a draft and have a standard screenplay that can be pitched commercially. That is what this course seeks to help students achieve. It employs practical learning most of the time, with the instructor focused on how each student interprets what they are learning in the class. Each student would be expected to develop a script. The script will be submitted to the instructor at the end of the semester. The instructor would have one-on-one meetings with each student to discuss his or her screenplay and offer suggestions on the different ways that the script can be much better. The class is organized like a workshop. So, each student has the chance to bring up their script within the classroom and get inputs from colleagues. This means that students will finish the course with mastery of screenwriting and a completed screenplay thoroughly critiqued by the instructor and fellow students.
Students should expect the class sessions to be challenging and rigorous with open critiques and group readings. This course brings itself up to speed from the first class and will continue to challenge the students till the end of the semester. Students are expected to come to the first class fully prepared with an idea of what they plan to work on in their screenwriting project and how far gone they are in giving the idea a concrete form. Anyone taking the course is expected to have completed the Basic Screenwriting course or another similar course. Where a student does not meet this qualification, it is still possible to take the course. Only that it has to be with the instructor's permission. There would also be writing assignments every week that would be tailored to meet each student's specific needs. Reading assignments are also given, and while this may be optional, students are strongly encouraged to read and do so before the due date to avoid feeling lost when the readings are the subject of class discussion. The only way to become an expert in screenwriting is through consistent practice, and reading is one of the active forms of practising. Both screenwriters at advanced and intermediate levels are welcome to attend the glass.
By the time a successful student completes the course, he or she will be able to:
- Rewrite a screenplay if there is a need for such
- Develop a story idea and be capable of writing the first thirty pages of a narrative screenplay for television, digital programming, and/or film.
- Have a full understanding of the basics of screenwriting
- Gain the artistic and critical sensibility necessary for a writer
During the course, students will explore the craft and art of teleplays and screenplay writing. They will do this by developing a pilot for a television show or a full-length narrative screenplay. The class participation is significantly improved by the workshop or writer's room setting of the class. Students will present their outlines, scenes, and concepts in the class and support or critique fellow students' works based on their understanding. Several topics would be up for discussion, and they include:
How to craft complex characters: complex characters make a story more interesting, but crafting one and getting it right could be tricky. This course discusses the process in and with extensive practice.
- TV bibles: Writing TV bibles is an essential part of commercial screenwriting. It is a short, 5 to 15-page document that represents itself as the detailed blueprint for the show. It contains the story world, plots, characters, tone, etc. Going through it gives an idea of how all these elements will develop in the story from the first season and onward. It is a selling tool that gives a better idea of the show and its potential than you will get from the pilot. Most TV networks or studios usually read the pilot first, and when convinced of its potential, they ask for the TV bible. TV bible is all about convincing a producer that a particular TV script has huge potential, and the pilot is not just the best part of everything. By going through it, the exciting plot twist, the transforming characters, etc.
- Characters and story Arcs: The Arc is the transformation over the course of the story. For characters, it is how they gradually become someone else or respond to changes in the story. On the other hand, the story arc is also described as the narrative arc and represents the extended storyline in television and details how the story unfolds.
- Theme integration: Integrating the theme into the teleplay or screenplay you are writing is essential. Beyond all the technicalities that come with screenwriting, there should be an emotional part that the viewer can be empathetic about. This is what the theme gives. It adds feelings to words and actions. You should be capable of writing from the theme.
- Visual storytelling
- The different story structures for TV and film (conventional and non-conventional)
- The Scene structure
By the time all these are discussed, the students have the technical proficiency in developing something new on their own—the advanced screenwriting course positions students for a screenwriting career in the film industry.
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