Screenwriting: From Pitch to Screen

Overview

This screenwriting class helps you to build on your writing technique, drawing on your imagination as well as your observation of film and TV productions.

Working together with your fellow students you will actively develop your screenplay writing skills through writing, reading and discussing each other's work. You'll look at participant screenplays in active development and applying - and sometimes challenging - screenwriting principles in the creative writing process. Simultaneously you will learn screenwriting methods for evaluating the quality of writing, and techniques for giving constructive feedback to peers to further enhance skills and project development.

Together we will also explore the role of directors, producers and companies, and how their different individual qualities contribute towards the making of the film or TV series.

This course works well as a follow-on for those who have completed our 'Screenwriting: From Film Idea to Pitch'. It can also be taken as a stand-alone workshop by anyone who is interested in developing their screenplay.

Programme details

Week 0: 
An introduction to Teams

Week 1: 
Lecture – Introduction, Beat Sheet and Adaptation 
Workshop – Beat Sheet (TV: Characters)

Week 2: 
Lecture – Screenplay Case Study: Indie hit
Workshop – Set up: The first 10 pages (TV: Setting and rules)

Week 3: 
Lecture – Screenplay Case Study: TV Pilot
Workshop – Adventure: the second 10 pages (TV: Episode Structure)

Week 4: 
Lecture – Screenplay Case Study: Non-English Language (translation)
Workshop – Turning Point: the third 10 pages (TV: Episode 1 beat sheet)

Week 5: 
Lecture – The director's role. 
Workshop – Tests, Allies & Enemies: 10 - 20 more pages (TV: first 10 pages)

Week 6: 
Summative Assessment: Student Creative Director Presentation

Week 7: 
Lecture – The Structure of the Film Industry 
Workshop – Crisis: another 10 - 20 pages (TV: second 10 pages)

Week 8: 
Lecture – Identifying, approaching and negotiating with industry partners 
Workshop – Climax: 10 more pages (TV: third 10 pages)

Week 9: 
Lecture – Legal issues in film project development 
Workshop – Resolution: 10 concluding pages (TV: fourth 10 pages)

Week 10: 
Summative Assessment: Revised Project Pitch

Certification

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Fees

Description Costs
Course fee £230.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00

Tutor

Mr Carl Schoenfeld

Carl has three decades’ film industry experience as writer, director and producer. He pioneered fresh approaches across filmmaking and education. His award-winning productions with the BBC, Channel4/Film4, and the BFI - including BAFTA-nominated 'A Sarajevo Diary' and 'My Brother Tom', starring Ben Whishaw - embraced new technology and launched the talent involved.

Course aims

We aim to develop a personalised understanding of the film industry, its roles and opportunities in the context of student screenwriting project aims. Emerging screenwriters are encouraged to complete a series of short films,  the first draft of their feature film screenplay or TV bible, building on guidance from their tutor and peers.

Course Objectives

1. Express your film idea within the limitations of the screenwriting form and practise the application of dramatic writing techniques.

2. Evaluate screenwriting in terms of formal and dramatic achievements, and communicate your evaluation, including areas of achievement and those requiring further development, in a constructive manner. 

3. Exploration of filmmaking opportunities arising from observation of film & TV output, as well as wider cultural developments in the context of rapidly changing media industries.

Teaching methods

Guided discussions, case studies, reading of student work and student presentations based on their own creative work and relevant case study analysis.

As human beings participating in the world around us, and as consumers of film, TV and new formats, our creative work leads us to become future makers of such product. This requires constant evaluation of industry output, enabling us to detect trends, discover new ‘talent’ as well as emerging decision makers, and so to assess the continuous narrowing and opening of opportunities for our projects.

Accordingly, the sessions require active student participation through both specific personal screenwriting projects and active general industry observation. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • Develop an awareness of screenwriting as part of a larger filmmaking process, including its opportunities and limitations in relation to your personal aims.
  • Critical analysis of both your own creative work as well as the media products you embrace, how these come about and how a more detailed understanding can support your own project development process.
  • Talk concisely and effectively about their work, including creative, talent, and business aspects.

Assessment methods

Students are guided to contribute regularly writing their screenplay, followed by table reads in the workshops enabling peer and facilitator feedback. There is a formal formative assessment point halfway through the course, and an opportunity to pitch the business case for their screenplay in week 10 for summative assessment,

Based on their identified project needs and the research, materials and conclusions, students are required to submit for summative assessment either:

a) a 1000 word (+/- 10%) portfolio including a project summary, sample scene / screenplay fragment, business and development plan, and reflection on learning, as well as a final business pitch presentation in week 10, or

b) a 1500 word (+/- 10%) portfolio including a project summary, sample scene / screenplay fragment, business and development plan, and reflection on learning.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.

Application

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

This course builds on previous learning through either

– 'Screenwriting 1: From Film Idea to Pitch', or

– other industry practice informed workshops delivered by practitioners, or

– independent learning resulting in a pitch including genre, approach, 'hook' and story for a feature length screenplay, a TV series 'bible' or series of short film scripts.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)