MES 153 Scriptwriting Pages and Links

This is the home of the non-textbook material for MES 153 Scriptwriting.  It replaces the 16th Ed.MES 153 Handout Book, a pdf of which is available by clicking this link.

The textbook for this course is SCRIPTWRITING by Samuel Sloves (pdf).

The syllabus for your specific section should be available on Blackboard.  If it is not, please notify the professor. An Index of Materials contained on this site is here.

The focus of the class is on the creation of three projects:

A Fiction Project, which should consist of a logline, prose treatment, and a complete short screenplay in standard screenplay/teleplay format that is developed using step outlines to create a story with a beginning, middle, and an end that accords with the idea of  3-Act Structure; this first draft is to receive a Workshop Reading in class;

A Nonfiction Project, which should consist of a logline, prose treatment, and short 2-col. or A/V script in that is developed from a published work of non-fiction to create a narrative with a beginning, middle, and an end that accords with the idea of  3-Act Structure; this project is to be presented in class as a pitch with Q&A and discussed in class; and

A Revision Project of one or both of these first drafts that focuses, expands, or otherwise makes the logline, treatment and screenplay a more effective presentation.

As with MES 152 – Introduction to Contemporary Media, the first three or four classes/weeks serve as an introduction to the main task of project creation. After this, professors are free to pursue the projects in whatever order they find most effective and should adjust their syllabus links to correspond to the individual assignments/project stages.  Depending on the class, there may be quizzes, readings or other credit-bearing work; each professor’s syllabus will contain a section that details that professor’s grading formula.

There are fourteen (14) weeks of classes that, due to holidays and breaks, are spread out over the semester; some sections meet twice a week and are even more unevenly spaced.  The sequence of learning and skill building, however, is the always the same, though the actual time spent on each area will vary with each class:

Weeks 1-3:Tools of Analysis and how to use them.  During these initial classes, the focus is on demonstrating that stories all follow a format, generically summarized as “3 Act structure,” and almost always have a central focus or Protagonist who faces obstacles to obtaining a need or desire.

Weeks 4-5: Developing an Audio/Visual Narrative using loglines, step outlines, and treatments. During these classes, students will choose a story to tell and use the tools of analysis they learned in the initial weeks along with traditional writing tools to engineer a narrative that exploits the strengths inherent to audio/visual storytelling. Students will work from self-generated original ideas or from long-form non-fiction articles from reputable publications that have not been made into documentary films (no Man on Wire, Going Clear, or Grizzly Man, alas). From this exercise, students will draft a treatment that shows how the narrative (Fiction or Nonfiction depending on what will be  will be used as Project 1).

Weeks 6-7: Treatments into Scripts, Part 1. Students will turn their treatments into properly formatted first draft scripts (Screenplay/Teleplay format for Fiction Projects or A/V//2-column format for Nonfiction Projects. If the Nonfiction Narrative is Project 1,  Week 8 should end with each student Pitching their Nonfiction Project in class and turning in all the elements (logline, treatment, A/V script and source article) due; the Pitch session discussions should generate notes and ideas that can be used for a Revision of the Nonfiction Narrative script.

Week 7: Nonfiction Project 1: Project Pitches and Discussion

Weeks 7-11/Fiction Project 1: Screenplay Workshops. For Fiction Narrative Project 1, students will have their screenplays read aloud in class in roundtable workshops.  Authors may not read, only listen as their classmates take parts and present the first draft Screenplay as written.  Each writer will takes notes for use in a Revision of the Fiction Project.

Weeks 8-9/Fiction Project 2: Treatments into Scripts, Part 2, Workshops: Students will use loglines, step outlines, and treatments to craft a treatment and learn how to translate it into a properly formatted first draft Screenplay that will be read aloud in class in roundtable workshops.

Weeks 10-13/Fiction Project 2: Screenplay Workshops. For Fiction Narrative Project 1, students will have their screenplays read aloud in class in roundtable workshops.  Authors may not read, only listen as their classmates take parts and present the first draft Screenplay as written.  Each writer will takes notes for use in a Revision of the Fiction Project.

Weeks 12-13/Nonfiction Project 2: Treatments into Scripts, Part 2. Working from long-form non-fiction articles from reputable publications that have not been made into documentary films (no Man on Wire, Going Clear, or Grizzly Man, alas). From this exercise, students will draft a treatment and turn it into a properly formatted first draft A/V//2-column Script; at the end of Week 13, each student Pitches their Nonfiction Project in class and turns in all the elements (logline, treatment, A/V script and source article) due; the Pitch session discussions should generate notes and ideas that can be used for a Revision of the Nonfiction Project.

Week 13 or 14: Nonfiction Project 2: Project Pitches and Discussion

Week 14: Revision. Student will work with their notes from the Workshops/Pitches and learn techniques to help correct the errors/amplify the virtues of their work.  The Revision Project will be turned in either at the last class or on the date of the Final Exam.

Week 15: Final Exam or Class Presentation of the Revision Project.

WEEK BY WEEK RESOURCES aka 17th Edition of the Handout Book are available from this link and on the menu in the right hand column.

 

 

 

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