Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Course Content and Outcomes Guide for WR 247 Effective Fall 2021

Course Number:
WR 247
Course Title:
Advanced Creative Writing - Scriptwriting
Credit Hours:
4
Lecture Hours:
40
Lecture/Lab Hours:
0
Lab Hours:
0
Special Fee:

Course Description

Focuses on writing and submitting both drama and screen scripts. Continues the study of established writers for techniques, structures, and styles. Prerequisites: WR 243 or instructor permission. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Students are encouraged to take a literature class, preferably one that includes scripts, concurrently with WR 247.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Articulate techniques and strategies a wide range of authors demonstrate in their work —such as character, setting, conflict, dialogue and subtext, theme, dramatic (or narrative) structure—in order to become competent with the elements of drama and how these elements combine to create a theatrical experience.
  2. Develop an original storyline, and unify its form, content, and structure in a properly formatted script. 
  3. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the collaborative nature of theatre and film, and an appreciation of the writer’s traditional role in each medium.
  4. Use and hone critical thinking skills to critique the work of professionals, peers, and ultimately one's own writing.
  5. Formulate a comprehensive understanding of the process of production, from scriptwriting through the varied artistic and business concerns of production.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

English and Writing courses align with the PCC General Education philosophy by providing an appreciation of writing and literature from global and personal perspectives. Students in English courses engage the imagination, critical inquiry and self?reflection, and in the process of doing so, cultivate a more complex understanding of their own culture(s), linguistic/communication practices, and perspectives in relation to others. Because the literary arts lie at the heart of most human cultures, they are essential for understanding ourselves and each other and navigating our differences. Like all artistic practices, Creative Writing allows us to process experience and, in doing so, discover and create meaning. In Creative Writing courses, students produce and revise original writing, workshop their writing and the writing of others, study literature, and learn about editing and publishing. Courses in creative writing empower students to realize themselves as writers. In the process, students nurture and harness their creativity, develop their unique writing voices, and explore interdisciplinary aspects of their craft — connections with art, music, and science, for example. Writing and Literature courses foster a stronger sense of engagement with history, culture, and society. Writing and Literature students develop an awareness of themselves as readers and writers in a global world, and an enlarged understanding of the relationships between language, identity, ideas, scholarship, communication, and transformation.

Course Activities and Design

This course can include lecture, but will likely consist mostly of round-table workshops in which student work will be evaluated by the entire class. Students will come prepared to critique the work by responding to it either in discussion or in writing. Students may also read a variety of published scripts and view live or recorded performances for analysis. The instructor should spend approximately an hour of conference with each student outside of class. Students may also submit work for consideration by established theatres or producers.

 

Scriptwriting classes are structured to encourage students to participate in a creative writing workshop. A textbook or a selection of handouts may be required so that a variety of forms and structures may be analyzed. Lectures, photocopied material, films, videos, overhead projections, recordings, and guest speakers may be used to stimulate the student's imagination. Brief exercises in various forms and structures may be required, which will be developed into longer works. The major proportion of class time is devoted to a serious examination of each student's creative efforts: these may be photocopied for class discussion, read aloud, or submitted to the instructor for evaluation. At times the class may be divided into smaller groups for discussion purposes. Though the class is designed to produce a relaxed and stimulating atmosphere, the overall intention is to reinforce the concept that imaginative writing is fundamentally an extension of the individual's awareness of the craft of writing and the need for a commitment to self-discipline. Out-of-class writing is generally typed or keyboarded. Two out-of-class paper conferences with the instructor provide individual attention to particular problems and questions in writing.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment may include informal responses to reading and study questions; quizzes; evaluation of small and full-group discussion, in-class and out-of-class writing; writing scripts; revising scripts; participation in reading of scripts; creation of one or more “query packets” for submission of original script.

Because of the participatory nature of the workshop atmosphere of the course, consistent attendance is essential. The course grade is determined by appraisal of the students' writing, regularity of attendance in class and individual conferences, and active participation in class activities. Scripts totaling approximately 6,000 words will be required, the number depending on how much other writing is assigned-such as notebooks, journals, exercises, revisions, or submission queries. Reading and writing activities are sequential and should be completed on time.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Plot

Character

Scene

Voice

Diction

Theme

Sound / Music

Spectacle

Point of view

Dialogue

Conflict

Objectives

Obstacles

Stakes

Setting

Context

Tone/Language

Text

Subtext

Visual metaphors/ Imagery

Pacing

Protagonist

Antagonist

Theatrical convention

Audience

Dramatic irony

Dramatic economy

Mimesis

 

Texts

The following items are intended as descriptions of instructor's choices of texts in the past as an aid to choosing texts in the future. This is not intended as a prescribed or recommended list of texts. A text, texts, or alternative forms of texts may be designated by the instructor based on the objectives outlined in this course content guide. Generally, instructors order a text that supplies the basic forms in one area of media and supplement the content with handouts, books on reserve, recordings, and video tapes/films. Some possibilities are as follows:

•   Beckett, Samuel. Working Words: The Process of Creative Writing.

•   Field, Syd. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting.

•   Minot, Stephen. Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction, and Drama.

•   Mueller, Lavonne, and Jerry D. Reynolds. Creative Writing: Forms and Techniques.

•   Packard William. The Art of the Playwright.

•   Root, Wells. Writing the Script: A Practical Guide for Films and Television.

•  Hatcher, Jeffrey, The Art and Craft of Playwriting

• Dixon, Michael Bigelow and Michele Volansky, eds., 20 One-Act Plays from 20 Years of the Humana Festival

• Whitcomb, Cynthia, The Writer’s Guide to Writing Your Screenplay

Instructors new to the course should contact the campus creative writing chair, creative writing sub-SAC chair, Comp/Lit  SAC chair, faculty department chair, or administrative support person for further information.

 The primary purpose of the course content and outcome guide is to provide

faculty a SAC-approved outline of the course. It is not intended to replace

the course syllabus, which details course content and requirements for students.